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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
On August 26, 2019, a large group of motorcycles decided to create a rolling roadblock on U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs, FL, while other members of the group performed stunts on the road.
One driver in a Mercedes was frustrated by this unlawful behavior, so he attempted to pass the group in the right-hand lane.
This made the bikers very upset, so they followed the driver for a few miles. When the driver of the Mercedes stopped at a red light, the 15 to 20 motorcycles surrounded the vehicle and started hitting his car.
What is the man in the Mercedes legally allowed to do according to Florida concealed carry laws? Let's ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could This Situation Have Been Avoided?
Hindsight's always 20-20, but if the Mercedes driver would have stayed behind the roadblock, this situation would not have escalated.
However, I'm the type of person who would go around the barrier, so my opinion doesn't mean very much. Besides just sitting back and allowing these bikers to rule the streets, there isn't much you can do to avoid this situation.
What Self-Defense Options Could Have Been Used?
The bikers have surrounded your vehicle at a red light. They're screaming, yelling, and kicking your vehicle.
Let me ask you: At this moment, how much danger you are in? Slim to none. Yes, this situation would be scary, but until someone breaks a window to enter, you aren't really in danger.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine?
Florida Statutes 776.013 (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Was the attacker entering or attempting to enter an occupied vehicle?
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully?
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force?
Is the use of deadly force a reasonable response?
In order for the castle doctrine to come into play, the bikers would have to be attempting to enter an occupied vehicle unlawfully and by force. Based on the news coverage of this story, it sounds like the bikers were kicking the car and screaming at the driver. They were not attempting to smash the windows to pull the driver out of his vehicle.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Justifiable Use of Force Statute?
Florida Statutes 776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
Is it reasonable to believe that the Mercedes driver or his son were going to die within seconds?
Were they going to be the victims of great bodily harm?
Were they going to become the victims of a forcible felony within seconds?
The answer to all three of these questions is most certainly no. That would mean the use or threatened use of a firearm would not be justified in this situation under Florida concealed carry laws.
Where Is the Line in the Sand?
Personally, my line in the sand would be if the bikers broke my window or were somehow able to get into my vehicle. Another line in the sand would be if the motorcyclists used or threatened to use a firearm against me. In either of these situations, I would have no other option but to use or threaten to use my gun.
The Rest Of The Story
The Mercedes driver and his 9-year-old son where surrounded by an angry mob of motorcycles.
This man didn't know what to do, so he pulled out his firearm and fired four shots at the bikers, hitting a 17-year-old biker in the bicep.
Currently, it doesn't appear that the state prosecutors' offices have elected to press charges against the Mercedes driver; however, this shouldn't be justification for his actions.
If this man had killed or severely injured someone, he would be in a whole lot of trouble.
Remember, our goal is to use as little force as necessary to keep ourselves and our family members safe. In my opinion, this driver overreacted by discharging his firearm.
That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...
Ryan G. Thomas
P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…
And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...