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Castle Doctrine

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Good afternoon bikers, patriots and Second Amendment supporters. I hope your week is off to a good start. But where do the weekends go? I was able to get about 300 miles in over the weekend, but it was hot and humid here. In fact, sultry probably describes it best. This Thursday I will be heading to the Smoky Mountains with a group of buddies to ride. I will work on a destination blog post when I get back.

In an article my article on Home Defense Basics, this past week, I promised to provide some additional information on Castle Doctrine. This article really could be a companion to that post as Castle Doctrine definitely ties to defending one’s home – or castle. Castle doctrine tends to be fairly similar from state to state, but some states are much more restrictive or have no Castle Doctrine provisions. Additionally, your state may allow you to not only protect yourself with deadly force while in your home, but also if you are in your vehicle, garage, car, hotel, motorcycle or even at work. But there are limitations:

Common Castle Doctrine Limitations:

  1. Anyone that lives in the residence would be excluded from Castle Doctrine
  2. A spouse or significant other would be excluded from Castle Doctrine
  3. An invited guest would be excluded from Castle Doctrine (unless they attempt to bring lethal or maiming force against you – at which point the Five Components of a Self-Defense Claim apply)
  4. You may be in legal jeopardy if you shoot someone who is trying to flee the house after encountering them

We will review each state individually, but it might be good to review a case in which the castle doctrine defense was not allowed and the home owner was convicted.

Byron David Smith

Byron David Smith was a resident of Little Falls, Minnesota. He had become alarmed about a rash of break ins and robberies in his neighborhood and had experienced it at his residence. In order to lure the criminals into his house, he parked his car down the street so it would appear he was not home. The bait was offered and on Thanksgiving 2012 two teens broke into his home through a window. Smith had barricaded himself in his basement and was armed with a Ruger Mini-14 and a small caliber revolver. The first teen, Nick Brady came down the basement stairs and was shot three times with the Ruger Mini-14. The third shot was a lethal shot to the head. The second teen, Haily Kifer, would come down the stairs several minutes later. Smith shot her six times with the final shot being taken nearly at point blank range, under the chin and into her head. Smith did not call 9-11 but his neighbor did after Smith told him he solved the robbery problem.

He was arrested and booked on first degree murder charges. A jury of twelve convicted him of two premeditated murder charges and he will spend the rest of his natural life in prison. The unanimous verdict was largely driven by him moving his car from his home which they considered to be premeditated.

Castle Doctrine By State

StateCastle DoctrineState Gun Laws
AlabamaYesAL Code
AlaskaYesAK Code
ArizonaYesAZ Code
ArkansasYesAR Code
CaliforniaNoCA Code
ColoradoNoCO Code
ConnecticutYesCT Code
DelawareNoDE Code
District of ColumbiaNo
FloridaYesFL Code
GeorgiaYesGA Code
HawaiiNoHI Code
IdahoYesID Code
IllinoisNoIL Code
IndianaYesIN Code
IowaNoIA Code
KansasYesKS Code
KentuckyYesKY Code
LouisianaYesLA Code
MaineYesME Code
MarylandYesMD Code
MassachusettsNoMA Code
MichiganYesMI Code
MinnesotaNoMN Code
MississippiYesMS Code
MissouriYesMO Code
MontanaYesMT Code
NebraskaNoNE Code
NevadaYesNV Code
New HampshireYesNH Code
New JerseyPartialNJ Code
New MexicoNoNM Code
New YorkNoNY Code
North CarolinaYesNC Code
North DakotaYesND Code
OhioYesOH Code
OklahomaYesOK Code
OregonNoOR Code
PennsylvaniaYesPA Code
Rhode IslandNoRI Code
South CarolinaYesSC Code
South DakotaYesSD Code
TennesseeYesTN Code
TexasYesTX Code
UtahYesUT Code
VermontNoVT Code
VirginiaNoVA Code
WashingtonNoWA Code
West VirginiaYesWV Code
WisconsinYesWI Code
WyomingYesWY Code
State-by-State Castle Doctrine Codes

Closing

I am not an attorney. And I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Nothing in this blog post should be construed as legal advice. I recommend you speak with an attorney if you have questions about Castle Doctrine.

Until next time, keep the shiny side up, your knees in the wind and carry often!

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter @TheGreyBeardBiker on Parler

Greetings and salutations bikers, Second Amendment advocates, Patriots and God Fearing Americans! Unless you live under a rock – or a bunker in the mountains – you are aware of the #Marxist #Anarchists taking to the streets of America. These assnozzles do not care about your safety or your personal property. While they have typically stayed in the downtown urban areas of our larger cities, there have been cases of them wandering into neighborhoods to create chaos and fear. While it is unlikely you will ever experience a Black Lives Matter (#BLM) or #Antifa riot near your castle, you may well experience a home invasion or robbery. Have you done all the things you can do to protect yourself and your home? There are plenty of things everyone should do to secure their bunker.

The Second Amendment in Action – but firearms aren’t always your best option!

Firearms are not your only protection

Secure your home with the simple things first. Use your firearms only as a last resort.

  1. Make sure all of your windows are locked – especially those on the ground floor
  2. If you have sliding glass doors, use a heavy doll rod, cut to proper length, in the lower channel of the sliding glass door to prevent it from being forced open
  3. If you don’t already have them, install commercial grade deadbolt locks on all exterior doors (the deadbolt locks sold by big box hardware stores are not commercial grade)
  4. Install adequate security lighting around your home’s exterior – most bad guys prefer to work in the dark
  5. Invest in a canned-air horn, like what is used by pleasure boaters (a couple of quick blasts of one of these horns will probably scare a home intruder away)
  6. If you do not have a home alarm system, consider having one installed. Besides securing your home more completely, you may also save a fairly significant amount of cash on your homeowner’s insurance

Once your home is secure, you need to consider your home defense plan in the event a bad guy is inside. The most important thing is for your family to come together in one place. My house is a two story structure with all of the bedrooms on one level. The meeting place, if I had other people living here, would the master bedroom. By having everyone assemble in one location, in the event of an emergency, a headcount can be quickly taken – insuring that everyone is accounted for. Once everyone is accounted for, barricade your family in the room. I have a dresser I can slide in front of the doors. Call 9-1-1. Remember, there is no need to search out danger. Stay put and protect your family.

Now that my children are adults, and are out of the house, I keep a pistol on my night stand beside my bed (cocked and locked with one in the pipe), an AR-15 with 208 grain subsonic loads next to my nightstand (cocked and locked with one in the pipe and 30 extras in the magazine) and a loaded shotgun under the bed. There are other pistols in a small gun safe in my master bedroom closet. But is a pistol the best choice for protecting yourself, and your family, within your home? My suggestion is to consider having a shotgun close by. Once you’re barricaded in your family’s gathering area, there is nothing that will cause the bad guy to turn and run like the sound of a shotgun being cycled. If you have done your job, up to this point, when the shit bag is trying to get through your barricade, he may well have an epiphany when he hears you cycle a round into the chamber of your shotgun. At this point, he may just turn tail and run into the police, who you recently called.

There has been a lot of debate about what type of load you should use in a shotgun for home defense. I prefer something with a lot of pellets for the first couple of rounds. #6 or #7.5 shot is a perfect choice. In the heat-of-the-moment, if you were to need to engage a bad guy, there is plenty of energy in this type of load to quickly stop an intruder and give them second thoughts about staying around. From close range it is quite lethal and the blast pattern is effective. But, in the event that this does not stop the bad guy, the last couple of shells in my shotgun are #00 buckshot. If it gets to this point, one of these rounds will stop the most strung out zombie in its tracks. And in the event that it is an actual zombie apocalypse, I still have my trusty AR-15 nearby.

In summary, have a plan for you and your family. Make sure all of your family members know where the gathering place is in the event of a break in. Once all of your family members are sheltered together, call 9-1-1. Give a couple of blasts on your canned-air horn. Do not search out the bad guy – let him come to you. Practice your plan a couple of times each year so your family instinctively follows the plan.

My next blog post will take this article as step further with a discussion of what you need to know about the realities of Castle Doctrine – there are some limitations. Don’t miss it.

Until we chat again, keep the shiny side to the sun and never leave your cave without your club – you know no smart caveman would ever do such a thing!

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter – @TheGreyBeardBiker on Parler

Grey Beard Biker’s last blog post on Principles of a Self-Defense dealt with Proportionality. This post will deal specifically with Avoidance – the fourth component of a self-defense claim if you use deadly force. In review, here are the five components which must all be answered affirmatively for you to prove you acted in self-defense.

  1. Innocence
  2. Imminence
  3. Proportionality
  4. Avoidance
  5. Reasonableness

This post deals with #4 – Avoidance. It is critical, for those of us calling Tennessee home, to understand how your ability to avoid a deadly encounter can jeopardize your self-defense claim. And while Tennessee is a “stand-your-ground” state, there are potential legal pitfalls to a defense based exclusively on a “no duty to retreat” argument. Finally, while the protections of “Castle Doctrine,” derived from William Blackstone’s “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” provides a great deal of protection while you are in your home, there are restrictions on when you can use force even within your “castle.”

Avoidance

Simply put, if you can safely avoid a potentially dangerous encounter, you should do so. Get away and call the police. Even with the protections Tennessee has codified in law, do not become a victim of a cowboy mentality – as there are limitations to stand-your-ground which can land you in prison for a VERY long time.

Let’s look at the actual Tennessee code regarding your “duty-to-retreat.”

39-11-611(b)(1):a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place where the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat before threatening or using force against another person when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.

This statue clearly states you must be innocent (you are in a place you are legally allowed to be and not a participant in an unlawful activity), there must be imminence of potential death or maiming and a “reasonable” person would have acted similarly. Notice that three of the five components of a self-defense claim are clearly referenced in this specific code: innocence, imminence and reasonableness. And while this code does not reference proportionality, your force must be proportional – do not use deadly force against an aggressor who is not using deadly force against you. To do so will only provide a prosecutor ammunition (pun intended) to portray you a that “cowboy” alluded to earlier.

Castle Doctrine

Tennessee provides many safeguards against criminal prosecution when you use force to protect yourself, your family and guests while you are in your “castle.” Your castle is a: residence, dwelling, curtilage, business and vehicle.

Residence: a dwelling in which the person resides, either permanently or temporarily, or is visiting as an invited guest, or any dwelling, building or other appurtenance within the curtilage of the residence

Dwelling: a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, that has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed for or capable of use by people

Curtilage: the area surrounding a dwelling that is necessary, convenient and habitually used for family purposes and for those activities associated with the sanctity of a person’s home

Business: a commercial enterprise or establishment owned by a person as all or part of the person’s livelihood or is under the owner’s control or who is an employee or agent of the owner with responsibility for protecting persons and property and shall include the interior and exterior premises of the business

Vehicle: any motorized vehicle that is self-propelled and designed for use on public highways to transport people and property

These are all areas which fall under the protection of castle doctrine. However, as with stand-your-ground, there are limitations to your ability to claim self-defense while in any of these areas – most importantly, deadly force is never allowed to protect one’s property or real estate. This is clearly spelled out in the following Tennessee statute.

39-11-611(C)(c)Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury within a residence, business, dwelling or vehicle is presumed to have held a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury to self, family, a member of the household or a person visiting as an invited guest, when that force is used against another person, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence, business, dwelling or vehicle, and the person using defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

Exceptions to this code can cause your self-defense claim to fail:

  • If you invited the person into your home as a guest – the AOJ Triad would apply: the person has to have ability and opportunity – and jeopardy has to exist which may cause you death or serious bodily injury
  • If you are in your home illegally – Eg. You are going through a divorce and your wife/significant other has legal authority to be in said home and has an order of protection against you
  • If the person cohabits the residence with you – the AOJ Triad again comes into play

In summary, stand-your-ground and Castle Doctrine do not provide blanket immunity against prosecution. And stand-your-ground specifically only relieves you of the burden of avoidance – the other four legs, of the five components of self-defense, still apply: Innocence, Imminence, Proportionality and Reasonableness. When it comes to avoidance, commonsense – which is not so common these days – is essential.

Grey Beard Biker

Note: Neither the Grey Beard Biker or Michael are an attorney. While he has been involved in self-defense for many years, this article is provided for informational purposes only. Check with an attorney to understand your state’s laws.

This article was originally published in Thunder Roads Tennessee/Kentucky magazine and is used with permission. It was written by Michael Noirot – a/k/a the Grey Beard Biker.

Other articles in this series can be read by clicking on the following links:

A West Virginia woman, catching a 53 year old pedophile/sex offender in her 12 year old daughter’s room, uses the Second Amendment to take care of business.

As reported in Concealed Carry Magazine:

Hearing a commotion in her 12 year old daughter’s room at about 2 a.m., a Morgantown mother armed herself with a shotgun and proceeded to investigate. Upon entering the daughter’s room, she found a strange man struggling with her daughter. When the assailant turned to face her, the mother fired one blast from the shotgun, catching him in the face and taking off most of his head. The daughter was physically unharmed, though traumatized by the attack. Authorities described her attacker as a notorious pedophile with a string of known offenses against young victims. West Virginia is a Castle Doctrine state, and charges against the 42 year old mother appear unlikely at this point.

This is your Second Amendment in action and your Grey Beard Biker approves of this mother taking care of business.

Grey Beard Biker

Note: Concealed Carry Magazine is the monthly publication of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, the operating entity of Delta Defense, LLC. USCCA is an approved Grey Beard Biker company and offers USCCA members Self Defense Education, Training and Legal Protection. Grey Beard has been a proud member of USCCA since November 2013 and highly recommends them to his readers.