Every Member has to make the decision to intervene in a fight — or not — based on a host of tactical and safety issues. Member Ambassador Sherry Hale interviews U.S. Law Shield of Florida Independent Program Attorney James Phillips to learn how Good Samaritans can stay out of legal trouble if faced with these dangerous situations.
U.S. Law Shield Member Ambassador Sherry Hale: Hey, Members. I was recently talking to Bob, one of our members in Colorado, and he shared with me a story about how he courageously defended a third party and even potentially stopped a kidnapping. So, it made me think. Do you as a law-abiding gun owner know what the law is in your state as it pertains to protecting a third party, such as a neighbor or even someone you don’t know?
To get some clarification on this aspect of the law, I decided it would be helpful to talk to your independent program attorney to find out.
U.S. Law Shield of Florida Independent Program Attorney James Phillips: Florida allows you to use deadly force to protect third parties even if the third party is a complete stranger as long as it was reasonable for you to believe that the use of deadly force was needed to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to that third party or so long as it was reasonable to believe that deadly force was needed to prevent that third party from being a victim of a forcible felony such as a murder, rape or a kidnapping.
Sherry Hale: And following up on that, does the law differ if a child is involved?
James Phillips: No. It doesn’t matter if the third party was a child or a grownup. The same standard is used in deciding whether your actions are justified. It all comes down to whether it was reasonable. However, do keep in mind that the amount of force needed to be used by an attacker to cause death or great bodily harm to an infant or a small child would be a lot lower than the force needed to cause death or great bodily harm to a grownup.
Sherry Hale: Thank you for educating us on that aspect of the law. And thank you, Bob, for sharing your story with me.
Members, if you have a great story relating to owning a firearm or how your U.S. Law Shield membership has benefited you, we want to hear about it. Share your stories firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we will include it in our next newsletter.