Recognizing the social climate that is impacting our country gives us reason to consider the popular story of the St. Louis couple who were recently seen outside their home with firearms in hand. What if this incident occurred in Kansas? What would Kansas law have to say about their actions? Here’s what an Independent Program Attorney had to say…
Two Types of Force
Kansas recognizes two types of force—“force” and “deadly force.”
“Force” is words or actions that reasonably convey the threat of force, including threats to cause death or great bodily harm, the presentation or display of the means of force, or the application of physical force (including by a weapon or through the actions of another).
“Deadly force” is the application of physical force likely to cause death or great bodily harm to a person. However, any threat to cause death or great bodily harm, including by the display or production of a weapon, is not generally considered the use of deadly force. Thus, you may use the threat of deadly force to stop or prevent imminent force.
Under Kansas’ Castle Doctrine, a person is presumed to have a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm if the aggressor against whom the force is used (at the time the force is used):
- Is unlawfully or forcibly entering, or has unlawfully or forcibly entered the dwelling, place of work, or occupied vehicle of the victim; or
- Has removed, or is attempting to remove, another person against their will from the dwelling, place of work, or occupied vehicle of the person using force.
The person using force must know or have reason to believe that any of the conditions set forth above are occurring or have occurred.
This presumption does not apply if, at the time the force is used, the aggressor has a right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, place of work, or occupied vehicle of the victim, and is not subject to any order that would prohibit such person’s presence in the property. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5224(a)
Therefore, in a Castle Doctrine Location…
If the protesters were breaking into your occupied home, the use of deadly force is presumed to be reasonable, whereas in another location—such as standing on your property watching people protest in the street—deadly force would not be presumed reasonable.
In a situation like that which occurred in St. Louis, Missouri, you would only be justified in visually or verbally threatening the use of deadly force in response to an attack on your person or to prevent imminent bodily harm. Therefore, if the protesters were threatening to use force against you, including threats of death or great bodily harm, you would be justified in taking actions like those taken by the couple in Missouri. However, you could not do so just because a group of protesters was protesting peacefully in the street while passing your home.
Kansas is an open carry state and thus, there is no suggestion that you cannot have firearms in your possession while outside your home. The concern would be focused on any threat made against you, or any threat you made against the protesters.
For any further questions regarding these issues or any other, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.