THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE FOR SELF-DEFENSE IN VIRGINIA:
WHEN DO YOU LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO RESPOND TO AN ATTACK WITH DEADLY FORCE?
You are in your car, you are late for a meeting, and you are looking for a place to park in the lot where you work. Another driver coming in the opposite direction sees an open parking space at about the same time that you do. A pedestrian blocks your way for just a moment, you slow down, and the other driver quickly pulls into the open space you thought was yours. Your blood starts to boil and you pull your car in behind the other fellow’s car, roll down your window, and start screaming at him that you saw the space first and he is a son of a bitch for taking your space. You have a Virginia concealed carry permit and you are carrying a 9 mm semi-auto handgun locked and loaded in your car’s center console.
The pedestrian who was briefly in your way sees and hears all the commotion and suggests that you calm down and find another parking space.
The driver who took “your” parking space can hear you screaming at him as he exits his car and he flips you the bird with a grin on his face. You continue yelling at him, mixing in obscenities, and tell him what a nice paint job his car has, as you wave your car key at him.
That’s when he loses his temper, gets back in his car, and comes out with a tire iron in his hand. He demands that you get out of your car so he can do a little bodywork on it.
You grab your gun from the console, conceal it in your jacket pocket, and get out of your car. Mr. Tire Iron sees you exit your car, raises his weapon over his head, and starts coming toward you with a snarl on his face.
Believing that you are facing an immediate deadly force attack, you pull your gun from your jacket pocket and shoot Mr. Tire Iron twice in the chest. Down he goes and he dies before there is time for any help to arrive.
Was this lawful self-defense on your part? After all, Mr. Tire Iron made the first move to initiate a physical attack, and he came at you with clearly hostile intent and a deadly weapon. Or are you now facing a lengthy prison term for a homicide?
You might be surprised to learn that under Virginia law, you gave up your right to claim self-defense by verbally initiating the confrontation, and you are now facing a lengthy prison term.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND THE RISKS YOU FACE
If you didn’t know the correct answers to these questions, you are not alone. But if you rely on firearms for personal defense, your life and your freedom will one day depend on you knowing the right answers.
If you would like to find out how to recover your right of self-defense and lawfully deal with situations where you are initially at fault, click on the link below and sign up for our course – “The Legal Use of Firearms for Self-Defense in Virginia.” We will teach you all about Virginia’s strict limits on the use of firearms for self-defense and help you to lawfully manage deadly force confrontations like this one and others you will see in everyday life.