A License to Carry a Concealed Weapon is not a License to use it.
Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:
- Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
- Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.
Using or displaying a handgun in any other circumstances could result in your conviction for crimes such as improper exhibition of a firearm, manslaughter, or worse.
Verbal threats are not enough to justify the use of deadly force. There must be an overt act by the person which indicates that he immediately intends to carry out the threat. The person threatened must reasonably believe that he will be killed or suffer serious bodily harm if he does not immediately take the life of his adversary.
The courts have created an exception to the duty to retreat called the “castle doctrine.” Under the castle doctrine, you need not retreat from your own home to avoid using deadly force against an assailant. The castle doctrine applies if you are attacked in your own home by an intruder. The castle doctrine also applies when you are in your place of business. If you are in danger of death or great bodily harm or you are trying to prevent a forcible felony, you do not have to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.
Never display a handgun to gain "leverage" in an argument. Threatening someone verbally while possessing a handgun, even licensed, will land you in jail for three years. Even if the gun is broken or you don't have bullets, you will receive the mandatory three-year sentence if convicted. The law does not allow any possibility of getting out of jail early.If you see someone who is being attacked, you can use deadly force to defend him/her if the circumstances would justify that person's use of deadly force in his/her own defense. In other words, you "stand in the shoes" of the person being attacked.
A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman. But, as stated earlier, deadly force is justified if you are trying to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. The use of deadly force must be absolutely necessary to prevent the crime. Also, if the criminal runs away, you cannot use deadly force to stop him, because you would no longer be "preventing" a crime. If use of deadly force is not necessary, or you use deadly force after the crime has stopped, you could be convicted of manslaughter.
You can read the whole thing here. and I suggest that you do.
So did Martin knock Zimmerman to the ground, bloodying his nose -- and if so is that justification for shooting him? Does the fact that Zimmerman initiated the conflict matter? Did shooting constitute the only hope Zimmerman had of survival? Does the Castle Doctrine apply here. My answer to all these questions is an emphatic no and I think we have to stop marching in the street and stifle the lemming-like group think and take this matter to court. You don't accomplish anything by trying someone by the laws of mob rule.
It may be difficult at this point to convict Zimmerman, but perhaps not so difficult to find that the Sanford Police violated the victim's civil rights by denying him the protection of the law, which after all, side with the party being pursued.
But no matter what happens, Liberals are going to be suspicious of what I see as a basic human right and an affirmation that the small and weak and young and disadvantaged should not be subject to the size and strength and aggression of the strong and numerous. Media businesses like CNN are going to continue to sneak in insinuations like:
Florida's "stand your ground" deadly force law prohibited them from making an arrest.
The law allows the use of deadly force anywhere a person feels a reasonable fear of death or serious injury, and has been cited in a rising number of justifiable homicide cases in Florida.
even if Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground and any fear he had wasn't reasonable and the law requires that there be a real threat, not the feeling of angst. He was chasing someone, someone who had a right to be where he was and without any right to do so and those "justifiable homicides" include a large number of homeowners that otherwise would be dead and without benefit of public rallies and rhetoric damning the law that saved their lives.