The Difference Between Self Defense And Murder
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Politics and Activism

The Difference Between Self Defense And Murder

Why would a law abiding citizen even need a gun?

The Difference Between Self Defense And Murder
The Well Armed Woman

Everyone has been getting so upset lately with shootings, as they should. These are truly tragic happenings occurring around us. This is leading to new questions like “Why would someone even need a gun?” and “What use would a law-abiding citizen ever have for a such a deadly weapon?” Other than recreational shooting, most people have a gun to shoot someone if they need to. But it is not always malicious in intent, nor is it illegal. Not all killing is murder.

First things first,the definition of murder. According to Cornell’s law database, “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” Let’s go into the specifics of what is not murder.

All murders are homicides, but not all homicides are murders. “Homicide is when one human being causes the death of another.” This includes murder, but also includes things like self defense and lawful killing. One type of homicide is justifiable homicide, which is “a killing without evil or criminal intent.” This isn’t illegal. It includes things like accidental shootings and killing in self defense.

Self defense is a subset of affirmative defense. The larger category also includes entrapment, necessity, and insanity. If the defendant can prove any one of these to be true, then it will negate any criminal or civil liability.

Self defense is “the use of force to protect oneself from an attempted injury by another.” If someone attacks you, you can attack them back. The exact specifics of what this might entail varies from case to case. But if someone is going to kill or rape you, and you kill them in the process of defending yourself, that is legal. Although the whole situation would be quite unfortunate and is not to be taken lightly, our laws recognize that sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.

There is also a defense of others clause that works similarly to self defense. If you are at the movies and a person comes in, gun raised, poised to shoot, you can shoot them, even if they are not directly aiming at you. Oft times a non-fatal shout will get the point across. Instances like this do happen, but we rarely hear about them because the tragedy that would make such big news is prevented.

The biggest question I have found is “if someone breaks into my home, can I shoot?” Most states have some version of Castle doctrine, which means something a little different for each state. The loosest definition I found was “a person is privileged to use deadly force against anyone who unlawfully enters their home.” However some definitions I found said that the burglar had to be armed or show some intent of inflicting bodily harm before you could shoot. I would recommend you look up the specific laws for your state or ask your local law enforcement, so you can be prepared with the proper course of action if someone were to break into your home. And just to cover all your bases, check to see your state's laws on gun registration and make sure you are in accordance with them.


this list to get a better idea of the laws in your state.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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