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The Legal Justification for the Use of Deadly Force
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CCW SAFE NEWSLETTER | NOVEMBER 18, 2022

The legal justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense is both deceptively simple and infinitely complicated. Don West, criminal defense attorney and National Trial Counsel for CCW Safe says, “The core principle of self-defense – with minor tweaks within the 50 states – is that, if you have a reasonable belief that you are facing an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, then you have the right to use deadly force to prevent yourself from being injured or killed.”

It sounds simple enough, but how soon is “imminent”? How bad does an injury need to be to qualify as “serious bodily harm”? What makes a belief “reasonable” anyway? Concealed carriers arm themselves so they are prepared to survive an attack from a violent criminal.

Understanding the laws governing the use of deadly force is critical for armed defenders to survive the legal scrutiny that follows any deadly use of force event. As a concealed carrier, you have a responsibility to know the laws wherever you carry, but there are certain core principles that apply no matter where you live in the United States.

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