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541-220-1632 - Dave
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10 Things Gun Owners Get Wrong About Their Self-Defense Rights
By Michele Byington
Attorney Michele Byington specialized in self-defense cases for six years.
She points out that most gun owners, many law-enforcement officers, and quite a few district attorneys and judges don’t know important elements of self-defense law.
For six years, I was an attorney for a national firearms legal-defense program.
I represented gun owners who acted in self-defense and traveled the country speaking on firearms issues.
I’ve taken countless questions regarding a person’s legal right to self-defense.
Over the years, I started to see a pattern — people have the same questions.
From your brand-new gun owner to the seasoned carrier, the questions and misconceptions were the same.
I’ve heard it all, and nothing catches me off-guard, so I’ve drawn on these experiences to put together the top 10 misconceptions gun owners have when it comes to their self-defense rights.
We usually focus on what guns to buy, but there are also legal consequences for the use of firearms that defenders should know about.
Here are some of the most important concepts.
2. The Only Time a Gun Should Be Displayed Is If You’re Going To Shoot It
Many in the gun community disagree with this statement.
In my legal opinion, if a person draws his or her weapon, there is no requirement to shoot.
There is a big difference between a display and a discharge, both practically and legally.
Legally speaking, a display is typically considered the use of force, as opposed to the use of deadly force.
For instance, under Texas law, if a person displays a firearm with the sole intent of creating apprehension in another person to deter further action,
Texas considers this display to be the use of force — not deadly force.
However, there are several states, such as Virginia, that say the threat of deadly force, such as a display of a firearm, is considered deadly force under the law.
Every state’s law is different, so be sure to check your state’s specific stance on this issue. A discharge of a firearm in the vicinity of another person,
whether the intent is to scare, injure, or kill, will likely be considered the use of deadly force under the eyes of the law in any state.
Depending on the situation and state law, a person may be justified in using force, but not deadly force.
In other words, it could be perfectly legal to display a gun in self-defense to deter a potential attack, but a crime to pull the trigger.
Every day, violent crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and aggravated/armed assault are deterred by the mere production of a gun.
Once that gun is pulled in self-defense, the likely result (hopefully) is the perpetrator will think twice before continuing an attack.
The goal is simple — to stop the threat.
There is no legal difference between a display and brandishing of a gun.
Different states use different terms of art. Both terms describe the presentation of a gun to another person in a threatening manner.
Whether a person pulls his shirt up to reveal a concealed handgun, pulls a gun from a holster and points the barrel towards the ground,
or points the gun at another person, it will likely be considered a display/brandish of a firearm.
The takeaway here is that if a gun is pulled in self-defense, there is no requirement to pull the trigger.
Michele Byington emphasizes that it is illegal to shoot a trespasser who doesn’t pose a threat of death or serious bodily injury.
Each week we will review the next item Michele recommends.
SASS - Turquoise Bill
• A new mailbox with a sign-in book has been installed at the rifle and pistol practice bays, next
the range flag. Please use this sign-in book and range flag when using these bays.
• All members may use practice bays at any time. You may also use these areas on match days during
regularly scheduled matches. Please, as always sign in and obey all range rules.
• Please check the club calendar for range maintenance or events that require the practice area to
• There is no restriction on the time of day you may use the range.
• The speed limit on the dirt road to our facility is 15 MPH. It's one lane in and out.
• No incendiary, tracer, steel core bullets, or explosive ammunition allowed at any time.
• No ammunition with magnet attracting projectiles (bullet) allowed at any time.
• Be sure to lock the gate after passing through on non-event days to make sure the range is
even if you or someone else is there.
• ATV's are not allowed on the range without the express permission from the Range Master.
• PractiScore electronic scoring tutorial video at
• Range Safety is Everyone's Job. See the
• The upper parking lot behind the rifle bay is not to be used as a shooting point.
• There will be no placing of additional or personal steel targets on the hillside behind the
• Pistol Caliber Carbine Best Practices PDF
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