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Observing potential armed robber approach

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by ATW525, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. ATW525


    Sep 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Concord, NH
    Okay, let's say an armed citizen is inside the doorway of a convenience store, pizza parlor, bank or similar robbery target when they observe a person approaching the door wearing some type of mask to conceal their face and carrying what clearly appears to be a firearm in their hand. The potential threat will be coming through the door in moments. Assuming that both the mask and the carrying of a firearm in hand are both inappropriate for the circumstances, what can the armed citizen do at this point?

    I'm interested more in the legal aspects of what the armed citizen can do, rather than the tactical considerations. Can the fact that the approaching person is wearing a mask and carrying a gun establish jeopardy even though that person hasn't directly threatened anyone yet?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Well, closing and locking the door and shouting a warning to other potential victims inside would be a good start...

    The standard is that the opponent must have ability (the power to kill, such as a deadly weapon) and opportunity (the capability of immediately employing that power), and present jeopardy (an intention manifested by words and/or action to kill or cripple) for deadly force to be justifiable against him. Some jurisdictions require retreat if possible in complete safety to oneself and others before using that defensive deadly force. All must be taken in the context of what the courts call "the totality of the circumstances," and will be judged by the yardstick of the reasonable person doctrine: what would a reasonable and prudent person have done, in the exact same situation, knowing what you knew?

    I can't really do "what if" scenarios here in GATE, because the format is geared to short answers. By definition, a hypothetical question such as yours has almost an infinity of variables. Therefore, hypotheticals are probably better addressed in Carry Issues or Tactics and Training.


  3. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

    Jan 23, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Central Virginia
    ATW525, ask your same question in Carry Issues. Yes, it's been asked before, and someone will tell you that, but start your post with, "I asked this in The GATE. Mas and RussP thought it a better topic for CI. I'm interested more in the legal aspects of what the armed citizen can do, rather than the tactical considerations." Then continue with your post...