Texas has always maintained a reputation for having some of the friendliest laws in the United States for gun owners. People often talk about the “stand your ground” principle in Texas as if it gives a person the right to fire his or her weapon anytime he or she feels threatened. While the law does state that you don’t have a “duty to retreat,” there are some stipulations in place to make sure people only fire their weapons under true life-threatening circumstances. The firearms education professionals from Online Texas LTC, a top provider of Texas LTC online training, explain.
You Must Have a Legal Right to Be on the Property
This requirement ensures someone who is illegally on someone else’s property cannot use the law to his or her advantage. For example, a trespasser who sees you with a gun can still be held liable for firing a weapon if he or she wasn’t supposed to be on your property. This can also impact you if you somehow manage to be on someone else’s property without permission, such as if you cross boundary lines while out in the wilderness. You must always know exactly where you are and be certain of your right to be there before you act under the premise of “no duty to retreat.”
You Weren’t Involved in Illegal Activity at the Time
The most obvious time when someone couldn’t use the “no duty to retreat” rule is if he or she were breaking into a home or business. However, this one can get murky for gun owners. For example, you could accidentally carry your handgun into a place where it’s not allowed. If you were to draw and use your weapon there, you could be considered to be engaged in illegal activity. Make sure to frequently review where you cannot carry your handgun, and check for signs on private property before you take yours with you.
You Shouldn’t Have Provoked the Other Person Involved
“No duty to retreat” is an acceptable defense when you’re an innocent party. The situation changes completely if you played a part in escalating the situation. This is a common problem during road rage incidents or when someone taunts someone else to come closer. Always be aware of your actions during any escalating conflict. It’s always better to leave the situation or allow the other person to choose a safer course.
You Must Be in Fear for Your Life or Someone Else’s Life
You can only legally fire your weapon at someone else if you’re in a truly dangerous situation. For example, seeing someone stealing food in the grocery store isn’t a time when the “no duty to retreat” law would apply. Instead, you would be expected to let the store security team handle the situation on their own. Having someone physically threaten you or your family in your home would be a different matter completely.
You Must Feel Like You Have No Other Option
If you act under the “no duty to retreat” concept, you can expect to have every detail of the situation scrutinized by the courts. You may be asked whether or not you could have fled the scene without getting involved. While you do have the right to defend yourself, someone else, or your property during a life-threatening situation, you’ll want to make sure you have no other choice but to fire your weapon before you touch the trigger.
Whether you carry a gun for self-defense, hunting, competing, or another purpose, make sure you have the proper training to do it safely. You can count on the firearms education pros from Online Texas LTC for the highest-quality training available. If you’re looking for a top-notch Texas concealed carry online class, call us today at 512-675-2124.