Q: Rick, I have a question. As a CPL holder, do I have the capacity to defend others (strangers) that I see that are in imminent danger? Or being hurt by others???
A: The short answer is Yes. However, I believe that it would be wise for one to carefully explore under exactly which circumstances - before it happens - when he will intervene with lethal force.
First, lets take a quick look at the applicable Michigan statute - MCL 780.972. It states in its entirety the following:
(1) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses deadly force may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if either of the following applies:
(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.
(b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.
(2) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force other than deadly force may use force other than deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.
So, as you can plainly see, you could come to the aid of another person as long as you have a right to be where you are located, you are not committing a crime, and that other person is facing imminent sexual assault, imminent great bodily harm, or imminent death.
There are risks associated with defending another person. Be sure that you are certain of the circumstances. Coming to the aid of a stranger can get you in you big trouble if the "victim" does not corroborate your story. Imagine that one day, for example, you see a man viciously beating his significant other in public. If you intervened with lethal force - kill her abusive boyfriend or husband - will she be thankful or vengeful when the smoke clears and the police arrive? After all, you just killed her lover.
As a rule, I urge caution when one is considering getting involved in the affairs of others - especially when you do not have a perfect picture of the event unfolding before your very eyes. In contrast, if you and a friend or other person - whom you know very well - is attacked by a stranger in your presence then you are definitely clear as to what is happening.
Unless, you know the people involved I would urge caution. Maybe there is another option that does not immediately involve you using lethal force on the behalf of a stranger. Of course, the choice is yours. Whatever you decide, I hope that you make the right decision. If all else fails, you could call 9-1-1 and be a great witness.
For more info on Gun Rights, Personal Protection, and Firearm Safety, visit our blog on the Internet - Legally Armed In Detroit: http://www.legallyarmedindetroit.com
DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer. As such, any construed advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. True story.
About The Author
Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, Fox news, New York Times, USA Today, Bearing Arms, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.
For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:
Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
If this information was useful for you, would you please make a small recurring donation to support this site?