Imagine being in a situation where you have to quickly decide whether or not to use your firearm when faced with an imminent threat. Should this be the case, it’s understandable to first think about your own safety and the safety of others who may be around you. At the same time, you may have equally justifiable concerns about any legal consequences that result from your decision. Below, the firearms education professionals from LTC Austin, a top provider of Austin online CHL classes, explain whether or not you have “stand your ground” protection in Texas.
“No Duty to Retreat”
These are the words officially used in Texas statutes to refer to the same concept “stand your ground” denotes. However, the words “stand your ground” don’t specifically appear in any Texas gun laws.
How This Law Works in Texas
The phrases “stand your ground” and “no duty to retreat” are sometimes used interchangeably, but it’s important to know how this concept is applied in Texas if you’re a gun owner. Let’s say you’re walking to your car and you’re surprised by a knife-wielding person who is clearly threatening you. You would then be able to defend yourself without having to “retreat.”
When “Lawful” Deadly Force is Permitted
Texas also allows the use of deadly force when it’s considered justified. This typically means you’re in a situation where someone is attempting to use deadly force against you or other people. With situations like this, you would have protection under the “no duty to retreat” rule, as long as:
• You’re in a place where you’re legally allowed to be
• You’re not the one who provoked the confrontation
• You weren’t engaged in some type of criminal activity at the time
What This Means Legally for You
As long as you meet the requirements that go along with “no duty to retreat” stated above, you typically can’t be held legally responsible for not retreating when faced with a serious and potentially deadly threat. However, other situation-specific factors may be taken into account as far as potential legal ramifications are concerned.
Important Exceptions to Keep in Mind
“No duty to retreat” will only protect you as long as you’re in a situation where you have a valid right to protect yourself. For instance, if you provoked somebody who wasn’t actually threatening you even though he or she was on your property without permission at the time, you wouldn’t likely be protected by the “no duty to retreat” rule.
The Requirement to Have a Legal Right to Carry a Firearm
Even if you used your firearm to defend yourself in a way that was fully justified, you may have some legal issues if you weren’t legally carrying your weapon. In Texas, this means having a valid license to carry, or LTC. This applies to both concealed carry and open carry situations in the Lone Star State. Also, be aware that “no duty to retreat” protection doesn’t automatically apply if you visit other states while armed and find yourself in a threatening situation.
Whether you own and carry a gun for self-defense, hunting, competition, or another purpose, make sure you have the proper training to do it safely. You can count on the firearms education pros at LTC Austin for the highest-quality training available. Whether you’re looking for LTC proficiency testing or you want to take an Austin LTC class, call us today at 512-766-3039.