Self Defense Laws in the US: What You Need to Know

By James Barton â€¢  Updated: 02/21/18 â€¢  3 min read

Self-defense is defined as your right to protect yourself from imminent danger caused by violence or force of another person. Self defense laws vary from state to state but in general, you may disarm or stop a person through the use of force if you think that there is a reason to do so. The threat from the other party may be manifested through verbal communication; however, the use of curse words is not a ground for self-defense.


Important Self Defense Laws


Use of Deadly Force

This part of self-defense is often debated about and some states in the US allow the use of deadly force in certain situations. For example, you are a third party who is in a situation where you are witnessing a murder. In that case, you are allowed to use deadly force to defend the victim in that situation.

You may also use deadly force to protect your property. For example, a robber comes into your home with a gun and you think that person might use the gun to put your life in danger then, you are justified to use deadly force to protect yourself and your property.

Duty to Retreat

This clause has been removed in the Constitution of some states; however, it means that the defendant is required by the law to try to leave the situation first before using lethal force to protect himself or herself.

Stand Your Ground

Again, not all states have “stand your ground” laws but this means that you can claim self-defense even if you did not flee the scene before you used deadly force. This is mostly applicable if the defendant was attacked in his or her home. Moreover, most states have “stand your ground” laws with regards to the use of non-lethal force.

Imperfect Self Defense

Everyone has the legal right to defend themselves but in the event that deadly force was used and it was found in court that the force used was unreasonable, the defendant will not be acquitted; however, the sentence will be reduced. For example, if the defendant is charged with murder it will then be reduced to manslaughter in case the defendant’s defense is imperfect self-defense. Again, this is speaking in general, the circumstances may differ from state to state.

Final Words

It is important to familiarize yourself with the self defense laws of the state you are living in or whichever place you want to move to. In addition, you must know how to defend yourself because this is very important for survival. Self-defense skills always come in handy because we have to admit, we are living in a world where some people would want to take advantage of you.

Moreover, it is important to use non-deadly force as much as possible. As one of the rules in self-defense in martial arts states, just disarm your opponent and get out of the situation. That way, you are preventing the situation from escalating to some worse.

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.