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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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Old 03-29-2012, 3:34 PM
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Default When is it legally excusable for someone to use deadly force against another?

Hello all! I'm doing some research for a school project about gun control. I figure this would be a great place to ask your opinions. In what circumstances do you feel it is it legally excusable for someone to use deadly force against another? If you were to come up with your own policy regarding the right to carry firearms and lethal force, what would it include in it?
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Old 03-29-2012, 3:43 PM
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When there is an imminent threat to my life or someone that I am with.
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Old 03-29-2012, 3:45 PM
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A person may use deadly force defend themself or someone else from grave bodily harm.

That is all.
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Old 03-29-2012, 3:52 PM
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See CA Penal Code and jury instructions.
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Old 03-29-2012, 3:53 PM
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Cal. PC 197
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Old 03-29-2012, 4:01 PM
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Cal. PC 197
Thank you I was looking for this!
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Old 03-29-2012, 4:03 PM
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I have always heard it is OK to shoot someone dead anytime they make a motion toward their waistband
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Old 03-29-2012, 4:07 PM
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I take offense at your choice of words "excusable".

The exercising of one's fundamental right to protect yourself from harm never needs an excuse or an apology.

When is it appropriate to use deadly force? When protecting yourself or another from grave bodily harm.
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Old 03-29-2012, 4:07 PM
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in CA you have to get killed before u can shoot ! havent u heard ?
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:01 PM
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Courts ask this question all the time and the answers are many.
I have no intention of killing a human being after I left a war zone. I will however fire my weapon to stop or neutralize a threat against my life or the life of my family members. I will continue to fire that weapon until the person is no longer a threat to me or my family. Whether they live or die is up to them and the Drs. my job is to stop the threat.
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:30 PM
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Instead of pat answers and sound bites, this is an excellent overview of the general law on the use of force in self defense: http://www.useofforce.us/ .
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RazzB7 View Post
I take offense at your choice of words "excusable".

The exercising of one's fundamental right to protect yourself from harm never needs an excuse or an apology.

When is it appropriate to use deadly force? When protecting yourself or another from grave bodily harm.
Actually, the appropriate term is "justified." You do not have a right to intentionally hurt or kill another. If you do, you will need to establish that your act of extreme violence met the applicable legal standard to be considered justified.

If you intentionally hurt or kill another, whether or not you were properly protecting yourself remains to be seen.
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 626Tony View Post
in CA you have to get killed before u can shoot ! havent u heard ?
haha i love this
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:43 PM
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For the posters who find it amusing to joke about a legitimate question, I'd like you to think about something. How would you feel to have your joke to be taken out of context and construed to be your personal belief about when it is justified to take another persons life?

We ought to conduct ourselves in a fashion that is responsible in the face of someone new on the board enquiring about what is or isnt legal. You cannot possibly know whether the OP is a student, a journalist or a LCAV/Brady activist or how they intend to use your response.
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by five.five-six View Post
I have always heard it is OK to shoot someone dead anytime they make a motion toward their waistband
considering how many other things are kept on/near your waist (phones, keys, wallet, etc.) i'd say that's a very lame reason to shoot someone.

The PC actually says you can shoot to "stop any felony being committed", however, CA courts have strayed from this and pretty much stick to "in defense of life or to prevent grievous bodily harm" as the only justifiable reason to shoot someone.

In CA, guns can ONLY be used to inflict deadly force. They cannot be used to deter violence or inflict physical harm in order to stop violence. Guns can only be pulled out if you would be justified in taking someone's life. It's important to note though that if you see someone getting beaten up, you do not automatically have the right to shoot the attacker. The victim MUST be within THEIR rights to use deadly force before YOU can use deadly force to save them. If the "victim" you saw getting beaten up had just pulled a knife on someone and tried to rob/kill them but ended up getting their a** kicked, then you would not be able to use deadly force to subdue their attacker since they did not have the right to use deadly force themselves (since they instigated the altercation). once you start or agree to a fight, you give up the right to deadly force.

guns are a complete last resort to be used ONLY in defense of a life which could otherwise be lost. No other reason is valid according to CA law.
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Old 03-29-2012, 5:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CitaDeL View Post
For the posters who find it amusing to joke about a legitimate question, I'd like you to think about something. How would you feel to have your joke to be taken out of context and construed to be your personal belief about when it is justified to take another persons life?

We ought to conduct ourselves in a fashion that is responsible in the face of someone new on the board enquiring about what is or isnt legal. You cannot possibly know whether the OP is a student, a journalist or a LCAV/Brady activist or how they intend to use your response.
this seems to be a trend in most calguns threads these days....too many smartass thread crappers who just want to stroke their ego by posting stupid things, or thrashing someone with a different opinion, as if theirs is the word of God.

it's one thing to joke around, but it would be nice if people followed it up with a legitimate response to the question being asked....
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Old 03-29-2012, 6:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitaDeL View Post
For the posters who find it amusing to joke about a legitimate question, I'd like you to think about something. How would you feel to have your joke to be taken out of context and construed to be your personal belief about when it is justified to take another persons life?

We ought to conduct ourselves in a fashion that is responsible in the face of someone new on the board enquiring about what is or isnt legal. You cannot possibly know whether the OP is a student, a journalist or a LCAV/Brady activist or how they intend to use your response.
It doesn't look like they're looking for what's actually legal. It looks like they're asking what we "think" should be legal.
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Old 03-29-2012, 6:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clund555 View Post
Hello all! I'm doing some research for a school project about gun control. I figure this would be a great place to ask your opinions. In what circumstances do you feel it is it legally excusable for someone to use deadly force against another? If you were to come up with your own policy regarding the right to carry firearms and lethal force, what would it include in it?
Can you tell us more about your school's Gun Control project?
What are the goals of the project?
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Old 03-29-2012, 7:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RazzB7 View Post
I take offense at your choice of words "excusable".

The exercising of one's fundamental right to protect yourself from harm never needs an excuse or an apology.

When is it appropriate to use deadly force? When protecting yourself or another from grave bodily harm.
Clund,

Welcome to Calguns, at times we're home to some of the web's greatest sematicists.

But, on this one I agree with the term "Justified". It's also the term used in the statute. Words can mean many different things to differing individuals, and where a word choice isn't provided for in a statute, we can argue until the cows come home about what word is right. PC 197 defines when the taking of a human life is "justified". Here's the text of the law:

_____

197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in
any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a
felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person,
against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or
surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends
and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter
the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any
person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a
wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such
person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to
commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent
danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the
person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant
or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have
endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was
committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and
means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in
lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving
the peace.
____________

Please also check out Penal Code section 195. It defines "Excusable" homicides. Those are primarily killings due to accident and misfortune where there may be an element of culpability.

From a more practical perspective, a retired commander from my agency said it best "You shoot someone because you have to, not because you can"

Last edited by RickD427; 03-29-2012 at 7:18 PM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 7:15 PM
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Originally Posted by snobord99 View Post
It doesn't look like they're looking for what's actually legal. It looks like they're asking what we "think" should be legal.
And just how does that insignificant (and probably erroneous- note the header of the OP) distinction change the nature of my concern about how gun owners are percieved?
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Old 03-29-2012, 9:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CitaDeL View Post
And just how does that insignificant (and probably erroneous- note the header of the OP) distinction change the nature of my concern about how gun owners are percieved?
Oh, I wasn't saying that to address you what you said...yours just happened to be the person I chose to quote.

As for why I think OP wants to know what people think instead of what people think the law is: "In what circumstances do you feel it is it legally excusable for someone to use deadly force against another?" It could be read both ways, but I took it to be the former.
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Old 03-30-2012, 7:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Purple K View Post
Cal. PC 197
Wow. That section must have been written long ago, when the word "felony" meant something very different. There are so many lame non-violent victimless felonies now.

According to PC197(1) you can legally kill somebody if they insert their legally possessed large capacity magazine into their legally possessed bullet-button rifle, because they've just manufactured an assault weapon and that's a felony.
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Old 03-30-2012, 7:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 626Tony View Post
in CA you have to get killed before u can shoot ! havent u heard ?
+1 +1 +1
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MudCamper View Post
Wow. That section must have been written long ago, when the word "felony" meant something very different. There are so many lame non-violent victimless felonies now.

According to PC197(1) you can legally kill somebody if they insert their legally possessed large capacity magazine into their legally possessed bullet-button rifle, because they've just manufactured an assault weapon and that's a felony.
Case law modifies the text of the Penal Code. The US Constitution trumps all. Depriving a person of their life for a non-violent felony was held un-Constitutional many years ago, 1960s I believe.

The CALCRIM jury instructions are the definitive source for this kind of law. This is what is read to the jury (remember: 12 people not smart enough to get out of jury duty!) before they decide your fate.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/312.htm

The instructions themselves are a HUGE PDF file. Worth the read if you value your freedom.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:53 AM
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Default Use of Deadly Force

Front Sight in Nevada uses the following guidelines for determining when it is justifiable to use deadly force:

"You are universally justified in the necessary use of deadly force when there is a reasonable fear of immediate or otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury to the innocent. All these factors must be present in orer to justifiably use deadly force. Lacking any one or more of the key factors will result in a questionable use of deadly force and you will face the criminal and civil consequences."
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by clund555 View Post
Hello all! I'm doing some research for a school project about gun control. I figure this would be a great place to ask your opinions. In what circumstances do you feel it is it legally excusable for someone to use deadly force against another? If you were to come up with your own policy regarding the right to carry firearms and lethal force, what would it include in it?
Each state's laws are different and come out of a long legal history, some of which dates from feudal England and the common law. I'm reluctant to throw all this history out and start fresh, not least because many lives were lost as these rules evolved over the decades through the efforts of generations of lawyers, judges and juries.

My opinion is irrelevant as I am bound by the laws of the state of California. I'll give it to you anyway:

[opinion] You use deadly force when you run out of other choices, to save your life or someone else. If you can run away, you run away. (This is NOT the same as a "duty to retreat," for why see below.) Sometimes you can't; for example, a man in a wheelchair can't outwheel his attacker on broken ground or in a building. My retreat will not save the person being stabbed. If you can lie, cheat, hit someone with a stick or a chair, lock yourself in a room . . . do all that instead, but don't pull that trigger until it's "Me or him and I need it to be me." [/opinion]

I don't think this should be law because it's too extreme. When someone is fighting to save their life, or to save someone else's, the last thing I want that person to do is worry about whether their actions will be judged appropriately by some complex, convoluted scheme of law. I want them to do the best thing and the right thing, out in the real world where it's scary and you're hurt and bleeding and confused and people are screaming and the other guy wants to live as much or more than you do, and he's willing to kill to do it, and then sleep soundly that night with no remorse.

The civil right to possess arms is different from the civil right to carry arms, and both are different from the innate or natural right (I prefer 'human right' because it is) of self-defense.

If you don't have a firearm, you can't use one to defend yourself.

People who may not possess arms have less freedom. In the United States we have two recognized categories of "prohibited persons" -- criminals and illegal aliens. They have no right to possess arms, either they lost it by conviction of crime or never gained it because they never earned the right to come into this country. Their human right to self-defense is impaired (but not completely gone!) because they have no civil right to have a firearm.

I bring this up to point out that in countries where people may not possess arms, everyone's self defense rights are substantially hindered. The clearest possible proof of this was seen in the London riots.

A law-abiding citizen of the United States has a 2nd Amendment Constitutional right to possess firearms. This is settled law: Heller v. Columbia and McDonald v. Chicago.

We are having a huge political and legal fight about the right to _carry_ arms. This is different and the difference is huge.

Presently in California we have a "may issue" permit process to carry a concealed firearm in public. The police chief or sheriff makes the decision on a case by case basis.

Loaded firearms and now unloaded handguns are now illegal to carry in public. There are many exceptions but they are convoluted and complex.

If I could impose my will with respect to the right to carry arms, I would do this:

Note that in this fantasy scenario, anyplace where it is OK to have a gun, it is OK to have that gun loaded. That's very different from California law, the so-called Mulford Act passed by Ronald Reagan to disarm the Black Panthers, then everyone else. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act)

(If it is not OK to have it loaded, it should be locked up but I wouldn't make that a law.) It is OK for a private property owner to exclude firearms from their property, except as below.

1) An openly carried long arm or holstered handgun can be carried anywhere, except certain "sensitive places" such as a courtroom, jail or hospital. No permit required.

2) A permit to carry a concealed handgun can be easily obtained by a law abiding person, but just as easily lost if you are convicted of crimes. With a permit, places that serve the general public have to allow a CCW holder to carry a firearm within (like WalMart), unless they post notice and can justify the reason. (CCW in a hospital? I can see arguments both ways.) As jails do now for peace officers, gun lockers are provided in that handful of sensitive places where people are not allowed to carry a handgun even with a CCW.

3) Anyone (other than a criminal or illegal alien) can keep a handgun in their car, but they have to keep it concealed unless they are wearing it in a holster.

Note that if anyone in 2) or 3) flashes the gun, they are either acting in self defense or committing a crime.

I'd also streamline purchase restrictions. Unlike many others here, I'm comfortable with a nominal testing requirement, but 'waiting periods' are an example of a particularly useless restriction.

Because of changes in law and pending court cases, I think it's likely that I will see 1) and 2) in my lifetime in California. I think 3) would be a very good idea but it's less likely.

Just my 0.02 and many people will disagree.

Last edited by creekside; 03-30-2012 at 11:02 AM.. Reason: edit for clarity
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by IrishPirate View Post
considering how many other things are kept on/near your waist (phones, keys, wallet, etc.) i'd say that's a very lame reason to shoot someone.

The PC actually says you can shoot to "stop any felony being committed", however, CA courts have strayed from this and pretty much stick to "in defense of life or to prevent grievous bodily harm" as the only justifiable reason to shoot someone.

In CA, guns can ONLY be used to inflict deadly force. They cannot be used to deter violence or inflict physical harm in order to stop violence. Guns can only be pulled out if you would be justified in taking someone's life. It's important to note though that if you see someone getting beaten up, you do not automatically have the right to shoot the attacker. The victim MUST be within THEIR rights to use deadly force before YOU can use deadly force to save them. If the "victim" you saw getting beaten up had just pulled a knife on someone and tried to rob/kill them but ended up getting their a** kicked, then you would not be able to use deadly force to subdue their attacker since they did not have the right to use deadly force themselves (since they instigated the altercation). once you start or agree to a fight, you give up the right to deadly force.
guns are a complete last resort to be used ONLY in defense of a life which could otherwise be lost. No other reason is valid according to CA law.
Not quite the whole picture there.

If you start a fight, and at a certain point you cease attacking. The person you were fighting with only had the right to defend themselves. They do not have to right to extract vengence upon the other person. They have no right to straddle the guy and start to repeatedly punch him in the face. You can only legally fight as long as the other person is attacking you.

This is the point where the original victim stops being a victim and goes on to being the aggressor.

You only have the right to defend yourself from an "on-going" attack, you don't have the right to make sure the attacker cannot get up again.

If someone punched someone in the face and then turned to walk away, the punched individual doesn't have the right to tackle the puncher and beat him to a bloody pulp.

If you come upon a situation where someone is in danger of losing their life, or in danger of receiving grave bodily harm, they are at that point the victim, and you can legally defend their life with deadly force.
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Old 03-30-2012, 1:44 PM
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  #29  
Old 03-30-2012, 2:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitaDeL View Post
For the posters who find it amusing to joke about a legitimate question, I'd like you to think about something. How would you feel to have your joke to be taken out of context and construed to be your personal belief about when it is justified to take another persons life?

We ought to conduct ourselves in a fashion that is responsible in the face of someone new on the board enquiring about what is or isnt legal. You cannot possibly know whether the OP is a student, a journalist or a LCAV/Brady activist or how they intend to use your response.
CitaDeL makes a very good point here. While most of us chuckle at a bumper sticker that says "Protected by Smith & Wesson" or a doormat that says "We don't call 911" just remember that if you're involved in a self-defense situation, a prosecuting attorney will, without question, use these against you in order to convince a jury of California Liberals that you used bad judgment and were pre-disposed to use deadly force. Do you think your jury of "peers" will laugh with you?
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  #30  
Old 03-30-2012, 2:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snobord99 View Post
It doesn't look like they're looking for what's actually legal. It looks like they're asking what we "think" should be legal.
The fact that there is a *significant* difference needs to be brought up far too often :/

There are WAY too many threads here with heated discussions that consistently confuse one for the other.
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  #31  
Old 03-30-2012, 3:38 PM
ap3572001 ap3572001 is offline
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Look up the PC section on this subject. It is written very clear when You can use deadly force to deffend self or others. Also, its not just about using a firearm.

Last edited by ap3572001; 03-30-2012 at 3:41 PM..
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  #32  
Old 03-30-2012, 3:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekside View Post
Case law modifies the text of the Penal Code. The US Constitution trumps all. Depriving a person of their life for a non-violent felony was held un-Constitutional many years ago, 1960s I believe.

The CALCRIM jury instructions are the definitive source for this kind of law. This is what is read to the jury (remember: 12 people not smart enough to get out of jury duty!) before they decide your fate.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/312.htm

The instructions themselves are a HUGE PDF file. Worth the read if you value your freedom.
Thanks for the link. I'll quote the relevant section here:

Quote:
B. JUSTIFICATIONS AND EXCUSES

505. Justifiable Homicide: Self-Defense or Defense of
Another

The defendant is not guilty of (murder/ [or] manslaughter/
attempted murder/ [or] attempted voluntary manslaughter) if (he/
she) was justified in (killing/attempting to kill) someone in (selfdefense/
[or] defense of another). The defendant acted in lawful
(self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:

1. The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or]
someone else/ [or] <insert name or description
of third party>) was in imminent danger of being killed or
suffering great bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of
being (raped/maimed/robbed/ <insert other
forcible and atrocious crime>)];

2. The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use
of deadly force was necessary to defend against that
danger;

AND

3. The defendant used no more force than was reasonably
necessary to defend against that danger.

Belief in future harm is not sufficient, no matter how great or how
likely the harm is believed to be. The defendant must have
believed there was imminent danger of death or great bodily
injury to (himself/herself/ [or] someone else). Defendant’s belief
must have been reasonable and (he/she) must have acted only
because of that belief. The defendant is only entitled to use that
amount of force that a reasonable person would believe is
necessary in the same situation. If the defendant used more force
than was reasonable, the [attempted] killing was not justified.

When deciding whether the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable,
consider all the circumstances as they were known to and
appeared to the defendant and consider what a reasonable person
in a similar situation with similar knowledge would have believed.
If the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the danger does not
need to have actually existed.

[The defendant’s belief that (he/she/ [or] someone else) was
threatened may be reasonable even if (he/she) relied on
information that was not true. However, the defendant must
actually and reasonably have believed that the information was
true.]

[If you find that <insert name of decedent/victim>
threatened or harmed the defendant [or others] in the past, you
may consider that information in deciding whether the defendant’s
conduct and beliefs were reasonable.]

[If you find that the defendant knew that <insert
name of decedent/victim> had threatened or harmed others in the
past, you may consider that information in deciding whether the
defendant’s conduct and beliefs were reasonable.]

[Someone who has been threatened or harmed by a person in the
past, is justified in acting more quickly or taking greater selfdefense
measures against that person.]

[If you find that the defendant received a threat from someone else
that (he/she) reasonably associated with <insert name
of decedent/victim>, you may consider that threat in deciding
whether the defendant was justified in acting in (self-defense/ [or]
defense of another).]

[A defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to
stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself and, if
reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of
(death/great bodily injury/ <insert forcible and
atrocious crime>) has passed. This is so even if safety could have
been achieved by retreating.]

[Great bodily injury means significant or substantial physical
injury. It is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate
harm.]

The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt
that the [attempted] killing was not justified. If the People have
not met this burden, you must find the defendant not guilty of
(murder/ [or] manslaughter/ attempted murder/ [or] attempted
voluntary manslaughter).
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  #33  
Old 03-30-2012, 4:41 PM
Kid Stanislaus Kid Stanislaus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by five.five-six View Post
I have always heard it is OK to shoot someone dead anytime they make a motion toward their waistband
OH YOU SILLY BOY!! You have to have a badge and a uniform to get away with that kind of thing!!
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  #34  
Old 03-31-2012, 9:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by five.five-six View Post
I have always heard it is OK to shoot someone dead anytime they make a motion toward their waistband
Interesting how in a LEO forum thread you mention your interest in becoming a LEO at your advanced age, but then you make wisecracks like the one above.

Go figure.
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  #35  
Old 03-31-2012, 5:31 PM
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What if you see someone you know being jumped by 3-5 large individuals? Can you shoot them?
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  #36  
Old 03-31-2012, 5:43 PM
Agent Orange Agent Orange is offline
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Disparity of force. Why do you have to know them?
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