You legally own a handgun. You mostly use it for target practice. It’s a fun pastime with your friends, and you like seeing your accuracy get better.
But you also own that gun because you want to make sure you and your family are safe. The criminals have guns, after all. If one comes to your property, can you use your gun to defend yourself? It depends.
Where is the intruder?
The key often lies in where they are and if you have reason to fear for your life. For instance, if you wake up to the sound of someone kicking your door open, you could reasonably be afraid for your life and the lives of your family members. That’s valid, and you can use whatever means you need to protect your life.
However, things get tricky when a person is outside your home, such as in your yard or your driveway. You can protect yourself if you have a reasonable belief that you need to and you don’t have to flee. However, you may find it harder to show that you really feared for your life or that there really was a threat that required using a gun. Many experts say that it’s best to stay inside, keeping your firearm close, and call the police. Let them respond and take care of it, and only use the gun if that person tries to enter your house before the police arrive.
If you’re facing very serious charges after what you feel was an act of self-defense, be sure you are well aware of your defense options.