From: http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/“preclusion”-legal-concept-you-must-understand Part I “Preclusion”- The legal concept you must understand by Greg Ellifritz 7:00am Tuesday, March 17, 2015 The news articles linked below describe the actions of a retired firefighter with a concealed carry permit who shot and killed an elementary school teacher after a confrontation about a loud party. The entire confrontation (22 minutes long) and the shooting was videotaped by the shooter. He was charged with murder, convicted and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Go to the first link and watch the confrontation unfold. Think about what you would have done if you were faced with a similar situation. Self defense or murder? Retired firefighter on trial for teacher’s death Family emotional after retired firefighter found guilty in teacher’s killing Clearly, this shooting shouldn’t have happened. But I predict we will have many more similar events due to the passage of the various “Castle Doctrine” laws that have been recently enacted in many states. I don’t have any problem with the Castle Doctrine per se, but I think it is one of the more difficult concepts for the average gun owner to understand. Let’s take a look at some of the issues…. Please forgive my generalities. I’m attempting to give you a law school semester’s worth of legal information in an understandable fashion and within the confines of a 1500- word article. The ideas I present will be legally valid in the USA, but the wording I use may not be exactly the same in your jurisdiction. Although the exact wording of each state’s law is slightly different, legal requirements in the use of deadly force are relatively consistent throughout the United States. In general, before being legally allowed to shoot someone in self defense, the victim must have a “reasonable belief” that he or another (innocent) person is likely to be seriously injured or killed by the attacker. So what information does a victim use to determine if he has a “reasonable belief” that he will be seriously hurt or killed? Most self defense trainers and legal scholars use a three-prong test: Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy. Ability- Can the attacker physically do enough damage to rise to the level of serious injury or death? An unarmed four-year old would not likely have the ability to kill you, therefore it would be unreasonable to shoot the little kid in self defense. Often the term “ability” in the context of a self defense situation means “Is the attacker armed with a deadly weapon?” or “Is the attacker capable of seriously injuring me with just his hands or feet?” If the answer to those questions is no, then it is unreasonable to shoot. If the answer is yes, you move on to the next criterion. Opportunity- Does the attacker have the opportunity to seriously injure or kill me? This is often focused on proximity. If a person is threatening you with a knife from 50 feet away, he has the ability to kill you; but not the opportunity. He’s out of range. Obviously, opportunity depends on the weapon being used against you and your immediate environment. If the attacker has the ability (is armed) and the opportunity (is within range to use the weapon effectively) to kill you, then we move on to the next prong of the decision tree. Jeopardy- Just because a person is armed and has an opportunity to kill you doesn’t mean that you are in any true danger. Take the example of a uniformed police officer walking past you on a sidewalk. The officer has the ability (a gun) and opportunity (is within range) to kill you, but unless you present a threat to the officer, you are in no jeopardy. He isn’t going to shoot you even though he is capable of doing so. Another way to look at jeopardy is by defining it as “intent”. Does the attacker intend to seriously hurt or kill you? If not, it isn’t reasonable to shoot. All three criteria must be met in order to legally establish that it was “objectively reasonable” to use deadly force.