If Someone Threatens to Kill You, Can You Legally Respond With Force?

By Woody published on in General, Safety and Training

Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Gordon Cooper says that words alone are not enough to justify use of force or deadly force in an escalating situation. However, when coupled with a threatening action, it’s a whole different ballgame.

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Have you ever been concerned over a road rage incident or threatening language? Share your experiences in the comment section.

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Comments (22)

  • M Reyna


    The Law of self preservation is valid in all states. Let there be doubt


  • Dan


    Threaten to kill me and I will take offense. Threaten to kill me while displaying a weapon and I will take action. It’s that simple for me.


  • Peyton Quinn


    Even in a state (Colorado) like mine where open carry is legal and people in Wal-Mart often are carrying openly on their hip,there is difference between simply carrying openly and displaying (as a threat). Like many laws there is ambiguity.here. If a person was in a heated argument for example with open carry person and the open carry person said “You see what’s on my hip!”, this could be construed as a threat and even felony menacing.We must realize that the law may be exactly identical (state law) in all counties, However, the way a given county enforces that law may differ widely. Obviously if you are pointing a gun at someone is an actionable threat. and could be felony menacing given the circumstances, it might not be. Now look at it in reverse a person points a gun at you and you draw and shoot him. This is likely lawful. This because a reasonable man would feel his life in imminent danger that was unavoidable. Even with a CCW if you open your coat to pull up your shirt to expose your weapon to someone you are arguing with heatedly,( even if open carry is legal,) this is very likely going to be seen as felony menacing.You would have to prove that a reasonable person would have thought he was in imminent danger of death or serious injury and that was why you showed your gun to deter the actionability of said threat or counter it before it could be actualized. Laws are interpreted to each individual case by judges and district attorneys



  • Yosemite


    The best thing to do, is to read and heed their local Policy on Use of Deadly/Lethal Force. This may vary by state or local community. In a lot of Jurisdictions, BEFORE one can use such force One Must have at least TWO out of THREE things….Motive, Capability, and Opportunity…..Communicating a threat( i.e. saying “I am going to Kill You!”) is not enough UNLESS they have the means to carry out the threat,. IN SOME states…..One must RUN or distance themselves AWAY FROM THE THREAT….AGAIN ONE MUST KNOW THEIR LOCAL USE OF FORCE LAWS AND ABIDE BY THEM…..ALL WAYS USE THE MININMAL FORCE REQUIRED TO STOP THE THREAT!!! KNOWING the USE OF FORCE/ Deadly / Lethal Force in your state, area, can and WILL make the difference between you being in a Justified shooting OR you being Prosecuted for Murder. You have to decide that by knowing what the law/Rules are in your area and abide by them as best you can and being able to survive such situations


  • left coast chuck


    Did anyone happen to notice the disclaimer at the end of the video? That says it all. The attorney in the video was talking about Texas law but his talk is only in general and doesn’t apply to every situation in other words, it is only a general talk. Your own individual situation may not fall within his the subject matter of his talk. In addition, his talk only applies to Texas and Texas law as it is written today. Next year it may be different. If you are in Arkansas and tell the judge, “Well, in Texas the law is . . .” he really doesn’t care because you are in Arkansas and Texas law has absolutely zero application in Arkansas or any other state in the union. In my experience, too many people think they know what the law in their particular state is but they have never read the applicable statutes. Before you start to blather on about what the law is in your particular state, I would recommend that you actually read the applicable statute. You might be quite surprised.


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