Crime & Public Safety

CITIZEN VOICES®

Retreat requirement for deadly force outside the home?

Jul 25, 2017

Under castle doctrine laws, a resident may use deadly force without first attempting retreat if the resident is attacked in his or her home.  Under so-called "stand your ground" laws, a resident may use deadly force anywhere he or she has a right to be without first attempting retreat. Read more about this issue. 

"Should people be required to retreat before exercising deadly force outside the home?"

Deadly Force Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 468 participants gave 953 responses.

A total of 96% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 4% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 468 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 953 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

No: A strong majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 95%, were against requiring people to retreat before using deadly force outside the home. 

  • “If a law abiding citizen is in a dangerous situation, their location shouldn't impact their right to self-defense.”
  • “No one should be forced to retreat when threatened. That kind of law empowers criminals.”
  • “Any responsible gun owner knows the difference between a shoot or don't shoot situation and I think as it stands the law is pretty well written.”

Yes: A minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 5%, believed that people should be required to retreat before using deadly force outside the home.   

  • “Yes.  I am a citizen not law enforcement.”
  • “To ‘retreat’ when it is safely possible can avoid a horrible, deadly mistake: depriving someone of life, liberty or property without due process… A civilized society should allow violence only as a truly last resort.”
  • “Deadly force should always be the last resort.”

Other: As noted above, 4% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included discussing when deadly force is and is not justified:  

  • “Breaking and entering doesn't threaten your life, so it's not automatically self-defense.”
  •  “Feeling intimidated is not a legitimate justification for the use of deadly force, and would not be protected by Stand Your Ground laws.”
  • “If an armed intruder is running away and you don't stop him/her and he/she kills someone else how would you feel?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Comments

Harry MacNeil
- Hampton

Sat, 05/05/2018 - 9:22am

Self-Defense

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