The basics of stand your ground laws

Pennsylvania residents who own firearms may wonder what their rights are when it comes to self-defense. Many states have stand your ground laws and Pennsylvania is one of the places where people can legally defend themselves.

Most of the time, a stand your ground law means people can try to defend themselves without retreating. FindLaw says that people may still need to follow some restrictions as they protect themselves. Someone who uses self-defense usually cannot be trespassing but instead needs to be a legal patron of a location. Additionally, people typically cannot use an amount of force that is disproportional to the perceived threat. Sometimes people may also use force to protect themselves only if they did not begin a violent incident.

Stand your ground laws can have many differences. Some states may require people to leave a situation when they are threatened and allow the use of force only as a last resort. Other laws might allow force only if a person is at his or her office or home.

According to FindLaw, Pennsylvania has a stand your ground law. This law places limits on when people can use force to protect themselves. Someone generally cannot use force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer. However, people can use force if they do not see any other way to keep themselves safe from the violent actions of another person. There are also restrictions for using deadly force. People typically cannot use deadly force if their behavior caused someone to use force against them. Most of the time, people can use this kind of force only if that is the only way to protect themselves from a serious injury or death.