The Legality of Using Non-Lethal Weapons By:

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Washington Gun Law TV, hosted by President William Kirk, delved into the legalities of using non-lethal means of self-defense, such as pepper spray. Kirk opened the episode by addressing a viewer’s question about non-lethal self-defense.

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Kirk began by thanking loyal viewer Chris P. for his insightful question, asking, “Is it assault to spray an attacker and run away?”

Kirk set up a hypothetical scenario to explore the issue further: “You are lawfully in a location, and you now have a would-be attacker advancing upon you who is clearly showing the willingness to use unlawful force against you.”

He emphasized that in this scenario, there is no imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, making the use of lethal force not legally justified.

Kirk outlined two primary options for self-defense: “You can Hunker in, you can stand your ground, and you can try to fight him straight up, see how that works.”

Alternatively, one could use non-lethal force like pepper spray.

He explained, “When you go hands-on with an attacker, that means their hands are on you as well, and a lot of things can happen, and many of them are not good.”

Kirk confirmed that using pepper spray is legally permissible under the given scenario.

He stated, “The use of force there is not lethal, and so as long as it was necessary, as long as it’s deemed to be reasonable, and as long as it’s deemed to be proportional, you’re in no trouble with the law.”

Kirk added that if the attacker continues to advance despite the use of pepper spray, the level of perceived threat might escalate, potentially justifying more forceful self-defense measures.

However, he noted, “That would be on a case-by-case basis.”

Kirk also shared advice from tactical experts, saying, “Anytime conflict can be resolved without you having to go hands-on with the perpetrator is a much better scenario.”

He mentioned that many experts recommend carrying both lethal and non-lethal weapons to provide a flexible response to various threats.

In conclusion, Kirk reassured viewers that using non-lethal force like pepper spray or mace is always evaluated as non-lethal defense.

Kirk signed off by reminding viewers, “Let’s everybody remember that part of being the lawful and responsible gun owner like we talk about all the time here is to know what the law is in every situation, how it applies to you in any instance that you may find yourself.”

Do you carry non-lethal tools in your EDC load-out?

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