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Can you defend your home "Like a Cop?"

As a Police Officer two of the most common misconceptions I hear are a Police Officer has a special ability or exemption under CA law to engage in an encounter while at home and off duty to defend his or her self without retreating. I am not sure where this notion came from but every armed citizen in California should know and understand California Penal Code section 198.5 titled the “Home Protection Bill Of Rights”

Penal Code Section 198.5 states; “Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred. As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.” End.

The California Penal Code 198.5 states “Any Person” and simply does not differentiate between a citizen or Police Officer. You are able to protect yourself/family in your home and there is no duty to retreat written into Penal Code Section 198.5. As always using a firearm is a tool of last resort and you should escape any potential situation if you are able to do so.

It is important to research and understand the laws and regulations regarding firearm ownership in your area if you elect to use a firearm as a tool of self-defense.

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Disclaimer: The above is subject to change as a result of future court decisions and/or new legislation and is intended only as general information. For advice concerning a specific situation you should contact a qualified California attorney.

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