10 Replies to “Legal Motivator of the Day: Duty to Retreat.”

  1. Explains “Duty to Retreat” better than any words can. Also explains how stupid the law is. if you have a means to stand your ground and defend yourself, by all means, do it. If not, well…run in zig zags and hide behind things and hope the dumbass ain’t a good shot. And if you’re Atheist, start praying to God/Allah/Jehova/etc…

  2. I have not read the complete legislative history surrounding Florida’s so-called “stand your ground law.” However, I suspect that the common law duty to retreat “to the wall” developed back in England when assaults were only with fists or sword-like weapons. It may or may not have been a realistic policy under those circumstances. As you point out, once bad guys started carrying firearms, merely trying to calculate the possibility of retreat is lost time that could be fatal. That was probably one of the good policy reasons for abandoning the retreat rule. (Aside from the obvious removal of the unfair second-guessing or “hindsight is 20/20” burdens placed on defendants).

    1. Miguel-by legislative history I am referring to various documents, usually committee notes and floor speeches, and drafts and amendments, whereby the legislature gives some insight into the reasoning behind the statutes it is passing. Sometimes there is none, but sometimes there are documents or recordings that reveal some of the process. Obviously its impossible to know the reason in the mind of every representative that voted for the bill, but the legislative documents are helpful. Much of this is available on the Florida House and Senate websites, where there are usually pdf’s of committee notes. Most committee hearings and floor debates are recorded, and those recordings are available for a nominal fee.

      Courts can and do look at those things when trying to figure out what a statute is intended to do.

      The problem here in the Zimmerman case is that the media is failing to educate the public on what the statutes actually say. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot just shoot when you are uncomfortable, or even scared. The standard is much much higher. Furthermore, at least one respected authority believes the standard is objective:


      I’m sure you have Gutmacher’s book, but if you don’t, get it now!

      1. I misunderstood, sorry. There should be somewhere in the Legislature where they kept a record of the discussion but I cannot imagine where to find it.

        And yes. Mr. Gutmacher has a special place place in my library

        1. Here you go:

          There are some links to staff analyses. The House may have a separate page. Again, I think one has to make some calls to get recordings of committee meetings and floor debates. Some of the proposed amendments are interesting:


  3. Love that photo. BTW gun g33ks take notice that the slide has started to recoil, but the short-recoil action is still locked with the slide and the action is still in battery.

    So the bullet leaves the bore long before the cartridge is extracted.

    1. I show pics and videos like this to my students so they realize that is their flinching and not the recoil what makes them miss. And it works pretty good!

  4. Pingback: BornLib's Blog

Comments are closed.