Blog

Does the defense against an Intruder Law in Colorado apply for my garage?

According to Colorado law, you are aloud to use lethal or deadly force against someone who has unlawfully entered your dwelling. This is also nicknamed the “make my day law” in Colorado. It is also known as castle doctrine. Lets read the Statue, which is 18-1-704.5

18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder

(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.

(5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “dwelling” does not include any place of habitation in a detention facility, as defined in section 18-8-211 (4).

Source: (http://www.lpdirect.net/casb/crs/18-1-704_5.html)

The question I receive a lot from students is my garage covered in this law? What about my detached garage? After my research, I can come to a conclusion as an instructor. Lets look at some definitions for a “dwelling” in Colorado.

According to statue 18-1-901. the definition of a dwelling is (g) “Dwelling” means a building which is used, intended to be used, or usually used by a person for habitation.

So what does this mean? Does this include your garage?? Most of all, what if it is attached?

Lets look at more definitions.

According to the state of Colorado’s DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, the definition is a Dwelling means any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.

Source: https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-18/article-1/part-9/section-18-1-901/

This is the State of Colorado websites definition of a dwelling.

Dwelling, multi-family means a detached principal building containing townhouses, row houses
or apartments designed for or used by three (3) or more families, each family living as an independent
housekeeping unit, the total number of families in residence not exceeding the total number of dwelling
units.
Dwelling, single-family means a detached principal building designed for or used as a dwelling
exclusively by one (1) family as an independent housekeeping unit.
Dwelling, two-family means a detached principal building designed for or used as a dwelling
exclusively by two (2) families each living as an independent housekeeping unit.
Exterior view means the extent or range of vision directed toward the development from any
location beyond the boundaries of the development.
Family means 1) an individual or two (2) or more persons related by blood, marriage or domestic
partnership/civil union or 2) an individual or two (2) or more unrelated persons, provided also that the
total occupancy does not exceed: a) one (1) person per each four hundred (400) square feet of
habitable floor area as defined by Chapter 18 of this Code, excluding any garage; or b) two (2) persons
per bedroom. For purpose of this definition, any dwelling not having a separate room designated for
sleeping shall be considered to have one (1) bedroom.

Source: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/013_CHAPTER%2016%20Zoning.pdf

According to the definition above, the state excludes your garage as a dwelling. In conclusion your right to defend yourself is based off of your “dwelling”. According to Colorado law above, they do not consider your garage as apart of your home. The lines and limits on the make my day law, is based off of building code.

 

 

They Should Have Just Shot Them In The Leg!

How many times after a shooting have you heard the news networks, your friends, your co-workers, your Aunt Mary and many others say “why didn’t they just shoot them in the leg?” Every time I personally hear this, I do a face palm. I have heard this many times. I have been asked “are you trained to shoot someone in the leg instead of shooting them in the chest or head?” Or “why wouldn’t you just shoot someone in the leg instead?” In the following, I am going to demonstrate why you don’t shoot someone in the leg and the only time when you should.

  1. I have been taught and teach other students to always shoot mass center. The Police, Military and Armed Security are taught this as well. Why? Because the center torso is the largest target on the body. This has always been the standard and will never change.
  2. Under extremely stressful situations of a shooting, a person’s heartbeat goes through the charts, he loses fine motor skills, get’s tunnel vision, auditory exclusion occurs as well as time dilation. Some of the best trained Police in the world only hit their targets about fifteen to twenty percent of the time. This is even when they aim at center mass.
  3. With all of the above considered, do you think the police or average Citizen will have time or the mindset to “shoot the leg?” Especially if they are being shot at, or a suspect is trying to shove a knife down their throat? What if the suspect is moving around or has taken cover? You always aim center mass.
  4. Shooting at the leg is just as lethal as shooting center mass or the head. The largest arteries and veins run through your leg(s). If that person is shot in that area, he will most likely bleed out and die in less then two minutes, unless immediate medical attention is given. Here is an example. (Warning, Graphic)
  5. The only time I would advise aiming for the leg(s) is if the person you are shooting is wearing body armor. I would most likely choose to shoot lower. I would probably pick this over a head shot. You would have a lot of an area to shoot at then someones head.

Overall the argument to shoot someone in the leg usually comes from a person with a lack of knowledge in both firearms and the medical field. This is real life, not the movies.

(Disclaimer:) This article is only an opinion of a firearms instructor and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or questions, please contact your local 2nd Amendment attorney.

Should I Fire A Warning Shot When In Danger?

Over the years of doing private security and my short time educating students in firearms, I often hear about people talking about “warning shots”. A lot of people believe it is the best policy to shoot a warning shot(s) to scare off a threat before using deadly force. They also believe this is a lot more humane before seriously injuring someone or taking someones life. The military will use warning shots while in the theater, but that is per their rules of engagement. That is the only time I have ever seen them used.

In the civilian world, we don’t have “rules of engagement” but rather Local, State and Federal laws we have to follow. Here are the reasons you NEVER fire warning shots.

  1. No where in any local, state or federal laws, allows you to fire warning shots. You actually might get charged with reckless endangerment or more if you do so.
  2. It is extremely dangerous to fire warning shots. Either if its in the air, close by the threat or in the ground, you have no idea where those bullets are going to land.
  3. If you feel your life or a third parties is that much in danger of serious bodily injury or death, you should be shooting at the subject in order to stop the threat.
  4. If you fire warning shots and if it ever goes to court, this action will be used against you. Either the prosecutor or defense attorney are going to argue that this action proves that either you or the third party were ever in imminent danger. If you were in that much danger, you would be shooting at the subject in order to stop the threat. They are going to argue how reckless this act was and how you put the public in danger.
  5. Firing warning shots will also prove just how under trained you are in firearms and how you lack knowledge in local, state and federal laws. This proving you shouldn’t be a gun owner.

Below I am going to link to news articles of citizens getting in trouble with the law for firing warning shots or shooting recklessly in the air.

Marrisa Alexander fired warning shot during altercation with husband.  

Austin man arrested for firing  gun into the air to scare neighbors. 

Man arrested for firing warning shots into the air to scare thieves.

How a warning shot got a man 20 years in prison.

There are many more cases or news articles that I could link to. I could almost spend all night doing this. There is this misconception in society that it is okay to fire a warning shot(s). I don’t know if this comes from watching too many shows, movies, news or listening to your “Uncle Mike” who claims to be a gun expert. Overall do NOT fire warning shots. You might face severe consequences if you choose to do so.

(Disclaimer:) This article is only an opinion of a firearms instructor and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or questions, please contact your local 2nd Amendment attorney.