What You Must Know About Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Laws


There’s much more to armed self-defense than carrying a gun. It’s not as fun as firing rounds at the range, but being familiar with the laws surrounding concealed carry could pay off in a serious way somewhere down the line.

This is just meant to be a quick overview to introduce you to some basic concepts. If you carry concealed, it’s well worth your time to seek out insight from an attorney that’s familiar with the laws of your particular state and community.

Castle Doctrine
This refers to the old principle that a person’s home was his or her castle. Basically, if a person is attacked at home there is no requirement to retreat.

  • It’s used as a defense in court to justify the use of deadly force when attacked at home or other owned property.
  • Castle Doctrine is used when the attacker had no right to be in the home, and entered without permission of the owner.
  • In some states, this can also refer to a person’s vehicle or workplace.
  • May also be know as “Defense of Habitation”

Duty to Retreat
In some states, citizens have what’s called a “Duty to Retreat”. This means that when attacked, a person must try to retreat and escape the attack before defending themselves. This is of course if a safe retreat is even possible.

  • If a person feels threatened, they must leave the situation if at all possible and use deadly force only as a last resort.

Stand Your Ground
Many states have altered the requirement to retreat, allowing citizens to defend themselves with deadly force if they had the right to be there and were acting within the law.

  • If the attacker stops the assault and attempts to flee, the defense will not cover shots fired at a retreating person.
  • When the attacker also has the right to be in the location of the incident, it must be determined which person was the aggressor.
  • This defense can be used regardless of where the attack took place, whether at home, in public, or at work etc…

Anyone who owns property or carries a gun for self-defense should be familiar with these laws in respect to their state. What one state considers to be self-defense, another could consider to be murder or assault.

The wording of these self-defense laws changes frequently and states review laws regularly. In order to have the most current information, review the laws for your state of residence and speak with a licensed, experienced attorney.