Have you ever heard of the 21-foot rule? At what distance does the percussion weapon pose an imminent danger? asked Dennis Tuller, now a retired Salt Lake City police officer. Three feet? Ten feet? 15 ? More?
In other words: At what distance would someone armed with a weapon, such as a baseball bat or a knife, pose a potential threat to you?
Mr. Tuller, who is also a firearms instructor, has conducted numerous trainings on the subject. He wanted to know how long it would take to remove the gun from the holster and threaten it. More in the middle than the time it takes for a threat with a battle weapon to reach you.
If you carry a gun, you need to understand it for several reasons. One is for your personal self-defense. The other is that for your legitimate defense, you will have to participate in a self-defense shoot at some point. That’s why…
The fact is that if you were unaware of the 21-foot rule before you shot in self-defense (sometimes called the Tuller rule or standoff rule), using this aspect of your defense will NOT be admissible in court. In fact, even if you knew about it, you would probably have to prove that you knew about it (I’ll explain in a minute).
Why is it important to invoke the 21-foot rule in your defense? Depending on the incident, it may be helpful to show that your life was in immediate danger. It will be part of your overall defense strategy.
Tuller discovered that most police officers can take a gun out of its holster and make it work in 1.5 seconds.
Tuller also studied the distance a person can travel from a standing start for 1.5 seconds, or about 21 feet.
21 feet has become the 21-foot rule or the Tuller distance. That is, a threat (with a striking weapon such as a knife) is their approximate maximum distance from a police officer to intervene.
Message: If the threat is armed, the distance to Tueller doesn’t apply, because the threat can shoot at you from much farther!
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than self-defense shots! And, most importantly, shooting in self-defense, which can be survived through the legal system.
However, the 21-foot rule is well cited in case law. This is an important distinction to understand and integrate into your defense (and your prior actions!).
After being shot in self-defense during a trial, you (your attorney) must prove that you were the innocent party in the confrontation. For example, that you were not the aggressor, or that the confrontation escalated.
The next aspect of your defense will be to demonstrate the existence of imminent danger. If this threat did not have a firearm (but rather a percussion weapon), it will be extremely important to be able to invoke the 21-foot rule – the distance from the gas station. And has already acted on this rule in his defense.
In other words, if you shoot and kill someone who you believe is a threat to your life, and that person has a weapon that allows them to strike from a distance of 40 feet, it would be much, much harder, if not impossible, to prove dangerousness in court. If you can’t prove inevitability, you lose.
On the other hand, if the same death threat came to YOU from 2 feet or less AND you were able to cite the 2 foot rule – the Tueller distance – as prior knowledge in your defense, then the knowledge and facts of the Tueller distance are most likely admissible to the jury. This will help them understand, and will help you a lot in your overall defense (although there is much more than that in your defense).
I’ve already mentioned that you may need to prove that you know the 21-foot distance rule – Tueller in advance. Yes, it will probably be necessary (you can’t say afterwards that you knew about it). Then how can you prove that you knew? And where do you get that information and knowledge from?
I highly recommend anyone who has ever carried a gun to read this book! I read this and it opens my eyes and helps me understand what happens after a self defense shot. You should definitely read and understand the information in the following book, written by attorney Andrew Branca, an internationally recognized expert in self-defense law (the best I’ve ever read on the subject)….
>> the law of self-defense: An essential guide for the armed citizen
Attorney Branca advises one way to prove you knew the 21-foot rule – the Tuller distance…. Print the receipt with the date and put it in the booklet. Underline the part of the book that talks about this rule and understand the rest!
So you don’t want to spend money to buy this book for your self-defense shooting strategy. You can find this information (about the 21-foot rule – Tueller distance) elsewhere, and a similar document you read about it.
Two more good reads if you’re wearing:
>> Deadly force: Understanding your right to defend yourself
>> A Guide to the Firearms Laws of the Fifty States.
I published this article a few years ago after reading the book. I just happened to come across it recently and I’m going to read it again. I have therefore clarified and reposted some of the above information for your possible interest, in case you were interested.
frequently asked questions
How far can you legally use a defense of deadly stabbing in Michigan?
In his policy written at the time, he stated that the officer’s service provides that a person armed with a dangerous weapon, such as B. a knife or a baton, poses a threat to the officer’s safety if that person is within 21 feet of the officer.
What is the 21-foot rule?
The 21-foot rule is a distance measure that refers to the time it takes an officer to recognize a threat, draw a side-view mirror, and fire two medium-impact shots at an assailant who is loading a knife or other stabbing weapon.
What is the 21-foot rule and what is the reaction distance?
The 21-foot rule is essentially an educational tool, explained Howard Hall, chief of police for Roanoke County. … Police explain that it takes longer to react than to act. This is called a reaction window. We stopped the video, and it took the man with the knife a little over a second and a half to go the distance.
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