Our gun trust attorneys serve Florida and North Carolina. When it comes to self-defense laws, these states differ in how they recognize deadly force.

Florida has a Stand Your Ground Law. This allows any individual to remain in a place where they have a legal right to be and to use “force with force” as necessary should they be attacked. If a gun is drawn on a victim, they have a right to fight back with a gun or similar weapon. Access to a weapon of equal force may not always be possible, and the victim is legally permitted to take whatever force necessary to prevent bodily harm. However, deadly force is not the only solution. Before Stand Your Ground was passed into law, if a retreat could prevent harm and was possible, the victim was obligated to do so. Using violence to defend oneself could only be made if the victim had no other options. Stand Your Ground changed that.

Similarly, North Carolina revised the Castle Doctrine in 2011. The Castle Doctrine provides that an individual is not obligated to retreat when they are in their own home. The Castle Doctrine originally recognized that self-defense, by any force, is only legal for the victim if the intruder is inside their home. (The intruder is considered in the home if they are on a porch or “on the property immediately surrounding their home.”) If an intruder enters another person’s home in North Carolina, the homeowner or other legal occupants have the legal right to protect themselves and remove the attacker from the premises, regardless if the attacker has made an effort to inflict bodily harm. The revision in 2011 now recognizes automobiles and workplaces in addition to households.

Self-Defense Laws in North Carolina and Florida
State Self-Defense Laws
Florida Applies whenever an individual is in a place where they have a legal right to be. The Stand Your Ground law does not require retreat before using deadly force.
North Carolina The Castle Doctrine applies whenever an individual is the legal occupant of their vehicle, home, or place of work. The victim is not required to retreat before using deadly force if they have a reasonable sense of fear and are in one of the legally recognized places.

Self-defense laws rely on common law in most jurisdictions, but some states implement statutes as noted above. Every case of gun use as self-defense in Florida and North Carolina has unique circumstances that may affect verdicts. If you own guns for self-defense purposes, how do you share firearms with other members of your household? Gun trusts provide a “legal gun safe” to help ensure you legally share your firearms. Ask our Florida and North Carolina gun trust attorneys for more information.