Self-Defense Laws

, Written by Travis Koch, Posted: Tue, March 27 2012 at 6:25 PM, Updated: Tue, March 27 2012 at 10:25 PM

In the U.S, 24 states have self-defense laws just like Florida. Serious questions have been raised following the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin.

" Stand your Ground," "Shoot First," Make My Day"- While the Trayvon Martin case is investigated, the law that allowed his shooter to escape arrested, is under fire.

In Florida, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was pursued and shot by a neighborhood watch captain who claimed he felt threatened by the unarmed teenager. The kid died and the shooter was not arrested because police say he was protected by Florida's self-defense law.

In most states you have the right to protect yourself inside you're home from an attacker. Thanks to the so called, Castle Doctrine which, for a long time has allowed people to use reasonable force and even deadly force while protecting their home property or another person all the while protecting the person fighting back from prosecution. In the state of Oregon, this rule is not bound to only a persons home or car but anywhere you are. Only if you feel threatened. There are 24 states in the U.S. that allow people to "Stand Thier Ground" but only in a few of those states is a person allowed to "Stand Thier Ground" without having to tried to escape first. Oregon is one three states (along with Washington State and Illinois) with a similar self-defense laws but in these three states, a person doesn't have to try to escape before trying to protect themselves. This is because they're not required to retreat first like the other 21 states. (see, Duty To Retreat)

However, these types of law do require a person to be in imminent danger. If that's not a clear enough explanation, your not alone in the confusion, there are several different scenarios that can either protect a person from prosecution or have them found guilty. Jackson County Deputy District Attorney says, you can't just chase someone down who has done you wrong, hurt them or worse take a persons life-you must truly be in fear of your safety.

About the Author

Travis Koch

News at Sunrise Co-Anchor Travis Koch started his career as a filmmaker. He wrote and directed documentaries about traveling and extreme sports.

Among his many life experiences, he was a dog musher in Alaska and a baker in Minnesota. Travis began his career at NBC5 News as a weekend photographer and has continued to follow his dreams in television broadcasting and multimedia.

Catch Travis co-anchoring with Jennifer Elliott weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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