Is the U.K. coming around?

Ken Macdonald, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced “licence to kill“ guidelines for householders.  Basically they are saying you can use deadly force to defend yourself and your family.  The guidelines appear to be pretty close to what you would expect in most of the U.S.  Here are some examples from the article: 


Colonel Mustard awakes to find a burglar standing by his bedside — he reaches for a length of lead piping, strikes out and knocks him unconscious or kills him.

Miss Scarlett hears noises in the night. She creeps downstairs and sees a burglar in her dining room. He has not seen her. She seizes a candlestick, hides behind the door and strikes him unconscious.

The Rev Green is woken by the noise of a burglar making his escape. He races after him and and with the butt of his revolver knocks him unconscious to the ground.

Mrs White disturbs a burglar in the library. She seizes a knife in the kitchen and stabs him. He falls to the ground and is rapidly becoming unconscious. Just to teach him a lesson she stabs him again.

Professor Plum hears on the grapevine that a man he suspects of thefts from his house is planning forced entry through the kitchen. He lies in wait to trap the burglar and then shoots him or knocks him unconscious.

Mrs Peacock disturbs burglars in the billiard room. They flee empty-handed. She chases after them with a shotgun and shoots one of them dead.


What is ‘reasonable force’?

You are not expected to make fine judgments over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of your acting lawfully and in self-defence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon. The more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.

What if the intruder dies?

If you have acted in reasonable self-defence and the intruder dies,you will still have acted lawfully.

When would my actions not be lawful?

If having knocked someone unconscious you decided to hurt them further or kill them to punish them; or you knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or kill.

What if I chase them as they run off?

You are no longer acting in self-defence and the same degree of force may not be reasonable. You are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen’s arrest.

Do I have to wait to be attacked?

No, not if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others.

I’ll believe it’s a trend rather than just crumbs thrown to the subjects when they can carry handguns in public for self defense.