Most in Springfield likely never picture themselves being involved in a confrontation (let alone being placed in a position where they had to resort to force to defend themselves. Yet such altercations do indeed happen, as evidenced by the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are roughly 2 million incidents of defensive use of handguns each year in the U.S. While not everyone owns a weapon, no one is immune from potentially finding themselves in a situation where they feel compelled to defend themselves and/or their loved ones. The question then becomes how are such situations handled legally? 

Per Section 563.031 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes, a person is permitted to use force (even deadly force) to defend themselves and others in any of the following situations: 

  • They reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent themselves or others from being killed or seriously injured, or the victims of a forcible felony 
  • They are forced to defend themselves from one who is attempting to gain unlawful entry into their home or vehicle 
  • They are forced to defend themselves from one attempting to unlawfully enter onto property or land that they own or lease, or that they have been given permission by the property owner to use 

Some may believe that the law first requires that one back down from any potentially violent encounter before resulting to forcefully defending themselves. While that may be true in certain situation, the law states that one has no duty to retreat when being threatened while in their home, vehicle or any other location in which they are share property ownership or stewardship or are otherwise legally permitted to be.