Is your shooting legal? That is really two different questions. Is it legal per the written law? Is it legal per case-law?
There is absolutely no excuse for you not to understand and know the written law of your state. You must research the laws of your state that you might defend yourself as a victim. This research is like a checklist of how the law will define you as a victim of these crimes. Those same laws have justifications and exceptions applicable to self-defense.
If you believe that you will somehow know when to shoot someone in a self-defense situation you are sadly mistaken. At best not understanding the written law will slow down your decision-making process. At worst it can get you thrown in prison or killed. Buy a book, go to the library or look them up online but read and understand the law.
Once you understand the written law you need to put it into perspective of your “What if” scenarios. As you do this it becomes clear that often you might seem to have justification to use force in the written law but you will not have that justification in how the courts apply the law.
An example is that intruder in my home. It’s presumed under Arizona law that lethal force is necessary if an intruder in my home. However it is case-law that says you can’t shoot just because you were afraid. You need to identify the person in your home as an intruder. If that intruder is your family member or a friend of a family member you will probably face criminal charges.
Because of all the little nuances in the law you must read them and apply them. There are a lot of books on how to apply the law to self-defense at the library, online or at your local gun store.
Next week I will talk about, “When all our life strategies have not kept us safe.” This will blend the idea of having good habits and procedures that we can use to make sure we are as safe as possible and to keep us out of legal trouble when we are no longer safe.