top of page
Mask group.png

THE LAW GOVERNING THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE IN PENNSYLVANIA

THE LAW GOVERNING THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE IN PENNSYLVANIA
1 DAY COURSE

If you think it’s as simple as “I was in fear for my life,” then you do not know what’s involved. Legal justification for the use of deadly force is a very complicated, technical and often confusing subject. Being in fear for one’s life or the life of another is an important aspect of the defense of justification (“self-defense”), but it is far from the whole story.  Being wrong can ruin your life and the lives of your family members.

There are many considerations, starting with how one found himself in a position where he felt compelled to use deadly force in the first place.  Circumstances might change between the time a problem first arose and the time it became apparent deadly force was warranted, and one might disqualify himself from asserting the defense even before things get serious.  One is not likely to be aware of even half of the circumstances surrounding a sudden emergency, and must be ready to make sound decisions based upon incomplete information. There are also many practical considerations regarding how one might best equip himself, train, and comport himself after a lethal encounter. There are also legal issues pertaining to the use of deadly force on animals.

 

The Pennsylvania Firearms Development Corporation (PFDC) is presenting a six-hour course of instruction, written by a practicing attorney, a firearms instructor and a martial artist. The course is designed for lay people who possess weapons (not limited to firearms), or study a martial art, in contemplation of possibly having to use deadly force to defend against a potentially lethal threat. The course will cover how to comply with the law before, during and after an encounter involving the application of deadly force (whether a death results or not). The focus will be upon statutes, how they are likely to be interpreted, actual case law, and practical advice on how to conduct oneself to stay out of trouble. 

Specific topics addressed will include: 

  • Distinguishing “reasonable force” and “deadly force”

  • The history of the legal defense of justification, and how it relates to “self-defense.”

  • Statutory codification of deadly force principles in Pennsylvania.

  • The “Castle Doctrine,” and how the 2011 changes in the law are working out.

  • Consequences of being wrong (civil and criminal exposure).

  • Consequences of being right (proving your case and avoid “talking your way into jail”).

  • Circumstances affecting the lawfulness of a use of deadly force:

    • Protection of self Protection of others

    • Protection of property

    • Provocation, escalation and your responsibility for a confrontation

    • Use of force to make or resist an arrest

    • Use of force to maintain order by those charged with care of others

    • The duty to retreat

    • Confinement as “deadly force”

    • Duty to render aid following the use of deadly force

  • Your obligations in dealing with the police following an incident

  • “Prohibited” weapons and your liability for possessing them

  • Using deadly force against animals (excluding hunting and the Game Code)

  • Cost
    Cost: $475 (which includes a $75 range fee). Payment in full is required upon enrollment, and becomes non-refundable 30 days before the course date. If the course is cancelled for any reason, a full refund will be provided to you.
  • Course Format
    Course format: Lectures (approximately 5 hrs.), and live-fire exercises (approximately 18 hrs). There will be objective skills tests throughout the course.
  • Instructor
    Instructors: The Rangemaster is Peter Georgiades. Peter has 25+ years’ experience teaching firearms and defensive tactics. He has been certified to instruct by the NRA (rifle, pistol, shotgun, and personal protection), the State of Arizona (issued CCW Instructor Cert. No. 8769268), and by OSG as a contact distance defense instructor. Peter’s training as an instructor (as distinct from firearms training) includes the Gunsite Law Enforcement Carbine Instructor Cert. Course, Marksman's Enterprise 3-day instructor courses (carbine and pistol), and the LLC "Contact Weapons Defense Instructor" program. His most important training, however, has been working hundreds of hours directly under experienced, professional instructors. Other experienced range officers will assist. The instructors and staff have collectively accrued several thousand hours of formal training from experienced, professional firearms instructors.
  • Class Size
    Class size: In order to maintain a close instructor-to-student ratio, enrollment in this course is limited to 12 students.
  • Prerequisites
    Prerequisites: None. It is, however, expected students will have a basic familiarity with rifles. All participants must be 18 years of age. Proof of no criminal history is required. Holding a current Pennsylvania License to Carry Concealed or in a Motor Vehicle, or a license to practice a regulated profession which requires one not have any criminal history (such as a license to practice law or medicine, or a nursing license) will suffice.If those are not available, you can get a certificate of no criminal history from your local police department or Sheriff (the cost is under $20).The lead instructor is the final arbiter of whether the credentialing prerequisite has been satisfied.
  • Physical Requirements
    Physical Requirements: Because this course is designed to assist YOU to plan and make decisions using the resources YOU actually have; we will work with you in whatever condition you are in. The elderly or one with a physical disability may not be able to assume one or more of the shooting positions we cover, or perform one or more of the exercises. That’s okay. This course is not designed for training ninjas. Just notify the Rangemaster of any particular disabilities you may have. If you cannot do it one way, we will find another way. We expect you to refrain from attempting any exercise that is beyond your physical capability.
  • Equipment Requirements
    The only equipment specifically required for this course is an inert training guh ("red gun" or "blue gun"), a holster for your training gun of choice, and a study belt to support the holster. No live weapons (firearms or otherwise) are permitted in the training area. There is other equipment that is not required, but which we believe will enhance your experience of the course. We therefore recommend you bring the following: Soft drinks or water to drink while in the classroom. (No alcohol of any kind is to be consumed within eight hours of the start of any course session or at any time during the course.) Camera. Many people find it helpful to photograph positions or techniques, or take pictures for fun. Something with which to take notes.
  • Credentials
    Credentials: A current Pennsylvania License to Carry Concealed or in a Motor Vehicle is sufficient. A a license to practice a regulated profession which requires one not have any criminal history (such as a license to practice law or medicine, or a nursing license) will also suffice. If those are not available, you can get a certificate of no criminal history from your local police department or your County Sheriff (the cost is under $20). The Rangemaster is the final arbiter of whether the credentialing prerequisite has been satisfied.
  • Certificate
    Certificate: A certificate of completion is awarded to all who complete the course successfully. This course does satisfy the continuing education requirement for NRA law enforcement instructor certification.
  • Course Location:
    The June 28 - 30, 2024 session of this course will be held at the Greater Pittsburgh Gun CLub, 920 King Road, Bulger, PA 16109.

This course is sponsored as a public service by the Firearms Instruction Research & Education (FIRE) Institute, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation.

Group 1000007147.png

 “HAVING A GUN AND THINKING YOU ARE ARMED IS LIKE BUYING A PIANO AND THINKING YOU ARE A MUSICIAN”

Col. Jeff Cooper  (U.S.M.C. Ret.) 

bottom of page