Hypothetical self defence legal scenario

Supposing persons A and B are having an argument. At some point A pulls out a gun, points it at B, and says clearly, unambiguously, that he is going to kill B. But rather than immediately following through A puts the gun away and stops threatening B (but doesn’t do or say anything else to make B think he did not mean his threats). Person B (who is not armed) takes advantage of the fact A has put his gun away to attack and kill A.

Lets say take this place in a large flat area with no cover, and A is a known to be a crack shot (so if B has decided instead to run away, and A had decided to follow through with his threats he would have no problem shooting him in the back).

The whole thing is witnessed by unimpeachable witnesses. Given the jurisdiction of your choice, will B get off by arguing self defense?

Once the gun goes away, so does the immediate danger. If there are witnesses there, hide behind them. That’s what they’re for. :wink:

Reported for possible forum change.

Is Person A on Person B’s property (castle doctrine)? Self-defence is allowed if there is a “reasonable” apprehension of death or bodily harm. Bringing a gun to someone’s property could be construed as such. There’s also the special situation where Person A has previously abused Person B, the “battered women syndrome” defense. In one case, R. v. Lavallee, the woman was acquitted for fatally shooting her husband as he was walking away from her after he had threatened to kill her that night.

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I am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me that while there may be legal statutes that can be cited, this is probably more of a matter of legal opinion than a factual question. I therefore think the thread will do better in IMHO, our home for legal advice.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

It could depend on the jurisdiction and some other circumstances, but generally it comes down to whether a reasonable person in that situation would genuinely conclude that their death is imminent and they have no other option than killing the other person.

Whether the threats were enough to justify deadly force to begin with, and whether putting the gun away lowered the threat enough to make deadly force unreasonable are judgement calls that can’t be definitively answered with the facts you’ve given.

Though I will say that B would certainly have to answer questions about why, if B was powerful enough to kill A barehanded, didn’t B just take A’s gun away and leave without killing him. Or, for that matter, why didn’t B get the witnesses involved? etc.