Warren wrote:Wait. I must have missed the point of contention.
You can't kill someone in self defense unless you or someone else is in immanent danger. So if someone is grabbing for you weapon, you should try to stop him, but you can't kill him. Self defense is an active defense, you would have to prove that he would have killed you if you hadn't killed him. The claim that he wanted to kill you and was grabbing for your gun wouldn't have made much impression on me as a hypothetical juror, especially since you grabbed it first.
Revealing that you are armed may be a threat. But a threat is not immanent danger. You can't attack someone just because they threaten you.
So ah, suppose you display your weapon to someone, and in response they draw theirs, point it at you and demand you hand over yours.
To clarify a few points, I started the thing about gun grabbing because I wanted to be clear that the act in and of itself constitutes an imminent threat in cases I've heard of (which are cop cases, so there's that angle too, but still). That is to say, you don't get legal protection for getting shot when you initiated a gun grab unless you were already in a state where you would have been justified in pulling a weapon of your own if you owned one. That's all I was getting at. I don't think that applies here in particular because the shooter pulled the weapon out prior to the victim attempting the grab. It would seem from the facts we have that the victim had reason to fear for his life under a reasonable man standard.
As a matter of tactics, you never show the thing until one hair before you have to use it. There is a certain kind of interaction where things are escalating and maybe drunk stupid guy takes some swings at you or pushes you and intends to close distance. In those kinds of scenarios, you cannot let him get you to the ground if you are armed, because the gun is in play when he can put hands on it. In those times, a verbal or show while attempting to withdraw might be appropriate to head off close contact that would likely result in someone getting shot.
If you display and he counters by pulling a weapon of his own, it's messy to sort out. You have a decision to make. A sudden move on his part to his waistband or pockets would probably result in your pulling your weapon, and if you saw a weapon, it's probably a shoot. If you let him get all the way out where you are "behind the curve", you have a decision to make. Handing over your weapon is a very dicey affair. You can do that and hope for the best or you can look for an opportunity. If he shoots you while you are still holstered, his legal case is going to be tough. If you shoot him while he's pulling a weapon, your legal case is probably going to be easier.
Not a lawyer of course, but this is my impression from the self defence case studies and attorneys general TDI interviews for their work.