LOSD QOTW: Understanding the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground

Law of Self Defense: Question of the Week

This week’s winner in the “Law of Self Defense Question of the Week” is @bhrondeau, who asks: “Can you explain the difference between the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground?”

Much Confusion Around Both Stand-Your-Ground and Castle Doctrine

This is a great question because there is so much confusion around both these terms. Much of the confusion stems from the fact that although both of these terms have a narrow, technically-correct meaning they have also been commonly used to refer to other aspects of self-defense law beyond these core meanings. (In addition, of course, Stand-Your-Ground has been deliberately mischaracterized throughout the media by political activists for their own purposes.)

The Historical Context of Stand-Your-Ground and the Castle Doctrine

First, let’s talk about the core definitions of the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground in terms of how they are similar. To provide necessary context, we’ll begin with some history.

America was, of course, a British colony prior to our Revolution, and operated under principles of British law, much of which was based on common law (that is, law developed by practice in courts rather then formed by statutes). Given the length of British history, much of that common law finds its foundations hundreds of years in the past. And it is in that distant past that we encounter the generalized duty to retreat.

For the complete lengthy response to @bhrondeau‘s Question of the Week, check out the full-length post over at Ammoland.com:

Much Confusion Around Both Stand-Your-Ground & Castle Doctrine

For having had his question selected at this week’s Question of the Week, @bhrondeau elected to receive a custom autographed copy of “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition.” It’s on its way, @bhrondeau!

I you’d like to submit your own Question of the Week, and become eligible to win a free book or a snazzy LOSD baseball cap, simply submit your question at Ask Andrew at the Law of Self Defense web site.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (where a custom autograph can be specified, great for gift purchases!), Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country. Seminars for 2014 are currently being scheduled, if you’d like to see one held in your area fill out the comment box on the LOSD Seminar review page, where you can also see reviews of recently completed seminars in New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Andrew is also a contributing author on self defense law topics to Combat Handguns, Ammoland.com, Legal Insurrection, and others.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @LawSelfDefense, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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