I wrote an informantional blog post about legal use of deadly force in Minnesota. I think it is a good reminder for those of us who carry, let me know what you think.
Before talking about the law, we must first talk about mindset. Knowing all the laws governing the use of force do you no good if you are not willing to use force. If you are going to use a firearm for self defense, you have to be willing to take another person’s life and live with the repercussions; this is the hardest thing for most people to come to terms with. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are going to fire a “warning shot” or "shoot him in the knee"; that will get you killed quicker than not having a gun at all. If you use a firearm in self defense, you shoot to stop the threat. In many cases this will cause death. Make the decision right now, are you willing to take a life to save your own?
In Minnesota you must meet four criteria to be legally justified in using Lethal Force:
1. You must reasonably be in immediate fear of great bodily harm or death to yourself or another.
2. You must be a reluctant participant.
3. You must have no reasonable means of retreat.
4. No lesser force would suffice, lethal force was a last resort
Originally Posted By Payne:
609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.
The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode.
The four criteria you have noted is what is needed to meet the "When Necessary" portion of this statute.
There is a difference between Statute and case law.
Statutes are created by the legislature. Case law is the law that is created by judges who try to interpret the statutory law and make it fit within the constitution. The four criteria I listed are largely derived from case law.
Here are the cases that set precedence for the law:
Duty to Retreat: State v. Austin, 1983, 332 N.W.2d 21
Reluctant Participant: State v. Baker, 1968, 280 Minn. 518, 160 N.W.2d 240.
Elements of Self-Defense: State v. Basting, 572 N.W.2d 281, 285-86 (Minn. 1997)
Defense of Dwelling/No Duty to Retreat: State v. Carothers (1999), State v. Glowacki (2001)
Defense of Dwelling/Elements of the claim: State v. Pendleton (1997)
If you want to read a great breakdown of the case law, Phorvick posted a great write up from John Caile