Action News 5 Investigates: Locked, Loaded and Legal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Action News 5 Investigates: Locked, Loaded and Legal

70-year-old Bobbie Gray of Olive Branch never saw it coming.

"He just walked up behind me as I was taking the groceries out and stuck the gun at me and demanded the keys," she said.

Gray’s son Keith saw what happened, grabbed his gun, and chased the suspect.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies said the suspect, David Bates, bailed from the car once across the Tennessee state line.  Keith Gray shot Bates once in the leg after deputies say he pulled out a shotgun and refused to stay put.

"Pass the word on," said Marshall Gray, Keith’s father and Bobbie’s husband. "You never know the next person you're going to carjack may have a gun bigger than yours in their car."
  
It's a powerful message, with a powerful law that backs it up in many parts of the Mid-South!

New provisions to the Tennessee law, commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine, allow anyone in Tennessee -- with or without a carry permit -- to shoot an intruder who unlawfully comes into your home or any home or building you are visiting.
  
If you have a carry permit, you can even shoot someone if they try to get in your CAR!

Chip Holland teaches a hand gun self defense class at Range USA.

"You look through these classes that we have coming through, and there’s every age, sex, race,” he said.  “You don't know who’s got a gun here in Memphis.”

"If I think somebody is going to hurt me or shot me or shoot a friend of mine, I wouldn't hesitate," said Flinn Maxwell, a student in Holland’s class.

Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri each have versions of the Castle Doctrine, while attempts to pass the law in Arkansas have failed.  The laws remove the requirement that victims must run if attacked in their home or someone else's residence.
 
It also means the intruder you shoot can't sue you in civil court.

However, for any of it to be legal, you must fear for your life before you pull the trigger.

People in Holland’s class know what they would do if faced with a life or death situation.  Holland warns would-be criminals, now that Tennesseans have even more rights to use deadly force...watch out!

"I've had little old ladies come through there," he said. "They will shoot you faster than I will and they're good.  They mean it."

Tennessee's Castle Doctrine puts limits on law-abiding citizens trying to defend themselves is when the perceived threat is a law-enforcement officer, or someone carrying a child.

Links to information about the castle doctrine in individual states are posted below:


Click here to send an email to Janice Broach.

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