Stand Your Ground / Self-Defense Laws in Mississippi

The great state of Mississippi does not mess around when it comes to self-defense law, and the state statutes feature a strongly-worded contender for the most decisive “stand your ground” law yet put to the law books.

So long as you are acting in defense of your life or someone else’s when any person is attempting to unlawfully inflict great bodily harm or death or commit any felony against you, you are presumed to be acting justifiably.

flag of Mississippi

This is not carte blanche to go shooting people willy-nilly, but as long as you act reasonably in defense of your life or another’s, you will probably not have much to worry about in Mississippi when it comes to frivolous prosecution.

While not quite as stalwart as some other states, Mississippi self defense law also states that one is presumed to have been in fear of their life when acting in accordance with the provisions of the statute in civil cases that might arise in the aftermath.

Generally, Mississippi is a solid state for citizens’ rights in defense. Let’s get into it below.

What You Need to Know

  • Mississippi allows use of force (justifiable homicide) when in defense of your life or someone else’s so long as there is a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm being inflicted.
  • The law also allows lethal force in defense of any felony being perpetrated against you or someone else.
  • So long as you are in your home, vehicle, business or any other place, you have a right to be you have no duty to retreat if attacked.
  • Mississippi does allow the use of lethal force in apprehension of someone who has just committed a felony, but you should never attempt to do so unless you are personally facing a continuing threat.

General Provisions

Happily, Mississippi’s state statutes governing the use of force and lethal force in self-defense leave very little room for doubt or misinterpretation.

If at any time you or anyone else are threatened with great bodily harm or possibility of death, or threatened with the perpetration of any forcible felony you may use lethal force at the instant to defend yourself.

This provision applies in your dwelling, business, vehicle or any other place you have a legal and lawful right to be. So long as you are not engaged in the commission of any other crime it will be presumed that you acted in fear of your life when you defend yourself from said threats.

Restrictions

You can read below in the attached statutes (taken directly from the text of Mississippi law) where Mississippi allows the use of lethal force, or more accurately declares homicide justifiable, should it occur in the apprehension of an individual who just committed an unlawful felony.

This should not in any way change your procedures when it comes to defending yourself or your loved ones from a lethal threat!

If someone did pose a threat but is currently fleeing the encounter let them go; do not pursue them, do not give chase and definitely do not shoot them while they are running away if they no longer present a threat. You should never, ever attempt to apprehend anyone under any conditions.

The risk of such an event getting out of control or being turned against you in a court of law is far more likely than if you were directly and immediately threatened with death or great bodily harm.

Be smart, keep your wits about you and consider any encounter where you emerge unscathed and the bad guys are running for their lives victory enough.

Assessment

Mississippi is a state with a frankly excellent stand your ground provision in their statutes governing self-defense and use of force.

So long as you’re not the aggressor or otherwise engaged in any criminal activity, you may use lethal force in defense of your life or someone else’s pretty much anywhere you happen to be.

Relevant Mississippi Use of Force Statutes

Mississippi Code Title 97. Crimes § 97-3-15. Justifiable homicide

(1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement or omission of another shall be justifiable in the following cases:

(a) When committed by public officers, or those acting by their aid and assistance, in obedience to any judgment of a competent court;

(b) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process, or to the discharge of any other legal duty;

(c) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in retaking any felon who has been rescued or has escaped;

(d) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in arresting any felon fleeing from justice;

(e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling, in any occupied vehicle, in any place of business, in any place of employment or in the immediate premises thereof in which such person shall be;

erson in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kil

(g) When necessarily committed in attempting by lawful ways and means to apprehend any person for any felony committed;

(h) When necessarily committed in lawfully suppressing any riot or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace;  and

(i) When necessarily committed in the performance of duty as a member of a church or place of worship security program as described in Section 45-9-171 .

(…)

(b) As used in subsection (1)(c) and (d) of this section the term “felon” shall include an offender who has been convicted of a felony and shall also include an offender who is in custody, or whose custody is being sought, on a charge or for an offense which is punishable, upon conviction, by death or confinement in the Penitentiary.

(c) As used in subsections (1)(e) and (3) of this section, “dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind that has a roof over it, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, including a tent, that is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, including any attached porch.

(3) A person who uses defensive force shall be presumed to have reasonably feared imminent death or great bodily harm, or the commission of a felony upon him or another or upon his dwelling, or against a vehicle which he was occupying, or against his business or place of employment or the immediate premises of such business or place of employment, if the person against whom the defensive force was used, was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, occupied vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or if that person had unlawfully removed or was attempting to unlawfully remove another against the other person’s will from that dwelling, occupied vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof and the person who used defensive force knew or had reason to believe that the forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.  This presumption shall not apply if the person against whom defensive force was used has a right to be in or is a lawful resident or owner of the dwelling, vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or is the lawful resident or owner of the dwelling, vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or if the person who uses defensive force is engaged in unlawful activity or if the person is a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his official duties.

(4) A person who is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in unlawful activity shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force under subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section if the person is in a place where the person has a right to be, and no finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the person’s failure to retreat as evidence that the person’s use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable.

(5)(a) The presumptions contained in subsection (3) of this section shall apply in civil cases in which self-defense or defense of another is claimed as a defense.

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