Sexual assault stories have dominated the news recently, and we have received many questions about defending others against sexual assault and rape. We reached out to Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo to get the answers to your legal questions on defending a third party against rape and sexual assault.
Matt Kilgo: In today’s climate, sexual assault is an ever-present issue in our minds. On the
news, at our dinner tables, the question then becomes as law-abiding gun owners can we use deadly force to protect ourselves and our loved ones from a sexual assault?
Now, remember in Georgia, the law is called the defense of self or others. You can defend yourself or any
other person with the use of deadly force if you believe number one that it’s necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Number two you have the justification to use deadly force if you believe it’s necessary to prevent the
commission of a forcible felony, sexual assault, such as rape would be considered a forcible felony, aggravated assault with the intent to murder, rape, or to rob would be considered a forcible felony. In those scenarios, you would be justified in using deadly force to prevent the commission of a forcible felony that’s against you, that’s against any family member, that’s against any other person. Remember, you have the ability to protect yourself, your family, and any other person to the same extent that he or she could protect himself or herself.
You SHOULD be able to legally use deadly force to protect someone from rape or interrupt a rape. After all, they’re no longer called “rape victims”, they’re “rape survivors”, insinuating the act itself (whether the assailant is armed or not) carries a risk of death, justifying lethal force to stop it.