Can I Shoot a Smash-and-Grab Robber?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ever found yourself in the middle of a smash-and-grab robbery? It’s an alarming situation, and knowing your rights is crucial.

William Kirk, President of Washington Gun Law, recently shed light on this very scenario.

“Today, we’re talking about smash-and-grab robberies,” Kirk began. He set up a scenario where you are innocently shopping in a fine jewelry store when suddenly, robbers with crowbars burst in and start smashing display cases, grabbing valuables.

It’s chaotic, but crucially, the robbers don’t seem to be threatening patrons or employees directly.

So, can you use lethal force?

Kirk explains the legal considerations: “For any Force no matter what whether it involves a fist or a firearm…has to be 1. Necessary 2. It has to be reasonable both objectively and subjectively speaking, and 3. It has to be proportional.”

SEE ALSO: AG Garland Says Quiet Part Out Loud!

In most states, lethal force is permissible under specific circumstances, such as imminent threat of serious injury or death.

However, he stressed that “in almost all jurisdictions in the United States lethal force is not allowable to defend only property.”

Kirk then examined whether the scenario justified lethal force, saying, “While we may think that this is a property crime…what we are witnessing right here is a violent felony. That’s right, it is the felony of robbery.”

More from Kirk on the matter:

That’s right, it is the felony of robbery. Okay, we call them smash-and-grab robberies. We don’t call them smash-and-grab thefts or anything like that because this is a robbery. What is a robbery? Every state has its own way of defining it, but in general, a robbery is going to be defined as the action of taking property unlawfully from a person or place by force or threat of force. Okay, so if we are taking the property of another by using force or threatening to use force, that is a robbery. And here’s the deal: that is a felony in every state. And here’s the deal: it’s a violent felony. Okay, which means the victims of this robbery are actually having a violent felony committed upon them. Now if they just stay put and really don’t get involved, the likelihood of them being injured is under this hypothetical not particularly great. And I want you to remember that when we circle back on that. But this is much more than than a property crime. This is a serious. This is no different than if you walked up and you saw that some old lady had two hoodlums, one holding a crowbar over her head while the other one was ripping the purse off of her. Okay, they haven’t actually physically harmed her yet, thank God, they have not hit her with the crowbar, but is she being robbed? She most definitely is.

Kirk urges caution and broader reflection on doing the “right” thing, not just what’s legally permissible.

“While you may have the right to take the shot, why on God’s green earth would you get yourself involved in that way?” he asks, highlighting the potential legal and personal risks of intervening in a situation where your life isn’t directly at risk.

SEE ALSO: Targeted Home Invasion in Newport Beach Turns Deadly

The discussion doesn’t just stop at individual rights. Kirk emphasizes the importance of understanding local laws, as they can vary significantly by state.

“Part of being the lawful and responsible gun owner like we talk about all the time here is to know what the law is in every situation how it applies to you in any instance that you may find yourself,” he says.

Kirk’s final thoughts circle back to the principles of responsible gun ownership. It’s not just about having the right but doing what’s right, especially when others’ lives and your own are at stake.

How would you respond in this hypothetical smash-and-grab situation?

*** Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE! ***


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Jim May 13, 2024, 12:18 pm

    I would try to get people who are in harm’s way to move out of the way. Be quiet, and stay as far from the felons as possible. If it would not bring attention to myself, I would have my gun ready for use, if needed. I would look for anything that might help ID the felons, but would stay away, and not get personally involved, unless someone’s life was clearly threatened.

  • Kim May 12, 2024, 12:26 pm

    If you can stop a robbery by shooting him or her, more crooks would think twice about doing bad bad things.

  • Sick and tired - of being sick and tired... May 6, 2024, 7:34 am

    Nope, because I know afterwards I will be on my own to deal with the aftermath. The liberal BLM turds that condone this activity will be the ones sitting on the jury judging you. As long as soft-on-crime mayors, DA’s, judges, etc., are voted into office by a lawless society it’s only going to get worse. Have fun kids, your liberal worthless parents have created a land of milk and honey for you. All you have to do is go out and steal it.

  • Rick Robinson May 5, 2024, 4:51 pm

    When the police arrive do I want to be the sole rumbler to be holding a firearm?
    Would I know all the states laws on using lethal force?

  • Rick Robinson May 5, 2024, 4:45 pm

    Since one would need to know completely the laws of the state they are in to decide to jxersump in using lethal force, I might do some yelling, grabbing, hitting before i drew a firearm.
    And, if police show up during the melee, do I want to be the only person in the rumble holding a firearm?

  • Ric May 4, 2024, 10:27 am

    Heactually had the nerve to ask why would you get involved that way! Well ill tell you sir! Someone NEEDS to!

  • M.A. Martinez May 4, 2024, 6:55 am

    If I were present during a “smash & grab” in a jewelry store, I’d back up to a wall or counter and pull my gun out. I would warn the perpetrators that I was armed and tell them to stay away from me. I wouldn’t shoot anyone unless they made a direct move in my direction, with the understanding that they were close enough to interpret their move as an attack on my person.
    At this point, THE PERPETRATORS have to decide if they want to ignore ME and go about their business, or leave. I cannot see a situation where I would simply stand by and attempt to ignore a violent crime happening right in front of me.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment May 4, 2024, 5:37 am

    biden voters, you can always trust them to do the right thing………….
    just in case this is sarcasm!

  • ccrider May 3, 2024, 10:06 pm

    So this legal advice is from Washington State? In South Dakota you can use deadly force if you are anywhere you have a legal right to be, and a felony is committed against you, a neighbor or another person, or their property. So, even in a tent, a camper, RV, or anywhere else. And if it is legal, you are shielded from civil liability. Also, I don’t know who wouldn’t feel threatened in this situation.

  • James Richards May 3, 2024, 7:11 pm

    Texas Allows Deadly Force to be used in Defense of Property, so don’t try that here!

  • Recce May 3, 2024, 6:34 pm

    From the time of CLASSICAL Liberals like John Locke, Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo the concept that without property rights there can be no political rights has held.

  • kent May 3, 2024, 2:22 pm

    It is not my property and I would not risk $100,000+ in attorney fees defending it. IT IS COVERED BY INSURANCE! And their lawyers won’t defend you for protecting their money, either. Remember that! I would exit the store and be a good witness when police arrive. If I was assaulted doing so, then I would respond appropriately. However, if you willingly insert yourself into this situation and become a named individual and identified by the media, you risk blowback from their criminal friends. But if this happens enough, I would be comforted knowing that we will eventually save our country from the filthy Marxists that caused all this chaos when people send them packing at the polls. THAT is the payback I am looking for…. A few insured gold baubles here and there in exchange for my country back? HELL YES! I will ONLY use deadly force in defense of my own or my family’ life. Period. I am not a sworn police officer and I will not attempt to become one. A police officer I know said he would not either if out of uniform and without his dept and union protection. That was the revelation I now go by.

  • Joe Bob May 3, 2024, 12:56 pm

    This is quite simple really… Our government hates us and will not protect us. Even worse, we are no longer allowed to defend ourselves. Just ask Kyle Rittenhouse, Mark McClosky & Jacob Gardner. [Oops, can’t ask Mr. Gardner… He wound up killing himself over being charged with manslaughter for having the temerity to defend himself when he was attacked from behind by a BLM kid who was trying to strangle him!
    Lesson Learned? Don’t you dare even think about defending yourself when confronted by these innocent little lambs!! Big Brother Is Watching!!!

  • Chuvk yanke May 3, 2024, 12:56 pm

    Can you taser the robber?

  • Ben May 3, 2024, 11:15 am

    Well, this apparently undereducated fellow, has never been or lived in Texas.
    Here if they are stealing your property that is valued over $20 you can protect your property with all the force required to stop that theft.

    I guess thats why we don’t have a lot of those small and grabs here, and when they do, they are always at places with rainbow flags and peace signs out front. Also, virtually NO home invasions here, rarely some immigrant will have their home invaded, but no “born here folks” get broken in on. If they do, the offenders don’t leave walking.

    Don’t you wish you lived here..
    Our state is flush with cash and a good bit of common sense.
    All are welcome, as long as you leave your liberal notions at the state line when you enter..

    • AK May 3, 2024, 11:40 am

      Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY. Shoot a protected-class Democratic voter like the one in the pic, and you’re not a cop, or “connected,” better stock up on KY.
      You’re gonna need it to ease the recreation hours for that +20 years in Rikers.

  • Fred May 3, 2024, 10:53 am

    This is article is worse than useless, I’m dumber for having read it: no clear line of argument, no conclusion, just an incoherent mess.

  • Tug Bromberg May 3, 2024, 10:51 am

    I would not draw my gun unless I was actually physically threatened.
    According to “My Perception” of the law, for me to draw and shoot during a smash and grab I would have to be in Grave Fear Of My Life. In this situation the ribbers are only interested in s me smashing the cases and taking what’s inside. There may be implied threat , but until I’m actually physically threatened or in danger of grave bodily harm I would likely wind up in prison myself for shooting the bastards.
    I’m not a to lawyer, but this is my opinion of the law

    • Jim May 3, 2024, 12:57 pm

      Tug, you left out, “or an innocent bystander”. What you applied is correct thinking, but it is expanded, in all states, I believe, to include the lives of others not involved in the crime who also have reason to fear for their lives.

      None of it can be precise, because there are always going to be exceptions.

  • Kane May 3, 2024, 9:30 am

    The most successful retail chain stores do not survive in “poor” US urban areas and ultimately flee these populations. Many US neighborhoods look like war zones and are probably as dangerous. Some Muslim and Asian owned stores operate in the “food deserts” but buisnesses like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid have invested, tried to operate but failed in “minority” neighborhoods despite in clear demand for these type of products. Crime destroys local economies.

    Now the problem seems to be reaching beyond the underserved urban areas of the past. Because of democrat policies theft is common occurance at cash cow stores like Home Depot. Related crime costs are going up and profit margins are shrinking Many of the new type of offenders are illegal immigrants that the fake POTUS (genuine POS) and other anti US criminals like Secretary Mayorkas have ushered into the US. These types and the evil puppet master George Soros continue to destroy the US economy and social fabric. The US is enduring a criminal dump by the rest of the world even though home grown criminals are in no shortage.

  • John May 3, 2024, 8:48 am

    As a store owner yes my life is at stake! Bankruptcy, loses of investments, lose of livelihood, the cost of rebuilding, yes my life as I know it is in danger of going end. I have a family to feed, bills to pay, mortgages to pay, bank loans to pay. That store stock isn’t put there in display for free! You attacking my store and invatory is attacking me. You will be feed lead!!

    • larry May 3, 2024, 10:51 am

      Your anger is justified but you will still go to jail because your life was not threatened. Not your way of life, but your actual life.

  • Bradley Pick May 3, 2024, 8:41 am

    So as a society of laws we stand by and watch as criminals go about their business with no consequences. The fear of conviction for being a Good Samaritan stops us from intervening. The felon leaves knowing he can continue robbing businesses with impunity. Maybe a few felons need to be “stopped” in the act to prevent future crimes.

  • Bob W May 3, 2024, 8:22 am

    The laws have to he changed. And I thought it was only bad in my state but this guy says it’s the same all over.

  • Joe May 3, 2024, 7:49 am

    Evaluate, withdraw and politely but loudly tell them to cease and desist, lay down on the floor, take a deep breath and relax till the police arrive..
    If not and they should exercise their right to not comply then not so good for them

    • M.A. Martinez May 4, 2024, 6:59 am

      “…lay down on the floor…” WHAT?!! Armed or not, it’s NEVER a wise decision to place your safety in the hands of a violent criminal.

      • Dave May 4, 2024, 4:47 pm

        I think he meant that the robbers should lie down on the floor.

  • Bob May 3, 2024, 7:33 am

    Hypothetical, you pull your gun and yell get out of the store…they turn on you and threaten you with the hammer then you can use deadly force.

    • Jonathan May 3, 2024, 8:54 am

      Negative. You’ve become the aggressor when you inserted yourself in the situation. You started the “fight”, you therefore cannot claim self defense and shoot them.

  • William Hawkins May 3, 2024, 7:30 am

    To defend himself, herself, or another, from an actual or threatened attack, that could result in death or serious bodily injury. Then the shooting would be justified.

  • Rodney Steward May 3, 2024, 7:15 am

    Everyone of these smash and grab idiots need to be shot, then see how quick it would stop.

  • Hondo May 3, 2024, 7:13 am

    Democrats doing democrat things.

    • Bob W May 3, 2024, 8:25 am

      I’m a democrat and you’re 100% right. I agree with you. I just wish all the republicans would agree on how much damage the orange man is doing.

      • John May 3, 2024, 8:50 am

        Prove it

        • Bob W May 6, 2024, 7:54 am

          John, just remember, unless this country gets back together we are screwed. United we stand decided we will definitely fall. And we will fall hard. We can’t let one guy who is all for himself destroy everything we worked for all these years.

        • Bob W May 6, 2024, 8:00 am

          Divided not decided😩

      • Hondo May 3, 2024, 9:41 am

        Being an ignorant democrat I see, you really should buy a clue.

        • Bob W May 6, 2024, 7:46 am

          I never called any of you A holes names but since you’re into name calling go F off. Hondo? What the F is a Hondo?

        • Bob W May 6, 2024, 7:47 am

          I never called any of you A holes names but since you’re into name calling go F off.

          • Hondo May 6, 2024, 8:19 am

            If it wasn’t for double standards democrats would have none l, you mad bro? Lol

      • Orange Lady May 3, 2024, 9:44 am

        Point to the place on the doll where the Orange Man touched you.

      • JRH May 3, 2024, 10:51 am

        Hopeless case of TDS and education by CNN. You’re ‘orange man’ hasn’t been in office in 3.5 years now and during those past 3.5 years, gas is doubled in price, GDP is now 1.5, if you even know what that is, inflation is rampant and every time we turn around, another product is going scarce AND to top all of that TEN MILLION+ completely unvetted foreigners have illegally invaded our once sovereign nation. The employment rate reflects the people who have come back to work after businesses being forced to shut down during c19. If we were to be transparent and totally honest, we’d compare the number of jobs in existence in February 2020 to the number of jobs in existence today, but the labor department hides all historical data so you can’t compare jobs under Brandon 007; 0 things built, 0 things better, $7 gasoline soon. ALL of the damage you speak of was done on Jan 21, 2021 when Brandon 007 reversed everything your orange man did, yet you continue to blame him because that’s what CNN and MSDNC tells you to ‘know.’

      • jim May 3, 2024, 1:05 pm

        Perhaps, Bob, you can give some tangible, irrefutable example of what Trump is currently damaging. I’ll wait….

        • Chum Lee May 4, 2024, 10:11 am

          He’s the leading cause of TDS, damaging further the amphibian brains of leftists. Get ready for another scream-at-the-sky event in about nine months.

        • Bob W May 4, 2024, 4:33 pm

          Democracy, Health Care, respect from the rest of the world, faith in elections, Roe V Wade, respect for the office of the president, but most of all he destroyed the United States in that we are no longer united. Just remember Trump is a New York City snake oil salesman who will tell you whatever you want to hear but trump is only out for trump. He had 4 years and did nothing for you or me. I knew about trump for the past 40 years. Everyone in N Y knows he’s a snake.

          • Hondo May 8, 2024, 7:41 am

            Bob w.,why are you such a whiney gash? TDS is making you dumb.

          • Kane May 8, 2024, 2:04 pm

            Bob W, did you notice that the fake POTUS (genuine POS) was in power for over 50 years 20% of the US existance and he has done nothing but destroy the Nation and line his family pockets? Did you know the Biden family history of war profiterring going back to his corrupt daddy? What has Biden done that was good for the US in general and the citizens in specific? Did you know that Biden as Senator used to be pro life but he flipped cause he has no spine just a weather vane? Do you care he has backed every war that was ever suggested for the US? Do you care he backed MFN for China and kept the CCP alive and now threatening to destroy the US? Do you care he backed the 20 year war in Afghanistan and then rushed bungled the withdrawl to jump to a proxy war? Do you care that the fake POTUS got 11 Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman and 1 Soldier killed with scores injured? Do you care that the fake POTUS ordered the surviving Marines to cleal up days of human fecal matter from the dubious Afghans that wanted into the US so the Taliban would not be burdened? Do you care that the fake POTUS was accused in writing by his daughter, Ashley, of taking showers with her as a young girl and suspects that he molested her? Do you care that Biden had the FBI cover up the diary that Ashley lost? Do you care that the borders are left opened to murderers and rapists? Do you care that he blew up the Nord Stream pipilne and devastated the environmment? Do you care that Trump kept the US out of a new war while Biden has the world on the brink of nuclear destruction?

            OK, you probably do NOT care. Still, provide the specifics on you claims against Trump. What does that “snake oil saleman” mean exactley? What are the worst accusations you can come up with against Trump?

      • Kane May 3, 2024, 8:15 pm

        I really resent that lame line “orange man” usurped by cluless lefties and misapplied to Trump. The original and still true meaning for the “Orange Man” (singular) or Orange Men (plural) were the Ulster Protestants of the “Orange Order” founded in Armagh in 1795 during a sectarian war which still lives on today. Can the left ever come up with something original or get involved in issues they actually understand? The Orange Man are accomplished killers who deserve both respect and contempt by their enemies.

  • William Hineser May 2, 2024, 5:18 pm

    Smash and grab robberies are becoming all too common. They are a violent felony and if we do not begin to stop them, they will continue and become even more frequent. The cops never seem to get there in time. The robbers are armed, with their tools which can cause death. How do I know they are not going to hit me?

  • bobsyouruncle May 2, 2024, 9:39 am

    They are just feeding their families [sarc]

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment May 2, 2024, 7:50 am

    i figure those robberies are funding terrorism and to protect the sovereignty of our country must be dealt with on the spot!

Send this to a friend