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The right of self-defense is an important principle in our society. It can apply to protecting your own life, the life of another, our homes and even other property. However, one can only use the amount of force in self-defense that is reasonable for the danger presented. For instance, deadly force can be justified when you’re in danger of being killed or seriously injured, but shooting someone would not be justified if to defend against someone merely slapping you. Similarly, deadly force might be reasonable against an intruder in your home if your life was in danger or the intruder intended to commit a felony (like armed burglary, rape, kidnapping, or other serious crime), but rigging your house so that any intruder would be automatically shot would not be considered reasonable self-defense; nor would it generally be justifiable to shoot someone for trying to steal your car or punching someone for taunting you. State laws vary somewhat and every case is obviously very fact-specific.

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