Use of Force – Castle Doctrine – Minnesota

Defending your home with a use of force can be a tricky experience from a legal stand point, lets discuss the castle doctrine and defending your home in MN!!

Castle Doctrine:
Definition (Wikipedia)
A Castle Doctrine (also known as a castle law or a defense of habitation law) is a legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode or any legally occupied place – e.g., a vehicle or home, as a place in which that person has protections and immunities permitting him or her, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend himself or herself against an intruder, free from legal prosecution for the consequences of the force used.[1] The term is most commonly used in the United States, though many other countries invoke comparable principles in their laws.

A person may have a duty to retreat to avoid violence if one can reasonably do so. Castle doctrines negate the duty to retreat when an individual is assaulted in a place where that individual has a right to be, such as within one’s own home. Deadly force may be justified and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases “when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to him or herself or another”.[1] The castle doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which may be incorporated in some form in the law of many jurisdictions.

Justifiable homicide[2] inside one’s home is distinct, as a matter of law, from castle doctrine’s no duty to retreat therefrom. Because the mere occurrence of trespassing—and occasionally a subjective requirement of fear—is sufficient to invoke the castle doctrine, the burden of proof of fact is much less challenging than that of justifying a homicide. With a mere justifiable homicide law, one generally must objectively prove to a trier of fact, beyond all reasonable doubt, the intent in the intruder’s mind to commit violence or a felony. It would be a misconception of law to infer that because a state has a justifiable homicide provision pertaining to one’s domicile, it has a castle doctrine, exonerating any duty whatsoever to retreat therefrom. The use of this legal principle in the United States has been controversial in relation to a number of cases in which it has been invoked, including the deaths of Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori and Scottish businessman Andrew de Vries.


MN Law does not support what typically would be considered “Castle Laws.” While most states (over 30) have some version of the “Castle Doctrine” in  their respective statute’s, MN is not one of them.

Existing state statute states that persons do not have a duty to retreat before using deadly force to protect themselves or prevent a felony from being committed inside their residence. However, gun rights advocates have reported instances where persons protecting themselves inside their home were criminally charged because they did not retreat.

Minnesota’s statute states:

The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.

Another Item to consider:

While, In fact, in Minnesota, you can shoot an intruder — even kill — if you feel threatened with great bodily harm or death.

You must stop shooting if the threat is eliminated, even if the intruder is still alive.

So when defending one’s self at home with a firearm it is important to remember that you are shooting to stop a threat, not to kill an intruder.

Legal Changes:

There have been several attempts in recent years to pass a “Castle Doctrine” type law in MN, most have not been passed and one was vetoed by Governor Dayton.

There will likely be another attempt in 2017, but don’t hold your breath, DFL Governor Dayton has shown little interest in supporting these types of legal changes.


How I Became a Chandler’s Employee

Hi All, Jamie here – First, I have to admit this is my very first blog post – So forgive me if it isn’t the best one ever! I often get asked by students, “How did you end up at Chandler’s?” Well, here’s the story:

Back in 2012, I was living alone in an apartment (ground floor) in Sauk Rapids, MN. I had an ex-boyfriend that used to like to show up at my door after bar close and well lets just say, “make a scene.” He never did anything violent, but being alone, I knew that I needed away to protect myself.  Not to mention there were a few of my neighbors that made me wonder….(I think you know what I mean!)
So, I put a post out on Facebook to see if any of my friends had taken a permit to carry course, and low and behold some of them had! And they all took a class from Chandler’s. So I jumped on the website and checked the company out. After reading about the instructors and the FAQ’s section I was sold and signed up for a class.
Chris Chandler (the president of the company) was my instructor for the day, along with Don (his brother) who was completing his instructor training. Class was FANTASTIC, we learned a TON, made jokes, laughed and everyone was very interested in what they had to teach us. Needless to say on my way out, I grabbed a stack of business cards and told everyone that would listen to me how much this class improved the way I think about protecting myself, and not just while I am carrying.  I immediately friended the Chandler’s Facebook page to stay up to date on things they would share and a few days after class I got a “friend request” on Facebook from Chris – which I accepted.

Now fast forward a few years.  I wanted my Ma to take the course, and contacted Chris to set one up in my area again.  He was more than happy to do so and asked if I would help run fliers for the class, (since I was from there and knew the area), I told him, “no problem.”  The class was a hit and we had over 40 people show up!  After this class, my Ma, Chris, myself and another friend went out to get dinner and a few adult beverages – we all had a great time.   A few days later Chris asked me out on an “official date” and I always joke that from there, “the rest is history.” We began dating, and seeing each other every weekend (as we were living 100+ miles apart).  He convinced me to move to Hastings and run the company office for him.  That was my first job with Chandler’s Conceal & Carry, answering the phone.  From there I started to book classes for the instructors (there were only 3 at that time) and take reservations via phone calls.  I have now completed my own NRA Instructor Training, (I teach the women’s only classes) and I am now the Operations Manager for the company.  Oh and did I mention that Chris and I are now engaged to me married!!!

I can honestly say that I LOVE my job.  I have heard the phrase many times, “Find something that you love and you will never work another day in your life.” After coming to work for this company, that phrase finally has meaning to me.  We are an ever growing company, currently 10 instructors!  We now offer Personal Pistol Skills courses for beginners, and the advanced shooter, and are on the verge of launching a training program for “active shooters” along with continuing to teach the permit to carry courses all over the state of Minnesota and into western Wisconsin.  We are not just a company with “employees” we are a family here – all of us.  Every instructor that works here is my family, and I think that is what truly sets us apart from others.  When you take our class, you too become part of the “Chandler’s Family.”  I tell my ladies in my women’s only classes that they are now, “my girls” all the time.  Questions that they may have next week, next month or next year, they can always turn to us, because they are family too!  If you call the office with questions, or to register for a class there is a 99% chance that you are going to get to talk to me, (I still answer the phone for the company)!

I hope you have all enjoyed reading how I became a Chandler’s employee and why I love my job so much.
“Carry On” and stay safe!!

The Balance Between Speed and Accuracy

In my Carry Permit Classes, I often push the need for further training to our students.  Most students are hesitant to spend additional time training and I can only assume this is because all the students already know how to shoot a handgun.  However, when it comes to self-defense shooting, there are many more skills involved than just pointing and pressing the trigger.

Obviously clearing the garment, the draw stroke, grip, presentation and acquiring the sights is a time-consuming process.   Becoming fast at these things will significantly increase your odds of survival.  However, to effectively defend yourself with a handgun, you MUST also hit your target.  You cannot afford to miss.  This contradiction is one of the hardest things to overcome.  Being fast, but also being accurate is something that is not easy to achieve.

We all want to shoot quickly.  We all want to shoot accurately.  Unfortunately, one of the first things students notice is the two are mutually exclusive.  If you’re fast, it’s very hard to be accurate.  The converse is also true.

The ability to be fast and accurate is a skill that takes years to build.  Those who achieve truly astonishing speeds with accuracy never stop trying to improve their skills.  Truly serious shooters never go to the range without a shot timer because it’s the best way to gauge your progress.  The timer is the ultimate judge.

For an affordable and reliable shot timer, click HERE.

There are a couple of important components to understand when addressing speed vs. accuracy.

The first is distance matters.  A large target appears large up close, but at distance, it seems to get smaller.  Of course, we know this isn’t really the case.  The target size doesn’t change.

As the distance increases, the requirement to slow down increases.  The close the target, the quicker we can shoot.  Learning this balance is something I believe is different for each person.  Once you have learned your own boundaries, the better you can get down to work on what needs improvement.

Tom Givens, who is a well-known instructor in the training community, discusses how even the terms we use to describe our shooting speed can be detrimental or beneficial to the subconscious mind.

Below is a video of Tom talking about this concept.


The second point to consider is that no matter what the distance or size of your target, your overall presentation of the gun (drawstroke, grip, etc) should always be the same, and will always be the slowest part of your shooting.  This is indicative that working on your presentation is the best way to increase your speed.  Even at distance targets, you will still draw as quickly as possible.  However, target size or distance will dictate how much time you’ll need to take in order to maintain accuracy.

The final point is defensive accuracy is much different than competition accuracy.  Defensive shooting is NOT the same as Bulls-Eye or extreme precision shooting.  Defensive situations are overwhelmingly up-close.  Therefore, you most likely won’t need to spend a lot of time verifying your sight alignment.  Using tools such as point shooting and getting a flash sight picture can also increase your time without sacrificing defensive accuracy.

Work on your presentation.  As with EVERYTHING in firearms drills, start slow.  Speed will come with repetition and it does not come from “hustle”.  It comes from efficiency and economy of motion.  The less you move, and the more efficient your presentation is, the quicker you can accurately fire that first shot.

Chris Chandler

Please, feel free to leave comments below.

Study: Charges filed in Self-Defense Shootings in 2014

I ran across this article on pertaining a study of charges filed in self-defense shooting situations.  While the article is a year old, I think it has some decent information and was worth sharing.  Here’s a snippet from the article:

Of the 146 cases which we were able to determine whether charges had been filed, only about 10 percent – 15 cases – ended in legal ramifications. However, three of those 15 were miscellaneous charges, such as discharging a firearm within city limits or possession of a weapon, instead of charges pertaining directly to employing the weapon against another person. The remaining 131 cases did not or were not expected to result in any charges.

The rest of the article can be found here.


Choosing Your Carry Gun

In almost every Carry Permit class, I constantly get asked “What gun should I buy?”

At first glance, it seems like such a simple concept.  I’m the expert, and I should just be able to say “go buy a Glock”, or “I like the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield”.

While I do like Glocks and personally carry an M&P Shield during the warmer months, it doesn’t mean they’re right for you.  My hands are different than yours.  My waistline is different than yours.  My jeans fit me different than yours.  Your firearm is as personal to you as the car or truck you own.  I personally drive a Ram 1500 pickup, but that doesn’t mean you should.   It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend that truck, but it’s more that I don’t know if that truck is right for you.

So, instead, let’s look at some criteria that will really help you determine what’s right for you.  I’ll go over some do’s and don’ts.  I suggest you heed the advice of BOTH because there are some major mistakes you can make in this process.  I’m a great example.  I’m on my 4th carry gun because I did NOT know these things when I started carrying.

First off, let’s start out with the DON’Ts.

  1. Don’t take the advice of your buddy’s son-in-law, solely because he’s in Law Enforcement.
  2. Don’t buy any make/model because someone else you know carries one.
  3. Don’t take ANYBODY’s advice so seriously that it closes your mind to what YOU need.
  4. Don’t be in a hurry to get a gun. It’s a sure-fire recipe for buying another gun in 3 months.
  5. You do NOT have to spend a lot of money to get a reliable carry gun.
  6. Don’t buy a cheap gun.

Let’s get on with the DO’s.

Your carry gun MUST follow these four criteria.  If you apply all of these criteria to your choice of handgun, you will likely find a gun you are very happy with.

  1. It must be reliable.
  2. It must be portable.
  3. It must be concealable.
  4. It must be user-friendly.


Ruger, Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P Line, Colt, Springfield (XD, XDm, XDs line), CZ, FN, HK, Sig Sauer, and Kahr all make handguns I would consider reliable.  Yes, there are others, and yes, there are some guns made from these manufacturers that I would NOT consider reliable.  But for the most part, these are all manufacturers that I would stand behind if you bought one of their products.

What’s reliable?  Reliable is “this gun WILL work, no matter what, if I’m involved in a fight for my life”.  Period.  That’s it.  Are you willing to bet your LIFE on your gun’s operational reliability?


I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  The gun must be portable to YOU.  It can’t be so heavy, large or bulky that you aren’t comfortable carrying it.  Regardless of whether you conceal or open carry, you must have a gun that you can take with you while doing normal daily activity.


Just about any handgun can be concealed.  But can it be concealed comfortably is the real question.  My first carry gun was a full-sized, polymer-framed Springfield 9mm.  There are a lot of benefits to a larger handgun, but concealability (as I soon found out) wasn’t one of them.  I realized quickly that you can’t base your gun on its functionality solely.  You must be able to conceal it, and for me personally, it must also be comfortable to carry.  If the gun you carry is horribly uncomfortable, you will stop carrying as often as you should, or in some cases, not at all.


While all guns may be user-friendly to someone, not all guns are user-friendly to you.  Simplicity, ease of operation and general functionality all will come into play not only when you practice (you DO practice, right?!), but also will mean everything if you’re ever required to use it in a defensive situation.  The more time you spend with your handgun at home, or the range, the more it will become an extension of your person.  Your body will ‘remember’ where the slide release lever is and where the magazine release button is.  You will find yourself not having to look at it as often, and that ultimately means it is becoming more user-friendly to you.  The simpler the functionality of your firearm, the easier it will be to reach that level.  Guns with Double-Action/Single Action systems with decockers are great for carrying; IF you know how to use them.  It requires significantly more work to become proficient with them than it would if you were to carry a striker-fired Glock or M&P with no safety.  Consider your time commitment and competency with different handguns and styles when choosing your carry gun.

Another aspect I’ll slightly delve into here is fitment and size.  Make sure the gun fits your hand.
Go to a local gun store (one that has a range as well is preferred), and hold a bunch of different guns.  Then RENT and SHOOT a bunch of different guns.

Can you touch the controls comfortably?  Can you reach the magazine release reliably?  Can you reach and have enough force to lock the slide to the rear without adjusting your grip?  These things are constants; your hands won’t get bigger, and the gun won’t get smaller.  Make sure it fits YOU.

Remember, user-friendly also means that YOU can actually shoot it reliably as well.

Other notables:

Beware buying  the very small or “pocket” guns.  While many do follow the criteria of being reliable, portable and are definitely concealable, they usually don’t fall under user-friendly.  They are terribly difficult to shoot accurately and quickly, have much higher recoil (or are chambered in an under-powered caliber), are much more dangerous to the operator, and very difficult to manage recoil due to the small frames.  They are attractive because of their extreme concealability and portability, and yes, they can be reliable.  I do not advocate anybody who seriously wants to carry a firearm for protection to carry a pocket gun (at least not as a primary firearm).

My personal carry gun is a Glock 19.  But only during months where I can conceal it by simply covering it in an OWB (outside the waist band) holster.  During the warmer months, I carry a single stack, M&P Shield 9mm because it’s much more concealable and lighter, but it’s not so small that I cannot shoot it reliably.

Once you have your carry gun chosen.  Then spend some time price shopping.  Online prices are ALWAYS better than box store prices.  Trust me on this one.

As always, if you have questions, or need more information, please call us and we’d be happy to help you out any way we can.

How often do I carry a gun?

Probably the most common question I get as an instructor is ‘how often do you carry?’ For a while I used to cite crime stats or use some analogy to show why carrying as often as possible makes the most sense.

It’s one of the more difficult viewpoints to get across to students; especially those who are new to firearms. I fully realize it is a significant leap to go from learning to shoot, taking you carry class and buying your gun, to carrying daily to the grocery store or to Church.
I believe some people think it’s overzealous to carry all the time. To be honest, I do understand that perception. I remember when I first got my permit to carry. I was nervous about carrying a loaded gun in public. I was nervous about having a loaded gun shoved inside my pants, pointed at an area I was pretty sure I didn’t want getting shot. I remember going through my mind thinking “when do I really need to carry this?”

During the next few years, I would read articles about assaults, robberies, forcible rape, etc. I began to see that while the chances I’ll ever need it are slim, I had the ability to thwart such an attack on myself or those around me if I were ever in the wrong place at the wrong time. I began to realize that I was looking at it from the wrong perception. I remember going from ‘maybe I should carry tonight, since I’ll be in the cities’, to ‘I need to carry this everywhere I go’.

I’m engaged to a great woman, and while she’s trained and has her permit (she’s also an instructor for us), her safety is MY responsibility when I’m out in public with her. I often take my 97 year-old grandmother out for groceries or maybe to dinner, and even to Church from time to time. Her safety is also MY responsibility. In fact, as an armed, trained, law-abiding civilian, I began to fully understand that everyone I care about is MY responsibility.

A few years ago, I was in a gas station in Hastings, MN. It was mid-February, so it was cold outside, and the sun went down around 5pm. I walked in to grab some items and I picked up on a couple of shady characters who made my radar go off. While I was nowhere near drawing my gun, I felt the clerk may be in trouble. I did the prudent thing and called 911. I remember looking at the clock in my truck during that phone call; it was 5:14pm. We were literally 2 blocks from the Sheriff’s department. I told them I believed she was about to get robbed based on what I had observed. The Sheriff’s deputy arrived at 5:21pm. It took 7 minutes to get an officer there to check out the situation. Think about that and let it sink in. Our men and women in law enforcement are great people with great training and they do the best they can, but even in a situation where seconds counted, it took them 7 minutes to get someone onsite. If I were in Church on a Sunday with my grandmother, and someone pulled a gun or there was a violent attack on someone, 7 minutes would be a lifetime to those involved.

I believe the good people of this country need to understand they have a responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones. Waiting for someone to come save you when shots are being fired, or someone is being attacked, is not a realistic solution.

Carrying a gun is just as important as putting on your seat belt. Obviously we hope we’re not going to need it; but if we do, we’ll be glad we have it on. And we don’t just wear it when we’re driving across the state or country. We know enough to wear it everywhere because we also know that bad things can happen anytime and anywhere.

I fully realize some people may not be convinced by this article. Some people cannot be convinced to carry daily, and I do understand that.

Consider the alternative. You’ve taken a carry class, maybe some shooting classes as well (recommended). You researched and found your carry gun. You found a holster that fits you well and is comfortable. You bought your self-defense ammo. You’ve done everything necessary to prepare you to be an armed citizen.

How would you feel if someone attempted to abduct your daughter or son; knowing that your gun is sitting quietly in the safe at home because you chose that day not to carry. What if it was someone else’s daughter and they were powerless to stop it?

You have a responsibility to protect your loved ones and yourself. And you might just save someone else’s life. If you’re mature enough to get a carry permit and carry a loaded handgun in public, you’re mature enough to understand that we don’t get to choose when bad things happen to us or others.

Please consider all the lives you interact with daily; people who you care about or are responsible for. THEY are the real reason you got your carry permit.