At every chance, you can trust mainstream media and liberals to try to make concealed carry license holders look bad. They have their work cut out for them. Instead of finding common examples of this group of people falling, they often have to resort to bad examples and incorrect comparisons.
That is the case that involves Jeffrey Sumpter. He was involved in a self-defense trial, but his conflict never involved firearms. Media narrative aside, anyone who carries a gun can learn an important legal lesson by looking at his case.
Jeffrey Sumpter is a simple man from Connecticut. He is 21 years old and works at a Dunkin Donuts. Well, he worked at the donut shop. In fact, it was during one of his shifts that he was attacked by three assailants.
This is also where our story begins. Sumpter was minding his own business when the three (all under 18) youths came into the shop and attacked him. He fought them off, and by the end of the scuffle, he had stabbed one of them in the parking lot. He was tried for felony first-degree assault and was ultimately convicted. He’ll face 18 months in jail and 3 years of probation.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but you are probably wondering how he was pinned with first-degree assault when he was attacked out of the blue. Was it because the attackers were minors? Is it because he ended up with a weapon and they didn’t? It’s actually neither of those. The key part of what you read so far is the words “parking lot.”
If you are wondering if using a weapon somehow undermines legal claims of self-defense, you needn’t worry. The knife is not what incriminated Sumpter.
Let’s break it down. Self-defense law requires five pillars to hold in court: innocence, imminence, reasonableness, proportionality and avoidance. Even if Sumpter used a knife and the others didn’t, the three-on-one nature of the fight granted him proportionality in this incident.
There’s an argument that he may have failed in avoidance. This goes back to stand-your-ground laws. Connecticut is not a state that observes those laws, so it could be argued that Sumpter didn’t sufficiently retreat from the fight. It’s a stupid argument and highlights the exact problem with states like Connecticut, but it isn’t what undermined Sumpter’s defense.
The reason he was convicted is because the stabbing did not happen in the same location as the beginning of the fight. The four were in the donut shop at the beginning of the scuffle. Sumpter defended himself and they retreated outside. From there, he pursued the attackers and eventually stabbed one.
There is no doubt that this was all a single fight in Sumpter’s mind. In fact, many of us would likely respond in the same way. Unfortunately for Sumpter, the law is clear in this instance, and it bears impact on how all of us view defense in every state.
Lessons to Learn
Sumpter’s trial split the event into two separate fights. There was a single incident where he was attacked in the shop. When the youths left, that signaled the legal end to the conflict.
Even though the time between the two fights was minimal and the people involved thought of them as one and the same, the law states that Sumpter initiated the second conflict. This destroys his innocence. In a legal sense, he initiated a retaliatory conflict, and that is never protected by self-defense.
This is a lesson for all of us who carry. A simple change in setting can constitute an end to a conflict. If you are attacked, you pull your weapon and the attackers flee the building (or into a building if you’re outside), the conflict is legally over.
Even though there are many situations that would justify pursuing the attackers in our minds, the law does not protect that action. If a second conflict takes place, you still need the attackers to make the first move before you respond. That can be incredibly dangerous, but it is how the law works.
There are plenty of circumstances where the tactically sound decision is not legally protected. That is where the decisions of concealed carry holders are at their most difficult.
We can’t tell you exactly how you should face a situation like this. We can only to make sure you understand the stakes by explaining the legal procedure. Whether your situation constitutes breaking the law or not will have to be up to you, but at the very least, you can learn from Sumpter’s case and make an informed decision.
~ American Gun News