What States Can Someone Use Deadly Force through “Stand Your Ground” "Castle Doctrine," or “Make my Day” Laws?

There are many cases reported monthly on self defense shootings in the media, but do you personally know your state’s stance on self defense with a deadly weapon? States like New Jersey mandate that a victim of a home invasion or physical attack is NOT entitled to shoot a home invader because the victim has a duty to flee first and foremost. Unfortunately, turning one’s back on an attacker or group of attackers could be a fatal mistake.

Below is a list of states that have “Stand your Ground” and “Make My Day” laws that allow you to defend yourself with a weapon if you are being attacked. Some states, like Colorado, allow you to defend yourself with deadly force even if you are being assailed by someone with no weapons and merely using just their fists.

For every state’s ruling on self defense laws using deadly force, check out the Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine category on the ATLAS app.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois (The law does not include a duty to retreat, which courts have interpreted as a right to expansive self-defense.)
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon (Does not include a duty to retreat.)
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington (Does not include a duty to retreat.)
  • West Virginia