Course Outline

It is always your responsibility to know and understand when it is appropriate and legal to use deadly or reasonable force. You should also understand what could happen criminally or civilly as a consequence after pulling the trigger.

  • As defined in Iowa Code 704.2, the term “deadly force” means any of the following:
    • Force used for the purpose of causing serious injury.
    • Force which the actor knows or reasonably should know will create a strong probability that serious injury will result.
    • The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, in the direction of some person with the knowledge of the person’s presence there, even though no intent to inflict serious physical injury can be shown.
    • The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, at a vehicle in which a person is known to be.
  • As defined in Iowa Code 704.1, “reasonable force” is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment.
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