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Can I Defend Myself in a Missouri Mall Parking Lot?

The following is a video transcript.

The holidays can be the best of times. They can also be dangerous times if you’re out shopping. What are the laws in the state of Missouri as they pertain to self-defense in a mall parking lot? Let’s say you’re walking back from making your holiday purchases, and someone attacks you in the mall parking lot. Can you defend yourself? The answer to that question is, “yes”. The same laws of self-defense that apply in Missouri elsewhere also apply in a mall parking lot.

You cannot use deadly force if you’re just protecting property—you can only use reasonable force. But, if you feel there is an imminent threat that someone is going to use deadly force against you, then you are authorized to use deadly force against them. It is justified. If you use deadly force against another individual, realize that there could be a civil lawsuit or potentially even criminal charges filed against you. Be careful about whether or not you choose to use deadly force.

The best course of action if you’re leaving a mall parking lot and you’re concerned about your safety is to ask for a mall security officer to accompany you to your vehicle. It’s best to park in a well-lit area. It’s also best to avoid situations that look dangerous. If something doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t look right, again, call for a mall security officer or a police escort to take you to your vehicle.

Now, can you carry a firearm with you when you’re in the mall? That depends on the mall. Malls are private property, and if the mall allows you to carry firearms, then you can carry a firearm. Missouri is a permit-less carry state. If you’re carrying permit-less and you carry somewhere where carry is prohibited, you can be charged with a crime. If, however, you have a concealed carry permit and you carry into a prohibited area, you cannot be charged with a crime. Rather, on a first offense, you would be asked to leave. If you don’t leave you could be cited for trespassing with a maximum $100 fine.

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