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Barnette educates Lions on defensive legalities

By Bonnie Culverhouse

There are three things a person should ask if they are faced with a dangerous situation, Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s detective Ryan Barnette explained to Minden Lions Thursday: Ability, Intent, Opportunity.

The veteran law enforcement officer and safety and firearms instructor told Lions that unless you establish these three things, you could go to jail for shooting an attacker.

“Before you skin your smoke wagon (draw your gun), ask yourself if your attacker has the ability, intent and opportunity to harm you,” Barnette said. “If you cannot establish all three of those  – and you kill this person – it might end badly for you.”

In addition, Barnette said you should always ask yourself whose life you will save if you use lethal force. Will it be yours or another person’s life?

“If the answer is no one, then lethal force is likely not justified,” he said.

And using lethal force is not legal if you are trying to defend your home, but no one will be harmed.

Ryan Barnette holds courses to teach firearm safety and concealed carry. If you have questions, email him at

Minden Lions meet at noon every Thursday at American Legion Hall on Pine Street.