A suspected burglar was arrested in Sherwood today in the case in which a homeowner says he fired warning shots at intruders on his property — but the intruder was not in or, apparently, advancing toward the man’s house. The article in the Democrat-Gazette Wednesday said, “State law allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect their property.”

Help me here, gun nuts. Is that true?

I thought you were allowed to use deadly force only if threatened and had no means of retreat. The proposed “castle doctrine” law, which failed in 2007, would have removed the requirement to first seek retreat.

If I look out my window and see someone taking CDs from a car parked at the curb, can I open fire without fear of legal liability?


(This, of course, is a wholly different question than one about whether you could get an Arkansas jury to convict someone who did such a thing.)

In Sherwood, the homeowner says he didn’t intend to shoot anyone, which adds another element to consider if it develops the man found dead on his property was killed by one of his gunshots.