How to protect yourself during a home invasion

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved
BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) - If there's one thing Matthew Tyler knows it's guns.

He opened SafeSide Tactical in Bedford County with his brother and father, expanding to a full time operation two years ago.

In that time he's seen a jump in customers worried about personal protection.

"I do see a lot of people coming in with the mindset of wanting to be able to protect themselves," Tyler said. "None of us know what's going to happen later and we all want to be prepared."

It's a mentality becoming more and more common among homeowners.

So we're checking to see what rights you have if faced with an intruder.

"If they're invading your home and you have concerns of being injured, death or them committing some serious felony against you, then you can use deadly force," said attorney Emmette Pilgreen, who's tried several home invasion cases while serving in the Roanoke Valley.

He said you have a right to defend yourself at home. But once an intruder tries to escape those rights change.

"Once they break off the attack and they're fleeing, you have no right at that point to pursue them, seek out vengeance or do anything else once the danger is passed," Pilgreen said. "You can only employ deadly force at the moment when you're in serious bodily danger."

It's the type of danger most homeowners will never face, but something more and more of us are preparing for.

Tyler said 30-35 percent of his handgun sales are for people looking to protect themselves.

He expects that number to continue to rise in the near future.

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved