The Louisiana 'Stand Your Ground' law gives people inside of the vehicles a lot of leeway to use deadly force.
Here is the law:
Louisiana Revised Statutes Chapter14:20
A homicide is justifiable:
(4)(a) When committed by a person lawfully inside a dwelling, a place of business, or a motor vehicle as defined in R.S. 32:1(40), against a person who is attempting to make an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, or who has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, and the person committing the homicide reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave the premises or motor vehicle.
"If you look at the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in Louisiana, if I’m in my vehicle, it’s just like me being in my house," explained WWL-TV legal analyst Donald 'Chick' Foret. "Let’s say, perhaps, hypothetically, that Joe McKnight was trying to get into my car, and I thought that it was reasonable for me to use deadly force to keep him out of my car, I can use deadly force, that’s the justifiable homicide."
The law, will likely come in to play at the trial of Cardell Hayes, the man charged with shooting and killing former Saints star Will Smith and it may well be a factor so far in why Ronald Gasser, the man who told deputies he shot and killed Joe McKnight, has not been booked and was released pending further investigation.
The key in the law is that it does not require that the killer feel they must kill to prevent serious bodily injury or death. It only requires that they must believe that the deadly force was necessary to keep the person from entering their vehicle.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand confirmed that the three casings from the bullets shot from Mr. Gasser's gun that struck McKnight were all found inside of Gasser's vehicle. Normand said Gasser was inside of his vehicle when he fired the shots.
When asked why his office did not hold Gasser and instead released him Thursday night, Normand appeared to make reference to the justifiable homicide statute.
"In this state, there are some relative statutes that provide defenses to certain crimes," he said. "For example, officers have the same defenses. When we shoot and kill somebody, it's a homicide. The question is, is it justified? And, as we go through the process, and we're piecing together all of these statements, that's why" (Gasser was released).