Shooting legality question


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Lupinus
January 12, 2006, 10:54 AM
I wanted to know about the legality (lay opinions of course) of shooting to disable rather then shooting to kill. Would it be better legally? Worse? About the same?

I know plenty of you say tactically it is a no no, but I'd like opinions on the legality of shooting to disable vs. shooting to kill without tactical opinions.

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1911 guy
January 12, 2006, 11:01 AM
My opinion, based on nothing more than what I've read and observed. I'm no lawyer, judge, or anything else legal.

Assuming the shoot was justified, if the BG is dead, the legal trail stops there. If he's crippled or maimed, he can file a civil suit and likely win, given the state of affairs in most jurisdictions lately.

Again, just my opinion and observation. Others more learned than I may have conflicting facts.

The Drew
January 12, 2006, 11:17 AM
I'm assuming you are shooting with a handgun. As far as I'm concerned shooting someone with a handgun in CoM is already a poor stopper, and why the hell would I try to shoot a goblin somewhere like the leg or arm which is a smaller target. If I'm going to take a chance at a smaller target, I'll shoot for the head, which is a much more reliable way to STOP the threat.

WT
January 12, 2006, 11:26 AM
If you are SO good and have SO much time and distance to aim and shoot to disable ...... obviously deadly force wasn't needed. I think the prosecutor would charge you with aggravated assault, attempted manslaughter, or attempted murder.

JAMES77257
January 12, 2006, 11:30 AM
My opinion, based on nothing more than what I've read and observed. I'm no lawyer, judge, or anything else legal.

Assuming the shoot was justified, if the BG is dead, the legal trail stops there. If he's crippled or maimed, he can file a civil suit and likely win, given the state of affairs in most jurisdictions lately.

Again, just my opinion and observation. Others more learned than I may have conflicting facts.


Moot point. If BG dies, the family will sue.

JAMES77257
January 12, 2006, 11:32 AM
I wanted to know about the legality (lay opinions of course) of shooting to disable rather then shooting to kill. Would it be better legally? Worse? About the same?

I know plenty of you say tactically it is a no no, but I'd like opinions on the legality of shooting to disable vs. shooting to kill without tactical opinions.


Why not just shoot the weapon out of his hand?:rolleyes:

HankB
January 12, 2006, 12:38 PM
Moot point. If BG dies, the family will sue.IANAL, but assuming it's a good shoot, Mrs. Badguy and Badguy Junior will have more trouble prevailing in civil court than Poor, Crippled Mr. Badguy in a wheelchair attended to by a nurse, hooked up to an IV and breathing tube, and moaning in pain a lot in front of the jury.

The instances of a person shooting to wound are few and far between (there was a grandma in TX recently who did this to an intruder) and are likely to be treated very differently depending on the circumstances.

IMHO you never shoot to wound, you never shoot to kill, you only shoot to stop - and then, only if you really have to.

pax
January 12, 2006, 01:40 PM
Lupinus ~

I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on the internet.

The exact definition of "deadly force" or "lethal force" varies from state to state, but it generally reads something like this: That degree of force a reasonable person would consider capable of causing death or great bodily harm. You could and should look up your own state's wording.

"Great bodily harm" usually means a crippling injury, one that lasts for more than a year and causes ongoing problems. Again, you could and should look up the wording in your own state -- it might not use that exact phrase, but it will likely be something close to it.

Shooting someone in the leg is quite capable of killing them or maiming them for life. Every reasonable person knows this. Therefore, shooting someone is using deadly force, no matter where on their body you hit. Legally speaking, it's the same thing.

If it's a bad shoot and the person dies, you'll get charged with murder. If it's a bad shoot and the person doesn't die, you'll get charged with aggravated assault or some variant of that.

But in either case, the rules for making your shoot a justified use of force would be exactly the same. They both have to be equally justified in order to be considered "good." Would a reasonable person, knowing what you knew at the time, consider that his/her life was in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or maiming? Did you have other options? Was malice involved -- did you enter into the fight willingly and egg it on? Or did you do everything in your power to avoid needing to shoot?

All of those questions come into play regardless of where you shoot the guy and regardless of whether he lives or not.

pax

ball3006
January 12, 2006, 02:04 PM
stop. Nothing more, nothing less..........."wound" or "kill" should not be in your vocabulary when dealing with self defense........chris3

SixForSure
January 12, 2006, 03:09 PM
Moot point. If BG dies, the family will sue.

This is true, however, the fewer stories and versions of events, the better for you in court.

Guy B. Meredith
January 12, 2006, 04:09 PM
As stated above, if it is possible to feel safe enough to shoot to wound the threat is probably not sufficient and the shooting not justified.

I have heard way too many stories of BGs being shot and not even giving it notice. Could be high on something as simple as adrenaline. In an HD situation where the BG is just feet or yards away I would not want to wait to see whether the BG is going to notice his legs have been blown off and stop.

My brother was in this situation in dealing with two drunks and the BGs came close enough to attempt to wrestle away his pistol. They thought the .45 ACP shots that went through their legs were warning shots and didn't stop until he leveled at their chests.

Again as stated above the point is to stop the attack. If the BG is down the danger is past whether the BG is injured past being a threat or dead.

mwpslp
January 12, 2006, 04:40 PM
Chances are when the moment arrives instict will take over. For many it is very difficult to hit even center mass in a life or death situation, let alone to try to "wound" an individual. Look at how many stories you read that involve shootings even with a LEO where multiple shots are fired without a hit. Generally speaking how you train is how you will react.

JAMES77257
January 12, 2006, 05:06 PM
Something to think about. On avarage a good civil defense will cost you 80k.

bakert
January 12, 2006, 06:12 PM
Ball3006 has it right. If you must shoot, you shoot to stop. Not kill or injure. Also like pax said shooting someone is the use of deadly force and in my state you had better be ready to prove fear of loss of life or crippling injury.

medic_guns
January 12, 2006, 06:18 PM
Shoot to stop

engineer151515
January 12, 2006, 06:33 PM
The following is not legal advise nor a position statement on my behalf. I'm just relaying a story.

I know a person who shot a home intruder in self defense. The shooter was young, perhaps 15 or so, when confronted by the intruder. In that decisive moment when he committed to shoot, he aimed for the leg. He wounded the intruder. The intruder was captured, charged and did jail time. The shooter was never prosecuted by the law.

But...

The intruder did come back. After his release from jail, the shooter's family was tormented for years. Vandalism. Murdered pets. Broken windows. Phone calls in the middle of the night. (Please remember that this was decades ago, when caller ID did not exist.) The whole nine yards. Nothing that could be proven against the intruder but it went on and on until the intruder was shot and killed by another home owner while breaking in. At that point (after years), the madness stopped.

The shooter said to me that aiming for the leg was a huge mistake.



end of story.

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