Range Shooting Question?


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AFhack
January 15, 2006, 12:35 AM
Here's a hypothetical situation:

New Mexico (open carry state)

A member (in good standing i.e. paid up) of a local gun range is shooting an AR on a 300 yard range alone. This particular range is surrounded by berms and out of sight of the range office. The drive into the other ranges passes by this range. This particular day, the member leaves his rifle cleared (with an NRA tag in the chamber) on the firing stand while he goes down to check his 200 yard target. He just happens to have a 1911a1 holstered on his hip. While he's checking his target he hears a vehicle pull up behind the firing line. Turning around, he sees a man step out of a white SUV, look around briefly, then pick up the rifle on the firing stand. He starts running back to the firing line yelling at the driver that he's still in front of the firing line. The driver looks at the man running towards the firing line, throws the gun into the SUV and then climbs into the driver's seat in a hurry. The member continues running towards the line and draws his pistol. The SUV begins to peel out of the parking area behind the firing line. The member fires three rounds at the SUV... one round puntures the right rear tire. The SUV dissappears from view. The member uses cell phone to dial 911.


Eventually a county sherrif's car appears. The SUV was found, and the driver and the rifle were in custody. The deputy dilligently writes down all the details of the reports and then informs the member that he (the member) will be investigated for illegal discharge of a weapon and that the return of the stolen AR won't even be considered until the investigation is complete.




Sorry the hypothetical is so long... but is this scenario legal?

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Standing Wolf
January 15, 2006, 01:25 AM
I'm sure the firearm won't be returned until the investigation is complete: it's your word against the attempted heister's.

Once you've demonstrated you are, indeed, the legal owner of the firearm, I believe it's conceivable the prosecuting attorney could charge you, but a.) you're in New Mexico, where stealing guns probably isn't a highly regarded pastime, and b.) your lawyer can doubtless think of defense moves that should work, especially if the attempted heister has a long, storied criminal history.

It's probably not legal to shoot at people in defense of property. Whether it is or not, I can assure you it's not a good idea to leave firearms unattended in public places.

MechAg94
January 15, 2006, 01:29 AM
Well, I would think they would not like a person shooting at a vehicle when said vehicle is fleeing. Similar to shooting a man who is running away. Not good.

Do ranges like that allow you to carry your rifle down range with you?

Boogyman
January 15, 2006, 01:31 AM
Wow, what a mess.
Ok, the guy stealing the AR can definitely be charged with theft, probably felony, (AR's are generally worth more than $500.00) and possibly trespassing (unless he was a member too).
The guy doing the shooting can possibly be charged with reckless endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, and maybe even attempted manslaughter. I know, this really sucks, but the dirty, low-down gun-thief only stole the weapon and ran, while the outraged gun-owner was the one using deadly force.
The stolen AR would be evidence, and the police would almost certainly sieze the man's 1911 also.
It's frustrating, but the good guy would probably get the shaft in this situation. He should have kept his head and just gotten the license number without all the shooting, since it didn't do any good anyway.
The law clearly states that use of deadly force to prevent theft or destruction of property is not justified unless said theft or destruction of property could directly result in endangerment of life or limb. The fact there was an NRA tag in the chamber could actually be used in the thief's defense, since it would be hard for him to load the AR and fire back while driving with the tag in the chamber.
Also, did this hypothetical guy leave any hypothetical ammo lying next the rifle, and did the hypothetical thief grab it too?

Molon Labe
January 15, 2006, 11:43 AM
Hmm. I guess if you're concerned about the theft of your rifle while you're downrange, you could use a bicycle lock to secure the rifle to the stand.

bakert
January 15, 2006, 01:42 PM
It's a shame a thief can just walk up and steal something that you've worked hard for but in my state(KY) you can't shoot in defense of property alone. Truthfully though I can't say for sure I wouldn't be mad enough to do just what that shooter did but then I also wouldn't leave any gun unattended at a range or other place even for a short while unless a friend or someone I knew was keeping an eye on it.

DJJ
January 15, 2006, 02:15 PM
"I thought he was going to run me down."

jazurell
January 15, 2006, 02:22 PM
"I thought he was going to run me down."

Then how did you shoot the rear tire of a fleeing vehicle? Protecting lives and bodies from harm....OK, shooting to protect property probably won't fly in most states.

Art Eatman
January 15, 2006, 02:39 PM
jazurell, wandering next door to Texas: First off, open-carry of a pistol while on private property is legal. Only the RO can object.

Texas law is specific that if a reasonable and prudent person believes that a criminal is an ongoing threat to society (I forget the exact wording about "society"), deadly force can be used to prevent the escape.

A person who has stolen any operable firearm can reasonably be perceived to be a threat...

Art

Hairback
January 15, 2006, 03:10 PM
An excellent and very possible hypothetical.

Boogyman is correct regarding the possibilities as are others. The bottom line here is whether or not the officer will arrest the gun owner for the shooting, whether or not the prosecutor will in fact prosecute, and whether or not in a jury trial the jury is tired enough of this kind of abuse of the system to find the shooter guilty.

Hopefully the jury would say, "Nice shot" and find him "not guilty". But in California, they might give him 20 years and allow the thief to sue for endangerment.

In theory one would have to let the thief go, but in practice...

rock jock
January 15, 2006, 04:23 PM
It's probably not legal to shoot at people in defense of property. Whether it is or not, I can assure you it's not a good idea to leave firearms unattended in public places.
In Texas, this would be legally justified, and I personally would recommend using it.

SW, most ranges prohibit you fro bringing a firearm down range when changing targets.

HankB
January 15, 2006, 05:19 PM
What's left unsaid is that the departing felon appeared to be pointing the stolen firearm at the owner (one canhold and shoot an AR one-handed) which prompted the owner to shoot at him - a pure case of self-defense.

Alas, the owner of the firearm wasn't a good enough shot, so he only hit the tire of the felon's vehicle. Still, since he's alive to tell the tale, this was probably enough to dissuade the departing felon from shooting the victim of the crime.

Of course, the victim is too shaken to give further details, and if aggressively questioned, will not give any further information (especially a written statement) until after consulting his own attorney.

oneshooter
January 15, 2006, 05:58 PM
If it was in Texas the the law allowes you to use deadly force to prevent a felony. Once the riflr was stolen then, in Texas, deadly force can be used to prevent another felony, ie the sale and/or possesion of stolen goods. Works for me.:D

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

Bartholomew Roberts
January 15, 2006, 06:12 PM
If it was in Texas the the law allowes you to use deadly force to prevent a felony.

Only if you reasonably believe the property could not be recovered by any other means and you reasonably believe that using less than deadly force would expose you to serious bodily injury or harm.

9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person
in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is
justified in using force against another when and to the degree the
actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to
prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful
interference with the property.
(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible,
movable property by another is justified in using force against the
other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force
is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the
property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit
after the dispossession and:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no
claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or
(2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using
force, threat, or fraud against the actor.


9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the
other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or
recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to
protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Nightdiver
January 15, 2006, 07:36 PM
Actually, under Texas law, the use of deadly force would be justified only if this scenario occurred at nighttime, and the property could be recovered by no other means.

9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the
other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or
recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to
protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
__________________

Gunpacker
January 15, 2006, 08:53 PM
Definitely might want to emphasize that he was firing at the tire, not the SUV with people inside. May show intent is not deadly force to some.
Sure would suck to be prosecuted for it IMO. Is it possible that gun was in hand of the bum, indicating self defense?
Guy should be careful what he says in such a case, but I guess that is already done.

Firethorn
January 15, 2006, 10:53 PM
From what I understand, theft of a firearm is a felony period.

As for shooting the thief, the fact that he was trying to make off with a deadly weapon tends to make people think that he wanted to use it, thus justifying use of deadly force to stop him.

You'd have a hard time convincing me to convict the gunowner.

EDIT:
Nightdiver, I think that this section could be used as well to justify the shooting.
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to
protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
Heck, even section A. I mean, why else would he go to a firing range, and attempt to steal a rifle...
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime

Deavis
January 15, 2006, 10:54 PM
Nightdiver, you are highlighted an important part but you left out the "or"

(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
property;

The or combines the "from escaping..." with all proceeding examples in the sentence, not simply the last one. You can prove that by saying, "Do you want to go with John, Steve, or Tim to the movies later?" Does that mean that you only go to the movies with Tim? Of course not. You are therefore, I believe, incorrect in saying that it would only be legal druing night time due to not recognizing that conjuntion. In this case, he is justified as follows...

§ 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person
in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is
justified in using force against another when and to the degree the
actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to
prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful
interference with the property.
(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible,
movable property by another is justified in using force against the
other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force
is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the
property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit
after the dispossession and:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no
claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or
(2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using
force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

Justified under 9.41... now...

§ 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the
other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or
recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to
protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.


9.42 (3) could be satisfied either way in this situation in numerous ways.

jazurell
January 16, 2006, 12:05 AM
Think I'll move to Texas. The state is looking a whole lot better than most. Thanks Art:)

solareclipse
January 16, 2006, 03:20 AM
You can't shoot to protect property. Especially when you are not even on your own land.

Not to mention you are shooting at the car.

Off to jail you rightfully so go.

esheato
January 16, 2006, 03:33 AM
I'm not going to attempt to solve the hypothetical. I will say that I put my rifle in my truck to check/change targets. Even if I'm *only* going to the 100 yard berm. Even if I'm the only one there.

Ed

palerider1
January 16, 2006, 03:42 AM
in new york state when you fire a weapon at a person they confiscate all of your firearms until you are either cleared, or found guilty of a crime. my brother in law was in a restraunt where his wife was a waitress. he was eating and she was at the cash register. a man walked in grabbed her by the hair (i cant remember if he was armed or not but i think he was) and demanded all the money. my brother in law approached the robber, held his
.25 caliber to his face and when the man didnt let go he fired his handgun. there was a small pop and the man ran from the restraunt. the bullet had lodged in the barrel of the pistol. the ATF and county sheriff confiscated all of his guns for about 3-4 weeks until he was cleared.

Nightdiver
January 16, 2006, 03:05 PM
Thank you for your responses Deavis and Firethorn.
My point is to the actual crime committed. Taking an obviously unloaded firearm (per the NRA tag) and placing it in the SUV would be charged as theft , since no bodily injury or threat of bodily injury occurredin taking the property.


CHAPTER 29. ROBBERY

Section
29.01. Definitions.
29.02. Robbery.
29.03. Aggravated robbery.

29.01. Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1) "In the course of committing theft" means conduct that occurs in an attempt to commit, during the commission, or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission of theft.

(2) "Property" means:

(A) tangible or intangible personal property including anything severed from land; or

(B) a document, including money, that represents or embodies anything of value.

29.02. Robbery.

(a) A person commits an offense if, in the course of committing theft as defined in Chapter 31 and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.

thebaldguy
January 16, 2006, 04:53 PM
I don't know the specific range policies where you shoot, but I sling my rifle and take it downrange with me. I've often thought about the stolen rifle senario; some one grabs my rifle while I've got my back turned 100 metres/yards away.

Thefabulousfink
January 16, 2006, 05:10 PM
"But Officer, I was only shooting to tag the vehicle for latter identification:D "

It's a lot easier to find SUV with flat tire, hole in tailgate, and broken rear window than just plain SUV.


<<<Unfortunately not legal where I live either>>>

AFhack
January 16, 2006, 06:00 PM
Thank you all for some great info!

The range's policy is no guns past the firing line, and to tell the truth, while this scenario has crossed my mind while checking targets, I haven't been too worried about it. I live in a pretty small community and most of the regular users of the range know each other fairly well. It's the kind of place that the old timers can look down the range road when they hear a truck coming and tell who it is by the shape of the dust cloud over the first berm :)


Also, I gave a local attorney this scenario this morning, and after a bit of discussion he concluded that I'd be within my rights (at least in New Mexico) to take a shot at the SUV. Of course, both the AR and the 1911A1 would've been confiscated for a time (perhaps as long as 6 months he speculated) but he didn't think a grand jury would bring it to trial.

280PLUS
January 16, 2006, 06:06 PM
I KNEW there was a reason I didn't like leaving my rifles exposed and unprotected on the bench while I go downrange. What if the thief had decided to load it and use the owner for a target.

Thanx for the info...

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