Draw on thief of your car gun?


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cavman
June 18, 2006, 11:06 AM
Over in Gen Discussion, one had his car entered and his gun stolen out of it. It got me thinking about what one should do if, coming back from the hardware store, for example, you catch a thief stealing you pistol/rifle out of your car.

I have read that one should not/ is legally prohibited from drawing against another over property. However, what if that property is a loaded .45?

have a great day,
cavman

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Pilgrim
June 18, 2006, 11:19 AM
Speaking from my PDRK experience, theft of a firearm is a felony. Providing the automobile was locked, entering the vehicle with intent to commit a felony or theft is another felony. The PDRK permits a private person to arrest another providing a felony was committed and the person arrested committed it.

Have a nice day.

Pilgrim

atlctyslkr
June 18, 2006, 11:26 AM
I think you have an ethical obligation stop this theif. I don't think that the theif plans on keeping the stolen gun for collector value (unless you just happen to keep collector's items in your car) - I don't.

leadcounsel
June 18, 2006, 11:44 AM
As always, check your state law.

You generally have the right to defend your life with lethal force if under the threat of immiment serious bodily harm. That right of self defense also extends to third parties under the same threat of immiment serious bodily harm.

You also have the right as a citizen to make an arrest if you witness a felony.

Property destruction/theft of a certain dollar amount (generally around $500) is generally a felony. Vehicle theft is also a felony. Theft of a firearm is always a felony.

If a thief is committing a felony you have the right to arrest him. If he is armed or you believe him to be armed, you would be foolish to attempt to stop an armed person while being unarmed yourself.

And, if he is armed with a deadly weapon, you could argue that you were in fear of immiment serious bodily harm to yourself or a third party, justifying your use of deadly force.

Just my 2 cents.

The Real Hawkeye
June 18, 2006, 11:51 AM
Over in Gen Discussion, one had his car entered and his gun stolen out of it. It got me thinking about what one should do if, coming back from the hardware store, for example, you catch a thief stealing you pistol/rifle out of your car.

I have read that one should not/ is legally prohibited from drawing against another over property. However, what if that property is a loaded .45?Good question. You may only fire if you reasonably believe that he presents an immanent threat of death or serious bodily injury to you or a third party who is equally within his rights to defend himself, had he the means. In the law, however, a sworn police officer is authorized to shoot even absent immanent threat under those circumstances, if he reasonably believes the thief to be a threat to the general public, such as the case of an escaped convicted murderer who is in the process of stealing a firearm, i.e., a police officer may, under those conditions, shoot in order to prevent escape.

tellner
June 18, 2006, 11:52 AM
You could also argue that if he is armed, albeit with your weapon, it's time to think of mentally writing off the deductible and submitting the claim to your insurance company. If he's threatening someone or you really believe he's about to hurt someone it might be a good idea to act forcefully. Otherwise, make tracks to somewhere safe and remember the old advice "Never risk your life to defend property."

dev_null
June 18, 2006, 11:57 AM
Hawkeye and others have hit it: you should only fire if you believe you're in immanent danger of loss of life. The fact that the theif might at some point use it on someone no more gives you the right to shoot him than it gives the Brady Bunch the right to disarm you on the same theoretical grounds.

WT
June 18, 2006, 12:06 PM
I ain't a cop. If I come across someone breaking into a car I am going to get out of there and call the cops. They get paid the big bucks to act as crime stoppers.

Seriously, out in a parking lot with avenues to retreat, I am outta' there. I don't have ethical or moral issues with that action. The fact that he is stealing a firearm has no nevermind to me. People steal more dangerous weapons every day - Cadillacs, BMW's, Maseratis, etc.

The Real Hawkeye
June 18, 2006, 12:14 PM
Speaking not of the law, but what I think I would actually do reflexively if someone were breaking into my car which contained one of my guns, I would most likely draw on the guy and attempt to gain control with threat of deadly force. Not necessarily to make an arrest, but just to get him the f**k off my stuff. If he were to lay on the ground and wait for me to call the cops, that would be fine too (My cell phone is pragrammed such that I just have to say "call police" and it will call the police). I would not fire unless he put me in reasonable fear of immanent death or grave injury. Just being honest. I guess you could pick that apart with criticism, but I think that's what my instinctive reaction would be.

tellner
June 18, 2006, 12:25 PM
P.S. For a really relevant fictional parallel of what's happening in America regarding our transformation into a police state, and the proper reaction of the people thereto, read Chapter VIII The Scouring of the Shire, in J.R.R. Tolkien's Return of the King, which is book III of The Lord of the Rings. Very meaningful for our times.

P.P.S. It's not in the movie version. Wonder why.

Our Shrub as the hapless mayor of Hobbiton with Big Dick Cheney as Saruman and Rummie as Wormtongue? Yeah, I can see that. Unfortunately, we're short of brave hobbits with sharp swords and bows.

Peter Jackson was up front about why he left it out. He had to cut with the movie as long as it already was, and that's not just a scene. It's several. The Scouring of the Shire is also dramatically awkward. The double climax detracts from the impact of the destruction of the Ring. Imputing sinister totalitarian agendas to Peter Jackson is tinfoil hat material.

grampster
June 18, 2006, 12:38 PM
Hmmmmm. Interesting question and interesting answers.

I do wonder however, how we, as a society, have come to be complacent about standing by, running away and hiding, or calling the police to come by and take a report later, when we see a crime against property being committed, especially if the property belongs to you. Whatever the circumstance, of course, would dictate the action. The first rule is not to do anything stupid, but...

I'll tell you what I would do if someone was trying to steal my car out of my garage, in front of my house or somewhere else. If I came up on this activity in progress, I'd walk up and yell, get the hell out of my car you #$%&@*&^%. My firearm would not be in the car, it would be concealed on my person.

Now, one of three things would happen, he'd run, he'd submit or he'd confront me. What I'd do next would be initiated by his actions. I have the right to protect my life and my property. I would initiate nothing except the order to him to stop. My concealed weapon would remain concealed unless I needed it. I would not stand by and let him steal my car so that I could wait around for LE to appear and then make an insurance report.

If the thief decided to confront me, he's making another bad choice in that he's moved from being a thief to a potential harm bringer. That was his choice, not mine. To somehow shift accountability to me because the thief chose to confront me when ordered to leave my property alone is a) a sign of our times, and b) ludicrous.

Why do I make the comment that I do? Well, I was in LE for several years. I'd be doing nothing other than what I had sworn an oath to do, and have done, as a police officer. Why don't I have the same right to protect my property that LE does? A police officer is not going to shoot willy nilly; neither will I. I know the rules, I have the training and I am not a sheep at the mercy of thieves. My weapon is a tool that may or may not be employed. If it is, there would be good and valid reasons. But to say that I must stand by as an observer is another example of the wussification of the male and society in general.

The Real Hawkeye
June 18, 2006, 01:25 PM
Imputing sinister totalitarian agendas to Peter Jackson is tinfoil hat material.I imputed no such thing. Most people in the movie industry are, however, leftists, and therefore opposed to the very notion that regular folks can or should rise up with weapons to defend liberty against a tyrannical state authority. Weapons belong only in the hands of state-authorized personnel, in their view. So, the message of The Scouring of the Shire would, quite naturally, be something leftists would instinctively find repulsive and unworthy. I suspected, therefore, that it was the industry which was influential in keeping it out. I don't know Jackson's politics.

The Real Hawkeye
June 18, 2006, 01:29 PM
I'm with Grampster. ;)

leadcounsel
June 18, 2006, 02:07 PM
I do wonder however, how we, as a society, have come to be complacent about standing by, running away and hiding, or calling the police to come by and take a report later, when we see a crime against property being committed, especially if the property belongs to you.

I think, to answer this question, we as a society have place human life above individual property rights (well, for civilans anyway... trying to steal from the government could get your shot). I don't think this is a bad thing. We don't really want to see "self help" shootings in the streets over property, really, because it can all be replaced (albeit with your deductible or money). I don't think it's right, I think it's just the best way.

The wild west was a violent time with gunfights over the most trivial offenses, from what I understand. I don't think that's the best way to resolve disputes over property. And, I suppose it would be easy to abuse or set up a person for a killing with some preparation, using property rights as an excuse.

Property rights should not trump human life due to mistakes that people make when they are young and foolish or just plain mistaken or possibly a good citizen and YOU mistake their actions.

Shall we start executing shoplifters (or even those that mistakenly thought they paid the correct amount but were undercharged), car thiefs, corporate executives that embezzel millions, people that commit insurance fraud, people that drive off without paying for gas, how about diners that don't pay for their food, a party guest that mistakenly takes the wrong coat from the coat rack at your house, or the stockbroker guilty of insider trading? Surely some of these examples are less valuable than the broken window on your car, but some are considerably more valuable. Where do we place the value of a human life, even a scumbag?

Here is one example of many legitimate reasons someone may be entering your vehicle. Suppose you leave your lights on in your car and the door unlocked. A citizen, concerned about your battery, opens your car door to turn off you lights. (more of a scenario before keyless entry and auto-shut off lights, but I did this on several occassions in the 90s.). You exit the store and see a person climbing into your car and open fire.

That said, I agree with Grampster for the rest of his approach.

But the value of a human, even a scumbag, is placed exactly the same -- he can live provided he is not an imminent threat to MY life. Once he crosses that threshold, then he better home he's a faster and more deadly shot than I.

Trueno
June 18, 2006, 02:29 PM
You exit the store and see a person climbing into your car and open fire.

I seriously doubt anyone on God's green earth would do that.

Then again, if they've just jumped up onto my horse and have the reins in hand...:)

t

The Real Hawkeye
June 18, 2006, 02:40 PM
Neither Grampster or I said you should shoot to defend your chattels. We said that we would react in one way or another to challenge the thief, in order to get him to stop violating our rights. At that point, the ball is in his court. He can leave, submit to arrest, or attack. If he attacks, and I respond with lethal force, that is not the same as shooting someone to protect my chattels. That is shooting someone in justifiable self defense.

Hkmp5sd
June 18, 2006, 02:43 PM
I do wonder however, how we, as a society, have come to be complacent about standing by, running away and hiding, or calling the police to come by and take a report later, when we see a crime against property being committed, especially if the property belongs to you. Whatever the circumstance, of course, would dictate the action.

The reason isn't the value of human life. The reason is that if you do act, you stand a high probability of being arrested and standing trial. Even if you manage to beat the rap, it is going to cost you a lot of money. So it is easier and cheaper to just be a good witness and not become involved.

I saw a video clip of a cashier being robbed at gunpoint. She grabs her gun behind the counter and the two exchange shots at about two feet. The BG misses. She hit him 4 times and he dies. The final comment made about the video was, "The grand jury declined to file charges against the clerk in the death of so-and-so." THAT is the problem. Stevie Wonder could tell it was a justified shooting. Who needed a grand jury?

jamz
June 18, 2006, 02:52 PM
Ah, the never ending battle between the Legal and the Ethical.



Way back in the day, legend has it, that laws were actually based on ethics.

-James

dev_null
June 18, 2006, 02:56 PM
Stevie Wonder could tell it was a justified shooting. Who needed a grand jury?
There's a big difference between "telling" it was justified, and *ruling* it to have been so. Stevie can say what he wants, but until someone with the legal clout says it, it don't mean jack.

"It ain't quittin' time till *I* says 'quittin' time.' Quittin' time!" -GWTW

Bartholomew Roberts
June 18, 2006, 06:49 PM
Of course, the easiest way to avoid this dilemna is just to not leave a weapon in the car if you can avoid it. Carry your weapon with you whenever possible and you do not have to worry about confronting someone who has just stolen it out of your vehicle.

gunsmith
June 18, 2006, 07:55 PM
draw funny pictures on thieves, it's hard to get them to hold still though.:neener:

If he has your gun and the muzzle is pointing at you , you should shoot.
all guns are loaded.

JohnKSa
June 18, 2006, 07:55 PM
I think you need to know a lot more about the situation before it's possible to start talking about what's legal.

Is he still in the car looking for the gun?

Does he see it and is just about to grab the gun?

Does he already have the gun in his hand and is looking around for more stuff?

Does he have it and is trying to exit the vehicle with the gun?

Is he stealing the vehicle and all the contents?

Is he running from the scene with the gun?

Is it in a case or is he holding it uncased/unholstered?

evan price
June 19, 2006, 03:36 AM
Grampster & Hawkeye, I really agree with you two (and let me add here, I have confronted people attempting to steal my property while carrying a loaded weapon and realized, then and now, that the consequences of my actions could lead to serious criminal charges.)
However, since at least Grampster has mentioned he is former LE, I have to say, the investigation might go easier on you than it would for a common citizen such as myself to ELEVATE the situation from simple property crime to an armed (concealed or not) confrontation.

Again, let me add I live in Ohio, where the law quite clearly is written that I have a duty to retreat, and not elevate a situation by using a gun. Obviously this varies by state.

If you escalate a confrontation by throwing the first punch,
attacking, or drawing your handgun, you are the aggressor. Most
likely in this situation, you cannot legitimately claim self-defense
nor would you likely succeed in proving your case.

Defense of Property
There must be immediate threat of serious bodily harm or
death in order to use deadly force. Protecting property alone does
not allow for the use of deadly force. Therefore, a property owner
may use reasonable, but not deadly, force when he honestly believes
that the force will protect his property from harm.
If a personís property is being attacked or threatened, he may
not use deadly force unless he reasonably believes it was the only
way to protect himself or another from being killed or receiving
serious bodily harm.
Deadly force can never be used to protect property only.
Deadly force can never be used solely to protect property no matter
where the threat to the property occurs.

psyopspec
June 19, 2006, 04:06 AM
Draw and challenge - not because property value with a certain dollar amount is involved, but because the perp could be armed very soon, and at that point he becomes a threat to me and any bystanders until disarmed and taken into custody by LE. I would act in the hopes that it would stop the thief (how do I know he's only a thief?) from arming himself.

Note that I did not say shoot, as that is not the question proposed by the thread.

ball3006
June 19, 2006, 12:02 PM
but if a perp broke into my car and was taking a gun, I would draw and attempt to detain, If he had a gun in his hand, I would shoot him. If a perp broke into my car at night, I would shoot him anyway because there would be no other way to stop the theft......I am too old to go chasing young guys down the street........I could if I had to but I would be tired with the same outcome......No use expending energy if you don't have to......As the old saw goes, you can't outrun a police radio or helicopter and you can't outrun my bullet, you will just die tired........chris3

Serendipity
June 19, 2006, 12:41 PM
A rational person would have to assume that he'd be in IMMINENT danger, if he caught a thief with his (the rational person's) loaded firearm in his (the thief's) hand. The only challenge the thief, under those circumstances should hear would be the gates of Hell slamming shut on his sorry ass. How much time to you plan on taking to evaluate whether the thief with the loaded gun in his hand intends to shoot you?

Mark in California
June 20, 2006, 03:47 AM
If I am close enough to see someone break into my car and take possesion of my loaded firearm , I am in fear of my life: and will do whatever I can to protect it. However, about the only time I would leave a loaded weapon in my car is when I am unexpectantly going into a prohibited gun zone, and could not have a firearm on me. Otherwise, it would be locked up in my safe.

Having said that, if armed, I would draw my weapon and try to remove myself from the field of fire, find some cover and call it in to the police. If the person pointed my weapon at me I would fire while trying to get behind some cover.

I am not paid to get in gun fights, that is what the Police are for.

The Real Hawkeye
June 20, 2006, 10:05 AM
I am not paid to get in gun fights, that is what the Police are for.I hope cops are paid to avoid gunfights when possible. You, as a private citizen, are free to run or stand your ground in Florida, if you feel threatened with deadly force. If you can look at yourself in the mirror after running away when you see someone breaking into your car, then do that. As for me, I don't think I'd feel very good about that, and I don't think that would be my instinctive reaction.

Mark in California
June 21, 2006, 05:36 AM
Well, I guess that your choice. I worked for Brinks for years, and always said what I would do if shot at or attacked. It always envolved taking care of business.

Well, three years ago, at home, while on the computer, I had a bullet come thru the wall not more that two feet from me. Did not do what I said I would, yelled to the wife, hit the ground and called the Police. Felt hunted. Did not know who, why or where they came from; but felt very endangered.

The Police only took 8 hours to catch them. They shot up 13 houses in on night, and kept shooting until they were caught.

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