Someone told me not to own a gun because that's the police responsibility


August 13, 2006, 02:38 AM
I don't own a handgun, but was going to get one for self-defense. Someone the other day told me not to because if I ever used one it would be illegal even if you're in your home and someone's breaking in past all the locks and has a knife and is coming for you.

He said that lethal force is legal, but not guns, and that they're only legal for hunting and target practice on the range. I read the state's statue on use of deadly force in defense of person, to stop or prevent the immediate use of another's such lethal and unlawful force. He said that in the case that you use a gun in that situation, that's not legal because then you're taking over the police's responsibility and rights and that handguns are made for police. What would you tell him?

I was thinking about Warren vs. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police and how police can only be held liable in defense of society as a whole, and not individuals (with some specific exceptions stated). I read in Wikipedia that it has often been accepted that law enforcement is responsible for public safety and the individual is responsible for personal safety.

Does anyone know if the courts have actually ever ruled that individuals are responsible for personal safety (in addition to police not being responsible for it)? Because if that's the case, I could tell him about that and say that if I use a gun to protect myself from being murdered, I'm not taking over the role of protecting society as a whole, but protecting myself, and so I am not being a police impersonator. (As an alternative to telling him what I really think of his reasoning abilities)

<Paragraphing added by Art>

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Liberal Gun Nut
August 13, 2006, 02:45 AM
There is no crime with using a gun for self-defense in any situation in which lethal force would be justified. There are, however, laws restricting possession of guns. You can't own a handgun at all in Chicago, and if you are in a prohibited class (felony conviction, etc) you can't own a handgun anywhere in the US.

But assuming you're not in Chicago, and you're not prohibited, you can own a handgun and you could use it in self-defense if the situation would justify it. Someone breaking down your door in the night and coming at you with a knife would probably justify it (although every situation is unique).

It sounds like you need to take the first step, which is taking a basic NRA safety course, where you will learn which questions to ask and what your next steps are.

August 13, 2006, 02:45 AM
The government can not be sued for failing to protect you as an individual because they have no obligation to be your bodyguard. Look up Castle Rock v Gonzales too. It's very similar to Warren v DC.

If the cops get there in time to save you, great. If not, that's just too bad. You can't sue them because they can't protect everyone at once.

August 13, 2006, 02:49 AM
I'm too slow to respond, others beat me to it! That person you talked to obviously does not know what he is talking about. Either he assumes that what he says is right, because "oh, it must be a crime to protect yourself with an evil . . . g-g-g-GUN!" :what: . . . LOL.


He is deliberately misleading you. :cuss:

August 13, 2006, 02:50 AM
What would you tell him?

I would say...RTFM

Ask him who is responsible for your safety when someone is charging at you with a knife after you responsibly called 911 and await for someone to rescue you.

I think you are putting way too much effort, detail, and thought into this.

He can't even grasp the concept of self-defense and lethal use of force with a firearm or any other weapon, purpose or improvised. Use specific reasons and cases AFTER you convince him of this most basic and egregious outlook that he will be magically taken care of in the event of a violent encounter.

Basically everything "he said" about "the facts" is plainly incorrect. His trying to mix his own personal opinions (who's responsibility it should be) into an argument backed by his poor idea of the law (aka his own imaginary laws) makes it even worse. I'd start with showing how lethal use of force for self-defense doesn't have a clause that excludes firearms.

August 13, 2006, 03:27 AM
I agree with what has been said. This guy is so far off base that you'd be wasting your time trying to discuss something as complicated as caselaw. If he really believes what he's saying and isn't just trying to mislead you, start simple: ". . . so you're saying that if I legally own a gun and would be legally justified to use lethal force in a self defense situation, using a gun makes the act of self defense illegal??" Ask him to show you one piece of evidence that proves that you have to pick and choose what you use in a given self defense situation.

Better yet, show him articles about people who legally defended themselves with a gun and ask him to explain why they're still free.

Jim March
August 13, 2006, 03:36 AM

All that needs saying.

Odd Job
August 13, 2006, 03:36 AM
Tell your friend to never do a first aid course because that is the paramedics' responsibility.

August 13, 2006, 07:31 AM
Forgive me reposting something I wrote and posted a few weeks back, but it pretty much sums up my attitude to this way of "thinking"...



Do you own a fire extinguisher? Why?

Do you own a fire extinguisher? Why? Are you expecting a fire? Or do you have some sort of left-over juvenile desire to play fireman, a private macho image of rushing into a burning building to save a child? Don’t you know that improperly used, a fire extinguisher can be dangerous to yourself and others? And there have been “studies” done that show people who own fire extinguishers are actually more careless with fire risks, thinking that they’ll always be able to resort to their fire extinguisher to solve the problem. Besides, firefighters are always right there when you need them, and can put out any fire for you, so there's no point in having your own fire extinguisher.

How about an emergency first-aid kit? Do you have one of those? Why? Are you expecting to injure yourself? Or do you have some sort of left-over juvenile desire to play doctor, a private macho image of saving someone from bleeding to death with an improvised tourniquet? Don’t you know that improperly used, medical supplies and equipment can be dangerous to yourself and others? And there have been “studies” done that show people who own first-aid kits are actually more careless in general, thinking that they’ll always be able to resort to their medical supplies to repair any injury they sustain. Besides, Emergency Medical Technicians or doctors are always right there when you need them, and can instantly patch you up if you get injured, so there's no point in having your own first-aid kit.

Are these responses to being prepared absurd? Yeah. But they are exactly the sorts of responses I get when people find out I have a permit for carrying a concealed weapon, and generally carry a pistol whenever and wherever I can legally do so. And my experience is not at all unusual - most gun owners encounter the same sort of reaction from non-gun owners. We’re asked if we’re expecting to have a shoot-out in the supermarket. We’re asked if we have some childish fantasy about playing cops & robbers. We’re told that if we want to play with guns and shoot people that we should join the military. We’re confronted with facts that guns are inherently dangerous to ourselves and others, and that “studies” have shown that owning a gun makes it more likely that we will behave in such a fashion as to need to resort to using one to get us out of a dangerous situation. And besides, there’s always a cop around when you need one, just to protect you, so there’s no need to have a weapon for self defense.

Are there gun owners who think that carrying a weapon makes them invincible, and they therefore go around with a chip on their shoulder, putting themselves in dangerous situations thinking that they can always whip out their pistol and escape? Yeah, probably. But that is no more the typical mindset of a gun owner than is the notion that someone who owns a fire extinguisher is going to be careless with fire risks. Are guns inherently dangerous, and if used improperly present a threat to the owner and anyone else in the vicinity? Definitely. Which is why anyone who carries a weapon has a responsibility (usually mandated by law in the state which issued their concealed carry permit) to know how to safely handle and use a firearm, how to safely store it, and when it can be legally used in defense of self or another. And are there gun owners who think that they’re some kind of auxiliary police force, ready to jump in and right any criminal wrong they see being committed? Yup. In fact, a lot of people who legally carry a firearm do so precisely because there are situations where intervening could save the life of a loved one, a friend or even a stranger. But that doesn’t mean that they are wanna-be cops. Rather, they’re just trying to help contribute to their own safety and the safety of others. The police, firefighters and EMTs can’t be everywhere. We do have a responsibility to protect ourselves, to make prudent preparations in the event of an unexpected turn of events. That means having a fire extinguisher handy in case of a fire. It means having a first aid kit, and knowing some basic medical skills for dealing with an emergency. And for me it means having a gun available as a tool for self protection. Your level of comfort with how you are prepared for what situations may well be different, but that does not mean that my decision, and the decision of millions of other Americans, to legally and safely carry a concealed weapon is wrong or paranoid.


August 13, 2006, 08:36 AM
The Supreme Court of the US has ruled that it is NOT the reponsibility of the Poalice to provide personal safety. Cops respond to already committed crime, not stop it.

August 13, 2006, 08:44 AM
My response probably would have been an automatic HA! HA! were serious?:uhoh: :confused: :rolleyes:

August 13, 2006, 10:11 AM
Assuming you're in any state in the USA,

Yeah, the guy who told you that hasn't the slightest clue.

Long story short:

There are circumstances, which vary by state, wherein you may employ lethal force to preserve yourself from death or great bodily harm at the hands of another.

If you fit into that category, the _means_ of employing that lethal force is entirely irrelevant to the act of defense itself. The tradition and commentary in the law is that "any means necessary" means exactly just that.

That being said, _some_ jurisdictions may choose to bring charges for paperwork violations. New York City is famous for this sort of thing: "Yes, you were justified in shooting the home invader, but your handgun was not properly registered when you moved in from out of state according to our administrative requirements, and we therefore charge you with administrative violations."

And search around this site for the many cases that highlight the fact that the police absolutely has no specific duty to protect YOU.

Turkey Creek
August 13, 2006, 10:23 AM
My advice is to not waste your time and energy dealing with any blissninny idiot- Some of the best advice I ever got was from my recently passed father-When I was a kid he told me "Son, those knots on your head will go away when you stop beating it against that wall"- This in response to me trying to solve an insolvable stiuation-

Standing Wolf
August 13, 2006, 10:00 PM
Someone the other day told me not to because...

You need to start making friends with intelligent people.

August 13, 2006, 10:21 PM
People use guns to protect themselves everyday.

Civilian Gun Self -Defense Blog (

August 13, 2006, 11:04 PM
I own fire extinguishers - Bust Me.

Mine do not have "Gubmint Locks" on them either - Bust Me Twice

Bad enough some folks breath MY air - I really hate it when they use MY air to verbalize dumb stuff.

August 13, 2006, 11:06 PM
Buy a 12 Guage shotgun and load it with 00 buck and tell your friend it would not be a good idea to kick in your door in the middle of the night with a knife in hand yelling "I'm going to kill you". Maybe he will understand that.

August 13, 2006, 11:06 PM
As I sat at my one uncle's home three or so years back, my aunt became all upset that I was purchasing pistols. As best I can remember, she retorted, "What do you need that for? Pistols are for police! You can't hunt with them!" I was showing them my Encore, in .270 Win, with a 2.5-7 scope, and my Contender in .22LR MATCH that used the same scope. :eek:

Okay, now I'm wondering hoow many PDs carry scoped Encores and Contenders??? That was too funny. What was most funny was that she would not stop. She went on, and on, and on, and on, and...

So, as I sit here with my many pistols, I simply think to myself :neener: , though, God bless her, I would never say it to her. Guess she just has different values. Projection sounds about right. She didn't value them, so neither should I. Maybe?


August 13, 2006, 11:30 PM
I think your friends careless misuse of the first ammendment is more dangerous than you arming yourself in accordance to the second.

You, in the singular, are not the government's responsibility or pet--but you are their meal ticket, so take care of yourself. :neener:

August 14, 2006, 12:14 AM
Tell him the truth and to keep his yap shut next time till he knows something about the subject.

Then take him to the range.:D


Art Eatman
August 14, 2006, 12:22 AM
I believe it's correct that there is a SCOTUS decision to the effect that the duty of the police is to protect the general peace of a community, but has no specific responsibillity to an individual.

I KNOW there are several federal district court decisions along this line, and I believe the same of some state high-court decisions.

The specific requirements for an individual to use deadly force in self defense will vary from state to state, but all states allow for it.

GuyWithQuestions, I suggest you refer your friend to "Castle Doctrine" and the Georgia "Make My Day" law, as these have been nicknamed. Plenty of information via Google and Wikipedia.

August 14, 2006, 02:17 AM
I was makeing my lattest handgun purchase when a woman and her son were in the sporting goods store, obviously her kid liked guns and she didn't and she gave me a dirty look over hearing my conversation about my 4th 1911 (as I was dryfireing & pointing at the wall). She gave me a scorn full look. I told her, "don't worry all my guns are broke". Which brought the question from the saleman, BROKE?, and I then replied "yeah, hand guns are dangerous and commit crimes, there's something wrong with mine".

It couldn't have been any better of a day that day. Don't remember were I got that line from, but I've used it so many times. You have to be quick on your feet, when the time comes, just like you have to draw fast and fire COM when the time comes.

I don't see why some people frown so much on handguns, I like the comedian this weekend that said, "heart desiese kills more people than guns do, so why not put a 10 day waiting period on Big Macs".

When the anti's get smart with you, you have to be prepared to get smart back. Half the reason why I build my "Legally Permited" M4-gery in Cali was to put it out there that it wasn't a horrible weapon, hell I let people shoot it at the range if they ask and buy thier own ammo.

My other favorite comment is; I'm slowly prepareing for the "American Holocaust" watch the news lattely, it's comeing, who's going to protect the everyday citizen? Not the Police. Look at what happened in New Orleans durring the Huricane, who protected the weak, no body.

God made man, Sam Colt made them equal... that's an old line, but true, although, peace through superior fire power and the man on the highest ground has a better advantage, tactics will keep you alive too.

I think America would be better off if we taught M16 & M9 training in elementry school, you gotta quall before you graduate ;) Love to see some anti-gun/gun-grabbing/tree hugging priss be told, "your kid can't graduate high school till he fires that rifle".

LOL.... yeah I'm over the top tonight I know, sorry. But I didn't cuss and I didn't tell and bloody stories, Err

August 14, 2006, 09:22 AM
GuyWithQuestions . . . is the "someone" a family member or a close friend?

Family members you're generally stuck with, at least if they're close family, and not just an uncle or cousin or something. But you CAN choose your FRIENDS.

Present the facts, and if the individual is still adamant in his beliefs, just drop it and do your own thing.

Remember the old proverb: If you wrestle with a pig, all you get is dirty . . . and the pig, well, he enjoys it.

August 14, 2006, 10:17 AM
Your friend/would-be-adviser has no clue.

I'm not sure what state you live in, but it would be a simple matter to print out your state's gun laws and use-of-force regulations and show him.

In NC, they're here:

I'm sure your state has something similar.

In a nutshell, here are the rules for when you can use ANY potentially lethal force in self-defense (quoting from Steve Johnson, Concealed Carry Handgun Training, North Carolina Justice Academy, 1995, pp. 3-4, but these are pretty much the same in any state).

(1) Justified Self-Defense

A citizen is legally justified in using deadly force against another if and only if:

(a) The citizen actually believes deadly force is necessary to prevent an imminent threat of death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault, AND

(b) The facts and circumstances prompting that belief would cause a person of ordinary firmness to believe deadly force WAS necessary to prevent an imminent threat of death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault, AND

(c) The citizen using deadly force was not an instigator or aggressor who voluntarily provoked, entered, or continued the conflict leading to deadly force, AND

(d) Force used was not excessive -- greater than reasonably needed to overcome the threat posed by a hostile aggressor."

Note that all four conditions must generally be met in order for a shooting to be ruled justifiable, even if the intruder is in your house. BUT, if the above four conditions are met, the use of force IS justifiable, regardless of whether the defender uses a knife, a gun, a baseball bat, or a car to defend herself/himself.

There are a few other conditions that may constitute justifiable self-defense, varying slightly by state (for example, here in NC, you are explicitly authorized to use potentially lethal force to stop an illegal forced entry into your home, on the assumption that whoever is kicking your door down isn't there to sell you a magazine subscription, and many states allow use of potentially lethal force to stop a "forcible felony" as defined by statute).

August 15, 2006, 04:26 AM
Legal advice is like everything else...

you get what you pay for.

August 15, 2006, 05:12 AM
Someone told me not to own a gun because that's the police responsibility

Your friend is setting themself up to be victimized.

Contrary to popular belief, the duty of the police is NOT to protect individuals. Their role is to maintain public order. This is why police are largely a reactionary entity.The phenomenon of police being a protective and proactive entity is fairly recent. And it is difficult to guage the effectiveness, because its impossible to measure something that never happens.

Personally, I do not believe crime is deterable, so I believe people should be willing and able to defend themselves if the situation arises.

August 15, 2006, 09:18 AM
One more thing you should tell your "friend" is the function of the police is NOT to protect you, that's YOUR job, their job is to draw a chalk line around your corpse and hopefully arrest the person who killed you.

August 15, 2006, 10:49 AM
Someone told me not to own a gun because that's the police responsibility
Someone is an idiot.:rolleyes:

Lenin referred to them as "useful idiots."

August 15, 2006, 11:16 AM
I had a debate about this with a friend and if I remember correctly, the SCOTUS cases were:

Deshaney v Winnebago County: kid beaten into a coma by abusive parent even though county knew the abuse was happening and had failed to act.

Gonzales v Castle Rock: woman sues police because they failed to enforce a restraining order against her husband- he kidnapped her kids and when police failed to act, killed them and then went on a very brief shooting spree at a sheriff's office.

Both were 14th amendment cases.
DeShaney asserted that failure to protect was a violation of substantive due process and that furthermore, the involvement of the social workers created a "special relationship" that obliged them to protect him. Court ruled that there is no 14th amendment obligation to provide adequate security to invidivuals against private violence. As long as the state has no hand in causing the peril, it has no 14th amendment obligation to protect against it.

Gonzales asserted that she had a property interest in the restraining order that the police violated by failing to enforce, as required by statute. Court notes that the statute allows some discretion, therefore the police had no positive obligation to act on her behalf.

Also worth reading are Riss v NYC (acid in the face) and Warren v DC (gang rape).

Cousin Mike
August 16, 2006, 10:28 AM
I can't think of anywhere where the situation you described wouldn't be a clean shoot. Your local laws, as stated before, may vary here and there. As far as I'm aware, any man charging with a knife is a serious threat, and shooting him would be justified.

This is just my take on the situation with your friend...

Most of these types of people are just sheep - no matter how much you like or love them... no matter how much you may try and point them in the right direction... no matter what kind of reasoning, logic, or plain ol' common sense you try and share with them... there are people who simply have no desire to defend themselves from evil or those that would harm them. Some people's only instinct is to try and survive - and adapt if possible. They have no desire to change that, or to take charge of their own lives, safety, opinions, or destiny. As strange as that may seem to you, and others who read or lurk around here, it's the sad truth. Everyone knows someone like your friend.

These are the type of people who don't need guns. They don't have the heart to use them if/when necessary to protect themselves or their families - so they try to project their sense of self-worthlessness and fear (or cowardice) to you as sensible. Maybe they are irresponsible people, who think that everyone shares their lack of priority or responsiblity. Whatever the case, they can't understand you... a person who has obviously made the choice that they refuse to be a victim, and will rely on no-one else his/her own safety.

They wish they had your courage and convictions - but they don't. Hard to blame them if you think about it... the world doesn't seem like a scary place when you live in a fantasyland nanny-state where the police and your government will always be right there to defend you when you need it.

We just choose to live in the real world, and deal with our surroundings in another (more realistic) way.

You'll meet a lot more people like this... unfortunately. It seems like the more into guns I get, the more people I meet with the same sheepish attitude. I try not to deal with these folks whenever possible, but on the rare occasion that I must, I try my best to keep conversations away from guns, self-defense, or anything related.

Some minds you can't change... some you can. You'll learn the difference between the two with time, and learn to deal with them or ignore them accordingly. Until then, buy that gun, and take a class, practice as much as you can, have fun, and most importantly... be safe!

Redneck with a 40
August 16, 2006, 11:52 AM
Tell this guy that the Supreme Court has ruled three times, the police have no duty to protect the individual, only communities as a whole.

August 16, 2006, 12:20 PM
as i am found of saying, i dont dial 911, i dial 357 :evil:

August 16, 2006, 01:27 PM
I don't see why some people frown so much on handguns, I like the comedian this weekend that said, "heart desiese kills more people than guns do, so why not put a 10 day waiting period on Big Macs".

Don't joke about it. They are trying to ban fast food too. It's for the health of the children.

August 16, 2006, 04:23 PM
I believe it's correct that there is a SCOTUS decision to the effect that the duty of the police is to protect the general peace of a community, but has no specific responsibillity to an individual.

There isn't just one, there are a whole raft of them.

Find yourself a copy of "Dial 911 and Die".

The police generally have no responsibility to protect individuals absent a "special relationship". Such a relationship between an individual and police may exist when the individual is in police custody, is a payed informant, etc.

Absent that "special relationship", you having called the police before, during, and or after a serious physical attack and having been promised assistance by the police does not in virtually any instance impose upon them a legal duty to protect. If the police cannot come in time, if the police inadvertently do not come at all, or if the police CHOOSE not to come at all, you are virtually guaranteed to have no cause of action, nor any recourse against them.

Your personal defense is your personal responsibility. You can delegate the power. You can't delegate the responsibility. If you do the former, you bear most of the consequences. You may of course sue your indigent assailant... if you survive.

August 17, 2006, 10:34 AM
The police generally have no responsibility to protect individuals absent a "special relationship". Such a relationship between an individual and police may exist when the individual is in police custody, is a payed informant, etc....or is a politician...

Carl N. Brown
August 17, 2006, 11:31 AM
Don't own a first aid kit, that's the medical profession's responsibility.
You got band aids in your medicine cabinet? What are you, some
kinda Dr. Kildare Wannabe?

In a self-defense case known to me, the judge
threw out the charge of "going armed" brought against
a woman by her estranged husband, with the comment that
the woman had an absolute right to have a gun at her
home for self-defense (she was being stalked by the

Kelly J
August 19, 2006, 01:44 AM

The first thing I want to say is this, The Second Amendment of the Constitution says that you have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms,and that that right shall not be infringed. That being said there are some restrictions on Gun ownership, and the use thereof.

You need to check your State Laws on the Subject to know for yourself what Your State says about ownership, and use of Handguns and under what conditions you can use same for self defence.

Then if you are in the mind to own a handgun assuming that you can , The first thing you need to do is take a course on safe gun handeling, and shooting, simply so you are able to safely use the weapon, and with pratice being able to hit the target, Most Self defence situations are going to be within 25 feet, so shooting at longer distances to start with will be totally non productive, and humiliating. You need to gain confidence not frustration.

Then if you are interested in a CCW licence I would recommend that you take a CCW Class after first completeing the Gun Handeling Course, talk to your local Gun Shop Owners they can be a good source of help here.

Last point I want to make is the advice you were given about it not being legal to own a handgun may in some areas and under certain requirements be true but asuming that you are not barred from ownership because of age, legal restrictions, or area bans, that information is not ture. Secondly the person said that the Police were responsible for your protection, that is an absolute false statement, the Police can only act after a crime has been commited, so if you were confronted by a bad guy and he is intent on doing you harm you best not wait for the police to come to your rescue, in this situation you have two options, flee or fight. Which could mean Live or die depending, the choice is yours.

Ben Shepherd
August 19, 2006, 10:16 AM
You need to read a book titled: Dial 911 and Die.

It has at least one case from EVERY state that the basic law is: You cannot sue the police for failure to protect. And HOW you protect yourself is entirely at your discresion, btw.

So make your friend read it, then tell him he is FULL OF IT!!(If he doesn't get it by the end of the book you may be wasting your breath though)

August 19, 2006, 03:26 PM
is one of those people who is so ignorant he is to dim
to be aware of how abysmally stupid he is.

For some reason some people see something on "Law & Order"
or some such nonsense and incorporate it into their
beliefs on law in the real world.

Use of a handgun in self defense is legal just about every where in the USA
but with big differences in penal codes from state to state.

A fer instance (afaik ianal) TX will let you shoot a person stealing yer car and in CA you may not.

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