Errant shots in a HD sitch: who's in trouble?


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fridayxiii
January 20, 2009, 09:30 PM
After reading a few different threads, a question came to mind that surfaced when I first considered buying a gun for HD.

Like many other people, I live in a single-family home in a suburban area. To either side, my neighbors' houses are <45 feet away (maybe 20ft. on one side). Out my back door, my neighbor is approx. 30 ft., across the street from the front of my house, maybe 150-175 ft?

A bad-case (maybe not "worst" case scenario), is that a home invasion occurs, the home & gun owner fires his/her firearm, and some rounds miss the intended target. What happens if bullets pass through walls or doors, and damage a neighbor's property, i.e. hit their car, or god forbid go through a neighbor's sliding glass door & hit someone? Is the shooter at fault for firing the weapon, missing, and the resultant damage?

I can only assume the person that fired the shots would be held liable, but wasn't 100% sure. I appreciate any links, references, or best guesses.

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mgkdrgn
January 20, 2009, 09:48 PM
Your lead, your problem. That's one of the reasons that shotguns "rule" for HD ... limited range (unless you are loading with slugs, which imho is a poor choice for HD)

Duke of Doubt
January 20, 2009, 09:56 PM
Criminal liability? Generally, no. If you were privileged to shoot and you shot at your assailant, the mere fact that you missed and hit a kid does not mean you shot with intent to kill the kid. However, if you shot under circumstances which evinced a reckless disregard for human life, such as, for example, firing a 75mm howitzer shell through your assailant's torso and into the gasoline tanker truck park behind him, you may have problems.

Note: -- if YOU are engaged in a crime, and a passerby shoots at you, misses and hits your accomplice or a passerby, killing him, you actually may be guilty of his murder under the "felony murder rule" and its progeny. And accordingly, if YOU defend yourself by killing an assailant or accidentally kill a passerby while defending yourself, the assailant's accomplice may be guilty of their murder.

Civil liability? Quite possibly. Negligence generally is actionable, though you may have valid defenses in civil court, such as necessity and others.

kingpin008
January 20, 2009, 09:56 PM
Your lead, your problem.

Correct. Why wouldn't you be responsible for those rounds?

Dominus
January 20, 2009, 10:05 PM
Shoot guns have a wide range of ammo.
Don't forget one of the golden rules, know whats beyond your target.
The best thing for any situation, be proficient and practice different scenarios with your family as to what they should do and where they should be.

WardenWolf
January 20, 2009, 10:43 PM
That depends on local laws. In some places, the intruder is considered at fault because their unlawful presence created the scenario in the first place. Assuming the shooting was justified and deemed necessary to protect life, he may bear the fallout. How do you think police departments get away with so much collateral damage? In many cases they charge it to the person they shot.

fridayxiii
January 20, 2009, 10:49 PM
Correct. Why wouldn't you be responsible for those rounds?
This was/is my first & automatic assumption. Mine was just a question that came to mind when considering possible outcomes of a home invasion scenario. I've thoroughly read the laws of FL to gain the best understanding of my rights, and I take my responsibilities w/the utmost seriousness, but this was a circumstance I hadn't found any information on, hence my post here.

Don't forget one of the golden rules, know whats beyond your target.
The best thing for any situation, be proficient and practice different scenarios
Amen to both statements. A commitment to myself for the new year is to take some tactical defense training so I can best address the second.

Thanks to all for the replies, they are appreciated!

ants
January 21, 2009, 02:52 AM
You are always responsible for your actions, whether exercising a civil right or not.

The rest of us will sympathize, but the shooter is still responsible. What ever would make you think you are not?




If a chihuaha runs out in the street and you swerve onto the sidewalk to miss it, and kill some kids walking home from school, you will be held fully responsible. The rest of us will sympathize because you were saving the dog's life, but you are still fully responsible in every possible way.

Ridgerunner665
January 21, 2009, 02:57 AM
Local laws on this are all the same...

Your bullet, your problem...

TX1911fan
January 21, 2009, 09:49 AM
I think Mike the Wolf is correct. If you have the right to shoot, and you miss, at worst you would probably be guilty of manslaughter. Still sucks, but it's not murder. In many jurisdictions, the criminal would be responsible.

Kleanbore
January 21, 2009, 10:41 AM
In many jurisdictions, the criminal would be responsible.

...would be guilty of any criminal charges. Responsibility for civil liability is another story.

Mello
January 21, 2009, 10:50 AM
You are definitely looking at civil liability for any damage your actions cause; unless your jurisdiction has either a statute or jurisprudence which provides that an intruder is a superseding intervening cause which relieves you of liability.

So balance the needs of self-defense with the risks of your chosen projectile going beyond your intended target and beyond your property. Some experts suggest a shotgun with #4 bird shot to reduce the chance of injury as distance increases.

Some jurisdictions may have criminal penalties for a bullet that you fired hitting anyone who is not the bad guy. Each state has its own criminal code. Each local jurisdiction has its own prosecutor who has the discretion (and personal agenda) to decide which case is prosecuted.
Example of DA with personal agenda . . . . the "Duke Rape Case".

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 21, 2009, 11:54 AM
Assuming a good/justified shoot, the shooter's liability for damage to innocent property or person:

Criminal Liability (malicious mischief, battery, manslaughter, etc.): Highly unlikely but possible; very fact-dependent as to your recklessness or lack thereof.

Civil Liability (negligence / wrongful death) : Highly likely, due the standard rules of negligence; particularly the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_ipsa_loquiter

kurtmax
January 21, 2009, 12:28 PM
Shotguns definitely aren't 'King' of SD if it's wall penetration you are worried about. If you are using bird shot maybe, but then you won't be able to do anything but tickle an intruder. Slugs? I hope your next 3 neighbors like a hole in their house. Buckshot also goes through something like 15-20 layers of drywall on average.

A 5.56mm rifle is actually one of the best HD firearms for both power and little penetration. On average a 5.56mm cartridge will penetrate less walls than 12g Buck or .45ACP. It also hits alot harder if you hit someone (well, harder than the .45ACP). I don't have any links to ballistics but you can easily check this out.

expvideo
January 21, 2009, 12:40 PM
I can only assume the person that fired the shots would be held liable, but wasn't 100% sure. I appreciate any links, references, or best guesses.
Absolutely. You are responsible for any bullet that you fire. From a civil standpoint, you will be held accountable. From a criminal standpoint, you may or may not be held accountable depending on the facts.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 21, 2009, 03:04 PM
I would assume the criminal would be at fault. Were it not for the criminal's criminal act, the gun wouldn't be fired. It's akin to the felony murder thing.

Woody

eye5600
January 21, 2009, 03:10 PM
Rough and ready penetration testing:
http://theboxotruth.com/index.htm

Unfortunately, it turns out that walls are weaker than bad guys when it comes to stopping bullets. Most anything that will reliably put down the BG is likely not stopped by any wall that is not brick or cinderblock. Bullets that break apart penetrate walls less, but also penetrate BGs less.

TRGRHPY
January 21, 2009, 04:12 PM
If you were legal in your shooting to begin with, I would say "no". You haven't met the criteria for a criminal action. As ConstitutionCowboy pointed out, it would fall on the criminal if someone else was hurt.

If you ever watch videos of police shootings, they often miss and rarely, if ever, take the time to worry about their background. I specifically remember an officer with an AR sticking out of the driver side window shooting at a suspect during a chase down a freeway during the daytime with oncoming traffic.

In a true SD shooting, you just don't have the time to worry about your background.

JImbothefiveth
January 21, 2009, 04:53 PM
A 5.56mm rifle is actually one of the best HD firearms
It probably is, but not as good if you're worried about shooting through walls.

According to the box'o'truth, 00 buckshot sent one pellet through 9 boards, 3 through 8, and I think the rest were stopped by the seventh. #4 and #1 went through 6. m-193 from an AR went through at least 12.

Maybe with expanding ammo, the AR would have been better.

coloradokevin
January 21, 2009, 04:56 PM
Didn't read all of the responses, but I'm still reminded of what they taught us in our police academy years ago:

"Every bullet you fire has a little lawyer sitting on top of it. Make sure you know where every shot is going to land, because you are responsible for every shot you fire".

Titan6
January 21, 2009, 06:12 PM
A bad-case (maybe not "worst" case scenario), is that a home invasion occurs, the home & gun owner fires his/her firearm, and some rounds miss the intended target. What happens if bullets pass through walls or doors, and damage a neighbor's property, i.e. hit their car, or god forbid go through a neighbor's sliding glass door & hit someone?

Well ok. If anyone can show where this has ever happened under similar circumstances involving a home owner and a home invader I would like to see it. Since to my knowledge this has never happened I would say the odds of it happening are somewhat akin to a large asteroid striking the Earth in my life time. And I will tell you why this hasn't happened.

Just to give you an idea of what kind of odds you are facing imagine that there were no structures in your neighborhood. No walls, cars, fences. Just you and your neighbors standing in a large flat open field. You have one neighbor who is 30 feet away (are you sure about 30'? this sounds too close for most building regulations) and another who is 100-150 feet away and so on in the normal locations in their homes (if the houses were there).

Let us say that an assailant approaches you from a random direction in a 360 degree arc. The odds that even your closest neighbor would be standing in a direct line of fire behind the assailant in line with you are already in the thousands to one category. Once you start adding in obstructions that could stop rounds such as refrigerators and home computer systems the odds drop into the minuscule. It drops to less than the possibility of a single shot .50BMG rifle dropping a 747 out of the sky at random or to say nearly zero, never zero just nearly.

Will you damage property? The chances are much higher of course. I guess you have to determine what your life is worth.

BTR
January 21, 2009, 06:22 PM
It's happened. I read about a child who was paralyzed when a bullet from a "good shoot" penetrated into another house. Can't remember the details.

Kleanbore
January 21, 2009, 08:34 PM
Since to my knowledge this has never happened I would say the odds of it happening are somewhat akin to a large asteroid striking the Earth in my life time.

That's scientific?

Titan6
January 21, 2009, 08:51 PM
That's scientific?


It is as scientific as this:

It's happened. I read about a child who was paralyzed when a bullet from a "good shoot" penetrated into another house. Can't remember the details.
:rolleyes:

My point is if it has happened, it has not happened much. Lord knows how much the anti's love to wave that type of stuff in our face.

Kleanbore
January 21, 2009, 09:22 PM
My point is if it has happened, it has not happened much.

There are two factors: likelihood and potential consequences. The latter have to be considered very severe. The former may be "remote" or "greater than remote"--probably a lot lower than "probable"--but there is still reason for concern.

The potential consequences are such that on balance, the need for mitigation is indicated. Something like whether to have an airbag. People don't crash very often, but...

I've read that police shootings of unintended victims have been numerous. That's one of the reasons they use hollow points, and one of the reasons that years ago the .357 Magnum was often not carried. It's not just a matter of missed shots, but also one of bullets passing through the target.

In my case, I have retired a 9MM that functions reliably only with ball ammunition--and I'm still concerned about the possibility of hitting an innocent person.

Years ago, someone in my general area took a box of war souvenir handguns that had belonged to her late husband to a neighbor. The neighbor picked up a Luger and squeezed the trigger. Blam! The bullet hit a juice glass from which a person quite some distance away was drinking.

That was enough for me.

Take a compass and spin it and look at your neighborhood on Google Earth. Consider how many houses within a three-quarter mile radius were swept by the needle.

That is enough for me.

I never arrive at any conclusions on the basis that I have never heard of something happening.

Titan6
January 21, 2009, 10:34 PM
I've read that police shootings of unintended victims have been numerous.

That you do hear a lot of. But those are completely different circumstances.

akodo
January 21, 2009, 11:31 PM
Your lead, your problem. That's one of the reasons that shotguns "rule" for HD

I don't buy that.

If a death results in the course of a felony, that is murder. This means if a bank robber scares an old lady to death...the bank robber gets charged with murder. It seems to me this would ALSO cover someone accidentally shot during a shoot-out.

Further, to use an automotive example. Say you are driving around and another driver decides to kill you. He is ramming your car, shooting at you, etc. You attempt to flee. You run a red light in the process of fleeing and get involved in an accident. Is that accident your fault or the fault of the person who drove you to flee for fear of your life?

TRGRHPY
January 22, 2009, 01:12 AM
Some of you seem to be forgetting that you are shooting because you are in fear for your life. If you are truly in fear of someone in your home, someone who is posing a threat to your life or a family members life, that you are going to shoot them, you don't have the time or the ability to see through walls to find where your neighbors bed is or where they might be at at that particular moment. You are in fear for your life and you are either going to shoot or die, because that is what is going to happen. You are not going to give a **** what is behind the suspect/criminal/intruder. You are either going to shoot or he is going to kill you. If those are not the circumstances, you are probably not justified in shooting in the first place.

I have fairly good sense of direction. If I walk through my home and pick a spot on a wall and try to imagine if or what part of my neighbors home is directly behind that point, I can't do it with any certainty. And, what if I am on the second floor and the intruder is standing at my bedroom door? Am I supposed to figure out the trajectory of the bullet from 15' above ground and what house within a half-mile the bullet might land? Those thoughts are simply not rational or relevant if your life is in immediate danger.

Kleanbore
January 22, 2009, 09:24 AM
If a death results in the course of a felony, that is murder. This means if a bank robber scares an old lady to death...the bank robber gets charged with murder. It seems to me this would ALSO cover someone accidentally shot during a shoot-out.

In many places yes, but responsibility for civil liability is another story.

Kleanbore
January 22, 2009, 11:04 AM
If you are truly in fear of someone in your home, someone who is posing a threat to your life or a family members life, that you are going to shoot them, you don't have the time or the ability to see through walls to find where your neighbors bed is or where they might be at at that particular moment. You are in fear for your life and you are either going to shoot or die, because that is what is going to happen. You are not going to give a **** what is behind the suspect/criminal/intruder. You are either going to shoot or he is going to kill you.

I think you've stated the problem perfectly, TRGRHPY. If you have to shoot someone who is likely to shoot at you at any instant, you can't control the direction of the shot. SD shooting and range shooting are two entirely different things.

So--what can you do to mitigate risk? I'm not an expert but I'll offer a few ideas for discussion:


Choose a shotgun where practical, which won't always be the case. That should reduce the radius of danger and may be more effective, to boot.
Train, train, train, to increase the likelihood that all of your shots hit the intended target.
Select hollow-point bullets that are less likely to pass through the intruder.
Avoid calibers with a high likelihood of overpenetration.


A friend of mine who is a policeman highly trained in the use of all type of weapons recommends a short 12 gauge for home defense--and he says to practice with it. I have not gone down that road yet.

I have replaced a 9MM with a .38 Special with hollow points, and that should reduce the risk of bullets passing through the target.

I do practice, but how well I would do under the circumstances you describe is not at all clear--and hopefully does not "remain to be seen."

akodo
January 22, 2009, 08:01 PM
In many places yes, but responsibility for civil liability is another story.

Civil liability...yes, but then you can get sued for using hollowpoints...get sued because you shot without giving warning because the intruder was black...get sued for having too many tempting items and your door unlocked...etc

jerkface11
January 22, 2009, 08:07 PM
What if you're shooting at a snake hanging from a bird feeder and your bullets hit a 5 year old fishing on the lake on the other side of the trees? Oh wait if you do that you're a cop and don't get in trouble.

TRGRHPY
January 23, 2009, 03:36 AM
What if you're shooting at a snake hanging from a bird feeder and your bullets hit a 5 year old fishing on the lake on the other side of the trees? Oh wait if you do that you're a cop and don't get in trouble.

Don't remember seeing THAT in the OP. The type of incident being discussed is a home intruder. I can see how you could confuse the two, though.:scrutiny:

OP:
A bad-case (maybe not "worst" case scenario), is that a home invasion occurs, the home & gun owner fires his/her firearm, and some rounds miss the intended target.

Kleanbore:
You are right, practice is about the best you can do. That and knowing you state laws, knowing what is considered justified, and checking your insurance companies policies for coverage for injury/death resulting from self defense.

Yes, I felt I was a bit redundant writing that post, but after reading some of the comments on here, I felt is was necessary. :D



You are always responsible for your actions, whether exercising a civil right or not.
The rest of us will sympathize, but the shooter is still responsible. What ever would make you think you are not?
If a chihuaha runs out in the street and you swerve onto the sidewalk to miss it, and kill some kids walking home from school, you will be held fully responsible.

Don't know where to begin with this post...basically all completely wrong. The comparison is not even close to being legally relevant.


Local laws on this are all the same...
Your bullet, your problem...


Not true. Many states, whether they have Castle laws or not, have some immunity from criminal and civil actions in justified self defense.



Some jurisdictions may have criminal penalties for a bullet that you fired hitting anyone who is not the bad guy.

Example or opinion?





Civil Liability (negligence / wrongful death) : Highly likely, due the standard rules of negligence; particularly the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_ipsa_loquiter

From wikipedia Re: res ipsa loquitur
The harm would not ordinarily have occurred without someone's negligence
The "thing" which caused the harm was under the exclusive control of the defendant at the time of the likely negligent act
There must be an absence of a reasonable explanation as to how the harm occurred.


Negligence defined:
Law Failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party.

Not so sure about Highly likely, it would depend upon the state. Even if you belong in a state that doesn't provide immunity from justifiable self defense, there are other state laws with regards to civil liability that can protect you. Example: In CO, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant was 51% or more liable...if the defendant is only found 50% or under liable, he is not guilty.



Quote:
I can only assume the person that fired the shots would be held liable, but wasn't 100% sure. I appreciate any links, references, or best guesses.

Absolutely. You are responsible for any bullet that you fire. From a civil standpoint, you will be held accountable. From a criminal standpoint, you may or may not be held accountable depending on the facts.

Wrong. Depends on state law. Many states have immunity from civil liability for self defense.



I was not able to find an instance where someone (innocent bystander) was shot that resulted in a criminal or civil action. Not saying that it has never happened, just that I wasn't able to find one. Perhaps someone else can.




There are roughly 37 states that have some sort of Castle doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws in place. One thing that is common among them is immunity from criminal and civil actions in the event of justified self defense.



Website of self defense laws by State: http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/DeadlyForce.pdf






The NRA has Self Defense Insurance:
http://www.locktonrisk.com/nrains/SelfDefenseApp.pdf

Also, check your homeowner policy. There are apparently many cases of insurance companies that do not have to cover injury or death resulting from self defense because the action is not accidental, that the action is a voluntary act.

Kleanbore
January 23, 2009, 02:42 PM
Many states have immunity from civil liability for self defense.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am under the impression that the intent and effect of laws addressing immunity of this kind is to prevent a criminal or his estate from seeking damages in a wrongful death or injury suit against a person whose actions have been found to have been justified as self defense under the criminal code.

I don't think they provide any protection against suits from third parties who are struck by misses or pass-through shots.

Vaulter98c
January 23, 2009, 02:52 PM
Epic post trgrphy or whatever it is!

Looked up my state, and Im glad I am not screwed if I shoot an invader, as long as he is proven to be "invading" and I had door locks. I dont even have to run away, his ass is grass

Kleanbore
January 23, 2009, 03:33 PM
I was not able to find an instance where someone (innocent bystander) was shot that resulted in a criminal or civil action. Not saying that it has never happened, just that I wasn't able to find one. Perhaps someone else can.


This should explain why you have not been able, why it is unlikely that anyone else will be, and why one should not draw any conclusions on the basis of either.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2793536&postcount=8

TRGRHPY
January 23, 2009, 04:22 PM
Kleanbore: Thanks for that. Just out of stubborness, I've been searching for several hours and haven't been able to find anything close. I did send an email to a couple of lawyers for their opinion. If/when I get a reply I will post their response.

WarHall
January 23, 2009, 04:24 PM
Seems like you could kill two birds with one stone kinda thing. Maybe shoot the intruder and wound the neighbor's yappy dog. Personal experience: Jacketed hollow points don't do well going through multiple surfaces (i.e, sheetrock, siding). Hollow points Will go through glass with sufficient force to lodge in trees (or other siding) I suspect full metal jackets would probably sail through whatever is in front of them (picked up many non-deformed ones at the range). Not in the mood to try this out right now. Besides, if you practice enough, this becomes a moot point, anyway.

CoRoMo
January 23, 2009, 06:49 PM
Brief Detour...
Back when the Virginia Tech massacre happened a lot of us reiterated the notion that had anyone else been armed in those classrooms, the shooter could have been stopped before all those people died.

The argument against it was, "What if you missed and hit another student".

I remember hearing/reading that such collateral damage (for lack of a better word) is blamed on the criminal.

It should be that way. It may not be that way. It probably depends on locality.

pathman
January 24, 2009, 03:42 AM
I think a lot of people in here are forgetting one of the most crucial aspects of self and home defense - preparation and training.

those of you saying that you don't have time to really think about what's behind your target in a true life or death situation may be correct, but in the case of home defense - you likely had time to think about it BEFORE the intrusion.

If you had time to purchase the weapon and ammunition, then you had time to think about the consequences of a shooting.

As a staunch supporter of the 2ndA and of the RKBA I have to say I would be pretty pissed if a neighbor's stray hit my home. And I would be feeling all kinds of litigious if it struck me or a loved one.

If you live in an apartment then you need to plan and prepare differently than if you live on the side of a mountain with nary a soul within 2 miles of your home.

You can never completely rule out the chance of an accident. That's the nature of this very ugly beast, but it is your duty as someone exercising his RKBA to minimize that risk as much as humanly possible. This includes preparing a plan, training with your particular weapon, trying to control where an encounter is likely to occur, picking environment-appropriate weapons and ammunition and knowing your surroundings. This includes knowing where other houses are, where other people are likely to be, what your walls are made of and what would happen if you fired in any given direction from any given room in your house.

The more you do this BEFORE something happens, the more you'll have to fall back on when, God forbid, something does.

just my $0.02

TRGRHPY
January 24, 2009, 05:59 AM
So if you have calculated the ideal position to avoid shooting your neighbors, how do you get the intruder into position? Should you run around the house until you are sure that your background is clear before you shoot? What if you live in an area where houses overlap in the background? How do you account for bullets that depart from normal flight (ie, ricochet), changing trajectory as it passes through the housing materials? You can't...and in reality you shouldn't. Worry about your life in the here-and-now or else you won't be alive to be sued. I mean, I hate to be so blunt about it (yeah, right...hahaha) but I'm not gonna give a damn what's behind the wall which is behind the person who is in front of me trying to kill me. And if I happen to live in an apartment, I suppose that I should just die rather than take a shot and save the life of myself and my family.

Does anyone really think that you are not going to have some extreme tunnel-vision during an incident like that? You're going to be looking at the weapon that the intruder has, be it the biggest damn knife you have ever seen, or the biggest howitzer that has ever been pointed at you (and how did he get it through the front door anyhow?), because that 3 inch blade just became a machete and that handgun became a cannon. You're simply not going to have the time or forethought to worry or care what is behind the intruder. You're going to have one major thing going through your mind: There is a stranger in my house with a (weapon) coming at me...DO I SHOOT? At that moment you have entered into combat, and for most people it will be the first time. Fight or Flight is in high gear and your only thought is dealing with this one thing. It is NOT thinking about anything else. Thinking about anything else during the 1 second that you have to defend yourself will likely be your last. If you think that you're going to have a rational thought during that 1 second, all I have to say to you is "good luck with that".

Even during training at MOUT facilities, who or what may be outside the building during a shoot is not a consideration. The decision to shoot is not based on anything outside...including the perimeter security.

BTW, I myself am a supporter of the 2 Amendment and the RKBA, but if my neighbor shoots at an intruder and puts a hole in my house, I'm not even going to give a crap about the hole. I am of the mind to offer them a place to stay if they feel uncomfortable being in their own home after such a horrible ordeal. If they wanted to just get away or stay at a hotel, I would offer to take care of helping feed the dogs and help with insurance and the clean-up detail...things that someone just involved in a traumatic event is not going to want to deal with. Telling us that you'd be pissed says a lot about your character...or lack of. Amazing...:banghead: Your neighbors must love you.:rolleyes:

LKB3rd
January 24, 2009, 07:28 AM
A simple thing that you can do is analyze the "lanes of fire" in your home, and what is behind them, and make, and even possibly rehearse (without a weapon in hand :) ) your plan of action in different scenarios. IE. In bedroom, in other rooms in your house.
And as has been mentioned the other simple-if more time consuming- plan is to practice enough to maximize your chances of hitting what you are aiming at.
These things are not fool proof, but preparation and forethought can't hurt in my mind. I wouldn't, as mentioned above, put myself or anyone else in the home at risk of assault if my plan didn't go .. as planned.

bdickens
January 24, 2009, 11:57 AM
Morally, the criminal is responsible.

Legally, State law prevails.

gc70
January 24, 2009, 12:52 PM
Kleanbore:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am under the impression that the intent and effect of laws addressing immunity of this kind is to prevent a criminal or his estate from seeking damages in a wrongful death or injury suit against a person whose actions have been found to have been justified as self defense under the criminal code.

I don't think they provide any protection against suits from third parties who are struck by misses or pass-through shots.

My initial reaction was to agree with Kleanbore, but a little research makes me wonder.

Florida - 776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force. (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0776/SEC032.HTM&Title=->2008->Ch0776->Section%20032)

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force [followed by long LEO exception]

Texas - CHAPTER 83. USE OF DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON (http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/CP/content/htm/cp.004.00.000083.00.htm)

Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.

The Florida and Texas laws appear to give blanket immunity and contain no explicit qualifiers.

Kleanbore
January 24, 2009, 01:02 PM
A simple thing that you can do is analyze the "lanes of fire" in your home, and what is behind them, and make, and even possibly rehearse (without a weapon in hand )

And then what?

If I'm in my bedroom, any shot fired at an approaching intruder will go straight toward the house next door.

A quick look at an aerial photo of the neighborhood shows that the majority of angles from any point in the house will intersect a house within a maximum range of 100 yards--though the numerous big trees would reduce risk somewhat.

Now, hitting some part of a house is one thing. Hitting someone in one or outside is quite another, and I haven't tried to calculate the odds, but I really don't think that analyzing the lanes of fire will do me any good.

Seems to me the best approach for me is to avoid being infected with magnumitis, to use expanding bullets, and to do my dead level best to get every shot I may have to fire in that last ditch situation into the target--if a loud warning does not convince the intruder to turn tail before he comes into my view.

Duke of Doubt
January 24, 2009, 03:25 PM
Seems to me the best approach for me is to have recorded pistol marksman competitive scores, and to compare those to the local PD qualification scores in the event of a SD shoot and collateral damage.

Seems to me.

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