Disabling the S&W Lock


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RatDrall
April 25, 2009, 08:47 AM
My wife and I carry lockable S&W revolvers sometimes. I'm concerned about the lock activating unintentionally. I know that it isn't likely, but it's one more thing to go wrong.

I disassembled my K-frame, and it looks like the lock works using a little "nub" on the "wing" piece that moves out the back of the frame to show that it is activated. Can I have a gunsmith grind that nub down, so that if the lock does activate, it won't lock the action up? Should I just file it down myself?

Is there anything illegal about disabling a storage lock?

Thanks in advance for any advice on this...

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CDW4ME
April 25, 2009, 09:06 AM
I didn't care for the lock myself. Rather than attempt to permenantly disable a "safety device" I tried something different. Where the lock moves internally, directly on the other side of where the key is inserted, I could see where it turned another piece; I decided to put a "drop" of super glue at the junuction of those two parts. After my prevenative application of glue the lock will not "accidentally" ;) engage. I don't worry about it now.

I had to carefully cock the hammer to see those parts on my 638.

harmonic
April 25, 2009, 11:37 AM
Here's a video on removing the lock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM

Re legality, the subject has been beaten to death by dimestore lawyers who insist that if you were ever involved in a SD shooting, the DA would depict you as a bloodthirsty killer if you use a gun that has been modified. These armchair lawyers are the same ones who insist you never carry reloads because that, too, makes you look like a gun nut.

I've never read of anyone who successfully defended themselves with a handgun being prosecuted for carrying a) a modified handgun or b) reloads.

As far as removing the lock: with so many non lock handguns available, why even buy an IL Smith?

Guillermo
April 25, 2009, 01:18 PM
Is there anything illegal about disabling a storage lock?


it is your gun, modify it at will.

COSteve
April 25, 2009, 08:38 PM
File down that little half-moon nub that rides in the hammer groove. Takes 10 minutes max.

krs
April 26, 2009, 04:47 PM
I'm not too thrilled with the method shown in that video for disabling the lock. Without the flag in place the small piece that raises or lowes the flag and thereby locks the hammer is able to come loose inside the mechanism. All that keeps it in without the flag is the small spring pressure from it's front.

At least that's how it looked to me, so instead of removing the flag I filed off the small "nub" that engages the slot in the hammer so that up or down the flag locks nothing.

Removing the flag also leaves a gap alongside the hammer that's visible from outside the pistol. It's noticable more on a stainless gun than a blued one but either way it's an aesthetic factor that might bother some people.

SaxonPig
April 26, 2009, 04:55 PM
It's not illegal to remove the lock but it is very unwise.

If you disable the lock and the gun is ever involved in a shooting COUNT on opposing counsel making an issue of it. Sure, we all know it's a storage lock that has nothing to do with the safe operation of the gun but a lawyer prosecuting you or suing you will select a jury with no knowledge of firearms and will portray you as a reckless Rambo wannabe who looked for an excuse to shoot somebody or was so careless that you were an accident waiting to happen.

I know that the vast majority of members on this forum dismiss the possibility of legal issues arising from deactivating a storage lock but every lawyer I have asked has said they are wrong. One laughed out loud at the thought of suing someone who used a gun with a disabled safety device saying "that information would be money in the bank."

You do what you think is best.

Guillermo
April 26, 2009, 05:08 PM
SaxonPig is a smart guy and there is no arguing with his post. It is spot on.

The question becomes do you...

A- adapt the lock to a safer situation by gluing or filing on it, knowing that the chances of using it for self defense is relatively low

B- trust that the jury might not be stupid

C- sell your revolver and buy a gun without the ugly, poorly designed lock

I am a BIG proponent of C.

Phydeaux642
April 26, 2009, 05:12 PM
In the video link, is the procedure the same with a gun that has an exposed hammer? I thought I remembered someone saying that it was a bit different but I may be dreaming. If it is the same then it wouldn't be such a big deal to pick up a gun with the lock if I found one on the cheap.

A- adapt the lock to a safer situation by gluing or filing on it

I can't imagine super glue being strong enough over time to do any good.

I know that the vast majority of members on this forum dismiss the possibility of legal issues arising from deactivating a storage lock but every lawyer I have asked has said they are wrong. One laughed out loud at the thought of suing someone who used a gun with a disabled safety device saying "that information would be money in the bank."

I love that type of person that ignores what is right in order to make a buck. Very honorable.

Old Fuff
April 26, 2009, 05:14 PM
I fail to understand why so many people agonize over the lock, when there is an easy solution.

If you don't like it, or are afraid of legal implications if you disable or remove it, simply buy a revolver off of the used market that doesn't have one, or from a manufacturer that doesn't install one.

I have absolutely no problems with the lock, because I carry a revolver that never had one, or a Taurus that can be cured with one drop of LocTite.

Phydeaux642
April 26, 2009, 05:19 PM
My carry guns have no locks , but if I found a really good deal on a 686 or something I would hate to pass it up just because it had a lock, especially if it's as easy to remove as the video demonstrates.

AlPackin
April 26, 2009, 05:22 PM
It's not just the lock I'm opposed to, it's the nasty hole in the side of an otherwise nice looking firearm. "Glory Hole" as I've heard it referred to on another forum :)

Old Fuff
April 26, 2009, 05:29 PM
No problem...

If you don't like it, or are afraid of legal implications if you disable or remove it,

Obviously you don't like it, and are not afraid of legal implications, go ahead and buy the gun, and then remove or disable the lock.

But for a number of reasons, before I did that I'd shop around and see if I could find a pre-lock model 686 (or whatever). If I couldn't I'd do what I'd have too do.

krs
April 26, 2009, 05:38 PM
In the video link, is the procedure the same with a gun that has an exposed hammer?

It's the same either way but you've brought up something I missed. Where I said that removing the flag would leave a gap alongside the hammer would not apply to an enclosed hammer model.

I doubt that the lock disabling would become an issue in a case which had been determined to be a valid self defense situation, and if the shooting was not so clearly a self defense use of the pistol then the shooter is cooked anyway, lock or no lock.

Old Fuff
April 26, 2009, 05:54 PM
SaxonPig does have a point of sorts. From the perspective of liability, surviving a "good shoot" may not shield you from a following civil suit. But while the risk may (or may not) be there, lawyers don't often sue unless they can see where their money will come from.

What it comes down to is what is the greater element of risk. Having the lock fail, or losing a suit after being cleared in a shooting incident - which we will presume for argument was justified.

That something each owner of a IL handgun has to decide for themselves.

Guillermo
April 26, 2009, 06:02 PM
Like you, Old Fuff, I do not own any Smiths with locks. Nor do I anticipate ever owning one.

Unlike the Taurus lock, it is poorly designed as it moves on the same axis as the recoil of the weapon. Stupid design.

In addition it is ugly.

If those were not enough, it is a symbol of S&W capitulating w the Clinton Administration.

I will continue to shun S&W (all products, not just revolvers) and buy all of the old wheelguns that I can afford.

I am thinking an old model 49 should be my next snubby

Old Fuff
April 26, 2009, 07:08 PM
Ah, you really shouldn't buy those old guns... :what:

You might get one I wanted. :evil: :D

harmonic
April 26, 2009, 07:18 PM
but every lawyer I have asked has said they are wrong

And how many lawyers would that be? An actual number please.

I'd also like something a little more substantial than he said. Actual case citations will suffice.





.

SaxonPig
April 26, 2009, 08:07 PM
That would be three. Two are members of gun discussion forums (including this one and he has posted the same comments as I) and the third is my wife, who is a practicing attorney and she assures me that any gun used in a shooting will be submitted to an independent expert for examination and a written report will be sent to the lawyers detailing every aspect of the gun. The disabled safety device will be noted in the report and any lawyer with even half a brain WILL make an issue of it.

I do not wish to survive a gunfight only to spend the next five years in depositions and courtrooms spending every penny I have defending myself from a civil suit.

Like I always say, you all can do what you think is best. I know I will.

BTW- I get a kick out of the folks who complain about the hole in the side for the lock. Take a look at ANY pre-1945 S&W revolver, like the ones pictured below. All S&Ws made before 1945 have a hole in the left side as part of the design. If I refused to own a S&W with a hole in the side I would have to sell about half my collection.

Really... much, much ado about nothing.

http://www.fototime.com/8DAA0044092961F/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/45F1CE80642A15F/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/6E233DC6AF3FD86/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/F46B4AD61694119/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/32435A14F875C0F/standard.jpg

harmonic
April 26, 2009, 10:44 PM
Wow, three whole attorneys? The other two you know only from anonymous internet forums?

How impressive.

Actually, I'll wait for you to cite the case. At least one case. Any case. Your wife should be able to do that.

Guillermo
April 26, 2009, 11:03 PM
Harmonic,

SaxonPig is a smart guy. He talked to some experts in the field of law about a hypothetical lawsuit.

If you don't want to listen to what advice he and his attorney friends say, ignore away.

It is my choice to just say "thank you" for his though and effort.

SaxonPig
April 27, 2009, 12:57 AM
harmonic- Sarcasm aside, there likely aren't any cases to cite at this point since I suspect it hasn't been an issue... yet. But because it hasn't happened... yet... doesn't mean that it won't and I do not wish to be the first.

As far as the number of lawyers consulted, you're right, three isn't a huge number. But when three of three give the same opinion, I figure there's something worth noting, here. You don't. Your choice. But which of us has more to lose if proven wrong?

Please feel free to dismiss the notion of a disabled lock being a legal issue.

The prosecutor trying to put you in prison and the civil attorney trying to ruin your life will thank you for it.

JohnKSa
April 27, 2009, 01:07 AM
If you MUST disable the lock, at least do it in such a way that it is IMMEDIATELY OBVIOUS that the lock has been disabled.

There are few things more dangerous than a gun with a safety that LOOKS like it works but that actually does nothing at all....dimestore lawyers who insist...These armchair lawyers... And how many lawyers would that be? An actual number please...Wow, three whole attorneys? ... How impressive. ... Actually, I'll wait for you to cite the case. So first it's only "dimstore" or "armchair" lawyers who say this. SaxonPig states that he has talked to actual lawyers.
So then it's not about armchair vs. real, it's about how many... SaxonPig states that he has talked to three lawyers.
So then it's not about how many lawyers, it's about an actual case cite.

I'm sure you wouldn't want us to get the impression that you're going to dismiss anything that contradicts your opinion so let's hear your side of it.I've never read of...Interesting approach. How much of what you've "never read" do you usually use to base your unshakeable opinions upon?

I guess that's beside the point. Given your standards for assessing the validity of input on this thread, what you "know" based on what you have never read is simply not going to pass muster.

So it's your turn now. This is your chance to let us see what facts you're basing your comments on.

1. How many actual lawyers have you spoken to about this topic and what were their opinions? (Per your standards, the number must be larger than 3, and none can be anonymous.)

2. How much case law have you reviewed to make your determination that this issue is not something that should be of concern?

harmonic
April 27, 2009, 01:40 AM
Like I said, cite the case that proves your proposition.

Until then, you don't know you're talking about. Any of you.

JohnKSa
April 27, 2009, 01:50 AM
Like I said, cite the case that proves your proposition.

Until then, you don't know you're talking about. Any of you.In other words, you have no facts at all.
You haven't spoken to any attorneys.
You haven't reviewed any applicable case law.

You're basing your entire argument on what you know because of what you've "never read" and apparently you believe that qualifies you to tell other people they don't know what they're talking about and to deride them for providing facts that clash with your view of reality.

Like I said, that's an interesting approach.

harmonic
April 27, 2009, 01:57 AM
John, do you understand anything about law? Apparantly not.

Pig makes an assertion that if you disable the lock, and if you use it in self-defense, you will be prosecuted. Either criminally or civilly.

Such a case has never been prosecuted, yet you people insist that such a case will be prosecuted.

Do you have any idea how absurd that is?

BTW, you need to actually read the thread.

I said,

I've never read of anyone who successfully defended themselves with a handgun being prosecuted for carrying a) a modified handgun or b) reloads.


Then pig came on and made his assertion.

Try to keep up.












.

JohnKSa
April 27, 2009, 02:20 AM
BTW, you need to actually read the thread.I read it again before making this post.Pig makes an assertion...How odd...are you sure you're reading the right thread? Because I only got to post number three before I realized that it was actually you who made the initial assertion regarding the legal advisability of modifying the lock. It wasn't SaxonPig at all.Then pig came on and made his assertion.(my emphasis added) ;)

Yes, THAT is correct. After you made your assertion (which you have so far failed to back up with anything even slightly resembling a fact) SaxonPig gave his opinion based on his discussions with three attorneys.Try to keep up.If I missed the part where you quoted some facts to support your position, I will apologize. Is that the case?...do you understand anything about law?My understanding of the law is somewhat limited. But it is sufficient to choose between the advice of a lawyer and the opinion of someone whose sole argument is based on what he's never read about. ;)

harmonic
April 27, 2009, 02:49 AM
My assertion was that armchair lawyers are blowing this out of proportion. I'm correct and you're merely proving my point.

If you want to disprove my point, you've got to prove pig's point, and you can only do that by citing the case.

Until then, I'm not going to waste any more time responding to your posts.

Again, to suggest that such a case is inevitable, when there has never been such a case, is moronic.

JohnKSa
April 27, 2009, 02:53 AM
I'm correct and you're merely proving my point.Stop it with all the facts--you had me at "I've never read..." :D

Noxx
April 27, 2009, 03:26 AM
Saxon, those guns look terrible with the hole in them, I can't believe you keep them. Out of the goodness of my heart, I could give you a few bucks for them and get them out of your sight. :D

Dirtpile
April 27, 2009, 04:11 AM
Before you two attack each other and SaxonPig again, I'd like to point out that you both missed the mark.
SaxonPig NEVER said that using a gun with a disabled lock would guarantee prosecution on either a legal or civil level. He only stated that it created the POTENTIAL for such and that a few lawyers agreed with that.
Just because it (supposedly) hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't or won't. Then again maybe it never will. But the question remains the same. Is it a chance you'd willingly take?

JohnKSa
April 27, 2009, 05:00 AM
I'd like to point out that you both missed the mark.
SaxonPig NEVER said that using a gun with a disabled lock would guarantee prosecution on either a legal or civil level. He only stated that it created the POTENTIAL for such and that a few lawyers agreed with that....I think if you look back at what I posted you'll see that I didn't even fire at that particular mark. ;)

In other words, I didn't weigh in one way or the other on the detailed specifics of what SaxonPig posted, I only objected to the double standard being imposed by harmonics in which he requires SaxonPig to validate his opinions by consulting multiple attorneys and citing specific case law while he himself provides no evidence to support his opinion other than his opinion.

hinton03
April 27, 2009, 07:47 AM
All I know is Mas Ayoob has been working as an expert witness in the use of deadly force cases for over twenty years and is universally accepted as an expert in this area; he says that if you don't believe disabling the lock will be an issue in a shooting you live in a fantasy world.

CDW4ME
April 27, 2009, 08:25 AM
Phydeaux642 "I can't imagine super glue being strong enough over time to do any good".

AAE Plastifletch Gel. Fletching adhesive for arrows, holds fletching onto shaft. I fired 20 rounds, took the sideplate off and the application was obviously still doing it's job. I might have applied more than a "drop" ;) Did I "disable" a safety device? No, although it's very unlikely going to move, "accidently". I have attempted to insure that a "safety" feature of the gun doesn't accidently engage during shooting, locking the gun. Nothing is visible on the outside of the revolver and the Gel can (could) be removed with the proper solvent (not planning on it).

popeye
April 27, 2009, 09:33 AM
The hole in the side is ugly enough I won't own one. I don't even care for the new 40's because of the new cyl retention config.. I recently bought a LN 70's mod 36 for $400. A comparable new S&W is what, $200 more?

SaxonPig
April 27, 2009, 09:50 AM
1. My username is SaxonPig. Please don't call me Pig as that is offensive.

2. I have said several times that anyone who is unconcerned about possible legal action from using a modified gun is free to do what they choose with the saftey device. You don't have to take my advice, or believe me, or agree with me or anyone else.

Do what you think is best.

However, I maintain that if you think a lawyer won't take notice of the missing safety on your gun, or will ignore it, or that you have nothing to worry about, I think you are being unwise. But it's entirely your decision.

Thaddeus Jones
April 27, 2009, 10:25 AM
I don't buy those IL revolvers, bypassing all the problems, or potential problems, of owning one. :)

steveracer
April 27, 2009, 12:12 PM
I remove the lock. I understand the reason some don't, but I hate the blasted things. I have found that a threaded blank in the hole cleans it up nicely. I removed it on every "lock" S&W, Springfield, Taurus, etc. I've ever owned. I remove the magazine disconnect on all S&W and Browning autos I've ever owned. We're talking dozens of guns over the years. One of the HiPowers I used to own was used by a friend in a self defense shooting, and nothing came of the disconnect being removed. All the assumptions that this will lead to litigation is just silly.
Nobody can cite one case. Not one. Not ever. Ayoob talks about it like there have been rashes of them all over the country, and that CCW holders are going to jail in record numbers for their modified guns.
Nonsense. If that were the case, nobody would carry custom guns, ever. Gunsmiths would be out of work for carry guns, because they have all been modified, making them more deadly, and creating lawsuits nation wide.
Imagine what a jury would think of a Fitz Special!!! Oh the humanity!!!
Steve

SaxonPig
April 27, 2009, 01:14 PM
You're right. I'm just silly.

ArmedBear
April 27, 2009, 01:25 PM
Uh, what about a drop of blue Loc-Tite?

All you're trying to do is keep a light bit of metal on a small axle from turning by itself. We're not talking about a lot of force here.

If you want to, you could even lock it with the key, breaking the Loc-Tite. This wouldn't be "modified" at all.

Deanimator
April 27, 2009, 01:36 PM
It's a bad design and I'm not interested in rewarding a lack of design talent with scarce funds.

I'll stick with my various pre-lock S&Ws which are better guns in general which are far more to my liking. I don't like stainless steel or round butts on guns with a longer than 3" barrel.

steveracer
April 27, 2009, 01:43 PM
SaxonPig, I'm not calling you silly. I just think the fear of litigation is silly, not you.
I fear litigation myself over certain things (kids hurting themselves playing on my property), and I recognize that my fear of it is silly, but I don't consider myself a silly man. Please don't think it was a personal comment. No offense meant.
Best,
Steve

wuchak
April 27, 2009, 02:21 PM
Can we please stop calling the internal lock a "safety"device? It's not. It's a security device. Nothing more than a built in trigger lock. The only time it comes into play is if the gun is in storage. If you disabled it and someone got your gun while it was stored and an accidental shooting resulted then it would be an issue because the case could be made that had it been functional you "might" have locked it and prevented the accident. The same as it would be an issue if you had it stored without being locked up in a container or with a trigger lock.

Having the lock disabled puts the gun in the same condition as it would be unlocked, which is the condition the lock would be in while carried. Although I have seen more than one post where someone locked it for storage and forgot to unlock it before carrying only to discover at the end of the day they had been carrying a locked gun. Talk about the potential for disaster. Disabling the lock only serves to remove the possibility of the gun failing, when it's needed most, due to the lock self engaging.

If it's a questionable shoot the prosecution will bring it up but they will also bring up the type of ammo, the type of gun, the caliber, your active membership on the THR and other firearms related forums, your NRA membership, that you have your number one car radio preset to the local talk radio station, and any other thing they can. Just because they will bring these up and try to make them an issue doesn't mean they will be. You will have a defense attorney whose job it is to point out ridiculous assertions made by the prosecution and any half competent attorney will make the removal of the lock a non issue. Heck, if the removal of the lock is a non-issue so would the person choosing to buy a non-locking version over one with the lock. The only way the lock can have any effect on a self defense shooting is having it engaged when it shouldn't be either because it locks itself or was inadvertently left locked . If either of those happen prosecution won't be a concern because you will probably be dead.

S&W really screwed up when they put these locks in their guns. The design is poor and it was a solution to a problem that didn't exist. They have created a new set of problems worse then the one they were meant to solve.

SaxonPig's discussion with the attorney's just confirms that attorneys generally are slime balls.

hinton03
April 27, 2009, 02:47 PM
As a senior officer in the Army once told me "If you wear your mustache according to Army regulations you look like an a-hole; therefore everyone with a mustache is an a-hole".

The point being no one will hold it against you if you don't have a mustache and no one will hold it against you if you don't disable your IL.

I have no problem with the lock other than it looks like crap. I buy mostly non IL S&W and Colt revolvers but in some cases I want to take advantage of the new revolver technologies that S&W is pioneering (e.g. 327 night guard). There is a lot of hype over the IL but I have seen no statistical evidence that there is a systemic issue with lock failures that would warrant the hype. Last I read S&W had had only a handfull of revolvers returned for lock failures and couldn't reproduce the failure in any of the revolvers returned.

Deanimator
April 27, 2009, 03:02 PM
I have no problem with the lock other than it looks like crap. I buy mostly non IL S&W and Colt revolvers but in some cases I want to take advantage of the new revolver technologies that S&W is pioneering (e.g. 327 night guard). There is a lot of hype over the IL but I have seen no statistical evidence that there is a systemic issue with lock failures that would warrant the hype. Last I read S&W had had only a handfull of revolvers returned for lock failures and couldn't reproduce the failure in any of the revolvers returned.
S&W and the IL in their revolvers are very much like IBM and the CMI hard drives in the IBM PC-AT. The policy is to just keep denying there's a problem, no matter what.

There used to be a VERY long thread on documented failures on the S&W Forums.

wuchak
April 27, 2009, 03:33 PM
Since the lock is a completely unnecessary add-on to the gun and has no role to play in the firing operation of the gun, except to make it less reliable, even one reported failure is too many. There are way too many reports of them failing over on the S&W forums to ignore. Of course S&W will not admit to a problem because they would have to recall all of those guns and remove the lock.

Here's an analogy. Suppose it's determined that the rear DVD player in Toyota's vehicles can cause the engine to seize and brakes to fail when traveling at highway speeds. Would you buy one of these vehicles? If you owned one would you leave it installed? The DVD player serves only to entertain the kids, which can be achieved lots of other ways, and adds nothing to operation of vehicle except the potential for failure. Similarly the IL adds nothing to the functionality of the gun except an increase in the risk of catastrophic failure (I consider having your gun suddenly freeze in a SD situation catastrophic) while adding nothing to firearm security that cannot be achieved more effectively by other means.

flyboy1788
April 27, 2009, 03:53 PM
Can someone please tell me specifically WHY altering a sefety device would make a damn bit of difference on a revolver if used in self defense????? What am I missing here? Plenty of revolvers dont even have safety devices, so when all of the sudden you get one that does and try to modify it, it is now a legal issue???? I thought the only mod you could make to a gun that would be illegal would be shortening the barrel below the legal length(doesnt apply to wheelgun) or making it full auto(also doesnt apply to wheel gun). I find this very confusing as to what the actual "problem" is here. I mean honestly, what the hell kind of difference does it make if you defend yourself with a 686 with an unmodified IL or a modified IL. It doesnt make the attacker/rapist/thug that was coming after you any less dead one way or the other...but apparently now that the safety has been modified, it is not OK...bizzarre. This is a serious question, so a serious answer would be appreciated.

Phydeaux642
April 27, 2009, 04:45 PM
Can someone please tell me specifically WHY altering a sefety device would make a damn bit of difference on a revolver if used in self defense????? What am I missing here? Plenty of revolvers dont even have safety devices, so when all of the sudden you get one that does and try to modify it, it is now a legal issue???? I thought the only mod you could make to a gun that would be illegal would be shortening the barrel below the legal length(doesnt apply to wheelgun) or making it full auto(also doesnt apply to wheel gun). I find this very confusing as to what the actual "problem" is here. I mean honestly, what the hell kind of difference does it make if you defend yourself with a 686 with an unmodified IL or a modified IL. It doesnt make the attacker/rapist/thug that was coming after you any less dead one way or the other...but apparently now that the safety has been modified, it is not OK...bizzarre. This is a serious question, so a serious answer would be appreciated.


It has everything to do with perception. Everyone here knows that a lock that is disabled is done so to keep the firearm from failing in the moment of need. Unfortunately, the majority of people don't know this and probably don't care. If there is an unscrupulous attorney, prosecutor or otherwise, that knows why a lock was disabled and understands that this modification has zero impact on the gun other than to keep it from failing but still presents it to a jury as a dangerous modification that resulted in the death of a bad guy, well, you could be in a mess.

It's unfortunate that our legal system can operate like this at times.

ArmedBear
April 27, 2009, 04:55 PM
Hopefully, you will get a good lawyer if you're in civil court.

He/she will get a gunsmith to explain the function of the lock to the jury, as well as why you'd remove it, and you will get an opportunity to explain that you don't need a lock, since you, a responsible gun owner, keep the gun in a safe when you're not around -- much safer for the community, children, et al. than the simple lock and a gun that can easily be stolen and used in crime.

A hassle, to be sure, but not insurmountable. Might not be worth it in civil court, though. Keep it clean if you can. 9/12 and a preponderance of evidence, along with the idiots in the jury box, is not a difficult hurdle for a good ambulance chaser, at least in some stated.

But what about Loc-Tite to keep it from spinning on its own, without disabling it?

Any thoughts from anyone?

Or must all these threads just degenerate into tirades about S&W?

WardenWolf
April 27, 2009, 04:59 PM
SaxonPig is a smart guy and there is no arguing with his post. It is spot on.

The question becomes do you...

A- adapt the lock to a safer situation by gluing or filing on it, knowing that the chances of using it for self defense is relatively low

B- trust that the jury might not be stupid

C- sell your revolver and buy a gun without the ugly, poorly designed lock

I am a BIG proponent of C.

I'm going to point this out, since it hasn't been brought up: police don't generally disassemble handguns they get unless they have a very specific reason to do so (i.e., serial number is missing so they're looking for markings on other parts). The reason is that doing so can destroy evidence like fingerprints and wipe blood traces from slick metal surfaces. Taking it apart also opens them to "tampering with evidence" arguments. They may examine your gun, but unless they fully take it apart, they're unlikely to even KNOW that the lock has been disabled, nor are they likely to test it. Most of these modifications are NOT visible from the outside, and some, like the superglue method, will likely simply break free if someone actually tried to use the lock.

wuchak
April 27, 2009, 05:03 PM
Can someone please tell me specifically WHY altering a safety device would make a damn bit of difference on a revolver if used in self defense?????

Once again the IL is NOT a safety device. It's a security device. A grip safety is a safety device. A transfer bar is a safety device. A mag disconnect is a safety device. Funny thing about the mag disconnect. Lots of manufacturers make the same gun available with or without the mag disconnect and many people remove them from the version that has them. Nobody seems to think this is a legal issue like they do the internal lock removal.

flyboy1788
April 27, 2009, 05:04 PM
It has everything to do with perception. Everyone here knows that a lock that is disabled is done so to keep the firearm from failing in the moment of need. Unfortunately, the majority of people don't know this and probably don't care. If there is an unscrupulous attorney, prosecutor or otherwise, that knows why a lock was disabled and understands that this modification has zero impact on the gun other than to keep it from failing but still presents it to a jury as a dangerous modification that resulted in the death of a bad guy, well, you could be in a mess.

So, you're saying that the DA can claim that the thug he is defending was "accidentally" shot because the gun had a safety tampered with, thus making it more prone to an AD or something along those lines?

ETA: wuchak, I dont see how it is vital to point out what the official technical name for it is, seeing as it is understood that we are both talking about the same thing, and regardless of what it is called, I just want to know how this would EVER fly in court.

SaxonPig
April 27, 2009, 05:07 PM
Lawyers do their job. If their job is to sue you then they will use every advantage at their disposal. I prefer to not give a lawyer anything that could conceivably be used against me.

I do not fear being prosecuted or sued... I AM TERRIFIED OF IT.

Flyboy1788- As I said earlier, WE... those of us knowledgeable about guns... realize that the internal lock is a storage lock and has nothing to do with the safe operation of the gun. However, if opposing counsel learns that you disabled any safety device it will become a point he can use against you tp prejudice a jury... the members of which he will select SPECIFICALLY for their lack of knowledge about firearms... into seeing you as raging manic killer or at least someone who has wanton disregard for gun safety.

Agree or disagree, like it or not, call lawyers bad names if it makes you feel better, THAT'S the way it works in court. Please note that a jury forced Remington to pay the man whose son shot him in the back $7,000,000. The boy admitted to pointing the gun at his dad, with his finger on the trigger knowing it was loaded but the jury found Remington responsible.

Once again, anyone who thinks fearing legal action following a shooting is silly, please be my guest and disable your lock. As for me, I have seen lawyers going after people in court. They spend four years in law school being trained how to do it and they only get better with practice. I have no desire whatsoever to give an attorney thinking of coming after me ANYTHING useful.

Phydeaux642
April 27, 2009, 05:07 PM
So, you're saying that the DA can claim that the thug he is defending was "accidentally" shot because the gun had a safety tampered with, thus making it more prone to an AD or something along those lines?

All I'm saying is that anything can happen in court. Remember the O.J. Simpson trial?

flyboy1788
April 27, 2009, 05:30 PM
Saxon- Thank you for the detailed explanation. That cleared things up quite a bit.

Phydeaux642- I am going to sound like a complete newb telling you that I dont remember what happened in that trial, but I was a young kid during the years that the trial took place. (I am nearing 21 now)

1KPerDay
April 27, 2009, 05:55 PM
it is your gun, modify it at will.
So I can saw off my 870 barrel, then? :D

How about the disconnector on my Mini-14? :D


Personally, I wouldn't modify any "safety" devices on my carry guns. I don't carry reloads. But that's just me. I'm not a lawyer and don't even play one on TV.

wuchak
April 27, 2009, 07:06 PM
ETA: wuchak, I dont see how it is vital to point out what the official technical name for it is, seeing as it is understood that we are both talking about the same thing, and regardless of what it is called, I just want to know how this would EVER fly in court.

I pointed that out because there is a meaningful difference between the two terms. Tampering with a "safety" feature on a firearm could carry some considerable weight in the courtroom, not to mention it raises the chance of a negligent discharge. Tampering with a "security" storage feature is not relevant in a self defense case. The only time it would be relevant is if someone accessed your stored firearm and was injured. The case could be made that had the lock been intact you "might" have locked it and prevented the accident. In any other circumstance your defense attorney will have an easy time making the removal of the lock a non-issue even if the prosecution brings it up.

If the turning point of a trial for a self defense shooting is that you have disabled the lock on your firearm then you were already going to jail for a bad shoot.

Pack
April 28, 2009, 03:13 AM
Our system is a truly adversarial one, as opposed to courts in civil law countries. Our system is more concerned with giving people an opportunity to make their case, rather than doing everything possible to make sure we find the truth in every case.

As long as we "have our day in court" - one that is condicted fairly - we've gotten all we should in the American legal system. As such, the judge and/or jury does not sit down before the trial begins, deciding what is and isn't at issue. The lawyers build their cases and present their arguments - and any good attorney will make any point he can.

After three long years, I graduate law school in a week. Please know that an attorney will exploit any advantage he perceives in a case, period. This is not a matter of "slimy lawyering". This is, literally, his SWORN duty - to "zealously represent" his client (quoting the model rules of professional conduct). The system works because there is another attorney, on the other side, doing the same. What we may think of as "fair" has F-all to do with what's going to happen in a lawsuit.

None of us can know how we're going to react to these situations. There are any number of them in which the IL - or any other feature of the gun - may be called into question/scrutiny. What if, at any point in the immediate aftermath of a defensive shooting, you're still shaking from the adrenaline letdown, and you say something even remotely like "I didn't mean/want to shoot him". MOTHER OF GOD - if anyone hears anything like that, you'd better believe that the disabled IL is going to become an issue in a hurry.

To those who wanted an example/analogy - let's use a simple, law school one. You're cutting your grass. The mowed has a guard on it, to protect against debris that gets kicked up by the blades. However, you find that this guard doesn't let you cut as close to the house/bushes as you'd like, so you remove it. A year later, a rock gets kicked up and the little neighbor boy has his "eye put out". Your "improper modification" of the mower will 1) likely indemnify the manufacturer of the mower, and 2) likely become the new centerpiece of the discussion/trial regarding your negligence.

I'll just lay my hands on a "pre-lock" gun, or choose a new model without one.

hinton03
April 28, 2009, 04:09 AM
Phydeaux642 psoted by Mas Ayoob on the firingline forum.

"Anyone with a three-digit IQ knows that unscrupulous attorneys may come after them with unmeritorious arguments in the wake of a justified shooting. Telling them "Aw, don't worry about it" is kinda like Sarah Brady telling people, "Aw, criminals won't come after you. You don't need a gun."

People know the crapload of trouble they can get into after the most justified shooting. It can make people hesitate long enough to be killed. That's why I make a point of educating folks how to deal with the aftermath, so they'll know they can get through it and not die from fatal hesitation in the moment of truth.

Why do you think you won't find a reputable gunsmith who will remove a safety device from a firearm? Did you think I scared them? They know what is likely to happen in a litigious society when a money-hungry plaintiff's lawyer or a politically-motivated prosecutor goes after someone who was in a "clean shoot" and tries to make them appear reckless and irresponsible.

The jury will have been cleared of knowledgeable gun folks during voir dire, the jury selection process. When opposing counsel presents their "theory of the case", they will need to establish recklessness. Removing a safety device from a lethal weapon plays right into their hands.

You, the shooter, now have to convince the jury that you know more about the gun than its designer and manufacturer. Pretty high mountain to climb.

In a manslaughter case in Miami some years ago, famed defense attorney Mark Seiden did a case in which the prosecutor made a big deal about the deactivated magazine disconnector safety on the defendant's Browning Hi-Power, which was in his car at the scene but was not even the death weapon. The case was plea-bargained, and Mark prefers that his client's name not be used to spare him further humiliation, but Mark himself will confirm that it happened.

Haven't personally seen a case involving the S&W lock, but the same principles would undoubtedly apply. Personally, I just make a point of using pre-lock models for my J-frame carry needs.

Decision is yours, folks. It's your life and your future. But get all the information and make a fully informed decision."

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