NFA weapon as last defense for home defense


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stressed
October 17, 2013, 01:58 AM
Under the worst case scenario, what do you think the law would think if the closest weapon you had access to in a dire situation with armed intruders was an auto subgun, short barrel shotgun, etc or some other similar firearm.

I know the media would make a field day if you used an automatic weapon, but if your life was on the line and it was the closest viable option I can understand.

Do you think the prosecution would try to hang you, or it would be treated no different from a normal firearm?

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OARNGESI
October 17, 2013, 02:26 AM
in any court case any little detail no matter how small will be used to bias the jury against you, so use what ever you have to stay alive in that moment.

Tejicano Loco
October 17, 2013, 04:44 AM
I read an article - probably 20 years ago or more - about a guy who used a registered machinegun to defend himself which did not seem to make much difference to the local justice system. It was an obvious good shoot and nobody made any issue about the use of a legal machinegun.

Now, granted, these are different times and something like this might get picked up on the internet and any little detail get blown out of proportion. But as long as you are in the right - and live to tell the tale - that would be all I would worry about.

I do happen to own a registered, select fire 45ACP MAC-10 with the registered suppressor which I sometimes consider as a HD weapon. Effective, handy, and really useful with the suppressor. It just doesn't have the level of accuracy I would want for the first round out.

I also once has a situation where five people were caught attempting to break into the appartment upstairs and had trapped my two neighbors on the stairwell and were trying to push them to fight. I chose a shotgun over the SMG to break up the incident - partly because I didn't want to advertize to a bunch of criminals that I had expensive guns .

MaterDei
October 17, 2013, 05:51 AM
"worst case scenario" is a bit vague. Are you talking about a couple of armed intruders in your home or are you talking about a platoon invading your ranch?

If the later then full auto can come in handy as suppressive fire. If you're 'just' talking about a couple of BGs in your home then I question the value of full auto.

A short barreled shotgun however would work pretty well for inside the house defense and not well at all for suppressive fire.

So, without more info the answer is 'depends'. :)

Double Naught Spy
October 17, 2013, 06:17 AM
If your life is on the line, it would be stupid to not use your best weapon for the task. Chances are that your NFA probably won't be your best option, however, but if it is, then that is what you should be using.

Sam1911
October 17, 2013, 07:00 AM
Dr. Meyer (member "GEM" here) has written some really thought-provoking things about how and to what extent juries are swayed by factors like the appearance of a weapon a defendant used in a shooting. These things certainly DO have an effect.

Having said that, I am not quite sure what your question supposes. It sort of sounds like you're asking if you've expended your pistol, and your shotgun, and your rifle in the fight, would it be ok to then go to a machine gun or SBS or other Title II regulated device? If so, OF COURSE. If you're under some extreme sort of attack and fending off multiple assailants, you would keep shooting whatever you had at hand until the attack stopped or you died. At that point, the legal ramifications of what weapon you chose will be far subsumed beneath sorting out your extremely extraordinary violent encounter. There will be so much else either proving your justification or damning you at that point, that what weapon you used is likely to be completely moot.

Now if you're asking about a more "mundane" home invasion circumstance where you happen to have a sub gun or SBS out handy and grab that to face the threat? You've got to do whatever it takes to end the threat IMMEDIATELY. That doesn't leave you time to go looking for a less potentially problematic weapon. You'll probably have to explain that in court, if the case goes to trial, but at least you're alive to testify.

The last permutation I can see is asking if CHOOSING to keep a Title II type weapon handy, specifically as your defensive weapon of choice, is a good idea. In general I'd say no. There's surely not much that any of the Title II arms do BETTER in a home defense role than other less potentially jury-troublesome arms would do. The greatest argument contrary to that would be that a short-barreled rifle, probably with a suppressor, would be a really nice thing to have in close quarters. That is true. Whether you feel the benefits it gives outweigh the possible risks in court is really going to be for you to decide. If you're already using a "black rifle" for home defense, how much more troubling to a jury will it be for that black rifle to also have a short barrel? How much more troubling that it has a can on it?

It might be worth remembering that, if convicted of criminal wrongdoing in your presumed defensive shooting, using a Title II weapon will add additional penaties in some states.

Of course, you're in real bad shape anyway at that point and will be losing all your guns and your freedom, so maybe that's moot.

Bubbles
October 17, 2013, 11:01 AM
I read an article - probably 20 years ago or more - about a guy who used a registered machinegun to defend himself which did not seem to make much difference to the local justice system. It was an obvious good shoot and nobody made any issue about the use of a legal machinegun.
The Gary Fadden Incident (http://www.davehayes.org/2006/02/10/the-gary-fadden-incident) by Massad Ayoob, published in American Handgunner. Shooter was an HK employee in VA, charged with murder, jury found him not guilty.

Arizona_Mike
October 17, 2013, 11:12 AM
I don't think an SBR or SBS would have that much sex appeal but I could see more prosecutors acting like Fadden's did over a full auto.

Mike

JustinJ
October 17, 2013, 12:04 PM
I think the real questions is whether or not the tactical advantage, or hearing protection in the case of suppressors, is worth the potential legal consequences of using such weapons for home defense. As I understand it, and please someone correct me if wrong, that crimes committed with such weapons come with draconian minimum sentences. I believe federally but possibly some states do as well. If correct, one should seriously consider the law and how it affects potential prosecution in home defense scenarios. If a bad guy in Texas kicks in the door and starts blazing and the home owner shoots him with an sbr the chances of him being charged are little to none. If however, a man shoots a kid who was just toilet papering his lawn at night it could be a different story.

Sam1911
October 17, 2013, 12:17 PM
As I understand it, and please someone correct me if wrong, that crimes committed with such weapons come with draconian minimum sentences. I believe federally but possibly some states do as well. Not federally, but a number of states do have such laws.

If correct, one should seriously consider the law and how it affects potential prosecution in home defense scenarios. But that is the same regardless of weapon.

If a bad guy in Texas kicks in the door and starts blazing and the home owner shoots him with an sbr the chances of him being charged are little to none. If however, a man shoots a kid who was just toilet papering his lawn at night it could be a different story.
The thing is, if you are found to have acted illegally, that's going to be a felony conviction. It won't matter if you shot the guy unlawfully with a single-shot .410 bore shotgun or with an M2 BMG. You will be going to jail, you will lose your right to own any firearms, ever, will lose your livelihood and all your savings/assets in the court fight, probably will end up divorced, and will spend the rest of your life as either a prisoner or a felon/ex-convict.

So that's, like, really bad.

If you get convicted of the same crime with a machine gun (or whatever other NFA item, depending on the specifics of your state's laws) you may be saddled with a bit of extra time in jail itself, in addition to being a felon forever and all that other misery.

So while that's "even worse," an unlawful killing is pretty much the end of the game for most of us good, law abiding folks here anyway. A few extra years in the pokey might as well be irrelevant. (Opinions may change after you're IN there, but, for now, it doesn't matter.)

You MUST avoid ever having to shoot anyone, with anything if you at all can. If you are FORCED to shoot someone to save your life or that of a loved one, you hope, pray, and try to prepare in such a way that you won't be arrested, tried, and certainly convicted of criminal wrongdoing. (Though there will never be any guarantees.)

If you're convicted of a crime, it's pretty much game over. Life as you knew it is done. If there's a Title II gun involved...it will be just a bit worse.

It's kind of like being in a fatal car wreck where your car hits a tree, flips over, burns, explodes, and falls off a bridge. Is it a whole lot worse if it also gets a flat tire?

hentown
October 17, 2013, 03:25 PM
Is there some legal preclusion from using NFA firearms for s.d. purposes? If so, would somebody please post a link? I'm not familiar with any such caveat. I'm not even familiar with the existence of laws prohibiting the use of modified weapons, light triggers, etc. I'm not even familiar with laws that prescribe what tools are to be used in cases of s.d.

Prosecutors in my state are elected officials. They don't get elected if they randomly prosecute citizens who use firearms, whether NFA or not, in legitimate cases of s.d.

Most, if not all of the caveats about the use of NFA weapons and/or modified weapons in legitmate cases of s.d. are just the sophomoric drivel of the ignorant proletariat! :cool:

The main reason I've acquired a threaded barrel for my nightstand G17 is so that I can use it with a suppressor. I have no concerns about taking the life of a predator or parasite, using a suppressed weapon.

Sam1911
October 17, 2013, 03:34 PM
No. There are no laws that say you can't use a Title II weapon for self defense -- any more than there are laws that say you can't use a pistol, a pipe wrench, or a potted plant as a weapon in a self-defense case. The law doesn't work that way. If you have a clear need to use violence against someone else in order to prevent death, what weapon you have at hand at the moment is immaterial to the law.

(Though possibly not immaterial to whether you're prosecuted and/or convicted.)

In some states there are laws that say IF you are convicted of a crime (your "good shoot" turns into a "bad shoot" because the jury doesn't believe you) then your choice of weapon will make your sentence longer.

And, no, there are no states which are "safe" -- meaning where self defense cases are not prosecuted even though the good guy's halo was nice and shiny.

Some of the most instructive cases of what can go BADLY in a self defense trial have come out of traditionally conservative, gun-loving, pro-self-defense states.

CoRoMo
October 17, 2013, 05:59 PM
I read an article - probably 20 years ago or more - about a guy who used a registered machinegun to defend himself which did not seem to make much difference to the local justice system. It was an obvious good shoot and nobody made any issue about the use of a legal machinegun.
The Harry Beckwith Incident (http://www.afn.org/~guns/ayoob.html) by Massad Ayoob, published in American Handgunner. Shooter was a firearms dealer in FL and a grand jury absolved him of wrongdoing.

Arizona_Mike
October 17, 2013, 06:06 PM
I've met Harry several times and shopped frequently in his store in Micanopy, FL from 1993-2000. I learned some of the details in the mid 90s but did not know the full story until later. He passed away in 2006.

Mike

Aaron Baker
October 17, 2013, 06:07 PM
Just curious, but unwilling to research it extensively myself, so... can anyone think of a relatively famous/notorious example of a person being prosecuted for acting in self-defense when a bad guy broke into their home and the shoot happened inside the house?

It seems like many of the cases which are "borderline" and therefore end up in a prosecution are cases where the self defense shooting happens in the street, out in public somewhere, or even on your own property but outside the house. It also seems like you're much more likely to be prosecuted if you know the victim, because that category includes cases of domestic violence shootings, family feud shootings, drug transaction gone wrong shootings, etc.

I'm wondering if anyone can provide an example of someone being prosecuted when a complete stranger, who had a criminal history that demonstrated a propensity for violence, broke into a person's house and that person shot the intruder inside the home. I imagine that prosecutions don't happen much in that scenario.

My point being, I guess, the same as Sam's, which is that I think your choice of self defense weapon is much less important than all the other variables that define a self-defense shooting. So for all the people putting a suppressor on your bedside table firearm, you're probably fairly safe, since the purpose of such a weapon is to protect your family inside your home in the middle of the night from criminal intruders.

Aaron

Akita1
October 17, 2013, 08:22 PM
With Sam 100% on this one - don't make it about the class of weapon. Whatever you shoot the best (and is an actual effective tool) is the always the right choice. If it happens to be a full auto SBR, then so be it. I'll take my chances with the jury on that one and sue the DA when I'm found not guilty (based upon where I live of course).

Arizona_Mike
October 17, 2013, 09:48 PM
What does a suppressor do to forensics? The Danny Bias case (wife suicide, no powder burns from very his mild handloads) is horrible. Convicted in lesser included on 4th trial. Bankrupt and a felon after more than a decade of trials and appeals.
http://www.gunforums.net/forums/general-gun-talk/5514-cases-where-handloads-caused-problems-court-mas-ayoob.html (The link claims Mas first posted at THR but I can't find it).

Mike

zxcvbob
October 17, 2013, 09:58 PM
Just curious, but unwilling to research it extensively myself, so... can anyone think of a relatively famous/notorious example of a person being prosecuted for acting in self-defense when a bad guy broke into their home and the shoot happened inside the house?


Cory Maye.

Sam1911
October 17, 2013, 10:32 PM
The Danny Bliss case Are you referring to the Daniel BIAS case?

If so, that's been HEAVILY explored here at THR...and the reason he was convicted is that his story wasn't true. It couldn't be made to add up to a suicide no matter how hard the forensics labs worked to come up with a load that duplicated his claims.

As far as what a silencer does to the forensic work? It would change the patterns and crime scene evidence, but whatever duplication of effects would need to be done to prove or disprove a point would be conducted with an identical weapon (probably THE weapon) and silencer so that's not detrimental.

(Now, using a can and then taking it off and trying to claim you didn't use one would certainly put you into a bad spot, but I don't think anyone's promoting that idea.)

Sam1911
October 17, 2013, 10:51 PM
With Sam 100% on this one - don't make it about the class of weapon. Whatever you shoot the best (and is an actual effective tool) is the always the right choice. If it happens to be a full auto SBR, then so be it.

I agree in principle, but I think it is important to state clearly that -- as cool as a full-auto short-barreled assault rifle is, it is a very rare shooter who literally does perform his/her best with such a gun in a home-defense role.

Not saying it COULDN'T be "the" gun. Just saying full autos are not magically the equals of (to say nothing of superior to) handguns, shotguns, or semi-auto carbines in actual defensive, close-range use. You MUST practice with your weapons and test yourself with scored hits on targets, AGAINST A TIMER, in realistic scenario shooting, to determine where your skills are most optimized. Considering the very serious risk of stray rounds (a problem with any gun, amplified greatly by the "happy switch") this is a decision I'd say 99% of shooters should NOT make, even if they have the option.

Now SBR/SBS? Well, having a short barrel doesn't necessarily make it any easier to hit a target, but it will make them quicker and easier to manuver. Again, test it out. PROVE that this is the best weapon to count on when defending your loved ones.

A defensive shooting is not the time to be using your "kewlest" gun. But, rather, the gun you hit with most accurately, fastest, at in-home distances.

Arizona_Mike
October 17, 2013, 11:19 PM
Sam, thanks for catching the typo. I was asking a question and not attemptng to refute the point that weapon type is a far secondary concern to other legal concerns. In fact I agree with it. Despite being the same state as Harold Fish, my car gun is a 10mm and I'm either using that or my .454 Casull revolver when open carrying. I blame Fish's defense for letting the prosecutor's absurd claims go unanswered.

Just relaying what Mas wrote about the case. I have not studied it but you have piqued my interest.

Mike

Magnuumpwr
October 17, 2013, 11:27 PM
If I read the OP correctly, he has his SBR, SBS, MG readily accessible for use in a scenerio he describes. Personally, my NFA items stay under lock and key. With that being said, they would in no way be a first choice for a surprise scenerio.

stressed
October 17, 2013, 11:33 PM
If I read the OP correctly, he has his SBR, SBS, MG readily accessible for use in a scenerio he describes. Personally, my NFA items stay under lock and key. With that being said, they would in no way be a first choice for a surprise scenerio.
Neither. Merely a question that has provoked discussion.

Arizona_Mike
October 17, 2013, 11:54 PM
So I found the "megathread" on Bias and digested it. I guess the summary is that there was no evidence that handloads as light as he claimed were in the gun ever existed and other handloads that were found in the home were tested and admitted into evidence. It sounds like Mas got this one wrong.

Mike

OptimusPrime
October 18, 2013, 01:06 AM
For what it's worth, in my experience the automatic weapons are never the weapon of choice when you're looking for precise and accurate fire. As such, if I had any, they would be so far UN-accessible that I would have several better options more accessible with which to react.

SPW1
October 18, 2013, 07:27 PM
I personally suspect using a NFA item in self defense would make no difference if it was a 100% "clean" shoot. In such a situation the media would likely would say next to nothing about it because they would not want the public to hear anything positive about NFA items or about NFA owners. However, if it was a situation where it was less than 100% clear cut that you were in the right it probably wouldn't help your case any and the media would most likely be all over it. Personally though, I would use a NFA weapon for self defense without hesitation in your hypothetical scenario of armed intruders and a NFA item being the closest viable option when I felt my life was threatened. I surely am not going to worry about whether or not the tool I need to use for self defense is politically correct or what lawyers may or may not do with it. Live first, worry about the trial later. Like I said though, as long as it is legally held, and the shoot is clear cut self defense(ie: robbers are found dead in your house and you didn't do anything stupid like shooting a unarmed teenage thug after he ran out of your house or your neighbors house and is half way down the street with the stolen goods.) I don't think you would have anything more to worry about than if you had used any other gun.

Sam1911
October 18, 2013, 09:08 PM
This would probably be a good time to reiterate the old saw that nothing is a "good shoot" until other people (investigators, DAs, jurors) have decided it is. Your shiny halo and good guy's white hat don't make you the hero until those other folks have decided whether the totality of evidence indicates you met the state's legal standard of self defense.

What is under debate at the very heart of this question, though, is whether the use of an NFA item (an unusual, "scary," restricted type of weapon) will influence those people to prosecute when they otherwise wouldn't and convict when they might not have.

That's where Dr. Meyer's work is instructive. Prosecution or declining to prosecute, and Conviction or Acquittal aren't the results of scientific formulas that give predictable results. They are discretionary, more often than not. They are the results of opinions formed by other people. People who can be swayed by all sorts of things including gross ignorance of, and prejudice toward firearms, especially aggressive, militaristic firearms. It is a real factor. We don't have to let it make our decisions for us but ignoring it completely is probably unwise as well.

hentown
October 18, 2013, 09:47 PM
I'm confident, considering the jurisdiction in which I live, that the only problem I'd be concerned about, should I have to use one of my firearms for s.d., would be what to wear when I'm given a parade around the town square.

I can't imagine that anybody in the aforesaid jurisdicition would ever be prosecuted, if they take the life of another in an obvious case of s.d., such as a home invasion, car-jacking, etc.

I know for sure that I wouldn't be prosecuted, should I use an NFA weapon in my jurisdiction in a case of s.d.

Sam1911
October 18, 2013, 09:53 PM
Well then, that's fine. It is wonderful to have such assurances.

stressed
October 18, 2013, 11:43 PM
This would probably be a good time to reiterate the old saw that nothing is a "good shoot" until other people (investigators, DAs, jurors) have decided it is. Your shiny halo and good guy's white hat don't make you the hero until those other folks have decided whether the totality of evidence indicates you met the state's legal standard of self defense.

What is under debate at the very heart of this question, though, is whether the use of an NFA item (an unusual, "scary," restricted type of weapon) will influence those people to prosecute when they otherwise wouldn't and convict when they might not have.

That's where Dr. Meyer's work is instructive. Prosecution or declining to prosecute, and Conviction or Acquittal aren't the results of scientific formulas that give predictable results. They are discretionary, more often than not. They are the results of opinions formed by other people. People who can be swayed by all sorts of things including gross ignorance of, and prejudice toward firearms, especially aggressive, militaristic firearms. It is a real factor. We don't have to let it make our decisions for us but ignoring it completely is probably unwise as well.
Perfectly said.

JohnKSa
October 19, 2013, 12:55 AM
The Gary Fadden Incident by Massad Ayoob, published in American Handgunner. Shooter was an HK employee in VA, charged with murder, jury found him not guilty.Not a great example of how using NFA weapons for self-defense won't hurt the defender.

He was acquitted but his defense cost $45,000 in 1984--adjusted for inflation that would amount to over 100,000.

Fadden himself felt that his use of an NFA weapon was a major factor in the DA's decision to prosecute him and made the comment that <If I had used a Remington 870 Wingmaster instead> “I would have gone home that night."

Carl N. Brown
October 19, 2013, 06:17 AM
Heres the article by GEM I downloaded awhile back. Interesting read:

Meyer, G. E., (2009). Will it hurt me in court: weapons issues and the fears of the legally armed citizen. The Jury Expert, American Society of Trial Consultants, vol 21 no 5, Sept 2009, p 29-42.
http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2009/09/will-it-hurt-me-in-court-weapons-issues-and-the-fears-of-the-legally-armed-citizen/

zxcvbob
October 19, 2013, 10:36 AM
FWIW, I would *love* to have a silencer for my HD pistol.

JustinJ
October 21, 2013, 02:22 PM
Another consideration is how use of an NFA items could influence the decision to prosecute as well as the likelihood of being convicted. It's been opined that a "scarier" looking weapon could be used to convince a jury that the home defender is a gun nut with blood lust or just paranoid. Could the fact that an NFA item were used not pose the same risk?

Cosmoline
October 21, 2013, 04:09 PM
A select fire weapon sounds about ideal for "Papa Zoot" and his "brothers." But you have to figure on losing it to evidence, which is reason enough not to.

JustinJ
October 21, 2013, 05:02 PM
Full auto seems like a horrible idea but a suppressor and/or can, especially the latter, seems to offer significant advantage for a HD weapon.

tepin
October 26, 2013, 08:46 AM
I keep my SBR locked up in the basement and unloaded. I have other self-defense options. Losing my $3K SBR to the cops because some crack-head broke into my home doesn't sound like a good plan.... which is also why I no longer carry a $1300.00 Kimber, I carry a $450.00 S&W 442.
Folks should just assume they will not get their gun back after a shooting and plan accordingly.

Arizona_Mike
October 27, 2013, 03:15 PM
I think we have deviated quite a bit from the OP's question which assumes NFA weapon or nothing.

This is exactly what Garry Fadden went through and his case seems to be the most malicious prosecution given he did everything right except use a machine gun. Yet, all told, I'm sure he is glad to be alive which is probably the real answer to the OP's question.

Mike

Double Naught Spy
October 27, 2013, 04:45 PM
Right, you do what you have to do to survive. It would be silly not to do so.

Steve C
October 28, 2013, 03:55 AM
Under the worst case scenario, what do you think the law would think if the closest weapon you had access to in a dire situation with armed intruders was an auto subgun, short barrel shotgun, etc or some other similar firearm.

Worst case scenario would be if you shot someone you have motive to kill other than strangers committing a home invasion. People like your ex wife, wife's boyfriend, a relative where you where a beneficiary of a very lucrative life insurance policy, your business partner, any one you are having a feud with, etc. You hay have legally justified reasons to shoot them but it complicates things.

As long as you where not running a drug house, meth lab or other illegal operation or are a convicted felon whose rights haven't been restored, the law regarding self defense is the same regardless of weapons. If you are prohibited by law of having a weapon, well expect to be in trouble.

The media only cares if something sensational happens. If you machine gun intruders and wake up the neighborhood doing it, that would be sensational. If you shoot an intruder with a NFA shotgun its not exceptionally news worthy as most reporters know less than nothing about the legalities of shotguns and wouldn't pick up on barrel length being normal or specially licensed NFA. As long as your NFA guns are legal you shouldn't have any problems with the police or the legal system if the shooting is a good one.

I think the test of a good shooting is one where you don't care at the time what the law thinks or does because dealing with those issues later are a lot better than being dead or seriously injured then.

hentown
October 28, 2013, 08:17 AM
Couldn't one also make the same argument that attending seminars such as those conducted by Ayoob, particpating in IDPA, etc., would be just as damning in a self-defense shooting as the use of, for example, a silencer?

If one is a member of a gun range, wouldn't that be just as damning as the use of a silencer? Only between the ears, I'd suggest, of a non-legally trained, self-promoting, narcissistic, chain-smoking gunrag-writer/seminar-giver!! :rolleyes:

Most of the arguments I've heard so far are pretty sophomoric. District attorneys in most jurisdictions are elected officials. Unless one lives in a jurisdiction in which Democrats control who gets elected, then one isn't likely to be prosecuted for legtimately defending oneself. :cool:

I get my legal advice from real practicing attorneys, district attorneys and sitting judges. I'd recommend the same to anybody.

Sam1911
October 28, 2013, 08:35 AM
Couldn't one also make the same argument that attending seminars such as those conducted by Ayoob, particpating in IDPA, etc., would be just as damning in a self-defense shooting as the use of, for example, a silencer?
Not if one wanted to be taken credibly. Experience with courses in lawful self-defense can be and are used to show that you acted as taught, in accordance with law. That helps the jury perceive your actions as closer to those of the hypothetical "reasonable man." Similar things could be said about IDPA or other directed skills practice. You are able to be cast in the light of more of a subject matter expert who's actions could be perceived as more likely to be aligned with best practices in the field. (Again, "likely," "perceived," "reasonable," and so forth. This is influencing their mental picture of you as the good guy.)

A silencer would be, at best, neutral. At worst, too much TV/movie assassin. A short-barreled shotgun? You HOPE that doesn't come up. Everyone knows the expression "sawed-off" and the defense WILL use it. An SBR? Ehhh, probably not a big deal. Most folks have no idea that's even a thing. A machine gun of some sort? Well...that's definitely going to get "play" in the court room. You're going to spend as much time talking about that as you are the break-in.

Most of the arguments I've heard so far are pretty sophomoric. District attorneys in most jurisdictions are elected officials. Unless one lives in a jurisdiction in which DemocRATs control who gets elected, then one isn't likely to be prosecuted for legtimately defending oneself

Not really. When you look at some of the cases most noteworthy for illustrating how details can turn a case hard against the "defender" (such lists have been presented here before by Frank Ettin, among others...worth a search) a great many have happened in "gun friendly" states where -- "for sure" -- you'd be safe from overzealous prosecution by DemocRATS or whatever your chosen silly epithet might be.

All that to say there's no reason at all to think that your case will not be a very rocky road just because you've got a DA or judge who tells you, "Aww shucks, just kill 'em all..."

JustinJ
October 28, 2013, 10:17 AM
If one is a member of a gun range, wouldn't that be just as damning as the use of a silencer? Only between the ears, I'd suggest, of a non-legally trained, self-promoting, narcissistic, chain-smoking gunrag-writer/seminar-giver!!

Gun club membership is likely far more common than silencer ownership. It's seen as far more "normal" than owning silencers.

Not if one wanted to be taken credibly. Experience with courses in lawful self-defense can be and are used to show that you acted as taught, in accordance with law. That helps the jury perceive your actions as closer to those of the hypothetical "reasonable man."

His name alludes me at the moment but I do recall reading the story about a man (in Arizona I believe) whose wife got into an encounter with neighbors across the street, he got pulled in, assaulted and used his gun. In the ensuing court case his high degree of activity in self defense courses and/or competition was used to portray him as trigger happy by the prosecutor, or so I read. In fact, as I recall, he was actually an instructor.

Sam1911
October 28, 2013, 10:36 AM
It is certainly possible. My point previously was to say that these other factors (training, practice, instruction in the law, etc.) CAN be used to show you in a positive light.

I can't really picture how the possible negative views of machine guns, "sawed-off" shotguns, or silencers could be used to make you look BETTER to the uninformed jurors. About the best you could hope for is that they won't think too much worse of you because you unloaded on the bad guy with a machine gun.

A prosecutor could indeed try for a "trigger-happy" angle because you're an accomplished shooter, but your defense counsel could likely make a lot more good out of it going for the angle of a "responsible guy, took the time to learn the law, knowledgeable, not some backwoods redneck blasting away at anyone who steps on his land, etc."

It's all a game of perceptions and painting the right picture with the available fact.

hentown
November 6, 2013, 08:58 AM
Rather than idle speculation, can anybody post a link to a case in which a legally-owned silencer was used in a case of s.d. and the shooter was prosecuted because a silencer was used? FWIW, I consider Ayoob's opinions to be sophomoric, amateurish, and worthless. I depend on real lawyers for my legal advice. ;)

I'm planning on using a suppressed G17 for my nightstand firearm. The risk of damaging my hearing far outweighs my fear of being prosecuted for using the suppressed G17 for h.d. purposes.

I believe my analogy about attending seminars, participating in IDPA, etc., to be on-point. Do I really have to blather on about what the proverbial "overzealous" prosecutor might say about one having participated in IDPA, attending seminars, etc.? Use your imagination...just like Ayoob does with his legal advice. ;)

Sam1911
November 6, 2013, 09:56 AM
You won't find that proverbial "one case" just the way you want because that isn't how the law or the justice system works.

I highly recommend reading this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=9176567&postcount=44) for a more clear explanation of the point.

Ironman
November 6, 2013, 10:54 AM
I don't see why it would ever get to a Jury. If it was a clean shoot on a home invasion and your title-2 stuff was legally registered, why would it matter? A DA would have to be an idiot to even bring up the thought of prosecution. I know the deputies around here would give you a pat on your back. YMMV

Sam1911
November 6, 2013, 11:05 AM
I don't see why it would ever get to a Jury. If it was a clean shoot on a home invasion and your title-2 stuff was legally registered, why would it matter? A DA would have to be an idiot to even bring up the thought of prosecution.As we so often point out, though, a "clean shoot" isn't a clean shoot until someone else decides that it is so. If the deputies come and pat you on the back and hand out cigars, it really doesn't matter whether you used a howitzer or strangled the guy into submission with a damp spaghetti noodle.

But even in super gun-friendly states and cities and towns, self-defence shootings don't always look "clean" to everyone who's opinion matters. Even if you had your white hat on and your halo was polished up and shining bright, the decision whether to prosecute is completely out of your hands. It is certainly possible for a DA to look at the evidence collected and decide that there are enough grey areas that s/he wants to see the case tried, and indeed may feel quite confident that your out-of-the-ordinary choice of weapon may sway a jury to view that evidence in an unfavorable light.

Such calculations and weighing-in-the-balance (both in the DA's mind and in the minds of each juror) are not recorded and published in an accessible and easy-to-follow guidebook we can all point to for examples of where use of an unusual or particularly "scary" gun contributed materially to convictions.

Ironman
November 6, 2013, 03:44 PM
As we so often point out, though, a "clean shoot" isn't a clean shoot until someone else decides that it is so. If the deputies come and pat you on the back and hand out cigars, it really doesn't matter whether you used a howitzer or strangled the guy into submission with a damp spaghetti noodle.

But even in super gun-friendly states and cities and towns, self-defence shootings don't always look "clean" to everyone who's opinion matters. Even if you had your white hat on and your halo was polished up and shining bright, the decision whether to prosecute is completely out of your hands. It is certainly possible for a DA to look at the evidence collected and decide that there are enough grey areas that s/he wants to see the case tried, and indeed may feel quite confident that your out-of-the-ordinary choice of weapon may sway a jury to view that evidence in an unfavorable light.

Such calculations and weighing-in-the-balance (both in the DA's mind and in the minds of each juror) are not recorded and published in an accessible and easy-to-follow guidebook we can all point to for examples of where use of an unusual or particularly "scary" gun contributed materially to convictions.
I hear ya. I just don't see how in a "home defense" situation, a trial would even be an option. You're sleeping, someone breaks in, you shoot them with your suppressed whatever, they expire, you call the cops, they come and do an invest, you call servpro to clean your walls and flooring, you goto work and start your day with a hell of a story to tell.

Sam1911
November 6, 2013, 04:34 PM
If you can plan out your violent encounters so they happen just like that, and they look like they happened just like that to them who's opinion could put you behind the defendant's table, wonderful! In fact, a great many of the strategy and tactics discussions we have here center, at their cores, on just how to accomplish that.

But stuff happens and folks do sometimes end up quite unpleasantly surprised that things weren't just like they'd planned when trouble happened.

...

And as an aside, I know you're being facetious but the idea that you might shoot someone in your home and then be sent on about your business that day after a quick mopping up is a bit too glib and silly for a serious subject like this. As much as we might gloss the details over we are still discussing the taking of a human life in a most violent manner, and all the legal, practical, psychological, and emotional weight of such a thing deserves to not be blithely dismissed.

zignal_zero
November 6, 2013, 07:26 PM
Cosmoline - you read my mind! I do not want to lose a 5G gun to evidence for 16months or more.

OptimusPrime - as far as an automatic not being great for "precise and accurate" shot placement, mine is :D

Ironman - you feel the way you do because you live in FL :) we enjoy the benefit of a judicial system that is not completely screwed up.

OK, y'all should keep a few things in mind:
Juries are made up of people, people have emotions, emotions can be manipulated.
Also remember a jury is made up of 12 people who couldn't figure out how to get out of jury duty :D

I used to keep my MAX11 as my car gun. I quit due to fear of it being placed into evidence and cared for improperly. When I stamp my Yugo M92 and stock it, it will still be my car gun (as it is now).

On a side note- while I STRONGLY advise AGAINST altering a crime scene, I do not believe any1 would ever know the difference if you removed you can after a shoot as long as the shootee was a good 10' away.

Also "worst case" (as in me or a family member is going to die) I would have little to no concern about legal ramifications. Staying alive trumps all.

Ironman
November 6, 2013, 07:47 PM
If you can plan out your violent encounters so they happen just like that, and they look like they happened just like that to them who's opinion could put you behind the defendant's table, wonderful! In fact, a great many of the strategy and tactics discussions we have here center, at their cores, on just how to accomplish that.

But stuff happens and folks do sometimes end up quite unpleasantly surprised that things weren't just like they'd planned when trouble happened.

...

And as an aside, I know you're being facetious but the idea that you might shoot someone in your home and then be sent on about your business that day after a quick mopping up is a bit too glib and silly for a serious subject like this. As much as we might gloss the details over we are still discussing the taking of a human life in a most violent manner, and all the legal, practical, psychological, and emotional weight of such a thing deserves to not be blithely dismissed.
Yes, you get my point. As far as taking a human life, you must remember in this HD situation this human is trying to kill you and/or your family. I would not hesitate nor would I morn this life I just took. I am around death at work every 3 days, enough to know just how evil criminals can be and just how strong a victim needs to be to survive. Has this made me jaded? Sure, but it's how the world works and some see it how it is and others go on living in a fairly tale world. All that said, I live in FL, stopping a forceable felony in my household with lethal force wouldn't make it past my local LEO's desk report. This is how the rest of the world should work.

My nightstand gun is a suppressed HK USPT45 with a weapon light and my wives is a suppressed USP9SD with a weapon light. If a scumbag makes it past my alarm, my two dogs, and my master bedroom door well then I guess he didn't realize those were there for his protection and will have to live or not.with his poor choices. The goal being we are good and healthy at the end of this incident. I could give a damn about my guns. I can buy more. YMMV ;)

JohnKSa
November 6, 2013, 10:07 PM
FWIW, I consider Ayoob's opinions to be sophomoric, amateurish, and worthless. I depend on real lawyers for my legal advice.Well, that sets you apart from the lawyers you go to for advice. Real lawyers listen to Ayoob and consider his opinions to be valuable. I sat in a recent TXBARCLE seminar and watched a room full of lawyers listen intently to Ayoob speak. He was a guest speaker at the seminar.All that said, I live in FL, stopping a forceable felony in my household with lethal force wouldn't make it past my local LEO's desk report.That depends on the circumstances of the case. I assume you're referring to Castle Doctrine laws. It's important to understand that they don't offer unlimited protection. They do provide important benefits, but people tend to have an inflated view of the protection they offer.

Double Naught Spy
November 7, 2013, 09:25 AM
Well, that sets you apart from the lawyers you go to for advice. Real lawyers listen to Ayoob and consider his opinions to be valuable. I sat in a recent TXBARCLE seminar and watched a room full of lawyers listen intently to Ayoob speak. He was a guest speaker at the seminar.

Listening doesn't imply agreeing. Ayoob wasn't the only speaker either. Lawyers will also listen intently to judges, victims, police officers, witnesses, and even to other lawyers.

The people there took the time and expense to attend the seminar, so they listened to the speakers.

hso
November 7, 2013, 01:12 PM
"I don't see how..."

Research Gary Fadden's case. He clearly was in fear for his and his girlfriend's life, was chased by a gang, fled to his employer's fenced business and then had to defend himself and his girlfriend with an NFA weapon. He was still charged and prosecuted. His employer spent the time and money on the defense, but he still had to go through the injustice of being charged.

JohnKSa
November 7, 2013, 10:45 PM
His employer spent the time and money on the defense...His employer paid for some of his defense, but not all of it. He was left to pay a significant portion of it on his own.

justice06rr
November 8, 2013, 01:55 AM
Under the worst case scenario, what do you think the law would think if the closest weapon you had access to in a dire situation with armed intruders was an auto subgun, short barrel shotgun, etc or some other similar firearm.

I know the media would make a field day if you used an automatic weapon, but if your life was on the line and it was the closest viable option I can understand.

Do you think the prosecution would try to hang you, or it would be treated no different from a normal firearm?

Naaah... it'll be treated as any other shooting incident. And the media will call your gun an evil "Assault Rifle" anyway :evil: -- whether its a semi or select fire weapon.

Most media and the sheeple cannot distiguish the differences between them. Now the trial itself may be a different story. As in any court case, it will all depend on the details of the situation. If you are in the clear for shooting, meaning you were justified in your shoot and all your paperwork/background is clean, you should be ok.

As usual the prosecution will try to disect every part of the case including the weapon you used. If you are a mother who used an AK47 to protect your family from intruders breaking into your home and causing harm to you, you might be in the clear, but your weapon will still be looked at with disdain.

Now if you are a drug addict, ex-con or felon, and used an AR15 or Mac10, thats a different story.

JohnKSa
November 8, 2013, 07:41 PM
Naaah... it'll be treated as any other shooting incident.Not to belabor the point, but Gary Fadden, who used a NFA weapon for self-defense believed that his case was most certainly NOT treated as any other shooting incident.

What should have been an open and shut case (he was pursued for miles by a gang of armed bikers and was finally cornered and forced to shoot one of them) turned into a legal nightmare that cost him a fortune. His comment was: <If I had used a Remington 870 Wingmaster instead> “I would have gone home that night."

If what you have when things go south is an NFA weapon then defend yourself with it. If you have a choice ahead of time, choosing something else for self-defense might simplify your life considerably and save you a lot of time and money.

Sam1911
February 4, 2014, 03:42 PM
It would radically alter GSR patterns. Like it or not, they are part of crime scene forensics. I REALLY don't think you should try to stow your suppressor after a shooting!

justice06rr
February 7, 2014, 12:43 AM
Not to belabor the point, but Gary Fadden, who used a NFA weapon for self-defense believed that his case was most certainly NOT treated as any other shooting incident.

What should have been an open and shut case (he was pursued for miles by a gang of armed bikers and was finally cornered and forced to shoot one of them) turned into a legal nightmare that cost him a fortune. His comment was: <If I had used a Remington 870 Wingmaster instead> “I would have gone home that night."

If what you have when things go south is an NFA weapon then defend yourself with it. If you have a choice ahead of time, choosing something else for self-defense might simplify your life considerably and save you a lot of time and money.


Thanks for belaboring the point. You actually convinced me to research the Gary Fadden case and bring up important points.

In the end, Gary was found NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS.

Also from
http://www.davehayes.org/2006/02/10/the-gary-fadden-incident

the judge made a point of instructing the jury that the death weapon had nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the shooting was self-defense. The jury learned that Gary purchased the AC-556 personally and that it was perfectly legal to possess the weapon.

(Read the above article in the link if you are curious about using your NFA weapon in a SD case. I found it to be a good read.)

Its funny that the justice system hasn't changed even after 20yrs. They will always attempt to prosecute you for murder even if your shoot was justified.

Case in point, We can all remember the nightmare my fellow Floridian George Zimmerman went through. In the end he was cleared of all charges, but of course they still arrested him and tried him for murder.

As with any criminal case, the devil is in the details...

Madcap_Magician
February 7, 2014, 09:21 AM
Don't quote me on this, but I believe Massad Ayoob has said he has never seen a self-defense case involving an NFA weapon NOT go to trial. For what that's worth.

JohnKSa
February 7, 2014, 09:35 PM
In the end, Gary was found NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS.Yes he was. His defense cost his employer somewhere around $50K and he, himself, ended up having to pay a similar amount out of his own pocket before it was all over. It took him 8 years to pay that debt. The shooting also ultimately cost him his job and fiancee....the judge made a point of instructing the jury that the death weapon had nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the shooting was self-defense. The jury learned that Gary purchased the AC-556 personally and that it was perfectly legal to possess the weapon.That is true. It is part of why he was acquitted.

HOWEVER, that completely misses the point. The point is that even though this was an extremely clear cut case of self-defense that should never have gone to trial, Fadden was prosecuted because the weapon used was an NFA item.

Also from
http://www.davehayes.org/2006/02/10/...adden-incidentRead the article through to the end. Near the last of the article, you will find this:

Asked what he thinks would have happened if he’d shot Hamilton with a Remington 870 Wingmaster instead, Fadden replies with certainty, “I would have gone home that night. I’ve told dozens of people since, ‘Do not use a Class III weapon for personal defense.”‘ Today, the guns Gary is likely to have in his car have neutral images: an M-1 .30 carbine, and a 10mm Glock 20 pistol.

Double Naught Spy
February 7, 2014, 10:54 PM
Read the article through to the end. Near the last of the article, you will find this:

Yep, but of course he is alive today because of a Class III weapon.

Don't quote me on this, but I believe Massad Ayoob has said he has never seen a self-defense case involving an NFA weapon NOT go to trial. For what that's worth.

For what it is worth, you got that absolutely wrong.

Every case I've seen of a shooting with a lawfully owned Class III weapon has gone to a Grand Jury. Some of those grand juries have indicted.
http://www.afn.org/~guns/ayoob.html

Going to the grand jury isn't going to trial. Lots of cases go to the grand jury depending on the state and its laws.

It should also be pointed out that some go to the grand jury because of possible dubious circumstances, as can be the case.

As should be noted in the article about Beckwith, he has used Class III weapons in multiple shootings for SD. He did in 76 and 90.

Sam1911
February 7, 2014, 11:00 PM
<Pssst...is there any chance we could call them NFA firearms instead of "Class III"? Just because its mo' proper? Thanks.>

JohnKSa
February 7, 2014, 11:34 PM
Yep, but of course he is alive today because of a Class III weapon.Correct. I would certainly never recommend that a person forgo self-defense because the only firearm handy was an NFA item or was equipped with an NFA item. Neither would I recommend overlooking an NFA firearm in favor of an obviously much inferior non-NFA firearm. (By that I mean that it wouldn't be smart to grab an NAA .22 mini-revolver instead of a silenced AC556 during a home invasion simply because the NAA is a non-NFA item and the AC556 might look bad to the prosecutor. In that case the vast superiority of the AC556 as a self-defense weapon would obviously outweigh the potential for a more legally complicated aftermath.)

Being prosecuted is clearly far better than being dead or seriously injured.

But if you have a choice of self-defense weapons, choosing a non-NFA firearm for self-defense might simplify your life considerably and save you a lot of time and money.

Double Naught Spy
February 8, 2014, 10:56 AM
I agree that it might simplify your life AFTER the incident, but if a NFA {for you, Sam} weapon is your best weapon for self defense, why would you NOT use your best weapon?

You may get prosecuted regardless of the weapon used. That is something else that also comes to mind and we have seen it time and time again. Be it because of prosecutor bias or just something of something hinky about the circumstances, it happens.

In many of the cases, strangely enough, the prosecution seems much more dramatic because the person engaged in self defense killed one or more people. The argument could be made that it might simplify your life after the incident if you don't kill your attackers which means using less lethal or non-lethal means of defense, but of the choices you have, are those your best option for defense?

Did NFA complicate Fadden's case? Sure. Did NFA complicate one of Beckwith's cases? Maybe, or maybe it was his Rambo tactics and the number of people he shot.

Did hollowpoints complicate Harold Fish's case? Sure. Did the caliber Harold Fish choose complicate his case? Sure. Fish used a revolver.

The prosecution is going to do its best to prosecute you if the opt to press charges. That is just a part of the system. I have no doubt Fadden felt singled out and that his case might have gone differently had he used a shotgun. Had he used a shotgun and been prosecuted, he might have felt like his case would have been treated different if he would have used a pistol. It isn't like Fadden had a lot of experience being prosecuted.

Sure, lots of things may complicate your life if you are involved in a SD shooting, especially if you kill your attacker. The one thing you virtually never hear from accused people is how easy the prosecution went on them in the trail. Being prosecuted does complicate your life. Expect that it will happen and defend yourself the best way possible, first in the fight, then in court.

JohnKSa
February 8, 2014, 09:45 PM
...if a NFA {for you, Sam} weapon is your best weapon for self defense, why would you NOT use your best weapon?If there were an obvious superiority (NFA item would surely would be better) then I would use it. If there was not an obvious superiority (NFA item might be better) then I wouldn't use it because it might cause problems down the road that I'd rather avoid. :D

From a purely practical perspective, it won't ever be an issue for me. Based on the expense and hassle of owning NFA items, and the availability of excellent non-NFA home/self-defense firearms and accessories, I've already made the determination that using non-NFA items for home/self-defense won't create an obvious handicap on my part. Therefore I've already simplified my life and saved myself money by not procuring NFA items for home/self-defense.

hentown
February 10, 2014, 03:43 PM
I'm absolutely sure that real lawyers aren't Ayoob's "market". Ayoob's market consists primarily of the ignorant proletariat. Real lawyers wouldn't/don't give a guy like Ayoob the time of day. :cool: Furthermore, real writers don't write for gunrags. ;)

SharpsDressedMan
February 10, 2014, 05:37 PM
Do your local police use machineguns in the performance of their duties? If so, they should already be aware of the PURPOSE and utility of such guns for defense. In which case, logic may be employed in furthering the understanding of such use by "we the people", should prosecutors and district attorneys be ignorant of such.

JohnKSa
February 10, 2014, 10:17 PM
Real lawyers wouldn't/don't give a guy like Ayoob the time of day.Ayoob was a featured speaker at the 2013 TXBARCLE (Texas Bar Continuing Legal Education) seminar entitled "What Every Texas Lawyer Needs to Know About Firearms Law". I didn't do a count, but it looked to me like there were over 100 real lawyers giving him the time of day while he spoke.

He was invited to speak by the real lawyer who organized the seminar.

justice06rr
February 14, 2014, 12:46 AM
Yes he was. His defense cost his employer somewhere around $50K and he, himself, ended up having to pay a similar amount out of his own pocket before it was all over. It took him 8 years to pay that debt. The shooting also ultimately cost him his job and fiancee.


HOWEVER, that completely misses the point. The point is that even though this was an extremely clear cut case of self-defense that should never have gone to trial, Fadden was prosecuted because the weapon used was an NFA item.

Read the article through to the end. Near the last of the article, you will find this:
Asked what he thinks would have happened if hed shot Hamilton with a Remington 870 Wingmaster instead, Fadden replies with certainty, I would have gone home that night. Ive told dozens of people since, Do not use a Class III weapon for personal defense. Today, the guns Gary is likely to have in his car have neutral images: an M-1 .30 carbine, and a 10mm Glock 20 pistol.

I read the article in its entirety.

Again, in the end he was cleared of all charges, regarding of court costs or unintended consequences to his life/job. We cannot always predict or choose what weapon to use for SD; you use whats available to you. If that is a Select-Fire rifle or 12ga shotgun, the results are never what we think. Every case is different, but will be subject to extreme scrutiny.

We all know lawyers and trials cost money. I went to court for a very minor (non-criminal) case back in my teens and it cost me close to $5k alone. I cannot imagine how much it costs for a criminal/murder case. $50-100k is not out of the question.

But the cost and weapon used is beside the point.

I hate to bring up Zimmerman case, but even though he was using a low-capacity 9mm pistol, look where it got him. I bet he has court costs close to $100k and also lost his job etc. And that's from using a 9mm semiauto.

how is that different again??????

JohnKSa
February 14, 2014, 06:32 AM
We cannot always predict or choose what weapon to use for SD; you use whats available to you.Sure. I've said as much at least twice now. But the fact that we cannot ALWAYS predict or choose doesn't mean that we can NEVER predict or choose....the results are never what we think.The results aren't ALWAYS what we think, but that doesn't mean they are NEVER what we think. The results are not 100% predictable, but that doesn't mean we can't make some educated guesses/predictions about the outcome. This topic isn't about being 100% accurate in predicting/influencing an outcome (there's no way to do that), it is about shading an outcome in your favor.But the cost and weapon used is beside the point.False and false.

The cost is only a non-issue for those who are so wealthy that they can write a check for "$50-100k" without batting an eye. I don't personally know anyone like that and I'm certainly not like that. So the cost is not beside the point to me nor would it be beside the point to anyone I know.

And the weapon used can certainly influence the outcome because the outcome is based to at least some extent on humans who are affected by their personal prejudices and preconceptions.how is that different again??????It is so different that it is pointless to even attempt to explain the difference to someone who can not see it at first glance.

This topic is interesting because it is one of several topics that tend to divide the discussion participants into those who understand that things aren't always black and white and those who feel that everything is always black and white.

jmorris
February 14, 2014, 08:17 AM
Under the worst case scenario, what do you think the law would think if the closest weapon you had access to in a dire situation with armed intruders was an auto subgun, short barrel shotgun, etc or some other similar firearm.

If I needed it that bad I would not give it a second thought.

Kind of a silly question really, what if a bad guy broke into your house and you owned zero firearms; however, he had an illegal suppressed machinegun with a SBS mounted under the barrel. If you managed to take it away from him and felt your life was still in danger would you use said illegal device to save your life?

Assuming you answered yes, why would you not use whatever you have legally to do the same?

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