Rules of the road for CPL people.


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col_temp
January 18, 2014, 03:53 PM
Though many would disagree, take it from the lawyers. If you go to court for a self-defense shooting you will be glad you followed the advice.

http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/gun-modifications

BTW if you are not a member of or a similar organization. I strongly encourage all CCW carriers to join one.

If you enjoyed reading about "Rules of the road for CPL people." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
NavyLCDR
January 18, 2014, 06:59 PM
Here we go again....

So, what caliber should I use to avoid prosecution "problems"? The fact that Harold Fish was carrying a 10mm was brought up in the prosecution.

Also, the fact that Harold Fish was carrying hollow points was brought up in the prosecution. So, I guess I should not carry hollow points because of their "greater killing ability".

And I guess I can't carry FMJ ammo. You know that Full Metal Jacket that the movie was named after and the round has greater penetration to make it through thick clothing.

And I can't carry if I am going to have a beer with dinner because it is rumored the prosecution will use that - even though there is no history of it ever happening.

I can't carry reloaded ammo.

If I clean my gun too much, I am obviously obsessed with using it.

If I practice too much - especially using human shaped silhouette targets than I obsessed with shooting a human being.

Blah.... blah.... blah....

Sam1911
January 18, 2014, 07:17 PM
The good news is that if you are a member of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. we can provide those experts to help...

Always good to find the main point when reading something like this, and there it is.

Folks, call now! Operators are standing by! If you call within the next 30 minutes you will also receive not one, not two, but THREE -- that's THREE, folks -- THREE free ACLDN monogrammed steak knives.

But Marty, you say, that's NOT GOOD ENOUGH! You're right if you call now, not only will we be able to provide those experts to help, AND give you the THREE, that's THREE, free steak knives, but we'll also throw in a his-and-hers pair of the incredible Sham-Wow moisture-abatement system, AND one vintage Popeil Pocket Fisherman, new in box!

Folks this is not an offer you can afford to pass up!

NavyLCDR
January 18, 2014, 07:43 PM
As long as they don't have serrated edges or are self sharpening steak knives. I've heard that a prosecutor can use those evil features of steak knives against you.

DT Guy
January 18, 2014, 08:47 PM
We seem to have some built-in desire to make our self-defense guns HARDER to shoot accurately. If anyone wants to see what a heavy, 'safe' trigger accomplishes, here you go (http://www.wnyc.org/story/172057-blog-nypd-civilian-shootings-down/)-

Larry

orionengnr
January 18, 2014, 08:59 PM
But wait...there's more!

Order now and get your free tinfoil hat! Make sure to include your hat size for quick delivery! :rolleyes:

4thPointOfContact
January 18, 2014, 09:01 PM
Many readers are retorting, “But, Marty, those things are easily explained!” I agree, but must now ask, “Who is going to explain them?” Are you a firearms expert who is accustomed to testifying in court? Do you know how to educate your defense team so they can effectively cross-examine the prosecution’s witness?
Marty, I don't know how to tell you this politely, but....
If you've ever been in a court room, you may notice that the accused rarely takes the stand to testify. There are these people, most call 'em "lawyers", and these "lawyers" will call to the stand people that will testify or "witness" upon a subject they know. The prosecuting "lawyer" will call a witness and have him testify. After that the defenses "lawyer" may cross-examine. Additionally, the "lawyer" for the defense can call to the stand his own "witness" as long as the prosecution can cross-examine.

Kleanbore
January 18, 2014, 09:34 PM
Posted by 4thPointOfContact: Marty, I don't know how to tell you this politely, but....
If you've ever been in a court room, you may notice that the accused rarely takes the stand to testify.Actually, it is not at all uncommon for the defendant in a self defense case to take the stand to testify in court. That he or she did the deed will not be deniable. Justification will depend upon the reasons articulated by the defense for having committed the act, and upon evidence presented by the defense in support of those reasons. Absent sufficient witness testimony favorable to the defense, it may well come down to the defendant's testimony.

There are these people, most call 'em "lawyers", and these "lawyers" will call to the stand people that will testify or "witness" upon a subject they know. The prosecuting "lawyer" will call a witness and have him testify. After that the defenses "lawyer" may cross-examine.Those are expert witnesses, such as police armorers, who may be asked about little things like what kind of trigger pull would be reasonable of a carry weapon and how the trigger of the weapon in question compares to that and to the factory standard.

But people called to testify on "a subject they know" will not be able to speak to the subject of justification, unless it is to raise doubts about it.

Additionally, the "lawyer" for the defense can call to the stand his own "witness" as long as the prosecution can cross-examine.Actually, step one is for both sides to stipulate that the witness is in fact an expert.

And let's not forget that Mary Hayes, Massad Ayoob, and others do serve as expert witnesses for defendants. They do know something about the subjects covered in the link in the OP. The problem is that there is really very little, if anything, that they can say or do to counter expert testimony about what is and what is not generally considered to be a trigger pull acceptable for defensive carry. What's OK for a range gun may not be a good thing to carry for self defense.

If you want to disregard their considered advice, be my guest.

I, for one, will not choose a weapon that can be reasonably expected to hurt my case in court, criminal or civil.

There is a well known case that has been discussed at length here that went through two lengthy criminal trials. The gun was not at issue; the case revolved in large part around the question of the fact that the three attackers were unarmed, and around training materials in the defendant's position.

The defendant stayed in jail for quite some time, but he ultimately went free, due in large part to the actions of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. Had the defendant been a subscriber, he would have ended up a lot better off financially.

DT Guy
January 18, 2014, 11:39 PM
I, for one, will not choose a weapon that can be reasonably expected to hurt my case in court, criminal or civil.

Understood, but I, for one, will not carry a gun that can reasonably be expected to hurt my chances of hitting an aggressor without hitting an innocent.

To make it to the trial, you have to survive the shooting.


Larry

JRH6856
January 19, 2014, 12:32 AM
To make it to the trial, you have to survive the shooting.

Apparently some people are more concerned with surviving the trial. Which is unfortunate because after (and perhaps due to) all of their concern, they may not get there.

I'm concerned with surviving both. In the proper order.

4thPointOfContact
January 19, 2014, 12:44 AM
A .55 Magnum DOA round fired from a firearm sold by a manufacturer called the "Punisher" is not going to turn a clean shoot into premeditated murder.

I read Ayoob, I heed his advice. His considered wisdom is that all that picayune obfuscation can be countered by a competent defense attorney.

NavyLCDR
January 19, 2014, 01:13 AM
The prosecution will pay an expert witness to say what the prosecution wants them to say, and the defense will pay an expert witness to say what the defense wants to them to say.

JRH6856
January 19, 2014, 01:28 AM
And the jury will ignore both of them because they contradicted what they saw on CSI. :rolleyes:

NavyLCDR
January 19, 2014, 02:16 AM
It's also interesting to note that I can provide a link to a man that was beaten to death by a criminal using a flower pot off his front porch. We have all these "rules" that we are suggested to follow to avoid the prosecution using something against us - with there only being one or two examples ever of these things actually having any affect at all in court. So, what should we do to prevent our flower pots from being used to beat us to death with? Keep your flower pots concealed? Chain them down? Don't load them with more than 1 lb of soil? Seems to me like I have just as much chance of being beaten to death with a flower pot off my front porch as I do having a prosecutor use a trigger job on my carry gun against me in court.

PabloJ
January 19, 2014, 03:14 AM
Here we go again....

So, what caliber should I use to avoid prosecution "problems"? The fact that Harold Fish was carrying a 10mm was brought up in the prosecution.

Also, the fact that Harold Fish was carrying hollow points was brought up in the prosecution. So, I guess I should not carry hollow points because of their "greater killing ability".

And I guess I can't carry FMJ ammo. You know that Full Metal Jacket that the movie was named after and the round has greater penetration to make it through thick clothing.

And I can't carry if I am going to have a beer with dinner because it is rumored the prosecution will use that - even though there is no history of it ever happening.

I can't carry reloaded ammo.

If I clean my gun too much, I am obviously obsessed with using it.

If I practice too much - especially using human shaped silhouette targets than I obsessed with shooting a human being.

Blah.... blah.... blah....
What it amounts to is if one is not very wealthy they should stick to carrying container of law enforcement grade pepper spray.

JRH6856
January 19, 2014, 03:28 AM
NavyLCDR, I tend to agree, but just be aware that some prosecutors will do anything to win a conviction and will use whatever they can to way the jury. Doesn't mean they will be successful; that's why we have defense attorneys, to counter such nonsense

col_temp
January 19, 2014, 03:31 AM
I, for one, will not choose a weapon that can be reasonably expected to hurt my case in court, criminal or civil.

Thanks,that was the exact reason I posted in the first place!
For the rest of you. The newsletter they send out has actual lawyer articles. This last month was part 1 of several from a Defense lawyer addressing these ideas as well as the whole jury selection process.

The way I look at it, it is always better to be informed than uninformed. Not from any joe blow but from the experts who do this for a living.

Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Here we go again....

So, what caliber should I use to avoid prosecution "problems"? The fact that Harold Fish was carrying a 10mm was brought up in the prosecution.
etc....

You missed the point. You will have to explain the why for each and every detail. The goal is to make it easy and straight forward to explain. ALSO, almost every self-defense law on the books has the standard of "reasonable" fear and reaction in order with the threat. (Dummied down from the real words!) The more reasonable and justified you can be the easier it is to convince 12 non-gun owners, who have never been in a violent situation that you were acting in self-defense.

SAM,
This wasn't really meant to be an ad for them. Sorry you took it that way. I am a member hence why I found this article reading.
I look at it as insurance. For a small price you get expert info that will help you if for any reason you find yourself in a self-defense shooting.

Navy,
The prosecution will pay an expert witness to say what the prosecution wants them to say, and the defense will pay an expert witness to say what the defense wants to them to say.

Very true but the point is to educate the jurors and defuse the prosecuting Attorney who is looking to make a name for him/her-self. Anything that makes if harder for the PA to paint you as a gun wielding crazy man out for blood, (You do remember the Zimmerman trial, don't you!) is going to help you with the 6-12 jurors.

hovercat
January 19, 2014, 03:35 AM
Unless you shoot a cop or politician, the police report will read that the gun was a S&W model 19. Ammo was .357 caliber with headstamps 2 Remington, 1 frontier, unfired and 3 federal, fired. That is all, and that is what the prosecutor will use to spend 1/2 hour preparing his case against you.
They will not spend any CSI money to determine that you had handloads that were worked up over max with the latest and most expensive zombie killer bullet in front. It will not be dismantled to determine that you hand fitted and honed every part, then spent 4 hours on each bearing surface, rubbing it with your finger and a bit of jewelers rough to get the perfect surface. No one will care that you changed out the springs to get a lighter and faster lock time. No one will recognize the modified rear sight and custom no drag ultra fast draw latest and most expensive front sight.
Your problems will be where it happened, did you shoot him in the back, and why.

JRH6856
January 19, 2014, 04:13 AM
Unless you shoot a cop or politician, the police report will read that the gun was a S&W model 19. Ammo was .357 caliber with headstamps 2 Remington, 1 frontier, unfired and 3 federal, fired. That is all, and that is what the prosecutor will use to spend 1/2 hour preparing his case against you.
They will not spend any CSI money to determine that you had handloads that were worked up over max with the latest and most expensive zombie killer bullet in front. It will not be dismantled to determine that you hand fitted and honed every part, then spent 4 hours on each bearing surface, rubbing it with your finger and a bit of jewelers rough to get the perfect surface. No one will care that you changed out the springs to get a lighter and faster lock time. No one will recognize the modified rear sight and custom no drag ultra fast draw latest and most expensive front sight.
Your problems will be where it happened, did you shoot him in the back, and why.

All probably true...unless you shoot the next Trayvon Martin (who was neither a cop nor politician). The initial investigation probably went as you describe. Then the case got reopened...

Frank Ettin
January 19, 2014, 07:58 AM
...I, for one, will not carry a gun that can reasonably be expected to hurt my chances of hitting an aggressor without hitting an innocent.... Which would be pretty much any reliable gun, of good quality and firing a cartridge of some consequence -- as long as you can manage it, and you train and practice with it enough to be proficient.

The point is that it's less a matter of picking the perfect hardware than it is a matter of you acquiring the skill to use it well.

On the other hand, here's an interesting article (http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2009/09/will-it-hurt-me-in-court-weapons-issues-and-the-fears-of-the-legally-armed-citizen/) by Dr. Glenn E. Meyer, on a study he did about how the type of gun used in a self defense incident could influence a jury. Gr. Meyer is a member here (GEM) and a moderator over at TFL. He spoke on this subject recently at a continuing education program entitled "What Every Texas Lawyer Needs to Know About Firearms Law 2013", which was put on by the Texas Bar Association.

The points --

You won't be the one deciding if it's a "good shoot."


Just as there are choices you can make ahead of time that good help or hurt you on the street, there are choices you can make ahead of time that could help you or hurt you in the legal aftermath of a self defense incident. There's a good reason to consider both matters, and I don't see a good reason not to consider both.

DT Guy
January 19, 2014, 08:26 AM
Which would be pretty much any reliable gun, of good quality and firing a cartridge of some consequence -- as long as you can manage it, and you train and practice with it enough to be proficient.

The point is that it's less a matter of picking the perfect hardware than it is a matter of you acquiring the skill to use it well.

By that reasoning, Rob Leatham 'could' shoot a stock Hi-Point and not be at any handicap compared to his custom Springfield 1911's and XDm's, as I'm fairly certain he puts in the time to master whatever he shoots.

People seem to consider defensive shooting as some coarse, simplistic affair that will require only the tiniest semblance of accuracy; folks carry guns for defense that they'd never use in IDPA or other competition, because it's 'only' defensive shooting, and they somehow envision it will be EASIER than competition.

I would submit that most of those folks have never pointed a gun at someone 'in earnest.' The time you use your firearm to defend your life will be the most difficult, most stressful and most demanding shooting of your life, regardless of the range or target size.

Handicapping yourself with a gun that does not allow you to shoot as well as you possibly can, simply because of what *might* happen after the event, SHOULD YOU SURVIVE IT, seems unwise to me. When the potential trial and the actual survival incident have conflicting requirements, I will always choose surviving the incident as a priority. Others, of course, can do as they please.

Larry

Frank Ettin
January 19, 2014, 08:39 AM
By that reasoning, Rob Leatham 'could' shoot a stock Hi-Point and not be at any handicap compared to his custom Springfield 1911's and XDm's, as I'm fairly certain he puts in the time to master whatever he shoots....Actually, he probably could. Well maybe be wouldn't be able to win the match, but he could sure shoot that better than you or I.

...People seem to consider defensive shooting as some coarse, simplistic affair that will require only the tiniest semblance of accuracy; folks carry guns for defense that they'd never use in IDPA or other competition, because it's 'only' defensive shooting, and they somehow envision it will be EASIER than competition.

I would submit that most of those folks have never pointed a gun at someone 'in earnest.' The time you use your firearm to defend your life will be the most difficult, most stressful and most demanding shooting of your life, regardless of the range or target size.... But that is still more about you than it is about the gun. And someone's choice of gun will not make up for a lack of training or skill.

DT Guy
January 19, 2014, 08:48 AM
I never said it would; simply stated that I would use whatever hardware maximized the chance my software could win the fight. Heavy triggers don't do that.

Larry

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 09:26 AM
Posted by hovercat: Unless you shoot a cop or politician, the police report will read that the gun was a S&W model 19. Ammo was .357 caliber with headstamps 2 Remington, 1 frontier, unfired and 3 federal, fired. That is all, and that is what the prosecutor will use to spend 1/2 hour preparing his case against you.
They will not spend any CSI money to determine that you had handloads that were worked up over max with the latest and most expensive zombie killer bullet in front. It will not be dismantled to determine that you hand fitted and honed every part, then spent 4 hours on each bearing surface, rubbing it with your finger and a bit of jewelers rough to get the perfect surface. No one will care that you changed out the springs to get a lighter and faster lock time. No one will recognize the modified rear sight and custom no drag ultra fast draw latest and most expensive front sight.
Your problems will be where it happened, did you shoot him in the back, and why.

Gosh. That differs markedly from what was contained in the referenced article:

If you are involved in a self-defense shooting, your gun will be seized as evidence early in the criminal investigation. Responding and investigating officers do not know what occurred, and until they thoroughly investigate the incident they will not know that you fired in self defense. In a perfect world, all the evidence relating to the shooting is collected for later scrutiny, evaluation, testing, argument and use in court. Your gun will be a major piece of evidence at trial. Before trial, it will be checked for fingerprints, photographed, tested for DNA evidence, and possibly fired during gunshot residue and stippling testing. It will be inspected by firearms experts from the state crime lab, to make sure that the gun functions, that all the safeties work, and the trigger pull weight tested to see if it meets factory specifications. Any anomalies, some caused by modifications, will be noted in the crime lab report. If we were writing a movie script, the gun would have its own role, and if the movie was good enough, the gun itself might win a “best supporting actor” award.

The ammunition fired will play a supporting role, too, but since the average person does not understand the field of ballistics as well as they do guns, the ammunition used is often, although not always, glossed over. I do remember testifying in a case in which the ammunition played a huge role in the trial, when my testimony explained the nuances of .38 Special v. .357 Magnum, hollow point v. round nose and wad cutter bullet design. Ammunition also plays a major role if the distance between the muzzle and the wound is an issue, as it often is.

When distances are contested, both the prosecution and the defense will likely conduct gunshot residue and stippling testing, trying to determine how far the muzzle was from the inflicted wound. This was recently illustrated in the George Zimmerman prosecution.

Pre-trial legal procedures play a big role leading up to trial or dismissal of charges. Whether or not you are prosecuted for murder or manslaughter or whether your shooting is deemed justifiable by reason of self defense, can hinge on the prosecution’s opinion of whether or not firearms or ammunition issues could lead a jury to convict or acquit.
...
Your guilt or innocence will be determined in court by the evidence presented, which is weighed by the experiences, knowledge and education of the members of the jury. Do not expect jurors to possess the same level of knowledge as you do about self defense.
...

These jurors have to judge both the prosecution’s accusations and the defense’s explanations about modifications, light triggers and reloaded ammunition used during a self-defense shooting in order to reach a verdict of guilty or not guilty. Let us next study those issues in detail.
....

When a forensic firearms examiner for the state examines a gun used in a shooting, any external modifications made to the gun are listed on the crime lab report given to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor believes that any of these modifications may paint you, the defendant, in a bad light, these findings will be heralded in court. The prosecutor asks the forensic firearms examiner to explain during testimony what they found when they examined the gun, and then asks the examiner to compare your gun to an unaltered, factory stock gun. If you installed different sights, an extended magazine release, an extended slide lock/release, or cut the frame down so you could conceal the gun easier, that will be discussed.

Do you have a basis for your assertion, and for contradicting the statements from the various attorneys who were quoted in the article, or for disregarding the several court cases that were cited in the article?

Are you concerned only about the police report, to the extent that you would not be concerned about the risk of the impact of these issues in a wrongful death suit filed by the estate of the deceased, as cited in the article?

Do you believe that these issues arrive only when persons shot are police officers or politicians?

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 09:42 AM
Posted by DT Guy: The time you use your firearm to defend your life will be the most difficult, most stressful and most demanding shooting of your life, regardless of the range or target size. That stress can also cause impairment of fine motor skills that can lead to unintentional discharges that would be less likely, and that would have far fewer sever consequences, than had they happened at a target range.

Handicapping yourself with a gun that does not allow you to shoot as well as you possibly can, simply because of what *might* happen after the event, SHOULD YOU SURVIVE IT, seems unwise to me.Well, it is also about what happens during the event, and to be able to "shoot as well as you possibly can" in bullseye shooting at the range would lead one to select a firearm with a trigger pull that would be less than ideal for drawing rapidly from concealment and firing multiple shots as quickly as possible at multiple moving targets under stressful conditions.

...simply stated that I would use whatever hardware maximized the chance my software could win the fight. Heavy triggers don't do that.It's a matter of balance. Personally, I do not like the heavy trigger pull of one of the most popular double action revolvers sold today, though there are many who can handle it proficiently. I do not like the pull of a Glock with a New York trigger, but Massad Ayoob does quite well with one in competition.

For me, the standard trigger of a high end single action semi-automatic does quit well, and I would even think of having it modified from factory specification.

NavyLCDR
January 19, 2014, 10:45 AM
What it amounts to is if one is not very wealthy they should stick to carrying container of law enforcement grade pepper spray.

NO..... because then the prosecution will ask why you felt the need for the "law enforcement" stuff. Wasn't the "civilian" stuff good enough? :D

All kidding aside, my point is, where do we draw the line?

hovercat
January 19, 2014, 11:30 AM
RE Kleenbore
That is how I got my gun back. S&W M59 and all the headstamps matched, but I got a little box sealed with red tape with unfired rounds, and another with 2 empty casings to go with the unfired rounds. No rounds were pulled or test fired.
They detectives were very interested in where I was standing, direction, etc. Not so much the gun. I shot into the rear passenger car door as they were getting away. I was trying to get a plate # and we were both surprised to be looking at each other as they were still in the side alley. I did hit 1 of the bastages with 1 round, in the thigh, breaking it.

The prosecutor, when it came time for a bail hearing, told me that they would probably make bail. 5 armed robberies and drug charges. When I told him that the guys had been caught in another state, he was surprised and had to go look in his file. Then he decided to fight the bail. No, prosecutor did not spend weeks on the case.

Defense was even more of a joke when compared to TV drama.

DT Guy
January 19, 2014, 11:32 AM
I don't think I mentioned 'bullseye' shooting; in fact, I referenced IDPA by name.

While IDPA is NOT truly 'tactical', it certainly comes closer than 'bullseye' shooting. I could have referenced tactical training courses and scored/judged shoot/no shoot houses; perhaps that would have been more accurate.

As for having any hope that a heavier trigger will somehow prevent an ND that might have occurred with a lighter one, I posit that you are 'substituting a hardware solution for a software problem'; if you can't maintain trigger discipline properly, you probably shouldn't be carrying ANY weapon, as no safety, trigger weight or holster will make you safe if you're fingering the bang button inappropriately.

Regarding the 'stress killing fine motor skills argument', I can only say that the few times I've had someone at gunpoint, I did not experience it. Lots and lots of folks who carry 1911 patter pistols, which require the relatively fine motor skill of thumbing off the safety, also seem to manage it without issue. Again, a software, not a hardware, issue, IMHO.

Larry

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 11:37 AM
Posted by hovercat: They detectives were very interested in where I was standing, direction, etc. Not so much the gun. Of course. That is the role of police detectives.

Someone else will examine the gun.

Whether the gun ever becomes an issue will depend upon other evidence.

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 11:52 AM
Posted by DT Guy: I don't think I mentioned 'bullseye' shooting; in fact, I referenced IDPA by name.

While IDPA is NOT truly 'tactical', it certainly comes closer than 'bullseye' shooting. I could have referenced tactical training courses and scored/judged shoot/no shoot houses; perhaps that would have been more accurate.Yes indeed.

We may be discussing a matter of degree.

As for having any hope that a heavier trigger will somehow prevent an ND that might have occurred with a lighter one, I posit that you are 'substituting a hardware solution for a software problem'; if you can't maintain trigger discipline properly, you probably shouldn't be carrying ANY weapon, as no safety, trigger weight or holster will make you safe if you're fingering the bang button inappropriately. Experts say otherwise, hence the recommendation for 4 1/2 - plus pound SA triggers over 2 1/2 pound triggers.

Trained shooters are trained in keeping their fingers off the "bang button", but they do sometimes touch the trigger in times of stress. They will swear afterwards that they did not do so, but video recordings prove otherwise. It is a natural psychological reaction

Regarding the 'stress killing fine motor skills argument', I can only say that the few times I've had someone at gunpoint, I did not experience it. I respectfully submit that one cannot objectively detect or measure stress-induced skills impairment oneself.

I have defended myself with the point of a gun three times, and I have no way of knowing how much my fine motor skills may have been degraded in any one of those incidents. I do know that my voice sounded strange as I offered some industrial strength coaching to theses who had threatened murder.

Lots and lots of folks who carry 1911 patter pistols, which require the relatively fine motor skill of thumbing off the safety, also seem to manage it without issue.I am one of them, but what we were discussing is the problem of ultra light trigger pulls, not one's ability to disengage a thumb safety.

mbogo
January 19, 2014, 11:53 AM
It's all BS designed to make you reluctant to defend yourself with the best equipment possible.

If your heavy-from-the-factory trigger prevents accurate shooting, replace it and the lawyers be damned.

If your magazine release is too small to manipulate (or you're left-handed), replace it and the lawyers be damned.

No one ever seems to provide a citation of a criminal case where gun modifications have resulted in prosecution.

mbogo

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 12:19 PM
The link included in the OP includes some very good advice that was gleaned from experts and that was based on real world experience in the legal system. One can find much more on the subject elsewhere. I will point out that the substance of the advice applies not only to the criminal justice system, but also to civil liability.

A number of people have made disparaging remarks about the advice, but none have provided any objective substantiation for their comments.

Others have apparently been titillated by the fact that the link, which takes us to the website of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, quite naturally contains a recommendation to join the network.

We have discussed membership in that organization before. See this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=593977&highlight=marty%2Bhayes).

Pay particular attention to the comments of Frank Ettin, Fred Fuller, leadcounsel, Bartholomew Roberts, Sheepdog1968, and threefeathers.

Also read Marty Hayes' explanation in Post 36.

I cannot recall ever reading any advice to the effect that joining the network is not a good idea.

If you would like the opportunity to discuss the subject of the risks of modifying firearms with someone who knows something about the subject, I suggest signing up for MAG-20. It will be time and money well spent.

herrwalther
January 19, 2014, 12:26 PM
I will go both ways on this advice from ACLDN. I generally agree that using reloaded ammunition in a self defense firearm is not a very good idea. As it has the potential to make you a target for an overzealous prosecutor trying to get a murder charge, although no cases support this that I know of.

But much of the rest I can't stand behind. Too light trigger pulls? Who decides that? Many 1911s have 4.5 pound triggers or even lighter. Is that too light? Glocks typically have 5.5 pound triggers. Would all Glocks be subject to attack for being too light? There goes their market. So that would make 8+ pound triggers the only viable option. Even those get attacked. Zimmerman did his famous/infamous shooting with a Kel-Tec P-11. He was legally attacked, albeit briefly, for having "the safety off" even when all the safeties on that particular firearm are internal such as long and heavy DAO trigger pull.

I am a fan of weapon modification and beautification. May be a bad example but cars have a purpose, just like firearms. We wash them, invest in parts we like, and add personal bits to our vehicles. Our firearms are the same. They have a function: self defense. We should be allowed, without too much scrutiny, to put on those Punisher grips. Cosmetic upgrade. Or to put on those better sights because you are 70 years old and can't the stock sights that well, functional upgrade.

DT Guy
January 19, 2014, 12:34 PM
The most damning evidence against their advice/sales pitch is here (http://gothamist.com/2012/08/25/ray_kelly_9_empire_state_building_c.php), in addition to other places.

Experts say otherwise, hence the recommendation for 4 1/2 - plus pound SA triggers over 2 1/2 pound triggers.

Generally these "experts" who are lawyers or police; not two groups you want tactical advice from, IMHO. Look at people who shoot the fastest and most accurately (and who, incidentally, have statistically far, far fewer ND's than police (http://www.wnyc.org/story/172057-blog-nypd-civilian-shootings-down/)) and you'll see what features and systems help someone shoot accurately and quickly-the ultimate 'tatical', IMHO. Ultimately, if you can't keep your finger off the trigger when you shouldn't, you need to train more; anything else is a stopgap, half-baked solution to a serious training problem.

And I agree, we may be arguing degrees here, but I have heard so relentlessly that 'light triggers will get you hung in court' that I feel compelled to show the other side of the argument.


Larry

JRH6856
January 19, 2014, 12:50 PM
It's all BS designed to make you reluctant to defend yourself with the best equipment possible.

Not all, but certainly a primary goal of many laws is to disincentify certain actions. If the antis can make the legal consequences of using a firearm so draconian as to make most people fearfui of using one in self-defense, they will have won a great victory.

Kleanbore
January 19, 2014, 12:59 PM
Posted by herrwalther: Too light trigger pulls? Who decides that?Ultimately, a jury or juries. The burden of proof will depend upon whether the trial is a criminal one or a civil one.

The jurors will base their decisions upon the testimony of subject matter experts that both sides (prosecution and defense, or plaintiff and defense) have stipulated to be expert on the subject at hand.

See this (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5072057&postcount=49) for more detailed answer to your question.

Here's a relevant excerpt:

Frank Ettin: I know someone who is a police instructor and armorer and who could be an expert witness. He will state that a 4 to 5 pound trigger is appropriate for a service handgun (single action or striker fired) and that he will not set a trigger lighter than 4 pounds. If I used one of my 1911s with a 4.5 pound trigger, he will be testifying for me. If someone used a 1911 (or another handgun) with a 3 pound trigger, he will be testifying for the DA. His testimony will be something to the effect that as an expert he would consider carrying a gun with a trigger lighter than 4 pound is reckless.

Frank's post was in response to an ill-advised comment that I had made to the effect that the risk of trigger modifications was probably limited to civil proceedings, and he said this on that:

Again, Frank Ettin: Having lightened the trigger, a prosecutor can vilify you as reckless and trigger happy. That will not sit well with a jury of folks who know nothing about, and aren't interested in, guns. The prosecutor will no doubt be able to find and put on the witness stand a police armorer or firearms instructor as an expert witness that something like a 3.5 pound trigger on a gun to be carried for self defense is reckless.

You might claim that you acted intentionally in self defense, but the prosecutor could point to the lightened trigger and perhaps convince a jury that you actually fired the gun accidentally. That might get you convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Messing around with your carry gun might not hurt you in court, but it sure won't help you any. And it really won't help you on the street. If you can't manage a stock, service Glock or a 1911 with a 4.5 pound trigger in a real life encounter, it's you and not the gun (get some serious training and practice).

Frank is an attorney, but he is also an instructor, and he is extremely knowledgeable about 19911 pistols.

It was largely on the basis of his advice that I chose my STI Guardian. The standard trigger pull weight is 4.5 pounds.

For the record, Frank has said that he will not carry a 1911 type pistol with a pull weight of less than 4 pounds.

Regarding modifications, we have had long discussions on this subject before, and there have been many on The Firing Line. One reasonable opinion that has been offered by those who should know is that trigger modifications to improve smoothness should not present a major risk. With the STI, I have seen no reason to pursue that. With my M&P 9c, it might be desirable.

col_temp
January 19, 2014, 06:26 PM
The points --

You won't be the one deciding if it's a "good shoot."

Just as there are choices you can make ahead of time that good help or hurt you on the street, there are choices you can make ahead of time that could help you or hurt you in the legal aftermath of a self defense incident. There's a good reason to consider both matters, and I don't see a good reason not to consider both.


Thanks for the Add.

Hey Kleanbore,
The link included in the OP includes some very good advice that was gleaned from experts and that was based on real world experience in the legal system. One can find much more on the subject elsewhere. I will point out that the substance of the advice applies not only to the criminal justice system, but also to civil liability. Great points. That was very well put! Couldn't have said it better myself.
That for the other link as well. And your point about not joining is very well put. Why wouldn't you prepare to protect yourself. You go to the range and prepare. This is just one more way to be fully prepared.

herrwalther
January 20, 2014, 08:06 PM
Ultimately, a jury or juries. The burden of proof will depend upon whether the trial is a criminal one or a civil one.

No not them unfortunately. Juries are simpletons and easily manipulated. The trigger pull would be decided a politician or otherwise "expert" who manages to stand talking for 10 minutes to fit inside the average attention span. I only wonder who will get to the subject first.

Frank Ettin
January 20, 2014, 08:23 PM
No not them unfortunately. Juries are simpletons and easily manipulated. The trigger pull would be decided a politician or otherwise "expert" who manages to stand talking for 10 minutes to fit inside the average attention span. I only wonder who will get to the subject first. And you know this how? How many juries have you been professionally involved with? How long have you practiced law?

Kleanbore
January 21, 2014, 11:15 AM
Posted by herrwalther: The trigger pull would be decided a politician or otherwise "expert" who manages to stand talking for 10 minutes to fit inside the average attention span.The trigger pull of the firearm introduced into evidence will be measured in a certified laboratory by qualified technicians using calibrated equipment. The calibration records will be available for examination, should there be a reason to check them, but that is unlikely.

The results of the tests will be provided to the court by an expert witness in response to specific questions asked in direct examination; cross examination may follow. The test results may well be introduced into evidence.

Should the test results differ from factory specifications, that information will also be provided to the court by an expert witness, perhaps but not necessarily the same one, in response to direct and cross examination.

Should the prosecution or civil plaintiff contend that the trigger pull of the firearm introduced into evidence was germane to the event, information regarding the potential issue will also be brought out in the questioning of an expert witness. Should the opinion of that witness be disputed, other witnesses may be brought in by the other side.

I only wonder who will get to the subject first.If the trigger pull is an issue, it is of course most likely that the subject will be raised by the prosecution or plaintiff.

The jury will decide the case based upon the totality of the evidence presented. The testimony about the trigger pull may or may not have a significant influence.

The above process is in no way peculiar to firearms cases.

Arizona_Mike
January 21, 2014, 12:36 PM
According to post-trial interviews, the 10mm and hollowpoint BS in the Fish case apparently changed one juror's mind which tipped the case from hung jury to conviction (if we take him at his word and assume he would have held out to the end). The issue here was not the round but the fact that Fish's lawyer let those statements stand and did nothing to refute them which he could have easily done.

Because of the Fish conviction, Arizona changed from an affirmative defense state to a reasonable doubt state. The appeal's court found that the prosecution erred by allowing the state to claim in court that Kuenzli was unarmed when he had a screwdriver with a 7" shaft. They also found prosecutorial misconduct in pressuring the police not to pursue exculpatory evidence, and error in excluding Kuenzli's psychiatric history.

The 10mm thing and the hollow point thing were minor issues in this railroaded case and would have been easy to refute.

Fish was probably carrying a 10mm on his hike for the same reason I carry a 10mm or .454 Casull on my hikes--thinking more about 4-legged attackers than 2-legged ones.

Mike

NavyLCDR
January 21, 2014, 12:53 PM
According to post-trial interviews, the 10mm and hollowpoint BS in the Fish case apparently changed one juror's mind which tipped the case from hung jury to conviction (if we take him at his word and assume he would have held out to the end). The issue here was not the round but the fact that Fish's lawyer let those statements stand and did nothing to refute them which he could have easily done.

Because of the Fish conviction, Arizona changed from an affirmative defense state to a reasonable doubt state. The appeal's court found that the prosecution erred by allowing the state to claim in court that Kuenzli was unarmed when he had a screwdriver with a 7" shaft. They also found prosecutorial misconduct in pressuring the police not to pursue exculpatory evidence, and error in excluding Kuenzli's psychiatric history.

The 10mm thing and the hollow point thing were minor issues in this railroaded case and would have been easy to refute.

Fish was probably carrying a 10mm on his hike for the same reason I carry a 10mm or .454 Casull on my hikes--thinking more about 4-legged attackers than 2-legged ones.

Mike
So, back to my original point:

There is more evidence to suggest that you will be beaten to death by a criminal using a flower pot off your front porch than any of these theories about what will get you convicted in court for a self-defense shooting. So what would we suggest we do to equally prevent us from getting beaten to death with flower pots?

Kleanbore
January 21, 2014, 01:06 PM
Posted by NavyLCDR: There is more evidence to suggest that you will be beaten to death by a criminal using a flower pot off your front porch than any of these theories about what will get you convicted in court for a self-defense shooting. I seriously doubt that, but the subjects are completely unrelated.

Of course, if you are convicted in court "for a self defense shooting", the triers of fact have decided that it was for some reason not a justified self defense shooting.

And conviction in court, or the ordeal that might lead to a trial ending in acquittal, is but one kind of risk. There is also the risk of civil litigation, in which the burden of proof for the plaintiff is much lower.

So what would we suggest we do to equally prevent us from getting beaten to death with flower pots?The same things we suggest doing to mitigate the risk of being killed or injured by attackers using any other weapon.

NavyLCDR
January 21, 2014, 01:15 PM
I seriously doubt that, but the subjects are completely unrelated.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/02/21/ignored-911-call-turns-fatal-in-berkeley-police-busy-with-occupy-protest/

Peter Cukor, 67, had been beaten to death with a flower pot.

Now, you show me an actual case where a person was convicted because of the trigger pull on their gun.

That tells me I need to be more worred about my flower pots on my front porch than the trigger pull on my gun. Or carrying reloads in my gun. Or having a beer with dinner in a restaurant while carrying my gun.

Kleanbore
January 21, 2014, 02:01 PM
Posted by NavyLCDR: Peter Cukor, 67, had been beaten to death with a flower pot.People are killed by all kinds of instruments. That is completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.

Now, you show me an actual case where a person was convicted because of the trigger pull on their gun.In order to do that, one would have to interview jurors who rendered guilty verdicts, including verdicts of manslaughter, in cases in which firearms were used to kill or injure people. Juries decide on the totality of the evidence, and the factors that may have influenced one juror may not be the same as those that tipped the scales for another.

But conviction is not the only risk. Because it is easier to convince a jury to convict on a manslaughter charge than on a charge of murder, prosecutors can be expected to take into account forensic evidence showing that trigger pulls have been modified and pursue that course. One may, at great expense, beat the charge by successfully arguing that the shooting had in fact been deliberate, but lawfully justified--or not. But the risk of being so charged is the kind of thing that can be minimized in the first place, which was the point made in the article provided in the OP.

If you want to discuss real cases, you can attend one of the premier classes in use of force law. I have, and I have heard of a few first hand.

I personally think it likely that a bigger risk has to do with that of civil liability, where the burden of proof is much lower, than with criminal negligence. I do not have an objective basis for that opinion, and I may be wrong. I would like to minimize my exposure to both risks.

That tells me I need to be more worred about my flower pots on my front porch than the trigger pull on my gun. Or carrying reloads in my gun. Or having a beer with dinner in a restaurant while carrying my gun.A rather silly conclusion, by any standard....

If you want to ignore the prevailing expert opinions of numerous trial lawyers, and of persons who have been called to serve as expert witnesses in trials criminal and civil, and of attorneys responsible for risk management for a larger number of police departments, by all means, do so.

But I suggest not trying to amuse us by trying to combine a single news article about a flower pot with your obvious lack of knowledge of the subject matter being discussed here to come up with an assessment of risk that runs counter to that of the overwhelming majority of the experts.

Arizona_Mike
January 21, 2014, 07:01 PM
One of the must striking thing about the full study behind the article Frank linked to is how harsh the mock juries were on men portrayed as incompetent with guns and women portrayed as competent with guns. Scarey stuff!

Mike

Frank Ettin
January 21, 2014, 07:43 PM
...The appeal's court found that the prosecution erred by allowing the state to claim in court that Kuenzli was unarmed when he had a screwdriver with a 7" shaft. They also found prosecutorial misconduct in pressuring the police not to pursue exculpatory evidence, and error in excluding Kuenzli's psychiatric history...It would have been a good idea to have actually read the court of appeals decision (State v. Fish, 213 P.3d 258, 222 Ariz. 109 (Ariz. App., 2009)) before attempting to tell us what they ruled and why. I'm afraid that you got it wrong.

It was a lengthy decision and focused primarily on the exclusion by the trial court of evidence concerning certain specific prior acts of Kuenzli which were not known by Fish at the time of the incident. In general, the court of appeals upheld the trial court's decision, but was critical of the trial courts handling of the specific acts evidence because of one point (213 P.3d 258, at 274 - 275):...
¶ 51 Normally, we give the trial court broad discretion in undertaking a Rule 403 analysis especially when it has admitted the evidence. ...

¶ 52 Here, however, that balancing was skewed by several factors. First, the superior court assumed the specific act evidence was not even relevant and as a result, summarily concluded that it would have little probative value even though the key issue of self-defense turned upon the credibility of Defendant's description of the event because he was the only living human witness to the shooting. Thus, the court appeared to weigh low probative value when the evidence was highly probative as to the accuracy and veracity of Defendant's statements and grand jury testimony about what occurred. Second, the court did not discuss why it concluded any undue prejudice and possible confusion outweighed the probative value. ...

¶ 53 Assuming evidence of Victim's specific prior acts is again offered on remand for this purpose, the superior court will need to decide whether the evidence should be admitted by performing an appropriate weighing under Rule 403. This evidence is highly probative of the veracity of Defendant's description of what he faced on the day of the shooting...

The court of appeals actually reversed Fish's conviction and ordered a new trial because of error in jury instructions (213 P.3d 258, at 278):...the instructions given were inadequate to state the law of self-defense for this case....

The screwdriver and the matter of certain of Kuenzli's psychiatric records weren't even touched upon in the court of appeal decision. Those questions were considered in a separate, unpublished memorandum (http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/Appeal%20memorandum.pdf) mentioned in footnote 1 to the court of appeals decision (213 P.3d 258, at 282):1. In a separate memorandum decision, we address other issues raised on appeal which do not require reversal but which may re-occur on remand. See Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure ("Ariz. R. Civ.App.P.") 28(g).


The discussion of those points in that memorandum was not favorable to Fish.

With regard to the exclusion by the trial court of evidence that Kuenzli had a screwdriver in his pocket, the court of appeals in that memorandum upheld the trial court:...
¶6 The superior court precluded evidence of the screwdriver because Defendant admittedly did not see the screwdriver or otherwise know of its presence in the Victim’s pocket at the time of the shooting. Therefore, the court reasoned that the presence of the screwdriver was not relevant to Defendant’s mental state or to his claim of self-defense and any evidence of the Victim’s potential use of the screwdriver would be speculative.

¶7 The superior court did not abuse its discretion. There was no evidence that Defendant knew of the screwdriver before the attack or that the Victim made any attempt to reach for the screwdriver to attack or threaten the Defendant....

With regard to the trial court permitting Kuenzli to be referred to as "unarmed", the court of appeal in that memorandum also upheld the trial court:...
¶8 Nor do we discern any abuse of discretion in permitting the State to characterize the Victim as unarmed....

With regard to certain of Kuenzli's psychiatric records, the court of appeal did not find the trial court's refusal to compel disclosure of those records to be improper:...
¶12 We disagree with Defendant for several reasons. First, we could not find the Banner documents in the record on appeal. It is an appellant’s obligation to ensure that the record on appeal is complete and we presume any missing documents support the superior court’s decision.... Thus, we cannot hold that the superior court erred in denying disclosure of such documents to Defendant either to show the Victim’s reputation for violence or that the Victim might have failed to take drugs at the time of the shooting which might have affected his behavior.

¶13 Second, the superior court did not err in how it proceeded in deciding the disclosure issue....

Frank Ettin
January 21, 2014, 07:57 PM
...Arizona changed from an affirmative defense state to a reasonable doubt state...Let's have a look at current Arizona law.

Under 13-205A, Arizona Revised Statutes: ...If evidence of justification pursuant to chapter 4 of this title is presented by the defendant, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act with justification....

It is not sufficient that the defendant merely says he was defending himself or another. He has the burden of presenting evidence that his conduct was justified under the applicable provision of Chapter 4 of Arizona Revised Statutes. If the defendant is claiming self defense he has essentially admitted committing the elements of the crime he's charged with, an intentional act of violence; and that basically satisfies the prosecution's primary burden of proof, i. e., that the defendant did the act. Only once the defendant has put on sufficient evidence establishing a prima facie case of justification does the burden shift back to the prosecution to prove a lack of justification beyond a reasonable doubt.

So the defendant does not have the burden of proving justification. He only has the burden of putting on evidence sufficient to make a prima facie case. But as a practical matter, the less convincing the defendant's case, the easier it will be for the prosecution to overcome defendant's self defense claim.

Wreck-n-Crew
January 22, 2014, 01:00 AM
One of the must striking thing about the full study behind the article Frank linked to is how harsh the mock juries were on men portrayed as incompetent with guns and women portrayed as competent with guns. Scarey stuff! A natural bias of sorts exists within the most honest people who would not intentionally hurt a fly, I call it perception.

Perception can send an innocent man to jail and set a guilty one free. The true meaning of that word becomes a tool in a court room. If I find myself in front of twelve men/women of a jury from a so called "good shoot" it is very likely that perception will be deciding my fate. To me it is just as important to learn as much as one can about how people see things and how that may play a role in decisions I may make should the unlikely happen than it is to have a lawyer that I can call should I need one. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure and knowing more about what can decrease the chances that I would have to defend myself twice for one incident is something I am happy to have more of.

Over the past few years here where I live there have been several self defense shootings. Fortunately they were all perceived legit enough and not over pursued by a zealot looking for votes or brownie points because there have been no charges filed on any of them. What this says about this area or state says nothing about another or the next case that pops up, so I take the results with a grain of salt regardless of what things seems to be on the surface.

With that being said one of those was a friend of mine. Permission to speak about the details from him and his lawyer was given to me. However being a witness to the incident itself I feel it is better if I don't say anymore than what the media did on the incident. All I can think about now looking back that day is the several little things that could have happened that changed the outcome drastically, mostly perception of the facts. For him it could not have turned out better since it did not result in the perpetrator losing his life or him being charged with anything.

When I think about the OP I have the same belief I agree with the majority. Planning for a disaster such as being involved in a shooting is a good thing, but joining something that seems more like an insurance for Self Defense is something a little further out than I wish to venture.

I sometimes have the curse of overthinking things and in the nature of that I find myself wondering if it could do more harm than good given the right circumstances and even more reason for me to avoid it. For instance I join this club and 2 weeks later I am involved a shooting with someone I had problems with. Say he came over to my house drunk with a knife or something. Knowledge of prior run ins with the man will be discovered. Then it is discovered I joined this group two weeks prior. Perception came knocking at my door and it put handcuffs on me. The next thing I know I am in court fighting that perception that is stuck in the prosecutors head that I planned this thing and enticed him to come to my house and killed him.

Borderline Paranoid? Overthinking it? Maybe, but as much as I don't ever want to be in a position to have to use my firearm, even more so I don't want perception anywhere but on my side should it happen.

JRH6856
January 22, 2014, 02:04 AM
In the final analysis, perception is the only reality that matters.

Comrade Mike
January 22, 2014, 02:22 AM
Awww darn, does this mean I have to put my magazine disconnect back in?

col_temp
January 22, 2014, 02:48 AM
If its on your normal carry weapon then yes you probably should UNLESS you have a very simple clear cut reason for removing it. That will be reasonable to all.

That unless does leave a window BUT will be hard to attain. The gist of the lawyers points are that as close to factory as possible is better for your main CCW.
Leave all the mods for your competition, range, etc guns.

Comrade Mike
January 22, 2014, 08:30 AM
If its on your normal carry weapon then yes you probably should UNLESS you have a very simple clear cut reason for removing it. That will be reasonable to all.

That unless does leave a window BUT will be hard to attain. The gist of the lawyers points are that as close to factory as possible is better for your main CCW.
Leave all the mods for your competition, range, etc guns.


There was a degree of sarcasm in my post, but I've heard of the disconnect retaining pin walking rendering the gun totally in operable. I know ensuring my gun works reliably makes it more deadly because I'm not giving the BG the consideration of possibly having a malfunction, but hey gotta stop somewhere.

With it out I'm still sitting at a 4.5-5 pound single action trigger pull with a manual safety.

This is another one of those topics that's been done to death on the Hi Power forums. Boils down to personal choice.

steve4102
January 22, 2014, 09:15 AM
I sometimes have the curse of overthinking things and in the nature of that I find myself wondering if it could do more harm than good given the right circumstances and even more reason for me to avoid it. For instance I join this club and 2 weeks later I am involved a shooting with someone I had problems with. Say he came over to my house drunk with a knife or something. Knowledge of prior run ins with the man will be discovered. Then it is discovered I joined this group two weeks prior. Perception came knocking at my door and it put handcuffs on me. The next thing I know I am in court fighting that perception that is stuck in the prosecutors head that I planned this thing and enticed him to come to my house and killed him.


LOL, I was thinking the same thing.

Kleanbore
January 22, 2014, 09:41 AM
Posted by Wreck-n-Crew: I sometimes have the curse of overthinking things and in the nature of that I find myself wondering if it could do more harm than good given the right circumstances and even more reason for me to avoid it.One can conjure up scenarios in which anything one might do, in combination with other things, just might be used to argue against lawful justification in an ambiguous circumstance.

Practicing at the range, buying a more compact firearm, buying an ankle holster, buying a box of ammo, or perhaps other things, could, conceivably, if the timing happened to appear suspicious and if other things contributed to the picture, could be argued to indicate possible premeditation or at least state of mind.

Risk management is a matter of balance. Do you want the assistance and financial protection afforded by joining the league, or not?

I have yet to see an informed argument to the effect that it is not a good idea to join, and as previously noted, a number of our members and moderators have done so.

"Even more reason?" What other reason has anyone ever offered against joining?

NavyLCDR
January 22, 2014, 12:06 PM
I have yet to see an informed argument to the effect that it is not a good idea to join, and as previously noted, a number of our members and moderators have done so.

"Even more reason?" What other reason has anyone ever offered against joining?

I have better uses for my money. What percentage of people who carry firearms for self-protection every day ever need a big defense? 2 or 3 individuals per year?

Kleanbore
January 22, 2014, 01:03 PM
Posted by NavyLCDR: I have better uses for my money.That is a legitimate reason, based on a risk assessment that is difficult to make with any degree of certainty. The same thought process applies in decisions regarding collision insurance, service policies, health insurance, product liability insurance if you are in manufacturing, and homeowners insurance.

Corporate risk managers look not only at what it costs to buy insurance, and not only at the likelihood of claims, but also at whether the firm would survive a catastrophic judgment or other loss in the event that they had opted to self insure.

Here's what one of our attorney members with the pseudonym Bartholomew Roberts said in the thread linked in Post #32:

At $85 a year, you'd have to be a member for 117 years before you paid in more than they are offering to pay out. While I agree that it could easily be a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of a Larry-Hickey/Mark Abshire style case, I think that is a pretty good return on investment. And I think the access to experts and lawyers who are knowledgable about real self-defense cases (as opposed to the much more common "I shot him over that bag of dope in self-defense and then took all the drugs and money" argument that most criminal defense lawyers hear) is quite a value in its own right.

What percentage of people who carry firearms for self-protection every day ever need a big defense? 2 or 3 individuals per year?As Bart pointed out, they won't cover anywhere near the cost of a "big defense."

NavyLCDR
January 22, 2014, 01:11 PM
I think it is also interesting to note is that most of these "look what could happen to you" articles are sponsered/published by the same companies offereing protection - for the low, low price of $$$ whatever per year. Just like most of the "expert" advice to always inform a LEO of your permit and firearm, even when not required to by law, comes from.....wait for it.....LEOs.

Old Dog
January 22, 2014, 01:15 PM
I'm not following this here ... Many pro-gunners carry a firearm that odds dramatically reflect they will never have to use against another person ... "Better to have it, and not need it, than need it and not have it" ... with the fire-extinguisher analogy and sometimes likening the carrying of a gun as the same as one's insurance policies or product warranties ... yet, people who acknowledge that they regularly carry a gun then say that they have better uses for their money ... than paying a relatively small fee per year for a service that could potentially save them a small fortune, keep them out of a lifetime's worth of heavy debt, or ... even keep them from being incarcerated?

NavyLCDR
January 22, 2014, 01:20 PM
I'm not following this here ... Many pro-gunners speak of carrying a firearm that odds reflect they will never have to use against another person ... with the fire-extinguisher analogy and sometimes likening the carrying of a gun as the same as one's insurance policies or product warranties ... yet, people who acknowledge that they regularly carry a gun state that they have better uses for their money ... than paying a relatively small fee per year for a service that could potentially save a small fortune, keep one out of a lifetime's worth of heavy debt, or ... even keep one from being incarcerated?

There are estimates of defensive uses of firearms in this country that vary anywhere between 55,000 per year (that's 150 per day) to over 2 million per year (that's 5,479 per day). How many cases per year are there of people needing legal services to keep them from being incarcerated due to self-defense shooting? In addition, I not only carry my gun for self-defense but I also use it for pleasure shooting. I carry my gun for self-defense now because there was a criminal attack on my home in the past before I carried.

Kleanbore
January 22, 2014, 01:41 PM
Posted by NavyLCDR: How many cases per year are there of people needing legal services to keep them from being incarcerated due to self-defense shooting?I should think that anyone who is ever involved in a defensive shooting will realize that it is a good idea to obtain the services of a qualified attorney without delay.

JRH6856
January 22, 2014, 01:55 PM
There are estimates of defensive uses of firearms in this country that vary anywhere between 55,000 per year (that's 150 per day) to over 2 million per year (that's 5,479 per day). How many cases per year are there of people needing legal services to keep them from being incarcerated due to self-defense shooting?

A rough guess would be between <55,000 and 2 million per year.

RetiredUSNChief
January 22, 2014, 03:51 PM
Probably already been pointed out here (I rapidly grew tired of reading the comments between the beginning of the first page and this page), but:

1. It is the job of the prosecuting attorneys to gain a conviction. To that end, they will work whatever angles they can to obtain it.

2. It is the job of the defense attorneys to defend their client. To that end, they will work whatever angles they can to obtain it.

3. The single most important factor ANY person can do to protect their own interests starts BEFORE ever strapping on a gun: know the laws and limitations with respect to the use of deadly force in whatever jurisdiction(s) they are in. All other factors which support this is icing on the cake.


The whole point of carrying a firearm for self-defense is (insert drum role) to be able to project sufficient deadly force when the need calls for it to defend one's own life or the life of another. (Read your own deadly force laws...but that's a reasonable summary.)

Deadly force is just that...DEADLY. It is that amount of force which on knows, or should know, will cause serious bodily harm or death, to be used as a last resort when all lesser means have failed or cannot be reasonably employed. (Yeah, I know...the military side of me here. But that's what it really is.)

Pull a gun on somebody and you'd BETTER be doing so within the limits of the law because you're about to apply some of that vaunted deadly force. And, strictly speaking, in the eyes of the law it doesn't matter if you have a small caliber firearm loaded with light target rounds or a big bore magnum...deadly force is deadly force.

Should one have an attorney on retainer? Perhaps. Certainly not a bad idea because he's literally only a phone call away and already paid to commence action, though strictly speaking I don't think it's necessary to actually pay ahead of time because that's something you can work out with the attorney. Certainly after any use of deadly force, one could do well to read and heed the stickie on this site about what to do.

Is it wise to consider all this other stuff about guns, ammo, target shapes, and such that NavyLCDR brought up? Certainly...but that doesn't mean one has to abide by all that "advice". Part of our decision making process is to consider everything we can about carrying a firearm because not doing so is deliberately placing limitations on our own knowledge. Consider it, research it, make a realistic decision based on your own research. Just don't blindly believe it, or anything else you may read or hear about: use the brain God gave you in an intelligent fashion.


The simple fact is that no matter what I carry, how I carry it, what kind of ammo I use, what color my weapon is, what caliber it is, what make/model it is, whether it's a pistol or revolver or rifle or shotgun, where I was at the time, what color my skin is...once I go to court it's ALL fair game for the prosecution.

I'm retired Navy. My prior military service might be used to place me in a militant light to the jury.

I'm a white male. My skin color might be used to place me in a racist light to the jury, or my gender might be used to make me appear sexist.

I'm not rich by any stretch, but the fact that I might make considerably more money than whomever I may have shot might be used to make it appear that my "wealth" is gaining me unfair privileges.

Sure...I MIGHT be carrying target ammo and not hollowpoint killers in my gun at the time...but did I HAVE to be carrying such a big bore gun as 1911 frame?


When you go to court, NOTHING is sacred to the prosecution. Therefore your single biggest defense against the prosecution is to know the law and work within it BEFORE you ever have to go to court in the first place.

Wreck-n-Crew
January 22, 2014, 06:03 PM
One can conjure up scenarios in which anything one might do, in combination with other things, just might be used to argue against lawful justification in an ambiguous circumstance.

It wasn't my intent but a good point nonetheless. So I decided o take a deeper look into what they do, how they do it, and more importantly what kind of reputation they have.

After doing a little more digging past the website I found many positive reviews. For someone (myself) who just stated that I tend to overthink things, I feel I didn't put enough into this one. Call it hindsight or Monday Morning Quarterbacking but there is more to ACLDN than I first thought. They are a little more than just a Concealed Carry Insurance Company IMO. Then again that "Perception" word again pops up. Better now then at a worse time I recon. Seriously considering a membership now, just need to finish some details with the better half. Credit given to those that are looking out for fellow armed citizens with no dog in the fight are do! Thanks guys/gals!;)

Some of the many reviews and comments here:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-258687.html
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1419686
and My Favorite thus far was this by the USCCA: https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/the-armed-citizens-legal-defense-network/

The more I read the more the planning behind the ACDLN becomes more brilliant. They could have put less effort in and offered less than just a manner of supporting you should it ever happen and maybe been successful. They went the extra mile.

Testimony says a lot about a service or product and I have yet to find a dissatisfied customer after some good searching. Yes I was playing devils advocate to insure there is no underlying problem with their service to members, but I wanted both sides of the story. I was convinced enough to make a few calls to friends and family. If they see what I see I am pretty sure they will be on board to. BTW thanks as well to the OP for the share. Really good stuff and had I not been passing through the "legal" section here, well who knows.

Frank Ettin
January 22, 2014, 07:55 PM
....How many cases per year are there of people needing legal services to keep them from being incarcerated due to self-defense shooting?...You might want to ask --

This couple (http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_e5733da4-9156-11e0-bec5-0019bb30f31a.html), arrested in early April and finally exonerated under Missouri's Castle Doctrine in early June. And no doubt after incurring expenses for bail and a lawyer, as well as a couple of month's anxiety, before being cleared.


Larry Hickey (http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/images/stories/Hickey%20Booklet.pdf), in gun friendly Arizona: He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.


Mark Abshire (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=391091) in Oklahoma: Despite defending himself against multiple attackers on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal meat-grinder before finally being acquitted.


Harold Fish (http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/), also in gun friendly Arizona: He was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.


Gerald Ung (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7359920&postcount=34): He was attacked by several men, and the attack was captured on video. He was nonetheless charged and brought to trial. He was ultimately acquitted (http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/crime&id=7960513).


Some good folks in clear jeopardy and with no way to preserve their lives except by the use of lethal force against other humans. Yet that happened under circumstances in which their justification for the use of lethal force was not immediately clear. While each was finally exonerated, it came at great emotional and financial cost. And perhaps there but for the grace of God will go one of us.


And note also that two of those cases arose in States with a Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law in effect at the time.

NavyLCDR
January 22, 2014, 11:15 PM
You might want to ask --

[list] This couple (http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_e5733da4-9156-11e0-bec5-0019bb30f31a.html), arrested in early April and finally exonerated under Missouri's Castle Doctrine in early June. And no doubt after incurring expenses for bail and a lawyer, as well as a couple of month's anxiety, before being cleared.

First - year 2011. Second, from your link:
"Prosecutors have declined charges." They were never charged with committing a crime!


Larry Hickey (http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/images/stories/Hickey%20Booklet.pdf), in gun friendly Arizona: He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.

I will grant this is a valid case. You can call this the year 2008 when the shooting happened, or 2010 when it was resolved.

Mark Abshire (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=391091) in Oklahoma: Despite defending himself against multiple attackers on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal meat-grinder before finally being acquitted.

http://www.newson6.com/story/11744698/man-found-not-guilty-of-shooting-after-standing-his-ground-speaks

We will call this one 2007 when the shooting took place or 2009 when the trial happened.

Harold Fish (http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/), also in gun friendly Arizona: He was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.

Harold Fish - valid case - year 2006


Gerald Ung (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7359920&postcount=34): He was attacked by several men, and the attack was captured on video. He was nonetheless charged and brought to trial. He was ultimately acquitted (http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/crime&id=7960513).

Years 2010-2011

So it looks like we are averaging about 1 case per year, at least in the news. Hmmm... let's see, first I have to get myself into the population of between 50,000 to 2,000,000 per year that use a gun for defense. Then, I have to narrow that down to having injured or killed someone in self defense. Then I have to narrow that down even more to the small percentage that go to a trial to prove self-defense. I'm sorry, but that just is not going to make the realm of probability for me to write a check for insurance for....

Frank Ettin
January 22, 2014, 11:35 PM
...Then I have to narrow that down even more to the small percentage that go to a trial to prove self-defense...If you want to play those odds that's your choice. It won't be my problem.

Kleanbore
January 23, 2014, 09:24 AM
Posted by NavyLCDR: So it looks like we are averaging about 1 case per year, at least in the news. Hmmm... let's see, first I have to get myself into the population of between 50,000 to 2,000,000 per year that use a gun for defense. ... Then I have to narrow that down even more to the small percentage that go to a trial to prove self-defense.You continue to misunderstand.

The question is not one of how many major trials may be known to you. As has been noted more than once, ACLDN membership benefits would not effectively defray the cost of a major trial anyway.

The risks are those of incurring legal expenses, and needing the right kind legal expertise. The expenses incurred without ever going to trial can be significant, even if the prosecution or plaintiff drops the case.

The risk management question is whether you would be better off, for the lack of a better term, "self insuring" and accepting that risk, or mitigating it, when the cost of mitigation is so low in comparison to the potential expenses that would be covered.

And by the way, benefit payments are not limited to those who use a gun for self defense.

NavyLCDR
January 23, 2014, 10:58 AM
The risk management question is whether you would be better off, for the lack of a better term, "self insuring" and accepting that risk, or mitigating it, when the cost of mitigation is so low in comparison to the potential expenses that would be covered.
and my point continues to be where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, "You know what? That particular risk is just so low that I really don't think it is worth the time, effort, or money to 'mitigate' it."

We see posts all the time about "Don't engange in that legal activity because the police will hassle you for it", "Don't do that, because it will upset the anti-gun crowd", "Don't do that because a prosecutor will use it against you."

I guess I am just a rebel my nature. I have no problems at all having a beer at Applebee's with dinner, openly carrying my PT-145 with handloaded ammo, with no insurance - and if I should be stopped for a burned out brake light on the way home I have no issues keeping my mouth shut about my CPL and my gun. Maybe it's time to look into a trigger job.

Comrade Mike
January 23, 2014, 11:21 AM
Actually thinking back to the Zimmerman Case one of the prosecutors used the heavy trigger pull of George's PF9 against him.

It was their firearms expert testifying as to the ballistic report and the functionality of the weapon. She mentioned the heavy trigger pull as I recall and then it came up in closing arguments. I think he said something to the tune of "The defendant pulled that heavy 10 pound trigger with the full intent to kill Trayvon Martin. There was no accident here, and his intent was clear..." And it went on from there.

Kleanbore
January 23, 2014, 12:11 PM
Posted by NavyLCDR: ....and my point continues to be where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, "You know what? That particular risk is just so low that I really don't think it is worth the time, effort, or money to 'mitigate' it."Making that assessment is the very essence of risk management.

Step one is to identify the risks; the risk in question is one of needing the assistance of the right kind of attorney after a defensive use of force incident.

Step two is to analyze the risks, both in terms of likelihood and in terms of potential consequences. If you are ever involved in a defensive use of force incident, you will almost certainly need to consult an attorney. That could be very expensive.

Step three is to consider ways to mitigate the risks, and to evaluate different mitigation strategies in terms of cost and effectiveness. Depending upon the circumstances, ALCDN membership may make available to you expert advice and can defray some of the expenses. The cost of mitigation is quite low by any reasonable standard.

Then you decide whether to accept the risks or to mitigate them. No one else can make that decision for you.

Some of our more knowledgeable staff members have deemed it advisable to join the ACLDN. Your choice is yours to make.

We see posts all the time about "Don't engange in that legal activity because the police will hassle you for it", "Don't do that, because it will upset the anti-gun crowd", "Don't do that because a prosecutor will use it against you."The third one is something to really pay attention to, if the advice is well founded.

I guess I am just a rebel my nature.Allrighty then.

I have no problems at all having a beer at Applebee's with dinner,....Nor do I, but in some jurisdictions, doing so while carrying a firearm is a criminal offense. Let's not give the impression that it's OK to do that everywhere.

... openly carrying my PT-145 with handloaded ammo,... That takes us back to the essence of risk management. The chances that you will ever have to introduce gunshot residue test evidence in your defense are remote, but if you do, the consequences of not being able to do so could be extremely severe.

...with no insurance...Surely you carry insurance.

And it has already been explained here that ACLDN benefits are not insurance.

- and if I should be stopped for a burned out brake light on the way home I have no issues keeping my mouth shut about my CPL and my gun. I don't see what that has to do with the subject at hand.

Maybe it's time to look into a trigger job.Are you trying to be sarcastic?

But just to clarify the subject for those who may have joined us late, we have had numerous discussions on the subject, and there are trigger modifications that are unlikely to cause any difficulty, and there are those that can lead to issues in criminal and civil proceedings. Those that reduce the pull weight markedly below the maker's specification are the ones to avoid.

The issue is not just a legal one, but also one of common sense. Do you really want to carry a trigger that can too easily be pulled unintentionally under conditions of extreme stress?

And there is the other side of the coin to consider. Do you want to have to shoot at someone in a populated area with a firearm that has a trigger pull that is too heavy and too long for you to use effectively? That's a personal call; Massad Ayoob can use a Glock with a New York trigger effectively, but some of us cannot. If, like me, you are among the latter, the prudent thing to do is to select a different firearm to begin with.

Frank Ettin
January 23, 2014, 12:11 PM
...I think he said something to the tune of "The defendant pulled that heavy 10 pound trigger with the full intent to kill Trayvon Martin. There was no accident here, and his intent was clear..."... If in fact that was the testimony, it's pretty benign, even irrelevant.

When claiming self defense the defendant admits intentionally committing the act -- the defendant admits intentionally firing the gun and intentionally shooting someone.

Now with a super light trigger a prosecutor might be able to convince a jury that you didn't intend to shoot, that it was an accident. And that might get you convicted of involuntary manslaughter (instead of a "self defense" acquittal).

So you might dodge a murder conviction, but you still get convicted of a felony, lose your gun rights for the rest of your life, go to jail or at least get a period of probation, and get a bill from your lawyer for something between $50,000 and $150,000.

RetiredUSNChief
January 23, 2014, 12:25 PM
and my point continues to be where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, "You know what? That particular risk is just so low that I really don't think it is worth the time, effort, or money to 'mitigate' it."

We see posts all the time about "Don't engange in that legal activity because the police will hassle you for it", "Don't do that, because it will upset the anti-gun crowd", "Don't do that because a prosecutor will use it against you."

I guess I am just a rebel my nature. I have no problems at all having a beer at Applebee's with dinner, openly carrying my PT-145 with handloaded ammo, with no insurance - and if I should be stopped for a burned out brake light on the way home I have no issues keeping my mouth shut about my CPL and my gun. Maybe it's time to look into a trigger job.

Who loves ya, baby? Can't say you're the only "rebel by nature" on this site!

Cost benefit analysis IS important in our considerations. And just because someone else thinks something is the greatest thing since pre-sliced bread doesn't mean you or I have to fall into line with that.

(Just ask the timeshare lady I managed to thoroughly tick off this last weekend because she hit my "GAME ON!" button. I'm hoping I ticked her off so badly that she took it home with her and got her husband ticked off at me, too.)

Should it ever happen, it's going to cost money and time whether it goes to court or not. How much money and time will be based on the specific circumstances involved, which none of us will know until/unless it happens to us. What those odds/risks are is something each of us has to evaluate for ourselves.

I hope and pray I never have to draw my weapon. And if I do, I hope and pray that the circumstances involved are as clear and plain to see as the nose on my face in all the evidence.

Kleanbore
January 23, 2014, 12:50 PM
Posted by RetiredUSNChief: I hope and pray I never have to draw my weapon.So do I, and the important point is to not draw it unless you have reason to believe that you do have to.

And if I do, I hope and pray that the circumstances involved are as clear and plain to see as the nose on my face in all the evidence.That goes to the essence of the points made in the OP.

If your action was lawfully justified, and if the evidence available after the fact clearly supports justification, your risks should be relatively manageable. That's not to say that you may end up in a cell for a short time, or that you will not incur some expenses...but you may not.

But defensive use of force incidents do not take place on a sound stage where they are recorded from start to finish from multiple vantage points.

Whatever really happened, the evidence will surely be piecemeal and incomplete, and some testimony may be completely untrue. Even honest and unbiased eyewitnesses often really believe that they saw something other than what actually happened, and their testimony may be difficult to challenge.

Some of the kinds of risks attendant to navigating one's way through the legal process after a use of force incident can be managed in advance. One does not want to end up regretting having made the wrong decisions while the opportunity to make the right ones was available.

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