A law. Shooting someone wielding a knife?


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xild
July 6, 2004, 12:47 PM
I'm being told that if I shoot someone who is wielding a knife that I will do 10 years for manslaughter, here in the USA.

This can't be true?

I've been lurking awhile, so I thought I would ask in this area. Thank you.

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Matthew Courtney
July 6, 2004, 12:59 PM
It would depend on the circumstances and jurisdiction. If he's cleaning a fish, you could be executed for 1st degree murder in some places. If he threatens to kill you then lunges at you, leading with the knife, you would likely be justified barring aggrevating circumstances like:

You're in his house
You just bought/sold drugs from/to him
You started a fight with him, causing him to pull the knife.

Any justification hinges on the totality of the circumstances and applicable laws.

Werewolf
July 6, 2004, 12:59 PM
I'm being told that if I shoot someone who is wielding a knife that I will do 10 years for manslaughter, here in the USA.
Well - that is not true in Oklahoma. Here, as long as the opportunity, intent, and ability criteria are met one can use a firearm in self defense. A good shoot is a good shoot.

Someone wielding a knife and threatening you with it meets all three criteria. Of course if he or she is 50 yards away and you shoot the question might be asked "why didn't you just run away" assuming one had the opportunity to run away (even though in OK there is no duty to retreat). It's an entirely different matter if the knife wielder is only 20 or 30 feet away and coming at you with evil in his or her heart.

The outcome of any shooter vs knife wielder event where the knife wielder gets shot is very dependent on the situation. In states where there is a legal duty to retreat getting 10 years for manslaughter if you shoot a knife wielder when one could have run away is IMHO very likely.

Then of course there's the ole saw - don't bring a knife to a gunfight. If one violates that precept I believe that one pretty much gets what one deserves.

Diggler
July 6, 2004, 01:00 PM
Heck, you're from Texas... I'm pretty sure they have regular seasons for stuff like that... just don't forget to tag 'em!

:neener:

Actually if you're allowed to have the gun where you are and it's self defense I think you're being fed a line of BS. That being said, a bad lawyer on your side could very well muck things up pretty quickly.

Jim March
July 6, 2004, 02:06 PM
During the day, the rules on deadly force are remarkably similar between California and Texas.

The standard on when you can shoot somebody is simple. It's based on a question you ask yourself before shooting somebody: "Is this person criminally putting me in fear of losing my life or suffering great bodily injury?"

This is a yes-or-no question. If answer = "yes", draw and (maybe) shoot. The reason there's a "maybe" in there is that pulling a gun on some goblin often (but NOT always) has the remarkable effect of causing said goblin to run away while making a charming variety of high-pitched vocalizations. Such as:

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

...at which point, the "answer" changes from "yes" to "was".

NOTE: it doesn't always work out that way. So you do NOT bluff. Ya follow? You pull a gun ONLY when somebody needs to die RIGHT NOW, and if that stops being the case, cool. If that is STILL the case when the gun comes out, it's time for Mr. Firing Pin to have relations with Ms. Primer, as facilitated by Rev. Trigger.

All of this applies regardless of weapon. His OR yours. Got that? In California, I haven't been able to score CCW yet, so I carry serious cutlery of my own, Calif knife laws being BETTER (looser!) than Texas.

Now, if somebody has deadly force and are making lethal threats, but they do NOT have a projectile weapon (gun, bow, Trebuchant loaded with gasoline bombs, etc.) but rather have a stabbing/pounding/dicing impliment and they're 100 yards away, they're no immediate threat to you. Recommended solution: leave. If they're at 5ft range, they're gonna geek you any nanosecond...recommended solution: draw and fire in one smooth stroke...they'll remain unshot only if they VERY rapidly stop being a problem before you can activate Rev. Trigger.

Much thought has gone into where the BOUNDARY is between "threat" and "non-threat" of a knife/club/AIDS infected syringe/sword/etc. wielding maniac. The most commonly accepted solution: 21 feet (7 yards, which for you furriners is close enough to 7 meters that you shouldn't sweat the difference).

That's because a loon can cross that difference and geek you in 1.5 seconds (typically), which is also (typically) about how fast you can draw and fire.

Go google the term "Tueller drill" for more info. This concept, that a knifer is dangerous out to about 7 yards, has survived a fair amount of court scrutiny.

NOTE: this does NOT mean you can plug anybody with a knife out to seven yards!!! There's also this thing called "intent"...you need to be able to justify why you thought the guy was a threat. Pulling a pocketknife to cut open a cardboard box is a completely different matter from waving it around and screaming THE VOICES IN MY HEAD DEMAND A BLOOD SACRAFICE!!!.

(Yes, I'm aware that I've probably mis-spelled "sacrafice". It doesn't matter. People who would actually scream that out probably can't spell either.

BUT, a guy with a knife does need to be very clear about HIS intent too...he has a duty to at least try and put people at ease.

Example: not two days ago, late at night I came across a couple stranded in a car out of gas. The motorcycle I was driving had this weird ability to...well, you unscrew one bolt, twist the petcock control and it'll squirt gasoline out. So I asked 'em if they had any container we would use to transfer a little gas. They came up with an empty antifreeze bottle...great, but the car's gas cap was too far recessed for the bottle to fit. I explained that we'd have to cut away part of the bottle plastic so it'd form a proper funnel, and that I was going to pull a pocketknife to do this, and that I didn't want to freak 'em out...both were perfectly cool with that. They were even cooler with me successfully getting them to a gas station :cool:. In any case, under the circumstances (I am 6'4" 280lbs, biker dressed all in black, it's past midnight, I outweigh the both of 'em put together and I need to pull a knife) extra care on my part not to cause a heart attack was warranted.

You can't shoot somebody for failing to be as polite, but...well, go google ANOTHER concept that matters:

cooper "color codes"

(Put exactly that line into Google, complete with quotes.)

gunsmith
July 6, 2004, 02:23 PM
You can't shoot somebody for failing to be as polite

Thats taking all of the fun out of owning a six shooter;)

geekWithA.45
July 6, 2004, 02:26 PM
Jim March's comments are pretty bang on.

Generally, "good shoots" are dependent on

A) Complete innocence of the defending party, ie, not provoking the fight.

B) Means: The assaillant must have the means of causing death/great bodilly harm. This can be anything from a known blackbelt to a chain gun. Disproportianate force can be a factor here, ie 250 lb male vs 100 lb female, unarmed mob vs lone defender, etc.

C) Proximity: The assaillant must have the proximity to employ the means. As Jim noted, for melee weapons, the accepted figure is 7 yards. For ranged weapons, well, I guess that depends on the range of the weapon. :neener:

D) Jeopardy: The assaillant must be behaving in such a way that a reasonable person would believe that they are in jeopardy as a result of the assailant's behaviour. Sometimes, this clause is referred to as "intent", but since "intent" is an inner thing that can only be inferred by outward behavior, the law does not require us to be a psychic.

moa
July 6, 2004, 05:20 PM
Doesn't police training recommend that if an officer is within seven yards or less of someone with a knife, and the officer is attacked and their firearm is still in the holster, the officer should first try an gain distance between their self and the attacker?

The odds are the attacker will cross that seven yards or less before the officer can deploy and employ their weapon.

Thumper
July 6, 2004, 05:31 PM
Generally, "good shoots" are dependent on [A,B,C,D]...

Or (in Texas):

E: Someone keying your car after dark.

"Section 9.42 2 (A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime;"

YMMV, especially in light of the civil suit.

Jim March
July 6, 2004, 05:57 PM
Yup. See also the first line in my post above.

Texas laws on deadly force change after dark, in unique ways.

"Unique" in this instance being synonymous with "really, really cool" :D. To at least a limited degree, you can use deadly force to defend property.

Pilgrim
July 6, 2004, 10:36 PM
Doesn't police training recommend that if an officer is within seven yards or less of someone with a knife, and the officer is attacked and their firearm is still in the holster, the officer should first try an gain distance between their self and the attacker?

The source of this training comes from a film titled "Surviving Edged Weapons Attacks" available at Calibre Press.

From the video summary: The video teaches officers to react if a suspect is within 21 feet and there is a perceived threat. Tests were conducted by simulating an attack on an officer and gauging a safe distance for officers to maintain. It was estimated that 21 feet would give an officer time to draw his weapon and fire two rounds.

Pilgrim

Graystar
July 6, 2004, 11:31 PM
Although the technically correct answer is "it depends on the situation", I think the question was really alluding to the disparity between your gun vs. his knife. In that respect, the fact that the perpetrator has *only* a knife means very little. The only factors would be either a specific situation or a reasonable fear of losing your life. For example, here in NY I can shoot a burglar in my home even though he may not be threatening me. That's a specific situation. I can shoot a person in the street if the person is committing a robbery. Otherwise, for something like a lover’s quarrel gone bad, to shoot a person in the street I have to believe that such person is about to use deadly physical force against me. That said, I think threshold of what juries consider deadly physical force (of an attacker) is pretty low.

Some guy with nothing in his hands is rushing at you, you pull out your weapon and yell “STOP!”, and he keeps coming...pull the trigger. It’ll be a good shoot.

mlomker
July 7, 2004, 05:21 PM
The odds are the attacker will cross that seven yards or less before the officer can deploy and employ their weapon.

I practiced the Tueller drill at LFI-1 about a week ago. I can cover 21 feet in about 1.8 seconds (I was wearing boots) and I can draw and fire from an open holster in 1.6 seconds (It'd be at least 2 seconds from concealment and even longer if I was caught by surprise).

To answer your question, you need to draw and then fire one-handed while moving in the opposite direction. Make sure your feet are in the direction that you are moving (don't shuffle backwards--it's not fast enough). Getting an obstacle between you and the attacker is the best approach.

Hkmp5sd
July 7, 2004, 05:44 PM
Remember that the 7-yard quideline is based on you being able to draw and fire that quick. That also assumes that your shot will incapacitate the BG before he can harm you. When you add in slow reflexes, physical infirmities, adrenaline and Mr. Murphy, 7 yards can be way too close.

If a person is moving toward you, at or before the point he reaches approximately 7 yards, draw your weapon and aim. In most jurisdictions this would be justified, especially if you can show prior training on the subject. If the individual continues to come at you after seeing your firearm, you can safely assume he is insane or intent on attacking you, or both. When any semi-intelligent BG looks down your barrel, he is going to remember some other place he would prefer to be at that moment and head in that direction.

Diggler
July 7, 2004, 06:35 PM
I watched "28 Days Later" last night.

7 yards is NOTHING.

:what:

xild
July 7, 2004, 08:39 PM
I'm new to Texas after having lived in Vermont. So not only do I have to take the test for CCW but it appears I need to be researching TX law.

This has been an colorful and informative answer to my question, guys and gals.

Thank you.

Double Naught Spy
July 8, 2004, 09:27 AM
Quote
"I'm being told that if I shoot someone who is wielding a knife that I will do 10 years for manslaughter, here in the USA.

This can't be true?

I've been lurking awhile, so I thought I would ask in this area. Thank you."

-------

First, we don't have any national laws that say this. Laws by state vary.

Second, why would it be manslaughter if you shoot a person with a knife? If they ain't dead to begin with, then it can't be manslaughter.

Third, generally manslaughter is related to unintentional deaths. For example, a DWI person strikes and kills a pedestrian he never even saw. He did not murder the pedestrian as there was no intent on his part, but the pedestrian was killed and so the charge is manslaughter. Sometimes murder charges will be lowered to manslaughter charges when evidence is lacking and a murder conviction might not stick or when a deal is negotiated. But generally speaking, if you meant to shoot somebody and they die, and the act was not in self defense, then it is murder.

xild
July 8, 2004, 05:33 PM
Well, I was concerned that if someone was coming at me with a knife, and I shoot him, I myself will be convicted of manslaughter. Obviously someone didn't know what he was talking about when he said this. But I posted in here because who knows? I could have missed something...

Also, if some creep enters my house and has only a knife or, a bat, I would like to be able to shoot that bastage with the gun I have next to my bed, and be free of the concern that I may have to go to court.

I am only concerned with self preservation, not going about looking for knife wielders and shooting them.

;)

Hkmp5sd
July 8, 2004, 07:31 PM
and be free of the concern that I may have to go to court.

Well, you moved to the right state. IIRC, in Texas, you may shoot tresspassers on your property after dark. They don't have to be in your house.

xild
July 8, 2004, 11:20 PM
Well, you moved to the right state. IIRC, in Texas, you may shoot tresspassers on your property after dark. They don't have to be in your house.

Thanks, I don't have much property at all. In fact, I rent the land where my new home is now...

Although Vermont was a great state if you wanted to carry concealed, it appears its Senators are not voting for the demise of the AWB.

An aside: I heard a story from an old Vermont woman, and I never did check her "facts" but she told us that in Vermont, a woman is allowed to shoot anyone in her bedroom as long as it is only one shot.

It wouldn't surprise me with the level of hate towards men shown in that state and the power of the feministas there (which is why I wanted to leave my home of eleven years in the first place). But I thought it was an interesting story anyway.... oh, I'm female, by the way.

I mean, this "law," if it were true, would allow any woman to kill any man, even her husband, or someone she invited in....

Likewise, I will be very careful not to trespass on someone's TX property while I am here. Not that I'm prone to meandering around at night....:what:

Greybeard
July 8, 2004, 11:41 PM
Re: Shooting trespassers after dark. Another misconception/exaggeration about Tejas laws ...

BB93YJ
July 8, 2004, 11:59 PM
Goblin gets within 21 feet of me with a knife and is obviously wishing to inflict bodily harm on me, he's getting shot. Multiple times, till he stops with the action that made me feel threatened in the first place. If he dies is beside the point. In Texas you shoot to stop, not kill. (The DPS instructors drill that into you at the Instructor's school, with good reason)

Knives in the hands of someone even reasonably skilled in their use are way more dangerous in the near term than a pistol. Not many blasters will eviscerate a person
in one swipe like even a simple boxcutter can.

Talk about a "Permanent Wound Cavity":what:

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