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Advice from a lawyer

Discussion in 'Legal' started by EddieCoyle, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Well-Known Member

    At the range before a recent sportsmen's club meeting, I was talking CCW's with an aquaintance who is a prosecutor working in the DA's office. He carries a S&W CS45. I'm thinking of buying one and he was gracious enough to let me try it out. To reciprocate, I let him try my S&W 642. He took a look at the hollowpoints I was carrying and told me that if I ever had to use the gun, I'd be in trouble if there was a civil suit against me. :eek:

    His recommendation: Carry the most common, cheapest (non-hollowpoint) ammo you can get! (His carry gun was loaded with 230gr FMJ out of a Winchester white box).

    His reasoning was based on what he'd seen in court. The attorneys for a plaintiff in a wrongful death or other civil suit will try to portray you as a lunatic.

    Hollowpoints = "Killer bullets that are too deadly even for the military."

    Hand loads are bad too:
    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury... Factory ammunition wasn't deadly enough for the defendant so he had to load his own."

    I've since switched to 158gr lead semi-wadcutters (not because of his advice but because of what I've read about hollowpoints not expanding when fired from a snubbie).

    Has anyone else heard this? Are there any examples of these tactics being used in court?
  2. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    I'm no lawyer and AFAIK we have yet to hear of an acredited case where use of reloads was a deciding fact against the shooter. I also do not know of any specifics regarding hollow points either.

    My contention would be, that the ammo in the gun I carry (for use only in extremis) is to be the most effective way to save my butt. If therefore I can claim legitimately - ''I was in fear of my life'' then I would venture to suggest that an effective gun and ammo is the best way to achieve such.

    Once above .380 (which I would use with FMJ) I would also bring in the factors regarding possible over penetration and thus risks to bystanders etc related to use of JHP's.

    This is one lawyer with views - but I cannot right now accept those as other than a solo opinion. I am not going to prejudice my ability to survive an attack worrying solely about the aftermath. :)
  3. NCP24

    NCP24 Well-Known Member

    It definitely sounds like something an attorney would say, but I wouldn’t worry about it.
  4. Camp David

    Camp David member

    EddieCoyle: Thank you for your post, but I couldn't disagree more! Indeed I favor P95carry's words:
    What ammunition you carry in your firearm is your own choice; worrying about the legal perspectives can be done later, while you are alive, rather than dead, from legal cheap ammunition malfunctioning!

    This legal reasoning reminds me of a trip north several years ago through New Hampshire in the winter... I drove up through the White Mountains and was one of the few vehicles able to navigate the icy roads during a snow and ice storm since I had switched my tires to the studs on the rear. Though these tires are highly illegal now on roads, they have saved my truck on numerous occasions and only take minutes to switch and and much more effective than chains!

    Use the best ammunition you can; let the legal chips fall where they may!
  5. K-Romulus

    K-Romulus Well-Known Member

    use what the police use, IMHO

    JHP? Any competent defense lawyer will explain why they are better for bystander safety - and why the police use them.

    Handloads: "more reliable than factory ammo", "experienced hobbyist who reloads his own ammo to save money," etc . . (?)
  6. dolanp

    dolanp Well-Known Member

    Yeah he's thinking like a lawyer alright but if you have a good lawyer on your side he can squash that argument. Not to mention FMJ makes it a little more likely that the bullet would go through the target and possibly damage people/things behind it.
  7. HankB

    HankB Well-Known Member


    Cop ammo: "This man used the SAME ammo the police use - he's a vigilate cop wannabe!"

    Hollowpoint: " . . . extra deadly DUM DUM ammo . . . "

    Handloads: " . . . super lethal homemade ammo . . ."

    Softpoint: ". . . meant for hunting game, HE was hunting MEN . . . "

    Any expanding ammo: ". . . Banned by the Geneva Convention . . . " (actually the Hague Accords, but . . .)

    Any non-expanding ammo: "Irresponsibly overpenetrating for urban use, it can kill several with one shot."

    Expensive ammo: " . . . Boutique ammo for killers . . . "

    Cheap ammo: ". . . wants to get in some discount killing . . . "

    Bottom line: If the case is weak, the opposing shyster will try to make ammo - ANY AMMO - an issue. They've tried to do this to LEOs, they'll try it on you. It's your shyster's job to stop him.

    In the case of a good shoot, I've yet to hear any credible evidence that any reasonable ammo type will clobber you in court. So unless you're using handloaded depleted uranium sabots dipped in rattlesnake venom, I just don't see it being a real problem in a good shoot.
  8. one-shot-one

    one-shot-one Well-Known Member

    he is probably

    dead on in Massachusetts, talk to a lawyer in texas and see what he tells you. :D
  9. idakfan

    idakfan Well-Known Member

    Good post by Hank B

    My Two cents:

    I use Hollow-Point because chances are the bullet will hopefully stop in the badguy and not go through him into somebody else.
  10. Camp David

    Camp David member

    For home defense I use hollow-point ammunition tainted with poison; therefore in the unlikely case I only graze the target, whatever I aim at will die a horrible death. :)
  11. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Excellent! then he can give us name, dates and case numbers for these (heretofor phantom) examples. :rolleyes:
  12. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Well-Known Member

    Not this one, nor any of the others I shoot with.
  13. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

    My take on it is this:

    1) I shoot to stop

    2) There's a correlation between number of shots fired, and likelihood of death.

    3) I choose to use a bullet that's likely to end the threat with as few rounds fired as possible.

    4) Doing this is actually in the perp's best interest. More holes = more chances to hit somthing vital.

    I've read research that backs this up. I just don't remember where...
  14. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    Is he telling what COULD happen or what he has SEEN happen?

    Could be big trouble? I agree.

    Have seen it happen? Never in 10 years of practice.

    I'm with Henry. I would like to see an actual case first please instead of this Ayoobian "could" happen. :scrutiny:
  15. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    And how much does the lead semi-wadcutter expand out of a snubbie?

    And like a couple of other folks mentioned, I'd sure like to have him share the citations for these cases where it made a difference that hollowpoint ammoe was used.
  16. Old Dog

    Old Dog Well-Known Member

    I don't buy into that crap, and I believe anyone who does is potentially doing themselves a huge (and possibly dangerous) disservice ... FMJs are far more deadly to bystanders; there is a plethora of documentation out there as to why law enforcement uses hollowpoints, and finally, there would be any number of expert witnesses lining up to testify on behalf of any citizen who kills a criminal in a righteous self-defense scenario ...

    I'm with El Tejon on this ... sounds like a lawyer who projects liability issues into every aspect of his life and the lives of anyone dumb enough to listen to him.
  17. NCP24

    NCP24 Well-Known Member

    Trial Attorney? If so you’re telling me that you have never made outlandish comments while trying to impeach a witness? I have heard them say far worse than that in open court. I have even heard LEO’s claim (in private) that they have intentionally qualified with lower scores to avoid some of these ludicrous claims made by defense attorneys.
  18. Soap

    Soap Well-Known Member

    I've seen a lawyer skip across the room with a monkey step, so what does that tell you about lawyer advice? :scrutiny:

    ;) to El T
  19. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Well-Known Member

    You need to survive the attack in order to be sued. White box Winchester? Not a chance!
  20. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Well-Known Member

    Litigation attorney at the federal level for seven years, with going on three additional years in advisory work.

    Outlandish comments? Never intentionally. One tends to lose credibility with a federal judge fast by doing so. Besides, I usually find that the truth is sufficient to impeach a witness. I have, however, seen a case turn in part on whether someone use foul language (one individual who testimony showed never cursed was misidentified as another who did curse).

    I have heard instructors who didn't give scores because to do so opened up commentary about "he only missed failing by one point."

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