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home defense questions

Discussion in 'Legal' started by kry_90, Jan 4, 2009.

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  1. kry_90

    kry_90 Member

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    if someone breaks into your home does it matter if
    A.they dont have a weapon but attack you in effort to take your weapon
    B. they have a knife but no firearms and try to stab you
    C. they do have a firearm and try to shoot you

    in any of those situation i feel that to protect my family and i.
    it would be okay legally to shoot to kill in this sutuation
    am i in the right

    but lets say i shot to wound like in the arm or in the leg as a "warning" shot
    and the burglar surrendered until the police arrived

    legally which would be a better situation for me
    also if either situation happend when the police arrived to investigate
    i know they would take the firearm i used but
    would they take my other firearms also even if they were not used
     
  2. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    Depends on where you live.

    Depends on where you live.

    Depends on where you live.

    What you feel has little do to with what the law says.

    Legally? Depends on where you live. Morally? Who am I to say?

    Shooting to wound is usually a bad idea, as are warning shots.

    Depends on where you live.

    Depends on where you live.
     
  3. bmxr4life87

    bmxr4life87 Member

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    in todays judicial system criminals have waaay more rights than the working class do. so shoot to harm is no good because it can be percieved that you really didnt fear for your life. however if someone is in my house im going to assume they are armed and assume their sole purpose is to do me harm. if they appear to be unarmed they get one verbal warning to hit the floor and dont make a move otherwise they will be going head to head with my 12 gauge. police are trained to shoot to kill for a reason.....
     
  4. kry_90

    kry_90 Member

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    well heres my biggest problem
    i work all over the country
    my home is in missouri
    im currently living in louisiana
    and im moving to iowa next
     
  5. Tamlin

    Tamlin Member

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    "Depends on where you live" is the correct answer - home defense laws vary from state to state. Most states, however, use the "reasonable person" standard - meaning, would a jury believe that your use of deadly force was reasonable in your particular situation? The "shoot to wound" mentality will not be good in most states. This is because most states have no problems letting people use deadly force when they believe their lives are in danger. If you're aiming at a guy's kneecaps and not at his center of mass, do you REALLY think your life is in danger? Would a jury think so? Now, if I had a shotgun and knew I would not miss a guy's kneecaps, and knew that I could take him out that way and disarm the threat, I would swear up and down that the deadly force I used against him was immediately necessary - but I just happen to be a bad shot . . . or else in the excitement the gun went off before I raised the barrel to the intruder's chest level . . . ;) But seriously - you will be ok if you can genuinely justify why you needed to act to take someone else's life. He's standing in your bedroom with a knife and you shoot him - no problem. He's standing in your front yard with a knife and you shoot him - Ummm, get a GOOD lawyer.
     
  6. absentmindedjwc

    absentmindedjwc Member

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    @jorg

    Where would you not be allowed to shoot if they have a firearm and are threatening you with it?

    Even in Chicago with an "illegal" firearm (since there is the pistol ban), the state says something along the lines of someone shooting a firearm in self defense may not be targeted because of any municipal laws or ordinances.

    A week or so back there was the post on here talking about the man in Chicago that shot someone for breaking into his home, and there were no charges filed against him for possessing or discharging a firearm, or more importantly: killing a man for entering his home.

    But yeah, only point a gun at someone if you intend on killing them. If you shoot someone in the leg and he surrenders, he can sue you later on for the bodily harm. He tries to rob you/kill you/etc... and ends up getting a pay-day in the end because you decided you were going to go for a warning shot.

    (same crap with someone breaking into your house, falling, breaking something, and then suing you for the broken bones/other injuries... it is crap, but our legal system protects them for some unknown reason)

    EDIT: oh, and to OP: if someone breaks into your house, and you perceive some kind of threat to your life or the lives of your families, take a shot and worry about the consequences later..... jail is a lot better than being dead
     
  7. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Your questions have no simple "cookbook" answer, i. e., if A then do B. First, much depends on the exact law of the jurisdiction in which the event takes place. Second, it's always going to be a matter of judgment based on the exact circumstances. As they say, "The devil is in the details."

    The legal standard, in general, is that one may use lethal force only when a reasonable and prudent person, in like circumstances and knowing what you know, would conclude that lethal force is necessary to prevent otherwise unavoidable death or grave bodily injury to an innocent. To demonstrate that there was indeed a real danger from the assailant, one must show that the assailant had (1) the Ability, i. e., the power to deliver force sufficient to cause death or grave bodily harm; (2) the Opportunity, i. e., the assailant was capable of immediately deploying such force; and (3) put an innocent in Jeopardy, i. e., the assailant was acting in such a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that he has the intent to kill or cripple. A person claiming self defense will need to be able to articulate why in the exact situation as it unfolded he concluded that lethal force was necessary based in the forgoing paradigm

    There are no simple formulas.

    Nonsense. An honest person points a gun at someone to stop a lethal threat and protect the life of an innocent. If merely pointing the gun stops the threat, fine. If you have to shoot, you intend to stop the threat. If the assailant dies, so be it. But your intent is not to kill him; it's to stop him.
     
  8. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    Some state laws revolve around the idea of taking lethal force when one protects their family/home when threatened.

    Define threatened.

    If there is someone in my house that isn't supposed to be there...I'm threatened. Even if they don't have a gun or a knife.

    How does the judicial system define this "threatened" state of being?
     
  9. rmmoore

    rmmoore Member

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    As other posters have stated, much of the answer depends on where you live. If however, you live in a State that has a Castle Doctrine law, under most circumstances (never say never or all), you are within your legal rights provided you comply with the requirements as set forth by the particular CD law you have. They ARE NOT all the same, even though they SHOULD be!!! You NEVER "shoot to kill" as it implies intent, and THAT, even in self defense, can land you in jail. You "shoot to stop the threat". If, as a secondary effect, he dies, then so be it. That WAS NOT your intent. Warning shots may be construed as willful endangerment of innocent bystanders, neighbors, ect. and MAY reflect some "intent" related isses. Bottom line, noone can tell you exactly what you should or shouldn't do in a millisecond decision you may have to make, in a dynamic situation that could determine life or death. You do what you have to in order to keep you and your family safe. Deal with the rest of it later, at least you're alive to tell your side of the story.
     
  10. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Many lawyers, usually criminal defense lawyers, are well versed on matters of state and local firearms law, defenses to homicide charges, self-defense, defense of others, competing harms and other doctrines.

    Hire a licensed attorney in your state to advise you. It may be the best money you ever spent. The criminal defense attorney is the gun owner's friend.
     
  11. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    I'd agree with one thing the others have said: shoot to kill, never to wound. That should be your unofficial off-the-record policy. Your on-the-record policy is, "shoot to stop the threat". If you wound the guy, it's your word against his, and some people can come up with some mighty inventive stories. If you kill him, it's your words, and the evidence. And it tends to be much more cut-and-dried. If the guy survives, fine. But you should take no measures to attempt to preserve his life by placing the shot somewhere you perceive as less-lethal. If you've made the decision you have to fire, you've made the decision it's necessary to take his life.
     
  12. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    if someone breaks into your home does it matter if
    A.they dont have a weapon but attack you in effort to take your weapon
    B. they have a knife but no firearms and try to stab you
    C. they do have a firearm and try to shoot you


    All of thoes options are completely different circumstances. B and C would easily qualify as deadly force. A) depending on all of the circumstances surrounding it, would likely qualify.



    in any of those situation i feel that to protect my family and i.
    it would be okay legally to shoot to kill in this sutuation
    am i in the right

    You are in the right when you follow your state laws. If you are in a situation where you are at substantial risk of death or great bodily harm, or someone else is at that risk, then using deadly force is legal


    but lets say i shot to wound like in the arm or in the leg as a "warning" shot
    and the burglar surrendered until the police arrived

    What tells your neighbors, and anyone else that a shot was a warning shot? Does the shot scream "Warning shot" when it happens? A gunshot is a gunshot to anyone that can hear it. Warning shots aren't required by law, and they aren't going to save you in court. If you at risk of great bodily harm or death, then if you pull the trigger you better aim for what you can hit. You don't want your bullet to strike someone other then the target, so don't shoot for the arm/leg/etc. Also, shooting to wound should be completely removed from your brain. If you shoot a person in a arm or leg they could die from shock or blood loss if they don't get medical care. A bullet anywhere on the body can be serious.



    also if either situation happend when the police arrived to investigate
    i know they would take the firearm i used but
    would they take my other firearms also even if they were not used

    They may or may not. If you are arrested because they believe you did something completely wrong/your a felon/you have warrants/etc they may take other firearms that are in the house.
     
  13. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    If you wound the guy, it's your word against his, and some people can come up with some mighty inventive stories. If you kill him, it's your words, and the evidence.

    I hope for the sake of every person's well being on here, that nobody ever makes a statment like that after being involved in a shoot. If your shoot is even mildly questionable a statement like that will be absolutely horrible. A jury regardless of the facts will see a statment like that as a person saying they killed someone insteady of picking a different option so they would have a easier time in court since there will be no statements from other person. You should be thinking about if your life was actually in danger of great bodily harm or death, not I should make sure their dead so I have a easier time in court. court is not going to be easy regardless of the person surviving. The facts and your statements are what will be looked at. Your statments can kill your case faster and to a higher degree then even statments from the deceased person.
     
  14. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    Get yourself more work in South Carolina ... the answers will be much simpler here. :D

     
  15. TRGRHPY

    TRGRHPY Member

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    Don't ever try to wound someone with a gunshot. Two days ago I read the shooting policy for out local PD, and it specifically states that an officer is never to try to shoot to wound. I would take that as "good enough for them, good enough for me".

    As far as the rest, you'll have to check you local as well as state laws.
     
  16. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    In states that have "duty to retreat" laws, including retreat from your own home.
     
  17. kurtmax

    kurtmax Member

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    If it's in your house and the other guy is dead. It's your story only (your story as told by your attorney and your attorney only of course).

    Just sayin'
     
  18. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Swell. So you shoot the guy and he breaks off the attack, but he's still breathing. You going to finish him off? There is such a thing as forensic evidence.
     
  19. kurtmax

    kurtmax Member

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    Doesn't matter in Alabama. Still legal if you are in your residence or vehicle. I could shoot someone in the back from across the house if they broke in and be immune from civil and criminal lawsuits. And really, even with forensic evidence, how do the police know you didn't think the person still had a firearm or something making you fear for your life...

    Now, this doesn't mean I would 'finish someone off'. Just saying it's possible. I don't actually want to ever shoot or kill anyone. But if you are defending your life it's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!
     
  20. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    I bet not, but enjoy your delusions.
     
  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Several correct answers above:

    1. Depends on where you live--some states have castle laws and some do not; the laws in states that have them vary a great deal. Differences include what justifies shooting; whether or not you are shielded against civil suits in the event of a shooting that is justified under criminal law; whether you must retreat inside your house; whether the law applies to your porch; etc.
    2. Do not fire a warning shot
    3. Do not shoot to wound
    4. Invest in a consultation with a criminal attorney where you live

    One wrong answer: Do not shoot to kill--shoot to stop. If the intruder dies from two or more very rapid shots in succession fired while he was in a position to do harm, that's one thing, but as Fiddletown points out, if you shoot someone to "finish him off," you will be found out.

    Do not move the body, touch the weapon, or step anywhere or on anything that would disturb the evidence.

    And as GregGry wisely points out, be very careful about whet you say to friends, neighbors, or co-workers or on the internet--don't convict yourself. Along this line, your off-the-record policy and the forensic evidence had better correspond exactly with your on-the-record statements. Should anything come out to challenge your credibility, you will be in very deep trouble with the authorities and should it come to that, with a jury.

    I suggest that you spend some time studying these and the laws of the states in which you will be staying.

    http://www.useofforce.us/

    http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/01c1e7698280d20385256d0b00789923/f587d7d10c34fff2852572b90069bc3c?OpenDocument&Click=

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Doctrine
     
  22. natecade1

    natecade1 Member

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    If I were to shoot someone in order to stop a threat to myself or loved ones in my home, I would definitely kick his weapon away from his hand/s if he was disabled on the ground. If he was not disabled on the ground then I would stop the threat.

    Also many 9-1-1 operators may ask you to check his pulse.
     
  23. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    He might be delusional in AL, but that is the way the law reads here in SC.

    If someone breaks into my home, while I am there, I may assume they are there to do me grievous bodily harm and may use deadly force to repel them if I so desire, without warning. Doesn't matter which way they are facing, or if they are holding a gun, a hammer or Twinkies.

    SC is also a "shall issue" state, and the CC classes are usually very full.

    There also aren't many home invasions here ... gee... wonder why?
     
  24. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    I never form opinions based on anonymous, second hand broad statements about what any law says. No one should.

    For example, the South Carolina law does indeed protect the resident if the person "...is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling...." (South Carolina Code of Laws, SECTION 16-11-440). Of course, there are some exceptions, like when the intruder is a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his duties, or if the person shot was seeking to recover his child, ward or certain other persons, or if the person using the force is engaged in unlawful activities. Then again, the protection attaches only when the intruder has forcibly entered. What if the door is unlocked? What if the intruder is your drunken neighbor who mistakes your house for his?

    Alabama's law is similar. Castle Doctrine laws are great things, but they are not licenses to kill. The devil is in the details. And since Castle Doctrine laws are fairly new, I suspect that we will see some interesting case law develop as courts are forced to apply them.
     
  25. absentmindedjwc

    absentmindedjwc Member

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    @fiddletown

    Fine, then I will revise what I said to one of the main rules of gun ownership:
    Never point a gun at something you're not prepared to destroy
     
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