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Supressor for HD?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by NOLAEMT, Feb 20, 2010.

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  1. NOLAEMT

    NOLAEMT Member

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    I know the question on weather or not reloads are a good idea for self defense comes up about once a week, but I have not seen this one so I thought id ask.

    Does anyone use a suppressor on a home defense gun? Is anyone aware of any cases where someone was prosecuted for use of a suppressor in self defense?

    We know that suppressors are not "silent" but may reduce the sound level enough to avoid permanent hearing damage, reduce the flash present at night to help you keep your night vision. It might also prevent you temporarily loosing your hearing at a time when you need it most. It would seem like a good idea, if it weren't for the potential legal hassle.

    (sorry if this has been done, but i didn't see any threads about this)
     
  2. 22lr

    22lr Member

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    I wouldn't use a class III for self defense if I could help it. The cops will confiscate it as evidence, and I cannot think of any reason why a New Orleans police department would give it back to you. To much hassle for me, and besides, gunfire in the middle of the night also works to your advantage as it alerts neighbors and as much as it disorients you, it works both ways.
     
  3. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    If I have to use a weapon for self defense I want to use the best one I have for the job. If it never gets returned to me that is a very small price to pay for my life or the life of my loved one's. If lives aren't on the line then I won't be firing.

    I know several, very knowledgeable, people that have suppressors on their primary HD weapons.
     
  4. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    Both my AR and pistol for HD have suppressors.
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    The legal hassles are about the same as if you'd used an AR-15 or AKM, really. Yes, if a prosecutor thinks there are holes in your case and wants to rip you up, the suppressor will probably play a part in that. But the suppressor also has notable benefits, so your lawyer should be able to at least counter those claims if they come up.

    I'd be a little concerned that suppressors alter the balance and handling of a handgun, usually block the sights, and can cause cycling malfunctions.

    If you practice a lot with a suppressed gun so that you are just as fast and accurate with it suppressed as unsuppressed and trust it to be reliable, I'd say go for it.

    -Sam
     
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    22lr has a good point.

    Here in Utah? Sure. In New Orleans? I'd think twice.
     
  7. NOLAEMT

    NOLAEMT Member

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    I guess I miss represented myself a little. I posed this as more of an academic exercise than a request for advice for myself. I don't currently own a suppressor, and no the NOPD doesn't exactly have the best record with returning "evidence" if it is a firearm. Many NOPD officers I have talked to didn't even have a working understanding of Louisiana law regarding firearms, self defense, or open or concealed carry.

    However, several recent high profile self defense shootings and implementations of Louisiana's castle doctrine, and the overwhelming public support for the victims (the good guys, not the criminals), has given me hope that there is SOME common sense left in this state.
     
  8. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I seriously doubt anyone on this forum has anything but an opinion on this subject. There is probably almost no case reference to draw from, so everything is speculation. Personally, I legitimately own suppressors, and have one on a Browning HP and a Walther P99, and both can and will be used for home defense. If I lived in New Orleans, or any other locale where the ownership of suppressors is legal, I wouldn't give a rat's butt what the local cops or prosecutor thought of suppressors. I have federal PERMISSION to own and use them. They are not just for hanging on the wall. Common sense (does it still exist?) would dictate that if you have a suppressor, you OUGHT to use it, as it saves your hearing when shooting, and makes you more tactically capable of keeping yourself on top of a defensive situation by NOT deafening yourself during them. Is there anything SIMPLER to explain to a jury? [​IMG][/IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  9. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Sharps, you live in a perfect world. If you use it, I hope that your local D.A. does too. :)
     
  10. WoofersInc

    WoofersInc Member

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    I have been in several discussions with this topic. As a suppressor owner I would not use one on a defense gun. Here is my reasoning on it.

    At this point in time there are no cases of a legally owned suppressor being used in self defense. That means that whoever does it will be the first person to do so. As the first person, your case will be a precedent setting case. Most DA's will trip over themselves to handle a precedent setting case as a means to further their career. The big guns would be pulled out to try this case.

    Next is the jury. A lot of gun owners don't realize that suppressors are legal. I see it all the time on gun boards. Unfornately there are some gun owners that don't believe that suppressors should be legal. Now who is going to be sitting on the jury. Probably not any of the gun owners that are behind suppressor ownership. It is going to be people who's only knowledge of suppressors is what they know from Hollywood. It will be the usual "it's the tool of an assassin, why would a person have one of those if he wasn't up to no good, etc. Add in the fact that there is no case law or precedent for using a suppressor and all bets are off. Most legal people will tell you that in a precedent setting case the jury is the biggest gamble. Nobody knows what they will do.

    One of the disccussions I had been in, involved Massad Ayoob. He stated that every single case of a NFA item being used has gone to a Grand Jury at a minimum. His advice was since this would be a precedent setting case was "My momma didn't raise me to be a crash test dummy". "Don't be the test case".


    I know that there are some who have the belief that "if it's a good shoot, It's a good shoot". That's fine, however, I don't have the financial resources and the time to be the "crash test dummy" to prove that theory.
     
  11. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    You either stand for what is right, or you duck every time someone throws a curve at you. I guess it all depends on what you stand for, and what you stand against. I'll trust logic, living to be righteous, and common sense communication. It has worked for me so far.
     
  12. WoofersInc

    WoofersInc Member

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    Not that I don't believe in standing up for what is right, But I simply don't have the time or financial resources to be the test case for everybody else. Not many of us have the money that a case of this type would cost. Until there is case law to back up using a suppressor, I will stick to my 12 guage and my plain 1911.
     
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Bingo!
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    A lot of cops think suppressors are illegal and that alone could be cause for arrest even in a clear cut HD case. The use of a suppressor would, in the long run, probably make no difference, but there is an absence of case law simply because the situation is so rare.

    But the very presence of the suppressor turns the police mind toward hired killers, secret agents, and hired assassins, and can radically change the perception of a HD situation. Why the suppressor? What do you do in your business? Why do you want to kill quietly?
    Those are questions you don't need if you are an honest citizen defending your home.

    If you want to be an activist for suppressors, make a point, get in the cops' faces and shove it to them, yelling about false arrest and legal this and legal that, you are not going to come off the winner. Put simply, legal is not always sensible.

    Jim
     
  15. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Making choices about what tool to use to defend your life based on whether or not it will be taken as evidence is lunacy in my opinion.

    I use what I deem to be the best tool available and if I lose it but survive a gunfight I'll call it money well spent.
     
  16. LRS_Ranger

    LRS_Ranger Member

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    You would be stuck in a courtroom with the prosecution trying to make you look like a one shot one kill assasin sneaking through your house deftly putting a round into their head. They would probably cast you as a "hair trigger" that was just waiting for a "leagal" setting in which to "try out" your "tools of death". See where I am going with this? Anyway, one of the things that I am counting on is that the 2 foot fireball from my snubbie .357 will scare/blind and generally make the BG crap his pants, even if I miss in the dark. It's just not worth the risk of going to prison because the prosecution chooses to cast me in a James Bond movie...
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Good point. But even in Texas, "surviving a gun fight" is not the end of your trouble, it is the beginning. And if some DA running for higher office can convince a jury that your "tool" was illegal or made you the bad guy, you could go up to Huntsville for some very bad moments.

    Jim
     
  18. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    I think Jim has this right. If you are in a justified shooting with a "normal" SD weapon, it is generaly apparent & the police are looking to put it to bed.

    Screw a can on that weapon, and I think that entire LE approach changes, and the investigation will be a witch hunt. Not right, of course, but it would be foolish to not expect it.
     
  19. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Not surviving a gun fight is the end of all your troubles.

    Handicapping your ability to win a gunfight just doesn't make sense to me so I'll use the best tools I can get and deal with the consequences later.

    And in this case it's just guessing for all of us because legally owned NFA firearms used in defense are very rare.

    We basically have 2 documented cases to go on.

    1) The HK employee who used an AC556 in self defense. This was in a car not the home. He eventually prevailed after a ton of legal expenses. The gun was taken into evidence and he spent a ton of money. HK covered his legal expenses by the way since they determined it was connected to his work in some fashion. I can't remember the exact details and I'm too lazy tonight to look it up :)

    2) The other is the gun store owner, I can't for the life of me remember his name, who used a legally owned Uzi to defend his gun store against robbers. Not once, but twice. After a robbery he spent the night in his store and confronted would be robbers with a full auto Uzi. His gun was not taken away and it was judged a righteous shoot. A short time later his store was robbed again and he was present. Again, confronted the robbers with his Uzi and was not charged at all.

    So we have in those 2 cases both situations, one in which the gun was taken and massive cash was spent in defense, and the other in which absolutely nothing happened.

    Other than those 2 I don't recall ever seeing any case of a legally owned NFA firearm used in self defense.
     
  20. PTK

    PTK Member

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    You're also leaving out the story where the old gent used a S&W 76 9x19 SMG to defend his gunstore from smash-and-grab thieves in (IIRC) FL.


    EDIT: Here you go; link.
     
  21. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Ahh OK, thanks. I am sure I got the firearm type confused. S&W instead of Uzi. I could have sworn there was an Uzi :)
     
  22. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    i have one on my AR by my bed, but not on the pistol.

    in the case of the AR, i think the advantage of flash suppression and noise suppression indoors makes up for the additional weight and length, both of which are annoying indoors.

    fwiw, i'm in a small town, know most of the po-po personally, and go to church with half the lawyers and the sheriff. if i lived elsewhere, i'd be less likely to use the suppressor
     
  23. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I'm really sorry so many posters here live in such naive environments. Here in Ohio half the Class III owners are cops or ex-cops. Sheriff's departments sign the papers, prosecutors know about the suppressors, machineguns, etc, and what little they don't know about ownership they would soon learn in the first 30 minutes preparing for review of the case. It may be knee-jerk ignorance and gun trouncing in your neighborhoods, but here our police must be a little better informed and trained. What is on the end of our guns is NOT the issue at hand in self defense situation. They are concerned about the facts of the CASE. If you have to fear for your life after self defense, then act accordingly, or come live in Ohio. Remember, this is HOME DEFENSE, not running around the street with a suppressed weapon.
     
  24. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Shouldn't cause any trouble for you if you can document that you own it legally. It'll prove that you have a pretty good record to even own the suppressor.

    I can't see how they could possibly do anything to you for using the suppressor. "OOOOH he's an assassin! He just kills people! That's why he has it!" No, that's not true, you had a pretty extensive background check, got all the signatures, and paid the stamp. The background check will give good reason to assume you're a law abiding citizen.
     
  25. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    The elements of the statutes are not changing thus in that sense there is not really that much up in the air as there is in cases that are truly precedent setting. A suppressor doesn't change the essential elements of using deadly force. It does not alter the elements of castle doctrine statutes. Use of a suppressor is not really a material fact. I think it would be more of an issue in the initial determination of whether it was a good shoot or not than at trial. The totality of the circumstances is always important.

    Imagine a case where there is forced entry into your home by a BG (in my experience there is a good chance such a character is a drug addict and/or has a record), you hear it or in my case my alarm goes off. You dial 911 round up the family and barricade yourself. BG(s) now try to enter the area you have amassed your family in or you encounter said BG en route to securing your child(ren). You use a legally owned AR with a legally owned suppressor. I don't see the fact that a suppressor is involved changing much in the determination it is a good shoot (provided you have state laws that make it a good shoot).

    Say it goes to trial for whatever reason. Yes a prosecutor can try to paint a negative image (which they can do no matter what weapon is used be it an M60 or a baseball bat) but your attorney can of course point out all the hoops of getting a suppressor that prove what a stand up person you are. You put on your expert witnesses that testify to all the reasons a suppressed weapon is the best choice for HD, hearing protection etc. You have a jury that weighs things out. They may not be gun people but they most often take their responsibility to weigh the evidence seriously and the prosecutor bears a much heavy burden in terms of the number of jurors he needs to convince and the degree to which he convinces them.

    There is a very strong presumption in most place in this country as to the sanctity of the home and ones right to protect them self and one's family (look at the no bill in the case of Joe Horn shooting two guys in the back after he went outside to confront them) the no . Perhaps in a very anti gun place but in an area that provides for castle doctrine and the like, I do not see how a suppressor will dramatically affect the outcome of what was is otherwise a good shoot.

    Further, for those worried sick about what a prosecutor might try to use against you, you had better sell all your guns but one. I know of a case (a murder case where self defense was plead) where the prosecution tried to allege the fact that the gentleman owned three handguns and flare gun showed that he was obsessed with weapons, heavily armed and prone to violence. BTW it was a case that IMO was not good shoot anyways and the guy was convicted. On appeal the disallowed the evidence in part because the guns were not even with him at the time of the shooting and in a second trial the guy was convicted again.

    Worry about what the elements of justified use of force are not facts that could be wrested (and of course those crazy interpretations would be refutable).
     
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