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What happened AFTER you pulled the trigger?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by DrDyno, Apr 6, 2009.

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  1. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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    Hi All,

    This is my first post on The High Road. Because so many of my recent searches found me at your site, I figured I best join-up!

    I am wondering if a forum category concerning the aftermath of pulling the trigger wouldn't be helpful. Here in Florida, a reasonably flexible state regarding hand guns, most people don't know that even showing a hand gun as a defensive gesture (like in a road rage situation) can get you a mandatory 3-year imprisonment for aggravated assault. Same can happen on your own property if you show a gun to scare off a stranger. Go figure! If he's breaking into your house, you can shoot him. But, if he's making threatening gestures on your property, don't do it!

    Now, before jumping down my throat in protest that where you live your rights are much more flexible, I suggest you check. This post is the result of a book I just read by a Florida Criminal Attorney who specializes in concealed carry and deadly force litigation. It's called "Florida Firearms -- Law, Use & Ownership." I hope there is such a book in your home state because this one's an eye opener!

    I 've had a Florida CWP for almost ten years. Before that, I had a CWP in New York State. I have two revolvers, two semi-automatic pistols and a rifle. However, I rarely carry. When I used to carry on a daily basis in NY (I owned a gas station), the world was always a much scarier place. It wasn't the bad guys I was afraid of, it was the potential litigation. How much trouble could I get myself into while protecting someone else? How far could I legally go in a situation before making myself a victim of the legal system? Sure, the choice of being a live inmate would seem preferable to being a dead victim. However, again, here in Florida it's a mandatory 25-life if you're convicted of a felony with a hand gun. And, you may have acted morally, but you never know when a local prosecutor is looking for votes.

    I am not advocating we turn in our permits or give up our guns. I'm a Vietnam vet, NRA member and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I am simply suggesting we become more fully informed. So, if you have either pulled your gun in a defensive gesture or pulled the trigger, what did you experience as a result? Of course, for those formally in our ranks who are now behind bars for their efforts, we can only guess their response. If any of you know what happened to them, it would probably be very enlightening for the rest of us.

    Respectfully,

    John
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
  2. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    I think most folks here will respond that if they draw their weapon, they're planning on firing. And if they're planning on firing, it means they feel their lives (or the lives of loved ones) are in imminent danger. This is really the only (lawfully) justified reason to draw a firearm, let alone aim it at someone. Remember, one of the four cardinal rules of firearms safety: Do not point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.

    If the person who has instigated said threat retreats after the firearm is drawn, but before the trigger is pulled, well, they just saved their own lives. It does not make the person who drew a firearm a criminal, just because the threatening person decided to retreat after being exposed to the deadly threat of a firearm pointed at him/her.
     
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    A mild chastising: You've had a Florida CWP for almost ten years and haven't checked how the laws are written or talked to an attorney? Bad dog! Bad dog! :D But, okay, now you're seriously considering life itsownself, and that's good.

    Two aspects: First is the routine dealing with a grand jury about the possibility of "not self defense". If you were within the defined parameters of Florida law about self defense, this will be of little difficulty, overall.

    Second is any civil action brought by relatives of the deceased. This can be expensive insofar as legal fees. Again, however, the circumstances of the shooting will affect the possibility or probability of a lawsuit. Massad Ayood and others have written at length about this.

    Others here can direct you to a source for the pertinent Florida laws. As to the "What happens, after...?" part of the deal, I suggest asking some attorney. Further, it is always wise to find out who in your general vicinity is an attorney with specific expertise in handling such affairs. Call it just another form of insurance...

    Art
     
  4. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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    General Geoff & Art,

    Thank you for your responses. I appreciate your experience and views on the legal aspects of my post. However, I may have posted it in the wrong forum. Of course, your responses would be devoted to the legal side of such a discussion... it's the "Legal" forum. My bad. I am now well acquainted with Florida weapons law and personally know two local CWP attorneys.

    However, the purpose of my post was not for legal consideration (hence, it probably is in the wrong forum). The purpose of my post was to suggest that we consider the wider responsibility we carry along with our weapon; and... how that responsibility can affect our lives should we ever choose to pull a trigger. That is why my questions were directed to those who have, indeed, been there. Their experience and insight may well help to curb the zeal of the "gunslingers" among us. Again, probably the wrong forum. The both of you seem to be a lot more in touch than many among us.

    Respectfully,

    John
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
  5. TRGRHPY

    TRGRHPY Member

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    I don't think that you're going to find much of that here, if at all.


    I don't think that the book you read is entirely correct, though. A threat can change in the time that it takes to get your pistol drawn, so are you supposed to just shoot the person just to avoid spending three years for drawing your weapon and not firing? I think the lawyer leaves out a very basic part of SD situations....they change very rapidly. They can get worse or better. Is he talking about brandishing, or is he talking about drawing a weapon in SD and then not having to use it? The latter is not illegal if you had a legitimate threat.
     
  6. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    I've been carrying since Ohio enacted the CCW law in 2004. I've also been involved in an attempted carjacking 2 years ago, prior to the "castle doctrine" being passed last year.
    The carjacking incident:
    In late June 2006 at about 7pm I pulled into the parking lot in a strip mall that was very busy. It was broad daylight and there were a lot of "kids" hanging out. The area is known as a gathering place for high school students. It was also an area of the city the was considered "safe" because it was mostly middle and upper middle class homes. The day was pretty warm so I had both windows down in my pickup and I was going to the Wallmart store. I pulled into one of the disabled parking spots, (I am disabled and have a wheelchair plate). What I noticed was 3 "kids", 1 white and 2 black, leaning against a car directly behind me. As I pulled in and parked I saw them start walking toward me through the rear view mirrors and I drew my gun and put it in my lap. The white kid approached me on the driver side while the 2 black kids approached me on the passenger side. The white kid came right into my face, his head was inside my window, and asked me if I had any spare change. At the same time the one of the black kids was opening the passenger side door. The minute the white kid stuck his head in my face I had my gun point about an inch from his forehead. As he jumped back yelling "hey dude I just wanted some spare change", I turned the gun on the one black kid who had opened my other door.

    The end result was all three took of running. The last I saw of them was in an older model purple car heading out of the parking lot. I doubt the whole incident lasted no more than 30 seconds. I did see a LEO driving on the West on the main street and I started to go after him to report the incident but stopped when the traffic light turned red, I wasn't going to chase down a cop so I headed on home.

    The following week I did meet with my family attorney and repeated the whole incident. The very first thing he asked me was "did you see any weapon at all on any of the kids". I stated "no, at no time did I see any type of weapon". His response was it would be a very hard case of self defense for him to convince a jury a man shooting a "poor teenager" who was just asking for some "spare change". Later that summer I talked with the lead NRA attorney about the incident and he stated pretty much the same thing.

    Legally, pulling the trigger will have more ramifications than most people think. I don't believe people in general have a clue when they "pull the trigger". All I can say is make damn sure the threat of serious bodily harm is going to occur and be prepared to have a good attorney that specializes in criminal law waiting in the wings. And never, ever give the police a statement. Those cops will watch every move you make and it'll all be in the court record.
     
  7. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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    Thanks AR10. That is exactly the kind of information I think will benefit all of us.

    Great respect for your actions and your candor describing possible ramifications.

    Regards,

    John
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
  8. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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  9. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Member

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    In my opinion it is absolutely imperative for each person who carries a firearm to learn the carry/self defense laws in his/her own State!!!

    I do not know how many times, both on this site and other "gun sites" posters ask, "Can I do so-forth-and-so-on with my gun when I go out?" Or, "What would happen if I use my gun in this hypothetical situation?" Where??????????

    They usually don't even bother to post their State or location, yet seem to think that all firearms laws and self defense laws are Federal, or, all laws in all States are exactly the same. Therefore, anyone on the Internet will automatically know the legal aspects of the question, no matter that the poster's State is not even listed.

    As for CCW, open carry, self defense, what is legal here in Idaho, is not necessarily legal in Calif. What is legal in Calif., is not necessarily legal in Arkansas (where I grew up). What is legal in Arkansas is not necessarily legal in New Jersey, or New York. Etc., etc., etc.

    Frankly, whenever I see a post such as that, or one when someone says, "Well, around my area...," or "In my neck of the woods...," or, "I was down at the mall yesterday and almost had to draw my gun. What would have the police said about that...?," and there is no location/State listed, I just hit the "Back" button and go to another thread.

    I have a brilliant idea. To rectify this, how about establishing a Moderator with the title, "Location Enforcement Nazi ?" (LEN) Everytime a poster asks some question, or makes a statement about anything having to do with his personal location, but does not list it, the "LEN" automatically deletes or locks the post! Problem solved.

    (Only very mildly kidding. :) )
    L.W.
     
  10. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Member

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    AR10: Your attorney's response seems to ignore the fact that "a poor teenager" was attempting to unlawfully enter the vehicle of a disabled person. How difficult would it be to make a self-defense case out of that? I'd look for a new attorney.
     
  11. ammoeater

    ammoeater Member

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    John,

    I have to disagree with you on a couple of points. I do not believe the term gunslinger should be applied, in the derogatory manner you used it, to a person who carries their sidearm with a round in the chamber. Most modern pistols are designed to be safely carried this way. If you are not comfortable doing so, that is your perogative, but to deride someone who chooses to carry their weapon in the way it can be most efficiently used is rediculous. To say that a person carrying a Glock in this manner is on an ego trip, and that only police and military should carry with a chambered round is asinine. :rolleyes:
     
  12. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Member

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    Good call, ammoeater. I hadn't bothered to check out the thread full of "gunslingers" referred to by the OP.

    That absurd comment makes this entire thread suspect.
     
  13. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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    "John, I have to disagree with you on a couple of points. I do not believe the term gunslinger should be applied, in the derogatory manner you used it, to a person who carries their sidearm with a round in the chamber. Most modern pistols are designed to be safely carried this way. If you are not comfortable doing so, that is your perogative, but to deride someone who chooses to carry their weapon in the way it can be most efficiently used is rediculous. To say that a person carrying a Glock in this manner is on an ego trip, and that only police and military should carry with a chambered round is asinine."

    Dear Ammoeater,

    Thank you for your response. Allow me to address several issues:

    1. I did not mean to imply that everyone who has replied to that thread in favor of a round-chambered carry is a "gunslinger." I was responding to TRGRHPY. Writing as a person with real, live, combat experience I find some of the responses in that thread downright scary.

    2. I agree with your view that "most modern pistols are designed to be safely carried this way." Assuming we are talking about the general public, I would add any pistol with a decocker/sefety. Although I own one, I would not add Glock to this list. The fact that the New York City Police Department requires the addition of what is commonly referred to as the "New York Trigger" to all Glocks is testament to the number of accidental discharges Glocks have experienced over the years.

    3. I did not and am not deriding anyone "who chooses to carry their weapon in the way it can be most efficiently used." I simply pointed out to TRGRHPY that, IMO, there appear to be some "gunslingers," even within the hallowed halls of THR.

    4. I respectfully suggest that "asinine" is a bit over the top. I did not say, as you say that everyone who carries a Glock in that manner is on an ego trip. Glock owners were not excluded from my view that, "The rest of us [other than police officers and active military] should exercise a great deal of care with this decision."

    Look you guys, I am not anti-gun! I have a current CWP, am a current member of the NRA and do, occasionally, carry. I am simply trying to point out the incredible ramifications of the responsibility we as CWP holders have undertaken. Look at my original post on this thread. My suggestion was that we hear from those who have actually engaged the responsibility to see what the real-world results were.

    Oh, and RAINBOWBOB, you are taking my words on both threads WAY TOO PERSONAL. I applaud your decision to carry a revolver (from the other thread). That's what I grab when something goes "bump" in the night and... every hole is chambered.

    John
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  14. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    You're dead wrong. It has absolutely nothing to do with "my", yours, or anyone else attorney, including "internet" lawyers. It has everything to do with the grand jury who indicts and the jury during the trial.
    All any attorney is able to do is possibly tell you if you have a strong or weak case. And in a criminal trial there aren't a whole lot of options.
    And to clarify I live in Central Ohio. There now the LEN can't toss the post.
     
  15. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Member

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    ar10: I don't understand your response. The disposition of any particular case has a lot to do with your attorney's abilities. I still don't understand why he focused on the "poor teenager" asking for spare change on the left flank - and ignored the fact your car was being unlawfully invaded on the right flank.

    I don't know about Central Ohio - and I'm no internet lawyer - but I believe car-jacking is illegal most everywhere. I also believe that shooting and killing a car-jacker would be a justifiable homicide in most jurisdictions.
     
  16. DrDyno

    DrDyno Member

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    Hey Bob,

    In a perfect world, you are certainly correct. However, here in Florida (and maybe Ohio and... maybe where you live), if those kids decide to lie (go figure!), call the cops and say AR10 pulled a gun out when they were just asking for directions, etc., AR10 (even with a valid CWP) would most likely wind up being prosecuted for felony aggravated assault... mandatory 3-years in prison (in Florida). Often times, the outcome is more dependent upon who called the cops first; then, who is the better liar.

    It sucks, I know, but that is exactly why I started this thread. Most of us just don't realize the trouble we can get ourselves into by exercising our rights in what seems a prudent manner. AR10 did exactly the right thing to protect himself. Had he hailed a police officer, explained the situation and they ran down the kids... if the kids got their stories straight and said they were running from the guy with the gun... AR10 may have still wound up in jail.

    Road rage is another good example (at least here in Florida). Some loon is cutting you off, tailgating, and making threatening gestures, the prudent thing for a CWP holder would be to show your weapon... just point it toward the headliner of your car to scare the jerk off... right? Wrong! If that jerk calls the police and lodges a complaint against you with just a minimum of lies, you stand a very good chance of doing a mandatory 3-years.

    We all need to become more aware of what our CWP actions can lead to.

    I mean no one at THR disrespect. We need to collectively become better informed so we can keep ourselves legally safe as well as physically safe.

    Respectfully,

    John
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
  17. t165

    t165 Member

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    I would advise anyone who actually has to fire a firearm in self defense and actually injures or kills another person(s) to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The odds of being second guessed is enormous from not only some in law enforcement but some of the community also. Some people will try to make political hay with an incident. If the criminal has accomplices their stories will be self serving. Prosecutors are human and they too have different opinions as to what is wrong or right along with gun control beliefs which may influence their determination to prosecute or not. Too many variables to account for. The law is not always fair and in this instance I would do my best to protect myself.

    I'm not bashing law enforcement but whether you are wrong or right, arrested or not, you can bet your butt everything you say will be written down and recorded at the scene. Any little mistake could result in a prosecution later. People have been known to misspeak and say things out of chronological order. Most people are very shaken after a shooting incident. The price of a simple articulated mistake is potentially too high. A calm detached attorney can save your bacon even if it was a justified shooting. This is advice I was given from some of my instructors when I attended the police academy. I think it's sound advice. Asking to speak to an attorney for legal advice is well within your rights. More than one cop has been fed to the wolves and prosecuted due to politics and social unrest. Also, more than one upstanding citizen has been prosecuted due to politics and social unrest. Defense attorneys get bashed around a lot but when you need one then you really need one. Oakland should be a shining example of CYA (cover your ass).

    I think little things like refusing to talk during a traffic stop is silly but thats just me. Use your own judgement! If I was a criminal then I guess it would make good sense to never say anything or cooperate with the enemy (police) beyond what is required by law.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  18. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    Rainbowbob: You have to understand that whether you're right or wrong every case has to be won in court. I could be the most law abiding citizen in the world but it means absolutely nothing when you head for court.
    I talked about my issue with cops I work with and two lawyers,(one who is a criminal law specialist and very well known in Ohio). Both were very straight forward. They have to be objective. Cases are won in court whether you are right or wrong. They have to look at every aspect to see what chance they have to win. It's a fact of life.
    One more tidbit I should mention. If you carry a weapon and have to use it be prepared to cya with a criminal lawyer, (not your family lawyer) to the tune of 70,000.00 retainer.
     
  19. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Member

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    The trouble with what happens in a SD situation is that it commonly is a he said, she said, situation. If no cops saw it, and it was recorded on video. It'd be pretty easy to tell the officer "He put his hands under his shirt into his pants, and told me he had a gun and was going to shoot me." Gratned one should never lie in my opinion, and one should ask to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. "Officer am I under arresst...No...then may I please call my attorney...Thank you." Granted a lot of folks find law enforcement intimidating(am I the only 5'9" powerlifting hobbyist who's noticed that most male cops stand taller than 6'0" and are built, at least in Seminole County), and don't know what their rights are. I'd say learn your rights for a clean shoot, and learn your righs for what comes afterwards. And I can't give legal advice because I'm not a lawyer.

    Granted if I ever had to shoot someone in SD, the cop would probably be disconcerted by finding me huddled over with my hands around my 24" biceps crying from the trauma and unable to speak without the assistance of my attorney muttering "he told me he was going to kill me, he told me he was going to kill me, he told me he had a gun."
     
  20. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    I live in Texas.
    Ever heard of Joe Horn?
     
  21. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    Unless charges aren't pressed.
     
  22. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    I can't answer for any other state but in Ohio all shooting cases go before a grand jury. It's up the the grand jury whether to indict or not, and it would be foolish not to have an attorney representing you during the grand jury hearing.

    Every police shooting goes to a grand jury and they are represented by a criminal law attorney. In fact, when a cop is involved in any kind of shooting. The only words out of his/her mouth during the internal hearing is: "I am unable to respond to any of your questions without my attorney being present and I plead the fifth amendment".
    That statement alone tells me to keep my mouth shut.
     
  23. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The subject of the thread is "the aftermath of pulling the trigger". Stay somewhere close to that, okay?

    We all know that different circumstances will cause different aftermaths, but let's not get off into too much vignette/personality stuff.
     
  24. nitetrane98

    nitetrane98 Member

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    When we were all young bucks in the police academy the first thing our firearms instructor told us was that nothing good ever comes from having to shoot somebody. Nothing. No matter how well justified the shooting. Whether it be physically, emotionally, or financially, there is a price to be paid.
    Things are simply never the same after you pull the trigger.
     
  25. lesterg3

    lesterg3 Member

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    DrDyno,

    I have to wonder why you are so interested in how people have fared after they have pulled the trigger. HAVE YOU PULLED THR TRIGGER?

    If your expecting folks to cry blood for what they have done, don't, it's a hard decision to kill, and one that may take the person years to get over.

    The propensity people have to second guess themselves after an act is amazing, it is certainly one of the things that makes us different than the animals.

    I am confused, and am unsure why you need to ask this question. What do you hope to get out of this thread? Gory stories, people crying and second guessing themselves, misery?
     
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