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Thread: Defense of others?

  1. #1
    Regular Member DaveT319's Avatar
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    Defense of others?

    Now that I've started carrying a firearm, I've been kind of thinking of various random situations and how I would react to them. I feel that will help me be prepared for incidents if they should happen.

    One thing that came to mind is: if I witness crime and decide to step in, what kind of rules are there about when I can draw my weapon, whether or not I use it? For example, I know if someone else's life is in danger, I may draw and fire if necessary. But what about a non-life-threatening crime? Like a purse snatching? Can I draw my weapon to compel the would-be thief to stop? Or would that technically be considered brandishing on my part, and make me subject to arrest (if the "victim" - the would-be thief - were to report it)?

    I'm not "looking" to be a hero, but if crime occurs in front of me, what authority and in what manner can I use my weapon to stop it?

  2. #2
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    Anything you do makes you subject to arrest (and even if you do nothing sometimes) but pulling a gun out especially.

    Problem with some circumstances is that one does not know all the facts. Is the person holding a gun a person who was attacked and just disarmed the other? Is the person a cop?

    If you are witnessing a crime in action, I see nothing wrong with unholstering the weapon - a criminal is nearby.

    Now can you shoot a purse-snatcher? In most states that I have looked at, no. Can you shoot a person you saw just kill someone if running away? In my state, yes. In other locations? I dunno.

    To answer your question requires a complete examination of every 50 state's gun laws, citizen arrest laws, and other laws.

    Limit it to one state and people might be able to give some advice that is reliable and can be based on case law.
    But YOU should do some legal R&D and post your results prior to posting and note the results - you are asking for people to do your legal research for you..you should at least try to figure it out for yourself first. This is not a simple "can I carry into a liquor store" type of question.

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    Defense of others is tricky, as stated above you do not know all the facts.

    I was in a class and it was proposed "if you walked into a situation where someone was stabbing another person with an icepick would you draw your gun and shoot the stabber?"

    I'll let everyone ponder that for a while.

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sethrotull View Post
    Defense of others is tricky, as stated above you do not know all the facts.

    I was in a class and it was proposed "if you walked into a situation where someone was stabbing another person with an icepick would you draw your gun and shoot the stabber?"

    I'll let everyone ponder that for a while.
    If the stabbee was a loved one, yes. If not, I'd back out and call 911, seeking cover and distance (the stabber could come at me, and in my alarm condition I might miss or fail to stop them). I'd risk it for a loved one. Otherwise, I'm not 20 years old, agile, and a crack shot. My life won't be risked for a stranger.

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    Regular Member MamaLiberty's Avatar
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    True story from my blog

    Unreported – The Crime That Didn’t Happen
    http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=3570
    One of the things discussed often by those of us who carry a gun is the possibility of needing to come to the rescue of another person, sometimes a stranger. This can be very dangerous, and great care must be taken not to make a bad situation worse.

    I had just come out of the grocery store in Rapid City, South Dakota one late afternoon, and discovered a young man and a woman in a heated argument right next to my car. He began to hit her in the face and she was crying. I yelled at him to STOP, and he turned with a snarl, taking one step toward me. I gripped the gun and flipped off the retention strap. He saw what I was doing and immediately ran around the front of his car and got into the driver’s seat. I asked the woman if she needed help, but she snarled at me as well saying, “mind your own business.” Opening the car door, she got in and they drove away.

    What if he had continued to come toward me? I could have turned and run away, of course, but I hate to think what would have happened if he’d grabbed me and I had to draw and fire the gun. His woman would not likely have been a friendly witness, and there were no other people around close just then. It was a very frightening experience.

    I didn’t call the police that time either. No proof, no license number for the car, and no real interest in being further involved. If that woman didn’t mind being beaten, it wasn’t my job to prevent it.
    I will not knowingly initiate force. I am a self owner.

    Let the record show that I did not consent to be governed. I did not consent to any constitution. I did not consent to any president. I did not consent to any law except the natural law of "mala en se." I did not consent to the police. Nor any tax. Nor any prohibition of anything. Nor any regulation or licensing of any kind.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sethrotull View Post
    Defense of others is tricky, as stated above you do not know all the facts.

    I was in a class and it was proposed "if you walked into a situation where someone was stabbing another person with an icepick would you draw your gun and shoot the stabber?"

    I'll let everyone ponder that for a while.
    No.

    Since there's no screaming involved, I can only conclude that it's some sort of game or something, and shooting the "stabber" is going to get REAL dicey (no pun intended) for me criminally and civilly down the road.

    Oh, there WAS screaming? And I just "walked in on it?" Without calling 911 first? Really? In that case I'm so stupid and unaware of my surroundings that I'd given up carrying a firearm ages before and thus couldn't shoot even if I wanted to.

    In short - your scenario, she is fail.


    PS: HIYA M.L.!!!!
    Last edited by Gunhobbit; 02-14-2014 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Forgot to put quotation marks

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    Regular Member cjohnson44546's Avatar
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    You are not a police officer... you do not enforce laws. If you jump in a criminal situation to try to do so... you have to follow civilian rules, not police officer rules. If you pull a gun and aim it at someone (or make them think you'll shoot them), you are threatening deadly force on that person, and if they kill you, they will get off because it was self defense against you. You only pull your gun to use it if you are in fear of your life, or someone else is in fear of their life you are willing to defend.
    Last edited by cjohnson44546; 02-14-2014 at 05:29 PM.

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    Regular Member Tackleberry1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson44546 View Post
    You are not a police officer... you do not enforce laws. If you jump in a criminal situation to try to do so... you have to follow civilian rules, not police officer rules. If you pull a gun and aim it at someone (or make them think you'll shoot them), you are threatening deadly force on that person, and if they kill you, they will get off because it was self defense against you. You only pull your gun to use it if you are in fear of your life, or someone else is in fear of their life you are willing to defend.
    Bingo... A CHL is not an LEO Training Certificate. Your not a sworn officer so drawing your gun for any reason other than imminent fear of severe bodily injury or death could land you in a cage.

    The standard of severe bodily injury or death applies to the "others" portion of "defense of yourself or others", as well.

    That does not mean that you can not intervene... Or that deadly force criteria "could not" be met. But it's entirely based on the actions of the guy your forced to shoot, not your intentions.

    If you choose to intervene, a good rule of thumb is "equal force".

    Will this put you at a disadvantage if the aggressor turns on you? Yes it will. If your not willing to accept that risk, then step back and dial 911.

    tack

  9. #9
    Regular Member DaveT319's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson44546 View Post
    You are not a police officer... you do not enforce laws. If you jump in a criminal situation to try to do so... you have to follow civilian rules, not police officer rules. If you pull a gun and aim it at someone (or make them think you'll shoot them), you are threatening deadly force on that person, and if they kill you, they will get off because it was self defense against you. You only pull your gun to use it if you are in fear of your life, or someone else is in fear of their life you are willing to defend.
    That sounds like pretty much what I was thinking. There must be a strong probability of severe injury or death for me to draw my weapon in defense of someone else. To simply stop a non-violent crime would be a bad idea.

    BTW, the icepick story: without a doubt you'd be justified in shooting the stabber. Would it be the right thing? You won't know that until later. It could be that the stabber was the intended victim who turned the tables on their attacker. But you'd still be firing in defense of another, so you'd be in the right.

    Should you though? Probably not. At least not without trying to find out what's going on. When you are defending yourself, you know exactly what the circumstances are. When you try to defend someone else, unless you've been there for the whole thing, you may not know the whole story. So, in the example, I'd order the stabber to stop and drop the pick. If she didn't, I'm not sure what I'd do. But if she turned on me, then it would settle things, she'd be the aggressor, and I'd stop her.

    Real life is rarely cut-and-dry, is it?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveT319 View Post
    BTW, the icepick story: without a doubt you'd be justified in shooting the stabber. Would it be the right thing? You won't know that until later. It could be that the stabber was the intended victim who turned the tables on their attacker. But you'd still be firing in defense of another, so you'd be in the right.

    Should you though? Probably not. At least not without trying to find out what's going on. When you are defending yourself, you know exactly what the circumstances are. When you try to defend someone else, unless you've been there for the whole thing, you may not know the whole story. So, in the example, I'd order the stabber to stop and drop the pick. If she didn't, I'm not sure what I'd do. But if she turned on me, then it would settle things, she'd be the aggressor, and I'd stop her.

    Real life is rarely cut-and-dry, is it?
    We have a right to defend ourselves from an attack, whether we defend with a gun or an icepick (yes an icepick might not be your normal defensive weapon). Walking into a situation you don't know if you are shooting the good guy or bad guy.

    I think even telling someone to put down the weapon is questionable. Imagine if you were defending yourself and someone pointed a gun at you and told you to drop it.

  11. #11
    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaLiberty View Post
    . His woman would not likely have been a friendly witness, and there were no other people around close just then. It was a very frightening experience..
    A key point often overlooked

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