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Thread: Brandishing a gun to defend front yard from vandals?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Brandishing a gun to defend front yard from vandals?

    A well-known Virginia blogger, Greg Letique, confronted an intruder at night attempting to destroy his yard signs.

    Greg writes about his encounter here:

    Notice To Knuckleheads
    I caught the little puke destroying yard signs in front of my house this evening, and I let him go with a stern warning. Anyone who follows isnít going to be as lucky.

    Hopefully heís going to spread the word that I am not someone to be screwed with, nor are my neighbors.

    ...

    When outnumbered three-to-one in an after midnight confrontation and you can only have one thing in your hands (or potentially in your hands), would you choose a camera or a firearm?

    I didnít choose the camera.

    ...

    One of the individuals was destroying my property in my front yard and while confronting a group like that in order to stop a crime, I certainly have the right to have at my disposal a defensive firearm in case the situation escalated.

    At no time did I say that any firearm I may have had was pointed at any individual, or that I even handled it. If you want to assume that I did, thatís your problem. Iíd venture that your imagination has gotten the better of you.

    Now I can cower in my basement while a gang of individuals bent on criminal mayhem run rampant on my property and call the police in hopes they might show up in time to actually stop this crime in progress. Or I can act like an American and make a decision to confront criminal activity as it is happening when I believe it is the best interests of myself and my community to do so. Where I grew up the police investigated crimes after they happen, but citizens put a stop to them. Amazingly the crime rate was virtually nil. In places where people cower in fear and donít have the courage to defend their community, Iím shocked to find that crime is actually an issue. Shocked, I tell you.

    In the end someone got a stern talking to and probably learned a lesson that might help guide them to behaving more responsibly and respectfully in the future. They certainly learned that the absence of a patrol car does not at all guarantee free reign when it comes to doing stupid things. The damage was taken care of. No one was harmed. I consider the outcome a win.
    Notice he does not say outright that he was "brandishing" or even confirm that he was holding a firearm, but he doesn't say he was not, either. He does defend your right to defend your property at night.

    At least one commenter suggested he should have simply called the police and let THEM handle it.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Regular Member VW_Factor's Avatar
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    He'd be lucky if the police even showed up the next day to investigate the "property vandalism" crime. Its extremely low priority for most PDs.

  3. #3
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Well in VA you can't use deadly force to defend property. Also if someone is carrying a gun in their hand on their own personal property can they be charged with brandishing? I think by the time the police got there the damage would be done. I think it's ok that he may have taken a gun out and asked people to leave. However if he had shot them for destroying his sign or refusing to leave his property I think he would have found himself in trouble.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Regular Member sst0185's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Well in VA you can't use deadly force to defend property. Also if someone is carrying a gun in their hand on their own personal property can they be charged with brandishing? I think by the time the police got there the damage would be done. I think it's ok that he may have taken a gun out and asked people to leave. However if he had shot them for destroying his sign or refusing to leave his property I think he would have found himself in trouble.
    Well it seems to have worked out ok for the duke of death, excuse me the duck.

    http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/201...-thief-guilty/

  6. #6
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sst0185 View Post
    Well it seems to have worked out ok for the duke of death, excuse me the duck.

    http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/201...-thief-guilty/
    He didn't shoot him for taking the dog box. He shot because he thought the guy was retrieving a weapon, so the story goes.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  7. #7
    Regular Member sst0185's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    He didn't shoot him for taking the dog box. He shot because he thought the guy was retrieving a weapon, so the story goes.
    Perfect, that is what I will say as well. That duck is all bite and no quack.

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Yes, he "should have" called the cops and reported the crime in progress. He also "shgould have" had sufficient insurance to cover the loss.

    But if he's going to go confront someone, he needs to have a powerful light that he uses from a position of cover and surprise. Having the means of self defense to hand (as opposed to "in hand" for all you pedantic language police types) would not have been a bad idea. A camera to capture the miscreant in the act would not be a bad idea, but only if he remembers that protecting himself from harm is more important than getting a crisp profile shot of the person who killed him. Be willing to drop the camera!

    After writing all of that, it is necessary to remind everybody that by confronting the alleged theif he has escalated the situation and loses the protection of being an innocent victim. That is doubly troublesome if any force is used, as he is the aggressor instead of that role being played by the alleged theif.

    Retired Officer Duck was fortunate that his story of the perp diving into the truck as if to retrieve a weapon was believed.

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Me thinks that he should use more caution in what he writes on the internet, and what decisions he makes about defending property.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
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    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    Me thinks that he should use more caution in what he writes on the internet, and what decisions he makes about defending property.
    +1

    Outdoorsman1

    ETA.... He was very lucky the situation did not escalate into someone ending up dead and him ending up in prison for a couple of yard signs.....

    Just Sayin....
    Last edited by Outdoorsman1; 07-20-2011 at 03:24 PM.
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  11. #11
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    First, it's interesting that most of the details of the story are told in the context of answering other readers' comments to the initial post, which was very short.

    He never said he held the gun, in fact, he hinted fairly strongly that he did not.

    This sounds to me like it could make an excellent case for Open Carry. Open Carry is sort of "brandishing that isn't brandishing". The bad guy sees it, and knows you can get it quick, so that's 75% of the benefit of holding it in your hand. As we all know from the Morris case, changing from concealed to open carry in front of someone can be considered brandishing, but obviously OC from the start saves you that risk.

    So what this guy apparently did was go tell some misbehaving teenagers to stop misbehaving on his property and leave. Is that really "escalating?" He happened to be open carrying. I'm kind of surprised that anyone would have too much trouble with that.

    Finally... it's doubtful that such misbehaving teens would have sufficient understanding of the law to know that deadly force in defense of property is not justified. The fact that they might not know that doesn't really trouble me very much.

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Finally... it's doubtful that such misbehaving teens would have sufficient understanding of the law to know that deadly force in defense of property is not justified. The fact that they might not know that doesn't really trouble me very much.

    TFred
    Being "Right" and being dead are not mutually exclusive. The teens in question may have been aware of that fact and made the safe choice.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Gatz View Post
    Being "Right" and being dead are not mutually exclusive. The teens in question may have been aware of that fact and made the safe choice.
    I suppose it's possible, but I don't have warm fuzzies that these characters make too many wise choices in life.

    But your point is well taken... a pedestrian might have the right of way over a speeding car, but that doesn't read very well in an obit.

    TFred

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Well in VA you can't use deadly force to defend property.
    The above isn't completely true.
    Ask those that have trespassed on property were capable dog/s are keep how they faired.

    Why would anyone visibly carry a firearm in their hand when dealing with a situation one might not be sure a firearm is needed especially when on their own property or place of business?

    Is it brandishing if no one can see the firearm you have in your hand?
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


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    Regular Member carry for myself's Avatar
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    i've gone onto the woodland property i used to own with a .45 in my hand at 3am to investigate some guys out in the woods. but thats in northern maine. at 3am where people tend to steal fertilizer and are usually armed while doing so.

    i believe if the weapon is not visible it cannot be considered brandishing, but dont quote me on that. JMO.

    when i went out i had a colt Mark IV condition 0 in my right hand behind my right leg. JIC someone attempted to draw or had a weapon, i wouldnt have to worry about moving my cover garment and un-holstering. turns out it was some drunk kids who took the wrong dirt road on the way home. ended up giving the happy couple a ride home. but you can never be TOO careful
    i would rather run out of blood, breath and life. and die fighting. than run out of ammo , and die with my pants down -Tom Scantas

  16. #16
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    So what this guy apparently did was go tell some misbehaving teenagers to stop misbehaving on his property and leave. Is that really "escalating?" He happened to be open carrying. I'm kind of surprised that anyone would have too much trouble with that.
    Interesting coincidence, consider this newspaper article which was published on the FLS website today:

    Alert neighbor helps thwart burglary

    Pertinent text from the article:


    The woman called the neighbor and confirmed that no one was supposed to be at the house. She also called 911, gave a good description of the suspects and alerted her husband.

    The 34-year-old husband [of the neighbor] got to the home just as the man [the intruder] was coming out. It was not immediately clear if the man rushed out of the home because of the two dogs inside or because he realized he had been seen by the neighbors.

    The two suspects took off running with the neighbor in pursuit. He chased them through another neighborís yard and onto the City Canal path, where he followed them all the way to the CVS parking lot near the entrance to Mary Washington Hospital.

    City officers had set up at various exit points along the canal and an officer apprehended them in the parking lot.


    Nothing was mentioned in the article about how unwise the "neighbor in pursuit" was to chase the intruders. How would this be different if he had been open carrying?

    TFred

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent19 View Post
    The above isn't completely true.
    Ask those that have trespassed on property were capable dog/s are keep how they faired.
    Let me qualify my statement. You can not use HUMAN (or human directed dogs) deadly force to defend property in VA. :-)
    Last edited by thebigsd; 07-20-2011 at 08:01 PM.
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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    unfortunate, dead men tell no tales

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Yes, he "should have" called the cops and reported the crime in progress. He also "shgould have" had sufficient insurance to cover the loss.

    But if he's going to go confront someone, he needs to have a powerful light that he uses from a position of cover and surprise. Having the means of self defense to hand (as opposed to "in hand" for all you pedantic language police types) would not have been a bad idea. A camera to capture the miscreant in the act would not be a bad idea, but only if he remembers that protecting himself from harm is more important than getting a crisp profile shot of the person who killed him. Be willing to drop the camera!

    After writing all of that, it is necessary to remind everybody that by confronting the alleged theif he has escalated the situation and loses the protection of being an innocent victim. That is doubly troublesome if any force is used, as he is the aggressor instead of that role being played by the alleged theif.

    Retired Officer Duck was fortunate that his story of the perp diving into the truck as if to retrieve a weapon was believed.

    stay safe.
    This is new info to me in the context of being a theft or vandalism victim on your own property (or any place you have a legal right to be). I did not know this. Do you have a case cite where I can find out more.

    I'm really concerned about this because it essentially says you cannot confront a bad guy to prevent crime against your property. Meaning, not only can you not use deadly force to prevent property crime against yourself, you cannot even confront the guy because it might escalate and you would be legally actionable. Sounds like enforced victimhood to me.
    Last edited by Citizen; 07-20-2011 at 11:59 PM.

  20. #20
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Citizen -

    Let's start with the cites:

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1991786.pdf Comm. v Alexander

    http://www.virginia1774.org/MontgomeryvComm.html - where Comm v Alexander got some of its notions

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/1387974.txt - abduction by firearm/trespass

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/2193992.pdf - instigation produces manslaughter

    http://www.virginia1774.org/FortunevCommonwealth.html But note well "One, in his own curtilage, who is free from fault in bringing on the combat, when attacked by another, has the same right of conduct, without any retreat (i. e. to stand at bay and resist as fault), even to the taking of life, that one has when within his own home.

    Not a complete Shepardization by any means, but a decent start. If you want to pay my Nexis-Lexus bill I'll Shepardize the daylights out of it for you. :>)

    Now we move to the "enforced victimhood" concern. Simple answer is "You are not right." (Notice I did not say you were wrong - just not right.)

    You certainly can confront persons on your property who are there without invitation, permission or authority and can use force to eject them. It's just that there are limitations on the type and amount of force you can use.

    stay safe.

    ETA - Forgive me. I completely forgot to discuss retreat and what may then happen after you indicate by words and/or action that you quit the fight and the other party presses on. You can look that stuff up yourself, but the basic concept is that if you were in a mutual fray and then declared you quit, and/but the other party still wants to fight, you might be excused/justified in using deadly force. Much depends on proving both that you quit/retreated and the other guy knew that, and that the other guy pressed on/came back.
    Last edited by skidmark; 07-21-2011 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Forgot about retreat and subsequent actions
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    Ordering the the vandals off the property for tresspassing, would have been the first thing to try, and if they refuse to leave, couldn't the guy conduct a citizens arrest? I know citizens arrest are legal for felonies, but I thought that misdemeanors that breech the peace (not sure what that includes), were citizens arrest, legal, also?

    Now that I think a little more about it, we all have the 4th amendment right to be secure in our papers, persons, PROPERTY, and effects,atleast before due process. So if the vandals were intentionally causing damage to my property, without the authority of law, are they violating my Constitutional rights? Which is a felony,is it not?

  22. #22
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pagan View Post
    Ordering the the vandals off the property for tresspassing, would have been the first thing to try, and if they refuse to leave, couldn't the guy conduct a citizens arrest? I know citizens arrest are legal for felonies, but I thought that misdemeanors that breech the peace (not sure what that includes), were citizens arrest, legal, also?

    Now that I think a little more about it, we all have the 4th amendment right to be secure in our papers, persons, PROPERTY, and effects,atleast before due process. So if the vandals were intentionally causing damage to my property, without the authority of law, are they violating my Constitutional rights? Which is a felony,is it not?
    @#*%!&%#@! the case law citations get posted and there's hope that someone goes and reads them Maybe they will even read the prior case law that directed the decisions reached. But nooooo - someone comes along and asks the "what if" that the case law answered.

    Well, what the ^%#@, here's the case law again, seeing as it's really not all that hard to look up - time after time after time.*

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/1387974.txt

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1060162.pdf

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/3042031.pdf

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/1629032.txt

    stay safe.


    *I just took my meds, so don't bother telling me to to do that, or to stop whining/ranting/whinging.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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  23. #23
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    Thanks for the cites, Skid. That'll keep me busy for a little while.

    Very much appreciate it.

  24. #24
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    I would support legislation to allow defense of property with deadly force assuming that you are on or in your own property. I know many wouldn't and there are scenario's that could come up where human life really is more valuable than the property in question. In any case I should be able to confront, brandish or even shoot on my own property in the defense of anything AFTER ordering them to stop/leave.

    It would significantly piss me off to watch someone steal my car out of my driveway. If you go out to confront you are in danger of escalating the issue. If you stay inside you call 911 and wait a few hours to tell police what your car looked like. I would prefer to yell at them from a window and if they don't leave, place a few loads of buckshot in their general direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 45acpForMe View Post
    SNIP It would significantly piss me off to watch someone steal my car out of my driveway. If you go out to confront you are in danger of escalating the issue. If you stay inside you call 911 and wait a few hours to tell police what your car looked like. I would prefer to yell at them from a window and if they don't leave, place a few loads of buckshot in their general direction.
    I don't get that from reading the material at Skid's first link. I see that the escalation issue occurs when 1) you invited the person onto your property, 2) some quarrel or something arises. This is a little different from a thief coming uninvited onto your property.

    The link does say you may not use lethal force to prevent theft of property. It expressly says you must yield and seek recourse at law.

    However, I don't really think you get a whole lot of recourse out of the law these days. Unless you recognized the thief and could swear out the warrant and conduct your own search. (Used to could do that in colonial times.)

    Now, I'm thinking that if you confront a thief on your own property, and he escalates, you are no longer protecting property, but yourself. I'll have to read more.

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