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Thread: Continuum of Force

  1. #1
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    Continuum of Force

    When I was going through the Reserve Police Officer Academy in California in the 80's, one of the subjects we were taught was the continuum of force; probably more commonly known as the appropriate level of force to be used depending on the threat faced at the time.

    The basic premise was that one does not use deadly force to counter a non-deadly threat. That is, it is not justifiable to shoot someone who is merely poking you in the chest with his finger, or taking swings at you with his fist. For this reason, cops carry a variety of weapons to match the level of threat they are facing; from non-lethal (pepper spray) to less-than-lethal (baton or tazer) to lethal (firearm).

    I was just reading an account on the actual use of firearms for self-defense here on the forums, in which someone wrote that he came across a group of individuals beating a security guard with their fists. This individual pulled his firearm and advanced on the group, calling them off the guard. Fortunately, they listened (I'm sure the laser beam from the weapon to their foreheads had much to do with that) and backed off. But, what if one or two of the thugs had advanced, empty-handed, on the hero? Left with only a deadly force option, had he used such force in the face of the unarmed threat, would the shooting have been justified, or would the level of force (deadly) when faced with and unarmed threat (punches) land our hero in hot water?

    My question is: how many here, who carry handguns, have that as their only means of protection? Do you also carry a knife, pepper spray, mini-flashlight (with which to blind the threat), tazer, etc., as well as a handgun to give you options along the continuum of force?
    Last edited by ed2276; 12-11-2011 at 10:21 PM. Reason: grammar

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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Pistol whipping is lower on the continuum than bullets. But if you are intending to bluff, you shouldn't be drawing the weapon in the first place. Only draw if you are willing to use it, period.

    It's worth noting that some places (I don't know if NV is one of them) take relative levels of force into account. One-on-one between men with fists is fairly balanced force. If one of the two is a huge man and the other a small woman, the woman might be justified in using deadly force, because of the strength difference. The same may be true of a lone armed man faced with half a dozen or more unarmed ones.

  3. #3
    28kfps
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    Nevada does not have a castle law, per se, despite multiple attempts by state legislators to enact such a law. However, the state does not require a duty to retreat by crime victims and allows for the use of deadly force in some circumstances.

    For physical or deadly force to be justified in Nevada, a person must believe that his life or safety, or the life or safety of another, is in jeopardy. He also must use no more force than is necessary to subdue the attacker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 28kfps View Post
    Nevada does not have a castle law, per se, despite multiple attempts by state legislators to enact such a law. However, the state does not require a duty to retreat by crime victims and allows for the use of deadly force in some circumstances.

    For physical or deadly force to be justified in Nevada, a person must believe that his life or safety, or the life or safety of another, is in jeopardy. He also must use no more force than is necessary to subdue the attacker.
    Cite? I do not recall seeing that specific in the NRS.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

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    Nope, no spray, no taser, no ninja throwing stars...just me and my pistol.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    If somebody advances on you with your weapon drawn, would it be logical to assume that the assailant has a plan to counter your weapon (deadly force of their own) or take your weapon and use it against you? I've always been of the opinion that is somebody was to attempt to take my weapon via force, I would be in the right to use said weapon in defense. My logic behind this, is that I assume that if somebody has the audacity to try to disarm an armed person via force, that person likely has the motive of using that weapon.

    I believe the same applies to police officers. If you tried to disarm an officer, you'd likely find yourself shot. Likewise, if an officer has drawn down on you with their pistol, and you continue to advance, you'll also likely find yourself shot. It would be somewhat unheard of for a police officer to re-holster their weapon, then choose some other form of deterrent.

    So, in my personal case, if I have drawn my weapon, it is because I deemed it necessary to do so and have an intention of using it. If you're crazy/stupid enough to continue to advance upon me, I'm going to go with my initial intention, use deadly force to end the confrontation. These are decisions and scenarios we must all play out in our heads before the time comes, because if the time does ever come, there may not be time to make the tough decisions then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmijackso View Post
    If somebody advances on you with your weapon drawn, would it be logical to assume that the assailant has a plan to counter your weapon (deadly force of their own) or take your weapon and use it against you? I've always been of the opinion that is somebody was to attempt to take my weapon via force, I would be in the right to use said weapon in defense. My logic behind this, is that I assume that if somebody has the audacity to try to disarm an armed person via force, that person likely has the motive of using that weapon.

    I believe the same applies to police officers. If you tried to disarm an officer, you'd likely find yourself shot. Likewise, if an officer has drawn down on you with their pistol, and you continue to advance, you'll also likely find yourself shot. It would be somewhat unheard of for a police officer to re-holster their weapon, then choose some other form of deterrent.

    So, in my personal case, if I have drawn my weapon, it is because I deemed it necessary to do so and have an intention of using it. If you're crazy/stupid enough to continue to advance upon me, I'm going to go with my initial intention, use deadly force to end the confrontation. These are decisions and scenarios we must all play out in our heads before the time comes, because if the time does ever come, there may not be time to make the tough decisions then.
    Agreed, A Bad Guy singly or in a group who continues to advance upon me once I've drawn my handgun and have it at least at low ready WILL be assumed to be a significant threat! Any Bad Person (gender neutral) attempting to forcibly disarm me will be interpreted by this particular handgun carrier as an attack by one or many which may result at least in serious bodily harm or worse to me (minimum standard by my interpretation of the law in my State) and will be dealt with as legally allowed.
    Is it my intent to kill? Absolutely not! It is my intent to stop a potentially lethal threat upon my person and I intend to use the tools I have at my disposal in this endeavor!
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    If you feel that your life or the life of another is in iminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, you may defend yourself to stop that threat. So in this OP given scenario, when I saw multiple persons beating someone, I drew my gun, I would be justified in both drawing, and shooting them to save that person from death. Fists can cause death, or serious bodily harm. It doesn't require gun vs gun. People are killed all the time by very odd circumstances, small glances to the temples, a strike to the chest/heart, and by simply falling after a tussle. I don't know what'd I'd actually do in that sort of cituation. I mostly concern myself with my own life and my loved ones, but until put in the situation, I could intervene for others...

    I carry 2-3 knives, a high powered flashlight, and not sure it really qualifies, but steel toed boots, to answer the secondary question(plus firearm). I'm not going to bother with pepper spray, though I have bought some for my mother (she's afraid to carry a gun). The whole question of, if someone attempts to grab my gun, just like with a cop, you're justified in shooting them. There's no other reasonable explanation that the grabber intended to harm you, so you may defend yourself. The whole nevada law about this is 'what a reasonable person would conclude/do'. Sorry for lack of cite, but I do feel this is pretty accurate. If you really press, I'll look up the cite later =p.

    Each state is different though. I recall the story of a man who was facing a mob of 20-30, who had threateneed his wife/kids with death in New york or something. He met these men with his ar or ak, and fired warnings into the ground. The man was arrested, and none of his attackers got in trouble. Then there's that famous guy in the UK, who shot his attackers/robbers in his own home. He is still in jail, and his attackers are already out of prison.


    The reason that cops carry so many different tools, is that they meet so many different situations. I feel pretty confident that I'll only ever need to defend myself in life or death situations(else, escape). I won't meet someone in a burger king who refuses to leave because he thinks god wants him to be the new king of the whopper. I'd just simply leave...but a cop must be able to handle that in any way shape or form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    Pistol whipping is lower on the continuum than bullets. But if you are intending to bluff, you shouldn't be drawing the weapon in the first place. Only draw if you are willing to use it, period.

    It's worth noting that some places (I don't know if NV is one of them) take relative levels of force into account. One-on-one between men with fists is fairly balanced force. If one of the two is a huge man and the other a small woman, the woman might be justified in using deadly force, because of the strength difference. The same may be true of a lone armed man faced with half a dozen or more unarmed ones.
    Pistol whipping a bad guy requires me to be within arms reach of said bad guy.... WAY TOO CLOSE FOR ME, Especially, if I am not part of a trusted team! The Teuller Drill demonstrates that the bad guy has a 50% chance from a distance of ONLY 20 feet of stabbing a trained LEO in the chest BEFORE the same officer can draw and fire his weapon.
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    I will strive to stand for the rights of ANY person, even those folks with whom I disagree!
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    If the above makes me a RADICAL or EXTREME--- So be it!

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  10. #10
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    While not quoting Nevada law, most (all?) states allow/excuse the use of deadly force to also protect from serious bodily harm.

    Indeed a number of persons beating one individual could result in serious injury, even death. Even one person alone can accomplish that.

    http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/...arly_satu.html

    http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news...-in-se-houston

    http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-peters...894766.tivideo

    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/...eaten_To_Death

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    Carrying weapons on a lower level of the continuum of force can always be useful, but it is more things to carry, and made difficult by the law in Nevada.

    It is unfortunate that the Taser company is hostile towards its non-police customers and refuses to sell the best tasers and cartridges to civilians. They are also very expensive, as well as the cartridges (and the confetti is a big part of that.) If a competitor to taser sells a similar product, especially with longer range and/or multiple shot capability to civilians at a reasonable price and preferably without the confetti I'd probably want one. Does a tazer constitute a "dangerous" weapon? If so, it must be carried openly.
    http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-2...l#NRS202Sec350
    NRS 202.350 Manufacture, importation, possession or use of dangerous weapon or silencer; carrying concealed weapon without permit; penalties; issuance of permit to carry concealed weapon; exceptions.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 202.355 and 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, a person within this State shall not:
    ...
    (d) Carry concealed upon his or her person any:
    (1) Explosive substance, other than ammunition or any components thereof;
    (2) Dirk, dagger or machete;
    (3) Pistol, revolver or other firearm, or other dangerous or deadly weapon; or
    (4) Knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle.

    ...

    3. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the sheriff of any county may, upon written application by a resident of that county showing the reason or the purpose for which a concealed weapon is to be carried, issue a permit authorizing the applicant to carry in this State the concealed weapon described in the permit. The sheriff shall not issue a permit to a person to carry a switchblade knife. This subsection does not authorize the sheriff to issue a permit to a person to carry a pistol, revolver or other firearm.
    [bolding added by me... elipses indicate missing text] You can technically be issued a permit by the sheriff to carry concealed a weapon other than a firearm, but there is no formal process or easy way to do so. I plan on sending a letter requesting to have a permit to carry concealed non-firearm objects that are dangerous or deadly when I'm not too lazy.

    I sometimes have a knife, but that is also deadly force if used. But only openly, because I only have a permit to conceal a firearm, not a knife. I sometimes have a flashlight, but more for illumination purposes than anything else. You can't carry a baton in Nevada. You can't even own a baton in Nevada. It is illegal.



    NRS 202.350 Manufacture, importation, possession or use of dangerous weapon or silencer; carrying concealed weapon without permit; penalties; issuance of permit to carry concealed weapon; exceptions.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 202.355 and 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, a person within this State shall not:
    (a) Manufacture or cause to be manufactured, or import into the State, or keep, offer or expose for sale, or give, lend or possess any knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a switchblade knife, blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag or metal knuckles
    As a civilian in Nevada, most self-defense weapons other than firearms or more restricted than firearms.

    Pepper spray... might be useful... but I don't trust pepper spray against a man, especially since people in combat professions are often trained to basically ignore the effects. Against a dog or other dangerous animal it seems more useful.

    There are some everyday objects one might have with them for other purposes than as a weapon by chance when attacked which could perhaps be adapted for use as a weapon... different objects might score differently on the force continuum.
    Last edited by Felid`Maximus; 12-12-2011 at 01:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2276 View Post
    , what if one or two of the thugs had advanced, empty-handed, on the hero? Left with only a deadly force option, had he used such force in the face of the unarmed threat, would the shooting have been justified, or would the level of force (deadly) when faced with and unarmed threat (punches) land our hero in hot water?
    "Empty hands" have been found to be a murder weapon.

    Someone advancing with "empty hands" on a person with a firearm can be assumed to believe that they are able to inflict comparable damage, especially when it's SEVERAL someones who are already beating a person.

    If you are in "reasonable fear of your life" from an immediate and present threat, you are justified in threatening or using deadly force to counter that threat.
    In some states, there are laws specifically stating circumstances in which the use of deadly force is justified, and not all require that the target be armed in any way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    Cite? I do not recall seeing that specific in the NRS.
    I think he's referring to justification requiring "immediate threat" -- once the person is no longer a threat (subdued), your justification for using force has expired. Use necessary force only when necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Felid`Maximus View Post
    Does a tazer constitute a "dangerous" weapon?
    Any weapon which can kill when using approved procedure -- unintentionally -- sure meets MY definition of "dangerous!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC View Post
    Any weapon which can kill when using approved procedure -- unintentionally -- sure meets MY definition of "dangerous!"
    Sidebar - I've heard of people getting that flesh eating bacteria from a tazer puncture. Some people die from glances to the temple, or punches to the heart, etc. A stab in the spine by a tazer can paralize someone. Not all tazers hit the spine...but, it would suck to be a petty theif, run away from cops, and be crippled...hence many lawsuits.

    I feel most in this forum concern themselves not with property crimes, but with crimes against people. Crimes against people take on a very serious, and higher level awarness. Crimes against people can even unintentionally an unexpectadly go from non violient to deadly. We here know that chance, and weird circumstance happen and are trying to guard against it. I hate/love the news, but as just witnessed, hollywood, some dude in the street, shooting at cars hurt several people. It doesn't take a stop light, a car jacker at your window, a problem with your vehicle...someone walking down the street with bad intentions can aim to kill you. I know you like me, are often questioned 'why do you worry so much.' It's always those who never know anything of the real world. You don't have to visit this forum, just open your eyes. But, if your friends or loved ones need those stories, to understand, then just have them send me an email...I'll show them =)

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    Regular Member CSINEV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2276 View Post
    When I was going through the Reserve Police Officer Academy in California in the 80's, one of the subjects we were taught was the continuum of force; probably more commonly known as the appropriate level of force to be used depending on the threat faced at the time.

    The basic premise was that one does not use deadly force to counter a non-deadly threat. That is, it is not justifiable to shoot someone who is merely poking you in the chest with his finger, or taking swings at you with his fist. For this reason, cops carry a variety of weapons to match the level of threat they are facing; from non-lethal (pepper spray) to less-than-lethal (baton or tazer) to lethal (firearm).

    I was just reading an account on the actual use of firearms for self-defense here on the forums, in which someone wrote that he came across a group of individuals beating a security guard with their fists. This individual pulled his firearm and advanced on the group, calling them off the guard. Fortunately, they listened (I'm sure the laser beam from the weapon to their foreheads had much to do with that) and backed off. But, what if one or two of the thugs had advanced, empty-handed, on the hero? Left with only a deadly force option, had he used such force in the face of the unarmed threat, would the shooting have been justified, or would the level of force (deadly) when faced with and unarmed threat (punches) land our hero in hot water?

    My question is: how many here, who carry handguns, have that as their only means of protection? Do you also carry a knife, pepper spray, mini-flashlight (with which to blind the threat), tazer, etc., as well as a handgun to give you options along the continuum of force?
    NRS 200.200 Killing in self-defense. If a person kills another in self-defense, it must appear that:

    1. The danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save the person’s own life, or to prevent the person from receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary; and

    2. The person killed was the assailant, or that the slayer had really, and in good faith, endeavored to decline any further struggle before the mortal blow was given.

    [1911 C&P § 137; RL § 6402; NCL § 10084]

    NRS 200.160 Additional cases of justifiable homicide. Homicide is also justifiable when committed:

    1. In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother or sister, or of any other person in his or her presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

    2. In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode in which the slayer is.

    [1911 C&P § 133; A 1931, 160; 1931 NCL § 10080]—(NRS A 1993, 932)


    Here is the NRS you were asking about.
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  17. #17
    28kfps
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    Cite? I do not recall seeing that specific in the NRS.
    You are not the only one that could not find the NRS. I remember reading words similar to what I posted here in some legal fourm of some sort. Thinking after I posted it someone would correct me and say that it was law or NRS such and such. I checked like you and could not find anything. Got the cart before the horse on this one. I believe I received some NRA Nevada updates earlier this year referring to a newly implemented or to be implemented law giving a little more leeway when it comes to defending yourself with similar wording I posted.
    Last edited by 28kfps; 12-12-2011 at 11:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmijackso View Post
    If somebody advances on you with your weapon drawn, would it be logical to assume that the assailant has a plan to counter your weapon (deadly force of their own) or take your weapon and use it against you?
    Not necessarily. People do crazy things when they feel threatened. I once found myself under physical attack by a tiny little woman (I'm 6' tall and hefty) because she mistook a stick in my hand for a weapon, and despite me not having threatened her at all, she FELT threatened by my "armed" presence. So she decided to attack me and forcibly disarm me. No, she wasn't a martial artist or expert brawler, and I was almost a foot taller and over 100 pounds heavier than she was. Nor was she armed with anything beyond her bare hands. It didn't stop her from trying.

    That same irrational mindset could conceivably cause someone to charge a man armed with a gun, too. Both people involved would probably feel 100% justified in their act of "self-defense".

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2276
    ...he came across a group of individuals beating a security guard with their fists.
    This individual pulled his firearm and advanced on the group, calling them off the guard.
    ...what if one or two of the thugs had advanced, empty-handed, on the hero?
    Justified shoot, IMO.
    They had already shown themselves to be violent.
    They were advancing on someone they knew was armed.
    People have been killed with one punch, much less being beaten by 2 or more people.

    ...how many here, who carry handguns, have that as their only means of protection?
    I would consider being aware, avoiding problems, "presence", "command voice", etc. protective.
    Those I have.
    And it's possible I remember some of what I learned in various phys ed classes in college...
    But if you mean things like knives, electric 'weapons', clubs, and such, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felid`Maximus
    Taser... are also very expensive, as well as the cartridges
    But you only have to buy it once, unless you're goofing around & fire one not in self-defense.
    If you use it to stop an attack, & the electrodes actually connect, pull the trigger 4 or 5 times then drop it & run. Each pull activates it for a certain amount of time (? 20 sec? I don't remember), & there's a limit to how long it will fire.
    Send a copy of the police report to the company, & they'll replace it for free.
    Nobody else can use the one you dropped, because you have to enter a code to activate it & when replacing a cartridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi
    People do crazy things when they feel threatened. I once found myself under physical attack by a tiny little woman (I'm 6' tall and hefty)...
    Idiotic. If she thought she was in danger she should/would have run away.
    Sort of like how some anti-gun people feel so threatened by lawfully-armed citizens that they get in your face or argue with you.
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    To go all lawyery on the OP you could look at it this way.

    Subject comes across two men beating a security guard. Believing the guards life was in danger the subject draws his weapon. At this point he could fire and be within the law, however he does the prudent thing and shouts a stop command to the attackers. The attackers stop, the guard is now safe, and the justification for deadly force has ended. The subject can safely re holster and render aide if he chooses to.

    However, now a separate and completely different event happens. Two men are now advancing on the subject with menacingly. The subject should shout a command to stop. If they continue to advance the subject should upholster, shout stop or i'll shoot, and be ready to defend himself if necessary.

    These two events while close together are two separate events where a reasonable person can justify the use of deadly force to protect himself or another from imminent grievous bodily harm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Security Guard: That dude right there (pointing at you from the witness stand) saved my life by shooting those two dudes that was putting a beat-down on me. I would not be here today if it were not for that fella.

    It could happen....
    That man right there, shot 2 members of our cast while filming our pilot series for TV........it could happen
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post


    But you only have to buy it once, unless you're goofing around & fire one not in self-defense.
    Training cartridges are $20 each. I would want to train with the device a little. They have lasers, but the prongs spread, and the device has a ridiculously short range, especially the version sold to civilians. And the civilian versions also only get one attempt to hit the target.

    Nobody else can use the one you dropped, because you have to enter a code to activate it & when replacing a cartridge.
    Sounds like a major pain if you want to replace cartridges for your own use to have to enter a code.
    Last edited by Felid`Maximus; 12-13-2011 at 11:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Felid`Maximus View Post
    Training cartridges are $20 each. I would want to train with the device a little. They have lasers, but the prongs spread, and the device has a ridiculously short range, especially the version sold to civilians. And the civilian versions also only get one attempt to hit the target.


    Sounds like a major pain if you want to replace cartridges for your own use to have to enter a code.
    The "code" is supplied by the manufacturer only to approved sales/persons.

    Recognize that what they are trying to do is prevent the BG from getting his dirty little paws on the good stuff. Problem is with such measures is that it also effects the good guys (by far the majority) equally.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  24. #24
    Regular Member jdholmes's Avatar
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    In Canada we had very strict laws on defending yourself and your home....basically like the UK seems to be, it basically comes down to matching force...you can't punch him if he hasn't shown equal aggression. If he is walking away with your tv, but hasn't shown you physical aggression towards you then you are left pretty much without defense if you harm him.

    However...the loophole is similar to the key that was posted previously.."If you fear for your life..."

    My Dad was a police officer for over 20 years and always told us that if we stuck with simple and specific wording we would be alright in court.

    "I feared for my life..."..."I feared for my families life."...did you try to kill him? "No, I used what means I had to stop him out of fear for my life."


    Look...I am 5'8" and 140 lbs soaking wet...If a couple guys are coming at me with fists, there is no way I am fending them off with fists...heck if one guy is trying to put a beating on me or rob me, I feel I have reason to fear for my life.

    Police officers have different levels of force because of the many different situations they are required to respond to, and as said before...we don't have to respond to the loud guy at burger king, they do. If loud guy turns into bad guy and draws a weapon, I have reason to believe my life or the lives of others in the establishment are in danger...different story.

  25. #25
    Regular Member jdholmes's Avatar
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    In way of question re: owning a baton here. I see the law quoted referring to a billy...a billy is different than a baton...so I guess I am unsure why we can't own a baton...

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