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Old October 10, 2008, 07:17 AM   #1
ShootingNut
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Question on CCW laws

As my State is one not permitting CCW, I'm not up on the laws re CCW, and I realize it will vary somewhat from state to state.
My WHAT IF question is this. Say your out and about, and you happen to see an assult underway, where it appears to you the assilant is threatening someone's life. Are you allowed to pull your weapon, order the assaliant to cease and hit the ground, and if he continues his attack you can shoot him?
Now your not playing Cop, just using force to save someone elses life, rather than your own.
Are you on your way to the "big house", or would most states justify your actions? I'll guess it depends on how good (and expensive) your lawyer is.
Regards,
SN
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Old October 10, 2008, 08:14 AM   #2
Keltyke
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Some states have "third party intervention", some don't.

In SC, it's stated:
"The right to take the life of an assailant during an unprovoked assault extends to any relative, friend, or bystander if the use of deadly force is necessary to save the victim wrongfully assaulted from imminent danger of being murdered by the assailant, if the assault is malicious and unprovoked and with a deadly weapon, with the apparent malicious intention to take the life of the victim and thereby commit murder, and if such murder is imminent, then any relative, friend, or bystander has the right to take the life of the assailant if necessary to prevent such murder, provided there was no other reasonable means of escape for the victim so assailed, and provided both the person assailed and the person coming to his defense were without legal fault in bringing on the difficulty."
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Old October 10, 2008, 08:22 AM   #3
KChen986
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There's also one caveat, SOME jurisdictions allow people who honestly believe that another is in danger of serious bodily harm to intervene with deadly force. Other jurisdictions require one to be correct in believing someone else is in threat of serious bodily harm.

The example being, two guys fighting, one pulls out a gun and you SWEAR he's about to shoot the other, so you intervene. Normally that would exonerate guilt. On the other hand, what if the man who pulled out the gun was an undercover cop, or was defending himself from a knife robbery?. What then?

Just a nuanced consideration when deciding to intervene. Hope I helped explain some.
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Old October 10, 2008, 08:37 AM   #4
M1911
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Quote:
Say your out and about, and you happen to see an assult underway, where it appears to you the assilant is threatening someone's life. Are you allowed to pull your weapon, order the assaliant to cease and hit the ground, and if he continues his attack you can shoot him?
Now your not playing Cop, just using force to save someone elses life, rather than your own.
In most states, if a third party would be legally justified in using lethal force to defend himself, then you would be legally justified in using lethal force to defend that person. The law varies from state to state, so you would need to speak to a lawyer in your state.

I would disagree with you when you say "Now you're not playing Cop..." That is precisely what you would be doing in such a situation and it is a very dangerous thing to do.

Intervening in a third party situation is very risky. First, there is the immediate physical risk. A gun is not a talisman. It does not guarantee that you will prevail. You may lose. The perp may be able to close the distance and disarm you. The perp may have a gun and get a lucky shot off. You may miss. You might not have seen the perp's partner behind you. Are you willing to risk your life for someone you don't know?

Second, there is the legal risk. It often isn't clear just what is really going on in such situations.

For example, suppose you are at the local strip mall when you see a man burst out of store, running in terror. Seconds later, another man runs out with a gun in his hand, chasing the first man. What have you just seen? A nutcase trying to kill a shopper? The store owner chasing a robber? An undercover officer chasing a suspect?

If you use deadly force in a situation where the person who you thought was the victim was, in fact, not legally justified in using force to defend themselves, then you could face murder charges. Are you willing to risk going to jail for the rest of your life for someone you don't know?

I carry on a regular basis. I won't say that I would never intervene in a third-party situation. But my default choice would be to get out of Dodge and call the police.

My gun is to protect myself and my family. I don't get paid to save other people. I don't have backup on the way. I don't have a radio to the dispatcher. I'm not wearing a blue uniform that will identify me to the responding officers as one of the good guys. I don't have soft body armor. If I end up dead, the victim isn't going to provide for my family. If I end up in court, the victim isn't going to pay my legal expenses (which could top $100,000 in the case of a murder charge).
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Old October 10, 2008, 08:47 AM   #5
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Here's one more thing to consider -- you are legally responsible for the final resting place of every shot you ever fire. If you intervene in a third party situation and end up shooting at the perp, then you are responsible for every shot you fire.

In most gunfights, the majority of the shots fired miss the intended target. If you get into such a gunfight, the perp will be moving and so will you. Chances are it will be in low light. It is much harder to hit a moving target than a stationary one, so there really is a good chance that one or more of the shots that you fire will miss the perp. If one of your shots hits an innocent, you are legally responsible and might face criminal charges, up to and including manslaughter.

Here's a practical exercise for you. For the rest of today, whenever your go into a new room or building or are walking down the street, try to find a safe backstop that would stop a bullet. Remember that typical wood-frame construction walls (both interior and exterior) won't stop a bullet. Stucco won't stop a bullet either.

I think you'll find that in most places you go, you'll have a very hard time finding a safe backstop. And your perp won't likely stand still in front of that safe backstop. That alone should give you great pause about willingly wading into a third-party conflict.
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Old October 10, 2008, 08:57 AM   #6
ShootingNut
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Good points, again as we don't have CCW here, I hadn't thought of all the possible scenarios.
The down side also could be, that you were correct in your assessment of what was going on, and you run off and find later you had just witnessed an innocent person get murdered. AND, you did nothing to help.
I know, it's not "your job" and your very correct in the reasons given for not intervening. Would be a very tough call for sure.
Our city, is seeing more and more assults & robberies, in broad daylight also.
Two bikers got mugged yesterday on a bike trail, good news is they are alive today!
Thanks for your thoughts on the issue!
Best regards,
SN
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Old October 10, 2008, 09:19 AM   #7
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The down side also could be, that you were correct in your assessment of what was going on, and you run off and find later you had just witnessed an innocent person get murdered. AND, you did nothing to help.
Yes, that is a possibility.

Are you willing to risk your life, your life savings, and your freedom to prevent that?
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Old October 10, 2008, 09:41 AM   #8
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This is such a wide-open scenario that it's actually not even possible to accurately predict the outcome. Yes, a lot would depend on the skill of your lawyer, I'd say even more depends on your local prosecutor and how he feels about it.

Most states do NOT want you getting involved in that situation. On one (sympathetic) hand, nobody wants to see someone else taking a beating. But the reality is that you literally have no idea, none, ZERO, what the situation is. None whatsoever.

Your best bet in that situation, if you REALLY want to keep someone from taking a further beating immediately, is to try to verbally stop the incident. And the safest way for you to keep from being prosecuted and yet still stop the beating would be if the threat gets re-directed to YOU before you start shooting. And any witnesses who perceived that you escalated the situation in any way that led to a shooting will only be harmful to your freedom.

If it's your child, your wife, your date, totally different when you act on their behalf. Two strangers? There's not much law that provides for you to swoop in and get involved. Especially if there isn't a weapon involved other than fists. Escalation of force is strictly defined in each state. You can find yourself in trouble for shooting someone even if they have punched you in many situations.

You may not like it, you might not think it's right, you may put more value on someone else's life and good health than the law does, but that's just how it is and you either accept it or you take one helluva personal risk.

Life isn't fair, and if you aren't a sworn officer of the law then you will be wide, WIDE open to trouble if/when you intervene. Even if you are cleared in the end, the monetary costs and time/trouble is so catastrophic that you'd have a hard time assessing a value to it.
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Old October 10, 2008, 05:27 PM   #9
Keltyke
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Second, there is the legal risk. It often isn't clear just what is really going on in such situations.
Very, VERY, VERY true. Is the scruffy-looking guy holding a snubbie revolver on a guy in a business suit a robber or a plain-clothes detective making an arrest.

My advice would be as a couple of others have suggested. Stay out of it, get the heck out of Dodge, and call 911.
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Old October 11, 2008, 05:45 PM   #10
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M1911 hit the nail right on the head: you don't have backup on the way; you don't wear body armor (at least, most of us don't); you won't have investigating officers that will be sympathetic to you (they would be for one of their own); if you get wounded or killed, you won't have the city or the victim paying for medical bills or funeral expenses, or taking care of your family; no one but you will be paying your legal expenses, which will be from both criminal and civil charges; regardless of how "right" you think your actions were, you have to defend your actions in court, and depending on where you live and what the law is, you may be subject to surrendering all your firearms to police until the criminal charge is dismissed.

The point of carrying is to defend yourself and loved ones. It's not a piece of jewelry to show off during a shoot out. It's not a guarantee that you will prevail in a dangerous situation. It's a tool of last resort, as in you either use it or you die. As Florida's guide to concealed carry puts it, "carrying a gun does not make you a good samaritan or a freelance policeman."

Bottom line, if you're not prepared to accept the consequences, then reconsider the decision to carry a firearm.

You want to help someone in danger? Use your cellphone to call police; observe what's going on and take pictures/video (if your cellphone is so equipped) and/or notes. Be a good witness.
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Old October 11, 2008, 05:48 PM   #11
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I must be missing something.

If CCW is not allowed in your state, how would you have a firearm to pull in the first place while you are "out and about?" Unless you are breaking the law and carrying illegally. I am surprised people on here are even considering discussing/promoting any course of action beyond that fact if that is indeed the case.
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Old October 11, 2008, 06:55 PM   #12
M1911
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ppb: WI has almost gotten CCW twice previously, and is likely to get it before too long. It doesn't surprise me that WI inmates might be considering situations that might arise after they get it.
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Old October 12, 2008, 12:57 AM   #13
Majic
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Say your out and about, and you happen to see an assult underway, where it appears to you the assilant is threatening someone's life.
Since the assault was underway I take it you mean the assault had started and you didn't see the beginning. Now how do you know who is the perp and who is the victim? Just because someone has the gun doesn't make them the perp. Suppose the one with the gun was defending himself from a strongarm robbery.
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Old October 12, 2008, 03:03 AM   #14
Bud Helms
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PBP:
Quote:
I must be missing something.

If CCW is not allowed in your state, how would you have a firearm to pull in the first place while you are "out and about?" Unless you are breaking the law and carrying illegally. I am surprised people on here are even considering discussing/promoting any course of action beyond that fact if that is indeed the case.
He's asking a question, PBP. Why don't you offer an answer before you question or assign motives?
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Old October 12, 2008, 03:07 AM   #15
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He's asking a question, PBP. Why don't you offer an answer before you question or assign motives?
Because he prefaced the question with the fact that he is not allowed a CCW permit in his state. Taken as written he could be asking if he is taking a greater risk by drawing an illegal weapon than he would be if he was legally carrying. So giving him advice on the risks of drawing an illegal weapon is to a degree condoning carrying an illegal weapon in the first place.

That is why I would like clarification on the nature of his question before offering advice on what action he should take. If he is carrying illegally he will most likely be prosecuted regardless of circumstance if he draws his weapon. If he is simply asking about how it would happen in another state that has CCW then that is a different matter. Asking for clarification is not a negative. It is the best thing to do. It provides a whole less material for antis.
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Old October 12, 2008, 03:21 AM   #16
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That's a fair answer.

Well, ShootingNut, how do you reply to that?
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Old October 12, 2008, 05:24 AM   #17
alloy
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well they do allow open carry....

http://opencarry.org/wi.html
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Old October 12, 2008, 05:49 AM   #18
Dewhitewolf
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Wisconsin may not have concealed carry, but open carry is legal there.

Residents of Wisconsin may still CCW in other states, provided they have a permit or license to that is honored (such as Florida or Utah, which will issue to non-residents).

I don't believe that Shooting Nut or anyone else was advocating carrying illegally.
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Old October 12, 2008, 05:56 AM   #19
ShootingNut
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PBP

I do not carry, as I happen to be a law abiding citizen.
My question was hypothetical, only to solicit opinions on others as to how those with CCW permits may act in such a situation.
Thought it was a fair question, as it was something that I had wondered about. Isn't that O.K. for a forum such as this, or is it just a goal of some members to attempt to read between the lines, then draw unfair conclusions to the posters intent? Thanks again to those who gave me good insight to my question, and answering my question.
Have a nice day PBB.
SN
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Old October 12, 2008, 05:59 AM   #20
ShootingNut
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WI Open Carry

Correct, we can but be prepared to chat with every LEO you meet, and some sent by cell phone callers to check you out.
Regards,
SN
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Old October 12, 2008, 06:45 AM   #21
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I'd still do it or give it a try as long as you don't have some place

to be on time. Also, assuming you travel out of state and to other states, other than Illinois, a Florida permit is not a bad thing to work towards. Taking a NRA pistol class is always a good thing... if for no other reason you will probably get to discuss all the above items with others... in person.

I've open carried in Virginia with little or no problem.. even in Alexandria where you could look across the river and see D.C.
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