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Old May 14, 2015, 11:08 AM   #1
yober
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Weapon mounted lights and felony aggravated assault.

Hi, new to the forum, but a longtime lurker.

Just read an interesting tidbit from Ayoob about WML's and their caveats, one being that if you point it at someone in your house (or anywhere else, I suppose) while investigating a "bump in the night," that you are committing an aggravated assault if the intruder proves to be benign. He can't be serious, right? The article advocates for lights but this kinda puts the kibosh on a purchase I was thinking of making.
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Old May 14, 2015, 11:23 AM   #2
RaySendero
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Old May 14, 2015, 11:48 AM   #3
Tom Servo
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If the light is mounted on a weapon, then anything I cover with the light is being covered by the muzzle. In short, if I'm pointing the light at someone, I'm pointing the gun at someone. Without justification, that can constitute assault.
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Old May 14, 2015, 12:02 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
if you point it at someone in your house (or anywhere else, I suppose) while investigating a "bump in the night," that you are committing an aggravated assault if the intruder proves to be benign
Just remember that we have fifty states plus the District of Columbia. Each has its own laws, and they are not all the same.
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Old May 14, 2015, 01:46 PM   #5
Sharkbite
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Without a link to the article its hard to answer.

I use WMLs on EVERY gun i use for HD. Todays lights throw enough spill to avoid needing to point the gun directly at a person to ID them.

Lets look at the scenarios and see where a problem could lay

Bump in the night and i decide to take my SD gun with WML to see what it was...

I move thru the house and see a unknown figure moving around the dark living room. Lets say i point the WML directly at them and turn it on.

1. Its a family member (no threat)that is looking for a book to read. I depress the muzzle and turn off the WML.... No harm, no foul. Because i have trained religiously to keep my finger off the trigger until ive made the conscious decesion to shoot, they were not in any danger.

2. The person i illuminated is a stranger rooting thru the china cabinet. I now have an advantage. They are blinded with 200 lumens in their eyes. I can CLEARLY see them and am prepaired to engage if they act threatening.

In neither case is there any cause for a criminal complaint against me.

And those arent even the best tactics available. I can "bounce" light off walls and ceiling so as not to even point the gun directly at them if i choose.

Some people will claim that pointing a WML at a person violates one of the 4 safety rules....yep

In the real world those rules are NOT absolutes

"All guns are always loaded"....ahh nope. How could we check one on an airplane when we travel. How could we do any dry practice with one if its always loaded. Its a guideline

" NEVER point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy". As i go thru a home "clearing" it on a Burglary call, my pistol is in my hand and pointing into danger areas. I may very well flag the 75" $3500 LCD tv in the living room. I DONT want to destroy it, but my muzzle may cover it.
I cant even BEGIN to count the number of people ive pointed my gun at...very few got shot.

"Keep your finger off the trigger until you have made the decision to fire a shot" (paraphrased, cause i hate the origional version). Again how do i dry practice trigger control. How to i examine and try the trigger pull on a gun im looking to purchase.. How do i disassemble my Glock if i cant pull the trigger.

Ok, point made (i hope) the 4 safety rules are guidelines to HELP us avoid having a ND...and should we have one to minimize damage/injury.
Not Holy writ, handed down from on high.
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Old May 14, 2015, 02:06 PM   #6
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Weapon mounted light's on pistols are inherently dangerous due to the chance of a negligent discharge from a shooter, that is not highly skilled in the use of one.

May I suggest forgoing the weapon mounted light on a pistol and stick with hand held flashlight positions; unless your dedicated in training with a weapon mounted light on a pistol.
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Old May 14, 2015, 06:53 PM   #7
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I tend to think that weapon mounted lights make sense for LE or use when you as a civilian have very little dbout you are engaging a threat. To my mind that is not most bump in the night events. For the avarage bump in the night I far prefer a light in one hand and a pistol in the other.

Put another way I have checked out many weird noises with my tac light; have never had to draw down on anyone or anything. Have had a light on the 12 gauge but if I am deploying that then it would be a situation of little dbout that force was appropriate.
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Old May 14, 2015, 07:03 PM   #8
Derbel McDillet
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A verbal challenge is an important part of the threat identification process anytime you hear "a bump in the night" in which you feel the need to arm yourself. A simple, "Who's there!", is sufficient to determine friend or foe. Waiting until you're at the brink of dropping the hammer to identify that the threat is a loved one or guest is a tragedy waiting to happen. Every case of mistaken identity could have been easily avoided had a verbal challenge been employed.
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Old May 14, 2015, 08:19 PM   #9
James K
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"if I'm pointing the light at someone, I'm pointing the gun at someone. Without justification, that can constitute assault."

Same is true of a laser "dot". Myself, I would be more concerned that the WML makes a great target at night and if my face is right behind it...

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Old May 14, 2015, 08:19 PM   #10
Dragline45
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Most of these lights throw off enough light that you don't need to point it directly at a target to illuminate it. Just keeping the pistol in the low ready position and pointed at the ground will illuminate most rooms in your house. Light bounces off objects, even non reflective objects.
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Old May 14, 2015, 08:55 PM   #11
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*delete

I posted the exact thing as above poster

point the gun down and in front of you and it still illuminates the entire room.....no need to point at people
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Old May 14, 2015, 09:07 PM   #12
Lost Sheep
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Two thoughts.

I prefer to point it at the ceiling. White celiing illuminates the room better than my darker carpet, and furniture casts shadows into many areas around the room if I depend on scatter from a downward-pointed weapon-mounted light.

Where does it say you cannot carry a hand-held light in addition to a weapon-mounted light? Using the hand-held as your primary light obviates the danger or pointing a gun everywhere around the room. Use the weapon-mounted light only if you have to, for some reason, give up on the hand-held.

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Old May 14, 2015, 09:24 PM   #13
psalm7
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I would'nt hit the switch on my mounted light or laser without knowing Im going to have to deal with a threat . For the average bump in the night I use my Mag Light flashlight .
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Old May 14, 2015, 09:26 PM   #14
Sharkbite
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Quote:
"if I'm pointing the light at someone, I'm pointing the gun at someone. Without justification, that can constitute assault."
The OP is talking about HOME defense. I cant see anybody being charged, much less prosecuted, for pointing a gun at someone who is in their home illegally.
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Old May 14, 2015, 11:28 PM   #15
yober
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Sorry I can't post a usable link, but the article was in Guns Magazine a couple months back -- I was catching up on my reading and caught his column on WML's.
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Old May 15, 2015, 01:13 AM   #16
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By the letter of the law, I suppose it is possible. A couple situations that I COULD see it happening are:

-Say you have a TERRIBLE relationship with your teenage son/daughter, to the point where they would press charges against you for something just to do it. They sneak in late at night, you go to see what the bump in the night is and light them up with the WML. They COULD probably press charges, probably wouldn't hold up but it's possible.

-Similar to above, say you are in a messy divorce, soon to be ex comes in late at night. Leads to the same thing as above.

Now, is either likely? No, and even less likely the case would hold up. But, it is possible. I personally have a light with my gun, not on it, but mainly because my bedside handgun doesn't have a rail.
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Old May 15, 2015, 02:06 AM   #17
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I'm with Lost Sheep, I use both. Search with the handheld on a lanyard and if necessary, drop it (letting it dangle), then up comes weapon with light and laser. With a spouse, kids (grown) and in-laws there's probably no other way. When I've actually done it, the gun has always been concealed (big pockets on my terry cloth robe). This includes answering the door in the middle of the night (when the police were knocking).

Although... If I were to clear the house every night using weapon w/light & laser, I might flush some in-laws from my house.
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Old May 15, 2015, 09:05 AM   #18
buck460XVR
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This makes as much sense as M.A.'s stand on the use of handloaded ammo for SD/HD. Little or none. Maybe in the case of recklessly and intentionally shining a WML at folks, but for a stranger in your house, unannounced, in the dark?

Also......a bump in the night is not a knock on the door.
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Old May 15, 2015, 09:08 AM   #19
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...you are committing an aggravated assault if the intruder proves to be benign.
Sounds like an oxymoron, there is no such thing as a benign intruder, and at least in most places in the US an intruder in your home is automatically assumed to be a direct threat to your life and you are legally permitted to shoot him. Now, what about shining a weapon light (and therefore pointing a gun) at your soon to be ex, thinking she is an intruder? Well, I don't know but I can't imagine you being charged with a crime in that situation, and if you are I can't imagine it would stick, provided you genuinely thought she was an intruder.

The big problem to me would be using a weapon light as a general flashlight, looking around in the bushes outside say. There, you're outside, no more castle doctrine, and in many places at least, you're breaking the law if you point a gun at someone.
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Old May 15, 2015, 10:28 AM   #20
the357plan
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Also......a bump in the night is not a knock on the door.
Maybe, but I treat them the same.
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Old May 15, 2015, 12:11 PM   #21
Mike Irwin
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The "threat" in your home may well prove to be benign...

But, if it's an unauthorized "visitor" in your home, my contention is that you have every right to hold them at gunpoint until you ascertain that they are: 1. Not a threat, and 2. Establish their legitimacy for being there.

Until they do that, they ARE a threat. Plain and simple.

If it is stated in the article as described, then I have no clue where M.A. is coming from because his reasoning doesn't seem to make sense.
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Old May 15, 2015, 12:53 PM   #22
Steve in PA
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The debate about whether or not pointing a weapon with a WML at a person is an "assault" will depend on what the holder of the weapon thought at that moment in time, period.

Walking down the street, drawing your weapon and pointing it at someone without justification is an assault.

I hear a bump in the night and point my weapon at a person in my home, that is not an assault. Even if it is found that the person is not a threat, at the time I pointed my weapon I had reason to believe the person was a threat. End of story.
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Old May 15, 2015, 02:12 PM   #23
buck460XVR
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Quote:
I have no clue where M.A. is coming from because his reasoning doesn't seem to make sense

As I said before, it makes no sense. Unless he was referring to a scenario such as this.....

Quote:
Maybe, but I treat them the same.
Pointing a gun with a WML in the face of someone outside, at your door, may very well be considered an assault, especially if it's a cop knockin'.
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Old May 15, 2015, 04:03 PM   #24
g.willikers
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What's wrong with just turning on the room lights?
No need to point guns at anybody then.
Or give away one's position with a flashlight.
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Old May 15, 2015, 04:24 PM   #25
skizzums
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Because I have to walk into my living room and kitchen to turn on the lights. Sure I could rewire my house to have two way switches forvevery entrance to every room, but a light is easier, and there isn't anything wrong with it.
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