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Old February 18, 2009, 02:26 AM   #1
Noob101
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Unintended consequences

There are, as I'm discovering, lots of threads about keeping handguns on bedside tables and shooting intruders. My question is this...

Given that most of the houses in CA are basically drywall and wood frame and the likelihood that you will miss at least one shot in an exchange (barring all the ninja crackshots etc) or even going through the target what are the risks of a bullet (yours) hitting a neighbour? If you have no neighbours then you needn't tell me so.

What is the legal situ in this case? Also, let's say you fired the first shot and then the intruder fired back and HIS bullet hit a neighbour, would you b on the hook for starting the firing and he could say it was self-defense? (yes, I know, but this is America where someone sued because the coffee they were served was too hot....)

Would a shotgun not be a better home defense choice? I can't think of anything more intimidating to a burglar than the noise of a pump-action being readied for action.
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Old February 18, 2009, 02:46 AM   #2
Bauer
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I am not sure of the legal consequences of an accidental shooting of a neighbor in a self-defense situation so I won't even speculate. I would find it very unlikely that a shot from inside one house would exit said house and enter a neighbors house while still retaining enough velocity to kill someone. Notice I am leaving out apartments. I happen to live in an apartment but in a self-defense situation the last thing I am thinking about is "what if". That is one benefit to a shotgun; however, the shotgun lacks versatility in close quarters combat. I am also a student and buying a shotgun after I own a pistol would be an irresponsible decision at this point because I can barely afford groceries and basic necessities. In the very unlikely scenario you mentioned of a bg firing at you, after you engage him/her first, and hitting an innocent neighbor, I doubt any chargers would come your way. Unless he/she killed me first, I would kill him most likely because he was in my home. At this point it's my word against a dead person who broke into my home.
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Old February 18, 2009, 04:30 AM   #3
jesus5150
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You shouldn't use a rifle or pistol for home defense anyway, least of all a rifle. Get a nice mossberg and some 00 shot and call it good. Doubt it's gonna penetrate at least two walls (your outer, their outer) and have enough UMPH to kill someone. My .40 or my Mauser would have TERRIBLE Consequences in my apt. complex, but they're what i have.


That's another thing, i'm sure it's all relative. If you're defending your home with a Deagle or BAR that'll look suspicious or reckless, but if you've got "yer trusty scatter gun" or your CCW (as in my case with the .40) and there is collateral damage i'm confident it would get worked out in court with even the most incompitent lawyers. Never clear your house with your K98 Mauser lol... Actually Never Clear your house... Just dig in and wait.

Last edited by jesus5150; February 18, 2009 at 04:35 AM.
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Old February 18, 2009, 04:51 AM   #4
fivepaknh
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I disagree that you should never use a pistol for home defense. If someone feels comfortable with a shotgun then more power to them. I think it’s a good home defense weapon, but a little cumbersome indoors. As a personal preference I’ll take a handgun. I don’t live in an apartment. So the chances of a stray round hitting someone outside my home is slim. If it means defending my family I’ll take that chance. Handgun ammunition isn’t particulary powerful and using hollowpoints it tends to lose even more pentetration ability. It would likely loose a lot of energy if a bullet were to find a bystander.
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Old February 18, 2009, 05:33 AM   #5
omkhan
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I think that [you] guys [are] missing what the OP asked. Its not about what bullet or gun [you] [are] using rather the bullet from the BG hitting 3rd party in case he fired back at [you].

I don't think it should be of much concern because its [you] who acted in defense against home invasion. BG should be the 1 to be charged. That say, [you] never know what turn the legal system might take.

Last edited by pax; February 18, 2009 at 09:54 AM. Reason: Fixed text message spelling. Please see #4 of forum rules.
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Old February 18, 2009, 07:48 AM   #6
Keltyke
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I don't want to sound cold about this, but collateral damage to property or humans really isn't a big concern to me if I'm in a gun battle for my life. Re-read that - FOR MY LIFE. Nothing takes precedence over that. Given certain limitations, I will use whatever weapon I feel will do the job of DEFENDING MY LIFE most efficiently.
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Old February 18, 2009, 08:21 AM   #7
skydiver3346
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I agree with Keltyke:

When you get right down to it, (to be honest) you are defending your life and/or your family's life and that is truly all that matters. Use what you have, to do the job. Believe me, you won't have time to "worry" about all the what if's that people are quoting here on this thread, (when and if the time ever comes to use your weapon for self defense).

With that said, I am not saying you should be shooting a .30-06 or the like at a bag guy, (for obvious reasons). However, a pistol and/or shotgun are generally considered personal defense weapons of choice for most everyone and should not be a problem, (if you can legally own it for protection and use it as a result of a robbery/burglary or actual self defense of your life situations).

Guess it always goes back to the old saying: "It's better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6"................
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Old February 18, 2009, 08:52 AM   #8
OldMarksman
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Quote:
Given that most of the houses in CA are basically drywall and wood frame and the likelihood that you will miss at least one shot in an exchange (barring all the ninja crackshots etc) or even going through the target what are the risks of a bullet (yours) hitting a neighbor?
The likelihood that a miss from a handgun would go into a neighbor's house is probably pretty high, depending on the layout of your neighborhood. It would be higher with higher powered handguns such as .357 and 10MM magnums. The likelihood that a bullet going through your target would do so would be lower if you use hollow points.

The likelihood that your shot would hit a third party is obviously much lower. I haven't been able to quantify it for my situation.

I have retired a 9MM semi-auto that functions well only with ball ammunition due to the risk you have mentioned. I now use a .38 Special (not +P) with hollow points.

Quote:
What is the legal situ in this case?
As I understand it the shooter would be liable for civil damages.

Quote:
Also, let's say you fired the first shot and then the intruder fired back and HIS bullet hit a neighbour, would you be on the hook for starting the firing and he could say it was self-defense? (yes, I know, but this is America where someone sued because the coffee they were served was too hot....)
No--not self defense on his part unless you were the criminal aggressor--but I'm not entirely sure about whether you are protected against civil damages.

In some states you would be shielded against civil suits for wrongful death or injury from the intruder and his family if you fired in self defense, but not in all places. Know your state laws.

Quote:
Would a shotgun not be a better home defense choice? I can't think of anything more intimidating to a burglar than the noise of a pump-action being readied for action.
A lot of people (including a policeman I know) do recommend shotguns for home defense. On a recent episode of Personal Defense TV they showed the effects of bird shot, buck, shot, and slugs on wall board and exterior walls.

The shotgun is fine if the break in occurs when you can get to it, but if it's in an upstairs bedroom and you are in the kitchen... I's probably easier to make sure you always have access to a handgun than a shotgun.

This is not the opinion of an instructor or equivalent--just my considered thoughts.
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Old February 18, 2009, 09:07 AM   #9
chopz
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at the range recently someone suggested i purchase frangible ammo for hd use. any thoughts?
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Old February 18, 2009, 09:10 AM   #10
cmant1914
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I would think that a typical handgun round would have a hard time busting through however many interior walls, exterior wall (if it's brick, if it's siding, that's a different story), then INTO the other house (again, brick walls) and still have enough force to much damage. I used to shoot my 12 gauge and my 9mm at stuff sitting in our old burn pit growing up (made of regular old cinder blocks), and the 9 would barely blow chunks out of the block. It certainly never went through. And this was from about 15 yards or so. The shotgun wouldn't even really do anything. Now in a home invasion, I guess everything would be a little closer, but still...

As for legal rights, I can't see how a jury/judge in their right mind would get you in trouble for collateral damage when you're defending your life or that of your family's. But what do I know?
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Old February 18, 2009, 09:13 AM   #11
Keltyke
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I would think that a typical handgun round would have a hard time busting through however many interior walls

I saw a "puny" .380 ACP to through three pieces of 5/8" wallboard and still have enough power to bury itself halfway into a 2 by.
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