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Old August 26, 2009, 12:13 AM   #76
Frank Ettin
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Okay my reactions (referring to posts # 72 and 74).

[1] I agree that if you're being prosecuted and the prosecutor brings up a modification made to the gun, arguing that you bought the gun used isn't going to help you much with the jury. Either you claim that you didn't know that the gun had been modified, or you knew and used it anyway. In the former case, you look dumb to the jury; and that probably isn't going to do you any good. In the later case, there's a substantial likelihood that in the eyes of the jury you'd be pretty much on the same footing as the guy who modified the gun.

[2] I don't recall Mas suggesting using the same gun as the police. But be that as it may, the first question is how is the prosecutor going to attack you for using a Smit & Wesson .41 Magnum revolver. Here I guess the attack will be that you used a gun that is too powerful. That should be a matter of concern to someone planning for self defense and the legal aftermath. After all, two of the things that the jury didn't like about Harold Fish were that he used a powerful gun (10mm) and JHP ammunition.

Of course, based on my scan of the court of appeals decision giving Fish a new trial, it seems that some of the trial judge's evidentiary rulings stymied Fish's efforts to effectively deal with the "powerful gun" and "JHP" issue were reversible error. And if you're stuck with a defendant claiming self defense who used a .41 Magnum, arguing that the .41 Magnum was in fact conceived of and designed as a police sidearm is at least something the jury can deal with. It's a non-technical and straight forward sort of argument.

[3] As far as the SIG 220 question, arguing that it was recommended by a police armorer has appeal. Actually though, I'm not sure I see the use of that sort of sidearm as being terribly vulnerable to attack. I don't immediately see that a prosecutor is going to be able to necessarily come up with something to say about the gun that's going to have a particularly negative effect on the jury.

[4] Now the guy who used one of his hunting guns because he never thought he would need to defend himself with a gun, how well that works for him may depend on a number of other factors. It could turn out to be a decent enough story, if the jury buys it. And a jury might well buy it if everything else about his life is consistent with it. But if he's taken personal protection classes or if he has a CCW or if he ever carries a gun in his car as he goes about his daily routine, a jury might have a hard time swallowing it.

[5] As for the wannabe with the EBS and other tacticool stuff, I'd expect that a prosecutor would go for the throat if there's anything the least bit questionable about his use of a gun in claimed self defense. If it's a super clean shoot, he could be okay. But if it's at all vulnerable, he's got problems. He's an easy target for the prosecutor, and he's going to be tough to clean up and make pretty for Suzi Soccermom and her friends.

[6] Coming full circle back to the BHP (and the S&W "lock"). Your arguments are technically correct. They're just too "inside baseball."

You've outlined some very valid reason why amongst folks knowledgeable about guns or willing to learn removing a magazine disconnect should not matter. BUT in a trial, you would be trying to make your pitch to folks unsophisticated in the ways of weapon craft. Many will intuitively react with horror at the very thought of someone actually, voluntarily turning off a safety device on a lethal weapon.

You are claiming self defense, so you have admitted committing an act of extreme violence on another human being. This is something that most people, probably including most of your jurors, naturally find repugnant. You stand before your jury bearing the mark of Cain. So while the words of the prosecutor, ""This man was so reckless in his wanton disregard for human life that he USED A WEAPON WITH A DEACTIVATED SAFETY DEVICE!" ... "HE, HIMSELF, DELIBERATELY DEACTIVATED THE SAFETY DEVICE ON A LETHAL WEAPON!" ring in their ears, you would expect them to sit and absorb a little lecture about why it's not a big deal. The words "uphill fight" and "tough sell" immediately come to mind.

Sure, if I as a lawyer come to defend you, I'll make these arguments and more. Maybe they will work, but that's not guaranteed. It would have been better if I didn't have to make them in the first place.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; August 26, 2009 at 12:45 AM.
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Old August 26, 2009, 08:43 AM   #77
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Quote:
I sometimes find it very odd that one might spend a great deal of time preparing for a thing, using a gun in self defense, that is almost a certainty not to happen to him. He'll spend hours doing research and agonizing over choosing just the right gun, the right ammunition, the right holster. But he probably spends very little time or effort preparing for the predictable legal aftermath. He has the opportunity to prepare, but whether he does so is up to him.
Fiddletown:

I've never really figured why the 'tactical black shotgun' as a home defense weapon hasn't been attacked on the basis outlined above, yet reloads, non-standard weapons, like hunting weapons, are. To be real, you can't take a black shotgun to the range, unless you use slugs. It's worthless for skeet. It really has no other function then to sit in your business, or home, waiting for the unlikely robbery or murder.

If you have the Fish case, or more information on it, I'd love to see it. I guess he won his appeal, but, he really should never have been convicted in the first place, and, I'm wondering how that happened. Carrying a 10 MM seems to me, a minimum weapon for running in rural Arizona. In fact, I'd consider that a questionable caliber for a woods gun...Also, hollowpoints were designed and sold to the LEO market to minimize over-penetration. Why didn't that get in?

3: the Police gun choice is weak in that the person is acting as a police wannabe, but, their might need to be more facts to support that.

Walt:

HP ammunition was sold as THE solution to over-penetration when LEO moved from revolvers to semi-autos.
Lead does not consistently feed, and, if it's hard enough to do so, then over-penetration is claimed to be a problem, because the alternative is ball ammo, or flat point.

The real reason is LEO aren't great shots, as a general rule, and, JHP ammo generally slows down better when it hits hard stuff, much faster then other design bullets. Also, with the calibers that the HP's have been used, UNDER-penetration has resulted in the death of FBI special agents, in a couple shootings. Hence the search for the 10MM, downloaded, and, the resulting 40 S&W, by the FBI.

Fiddletown:
How do you think the gay factor affects jury pools, and views on homicide-murder cases in the Bay area?
What about the tremendous amount of gay on gay domestic violence?

Also you are aware that about 40% of the SFDA's case load is caused by homeless violence, or actions, of one kind or another?

Last edited by Poseidon28; August 26, 2009 at 09:00 AM.
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Old August 26, 2009, 10:55 AM   #78
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
I've never really figured why the 'tactical black shotgun' as a home defense weapon hasn't been attacked on the basis outlined above, ...It really has no other function then to sit in your business, or home, waiting for the unlikely robbery or murder.
Not sure myself. Some contributing factors may be that it's a home/business defense thing, it's perceived to be less common, and handguns seem to be naturally more associated in the public mind with personal violence.

Of course the guy in your hypothetical (post #72) has a whole lot more problems then his EBS (Evil Black Shotgun) --
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
This guy was a real cop wannabe. He was turned down by the police force. He bought a police vest and uniform, painting the car like a police car.
He joined the reserves...
So he's kind of a cartoon caricature of a "wack job gun nut." Suzi Soccermom is going to have a lot more problems with him than just his EBS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
If you have the Fish case, or more information on it, I'd love to see it. I guess he won his appeal, but, he really should never have been convicted in the first place,...
I don't think he shuld have been convicted either. There's a lot of stuff out there on Harold Fish. Try Google and the search functions on various gun Forums, like this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
...the Police gun choice is weak in that the person is acting as a police wannabe, but, their might need to be more facts to support that....
I think you need more to paint a convincing "cop wannabe" picture. Take a regular guy who wants a gun for self defense, goes to a gun store and is told, "this is a gun police use."

Of course if his response is "10-4", he may have other problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
Fiddletown:
How do you think the gay factor affects jury pools,...
I'm not going there -- way off topic.
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Old August 26, 2009, 12:51 PM   #79
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We are kind of way off topic already...

How do you deal with a shooting, or brandishing situation, when it was of absolute necessity, but, you are in a city and county that makes legal CCW impossible. Contra Costa and San Francisco come to mind.

And don't say move...
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Old August 26, 2009, 04:22 PM   #80
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The one murder trial that I was involved in had a pistol that had been altered with a very lite sub 2lb trigger. This was a case of a couple arguing that started with the the woman pulling the pistol out. The defendent claimed that he had accidentally shot the victim when he jerked the gun away from her. Expert witnesses claimed that it happened the way he said it did and the match trigger was an accident waiting to happen. All of that was immediately shot down and had no meaning or merit with the jury. In fact, the only expert witnesses that seemed to have any impact were the two blood spatter experts. They had completely different, scientific, interpretations of what happened. The gun itself was never an issue in the jury's decision. This is directly from the after trial jury interviews. Incidentally, this case was actually tried three times and the pistol or modifcations were never an issue in any of the trials. Don't think you can be tried more than once for the same charge? Think again. The first trial ended in a mistrial due to prosecutoral misconduct (he actually struck the defendent in the courtroom, when asked why, he stated that he thought he was losing and he wasn't going to let the guy off). The second trial ended in a conviction that was later turned dover on appeal due to the judge and the DA's office conspiring to keep allowable evidence out of the courtroom. The third trial ended in another conviction.
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Old August 26, 2009, 11:43 PM   #81
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ranburr, I'm at a loss to understand the point of your post (#80), at least in the context of this discussion. So in this particular case, the modification of the gun was not a factor. So what? The real question is: why wasn't it a factor? Let's analyze things based on your post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranbuss
The one murder trial that I was involved in...
We'll assume that the actual charge was murder. Murder is intentional homicide with malice (Cliff's Notes version: manslaughter is intentional or reckless homicide without malice).

To secure a murder conviction (Cliff's Notes version, again), the prosecutor must convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant performed the act; (2) the act was performed intentionally by the defendant; and (3) the defendant performed the act with the requisite state of mind, i.e., malice. To defend the charge the defendant needs to --

[1] Create a reasonable doubt in minds of the jurors that he did it ("I wasn't there" (alibi) or "Some other dude done it"); and/or

[2] Create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors that the act was intentional ("It was an accident"); and/or

[3] Create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors that he had the requisite state of mind, i. e., malice.

Defense [1], if it works, gets an acquittal. Defense [2], if it works, probably gets an acquittal, but may only get the conviction reduced to the lesser included charge of manslaughter if the jury can conclude that the conduct of the defendant, while not intentional, was grossly negligent, or willful, wanton or reckless, depending on the particular rule in the jurisdiction. And defense [3] gets a manslaughter conviction instead of murder.

(Another possible defense is justification (i. e., self defense or defense of another), but that doesn't appear to have been a factor in this case.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranburr
...The defendent claimed that he had accidentally shot the victim when he jerked the gun away from her. Expert witnesses claimed that it happened the way he said it did and the match trigger was an accident waiting to happen....
You don't say whose expert this witness was, but from the context, he appears to have been the defendant's witness. It also appears that the defendant was offering the testimony of the expert witness, and the evidence relating to the modification to the gun, to support his defense that the shooting was accidental (and thus not intentional).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranburr
...All of that [the testimony of the defendant's expert] was immediately shot down and had no meaning or merit with the jury. ...The gun itself was never an issue in the jury's decision....
And perhaps the reason for that was that the prosecution's case was in general so strong that the jury was not buying the "but it was an accident" claim of the defendant. So of course the gun didn't matter to the jury. The jury had concluded from other evidence offered by the prosecution that the shooting was not in any case an accident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranburr
...The third trial ended in another conviction....
And so the jury concluded that the guy was guilty of intentionally killing his wife and was not moved in the slightest by the defendant's claim it was accident, notwithstanding the testimony of the defendant's expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poseidon28
How do you deal with a shooting, or brandishing situation, when it was of absolute necessity, but, you are in a city and county that makes legal CCW impossible....
So what does this have to do with anything we've been discussing, and what do you mean by "deal with"? Personally, I have no reason to deal with this type of situation.

In any case, there are two issues: the use of force; and the weapons violation. If the use of force was justified, you might get off on that. But you could still get stung on the weapons violation.

The "poster child" for that outcome is Bernie Goetz, the 1984 Subway Vigilante. He defended himself with an unlicensed handgun in a New York subway from some armed robbers. He was tried for various assault related crimes and the weapons charge. He was acquitted of the violence and convicted on the weapons charge (and he was hammered in a subsequent civil suit).

Of course, there's such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. So if you're a big enough hero (e. g., you use your illegal gun to save a bus load of developmentally disabled children from a gang of child rapists), the DA might let you skate. But I wouldn't count on it.
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Old August 27, 2009, 02:17 AM   #82
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Here is a different perspective. I have a FEG clone of the HP35 and removed the mag disconnect safety. Went from a gritty horrible pull to a light, crisp pull.

The reason I did so is that this is not a defensive pistol. I have plenty of Glocks, 1911, revolvers and shotguns and carbines for defense. I got the HP clone because I like the Browning design and just wanted a single action 9mm for plinking fun.
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Old August 27, 2009, 04:27 PM   #83
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Well just don't reach for the FEG if something goes thump in the dead of night! Hopefully if you ever did have to fire your defensive weapon in an emergency, the modifications to your other guns wouldn't play a part in determining your character and credibility. Just no way to know for sure I guess.


This has been a fascinating thread. I kinda feel like a juror listening to attorneys arguing their cases!
We even had a respected expert witness take the stand...
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Old August 27, 2009, 05:39 PM   #84
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWPilgrim
...I have a FEG clone of the HP35 and removed the mag disconnect safety. ...The reason I did so is that this is not a defensive pistol. I have plenty of Glocks, 1911, revolvers and shotguns and carbines for defense. I got the HP clone because I like the Browning design and just wanted a single action 9mm for plinking fun.
I don't see a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quentin2
...Hopefully if you ever did have to fire your defensive weapon in an emergency, the modifications to your other guns wouldn't play a part....
I don't think they will. The other guns are reserved for specialized "sporting" uses.
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Old August 27, 2009, 06:27 PM   #85
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I have already wondered here about the SAS and their HiPowers...I doubt we will ever know if they removed the mag disconnect, but if they did, it was probably very late in their use of this pistol, long after they made history with the P35. What about the FBI HRT, which issued custom HiPowers? Did they remove the mag disconnect...After all, that could be used as a recommendation for a mod to a personally owned self defense weapon.
Again, I am perfectly satisfied with the trigger on the HiPower as issued, with disconnect. I did give the disconnect a quickie polish job, and keep a drop of lube on it. It is a fine combat trigger in my opinion.
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Old August 27, 2009, 06:59 PM   #86
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I believe that Novak's did remove the mag disconnect on HRT guns.
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Old August 27, 2009, 08:42 PM   #87
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I'm not sure. I read a thread on a HiPower forum where somebody tried to cofirm what exactly went into an HRT HiPower, including an email exchange with Novak himself, and the mag disconnect was never mentioned, one way or another. Here is the thread:
http://hipowertalk.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=369
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Old August 28, 2009, 01:22 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amd6547
...What about the FBI HRT, which issued custom HiPowers? Did they remove the mag disconnect...After all, that could be used as a recommendation for a mod to a personally owned self defense weapon...
Gosh, an interesting notion. But is there any difference between you and an FBI HRT agent?

[1] An FBI HRT agent
  1. He's first of all an FBI agent. That means he has passed a rigorous pre-employment screening, including an in-depth psychological evaluation and an intensive background investigation. He has also completed rigorous training.
  2. To get on the HRT the FBI agent has to pass another screening.
  3. The HRT recruit undergoes and must successfully complete a rigorous training program
  4. HRT agents train regularly as a team
  5. The HRT is tasked with special assignments generally of a para-military nature.
  6. The HRT agent operates under quasi-military discipline and a quasi-military chain of command exercising strict authority over his actions and to which chain of command he is answerable.

[2] You

?

I don't mean to denigrate you. My point is that defending the disabling of a safety device on a pistol by pointing out that some elite police or military organization does it, can seriously backfire. It invites the comparison, and most of us are going to suffer in the comparison.
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Old August 28, 2009, 04:00 AM   #89
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A case in point that most everyone here will probably remember. In my own city, Joe Horn shot two robbers and was completely convicted on the national media stage. When it went in front of the grand jury, the DA's office presented the evidence and it died right there.
Not to derail this thread, but there was a witness to the Horn Shooting that many people are not aware of.

The shooting by Mr. Horn was witnessed by a Police Officer. That, more than anything, is what helped to exonorate Mr. Horn according to the people I have spoken with about his case. Just like when we witness something on the street, we often don't know what's really going on, despite our best pre-conceived notions, or who all the players are.

Thus it makes sense to be very hesitant to use your firearm. That Mr. Fish can be prosecuted in a "gun friendly" state like Arizona, and it took a witnessing Police Officer to help exonorate Mr. Horn should give people pause.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

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Old August 28, 2009, 04:09 AM   #90
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Well, I'll remember that when I'm saying I picked the P220 because our local police use it.

All of your arguments would certainly apply.

Mas isn't going to like that you just shot down one of his favorite recommendations...
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Old August 28, 2009, 08:04 AM   #91
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Poseidon, I have to respectfully disagree with your last post.

First, the concept of using the same gun/ammo as local police wasn't my idea. Hell, I first saw it on the Internet a number of years ago.

Once the topic came under discussion in the venues where I write, though, I did say (and still say) that carrying what the local police carry has a lot to recommend it in terms of defensibility. Just make sure that gun and that ammo are something you're personally comfortable with.

The argument -- when your choice of handgun or ammunition is attacked in court -- is a simple sound bite: "If it was good enough for the police to use to protect me and my family, it was good enough for ME to use to protect my family."

However, that's apples and oranges to Fiddletown's point. The topic under discussion was the removal of safety devices from lethal weapons. One thread contributor wondered if HRT's use long ago of Brownings with the mag disconnectors removed would be a defense to an accusation of recklessness as exemplified by removing safety devices from deadly weapons.

What Fiddletown is explaining is that modeling your choice after a high-speed, full-time Hostage Rescue Unit is not the same as modeling it after the local police. Your local gendarmes use their service pistols much as you use your defensive handgun: as an emergency reaction tool if they, or someone in the mantle of their protection, are attacked without warning. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team is geared to being called in for extreme emergencies where gunfire is highly likely. Their mission includes shooting bad guys to rescue captives, often besieging or assaulting the bad guys' positions. They are the creme de la creme of SWAT teams. The domestic law enforcement equivalent of SEAL Team Six, if you will.

"I used this gun because FBI HRT used it" opens you to the accusation that you fantasize yourself to be a self-designated rescuer of hostages. Opposing counsel can be expected to snidely compare you to those people who claim to be SEALs when they aren't. Not the image any of us want to project.

Finally, the Browning Hi-Power is long since history in FBI HRT. They have for many years used 1911 pistols manufactured WITHOUT magazine disconnectors.

I do not know of a single law enforcement agency today that removes, or authorizes removal, of magazine disconnector safeties. If they don't want that feature, they simply order their guns without it, and they come manufactured that way.

In hopes of clarifying the discussion,
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Old August 28, 2009, 12:26 PM   #92
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Remove it, if it improves the trigger, leave it out. I took mine out. Ordered Mr Camp's laminated guide and book - great stuff. Still not as good as a 1911 trigger, but mine is better. Also, the mags fall free which is nice.
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Old August 28, 2009, 03:11 PM   #93
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Quote:
The shooting by Mr. Horn was witnessed by a Police Officer. That, more than anything, is what helped to exonorate Mr. Horn according to the people I have spoken with about his case. Just like when we witness something on the street, we often don't know what's really going on, despite our best pre-conceived notions, or who all the players are.

Thus it makes sense to be very hesitant to use your firearm. That Mr. Fish can be prosecuted in a "gun friendly" state like Arizona, and it took a witnessing Police Officer to help exonorate Mr. Horn should give people pause.
I am very aware of who witnessed what. There is more to that than apparently you know.
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Old August 28, 2009, 04:12 PM   #94
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If I may, on this oft seen debate, of removing the safety on the HP. The primary argument made by opponents of removing the safety, is that of Mas........a jury of less knowledgeable firearms persons will be persuaded that the shooter was negligent in removing the safety, resulting in an AD.

But after all, if the weapon was fired intentionally, for the right reasons, whether the safety was present is moot. Presumably the shooter could have fired it with the safety in place i.e either way!!

OTOH, If the shooter argues that the weapon fired accidentally now we have a problem. The problem is mitigated somewhat.

1. Victim started the fight (I know but it is a start). The struggle caused the AD. (I know but just stay with me on this one). There are a tremendous number of Brownings with the safety disabled. Are all of those people negligent? Since there are soooo many disabled, isn't that the standard now?

Never the less, if you do not practice with your weapon enough to instinctively keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, it probably won't help you much to have it disabled. and if you do shoot enough, then odds are you won't have to argue an accidental shooting and said above if you did it on purpose, it better be with reason. -PigPen-
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Old August 28, 2009, 04:54 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen
...The primary argument made by opponents of removing the safety, is that of Mas........a jury of less knowledgeable firearms persons will be persuaded that the shooter was negligent in removing the safety, resulting in an AD....
No, that's really not the core argument.

It's all primarily about how the jury will view you and your story in light of their possible perception of you a possibly "reckless", "arrogant", "trigger happy" gun nut. It's about how a jury having a negative impression of you can affect how they evaluate the evidence you present that your actions were justified -- and how they evaluate the evidence the prosecutor presents that your intentional act of violence on another human was not justified. It's about how your disabling of a safety on your gun may suggest to the jury that you have little regard of life or for others.

For example, I wrote in post #21:
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiiddletown post #21
....[4] I can't not believe that a skillful prosecutor, having decided to prosecute you after a shooting which you claim was in self defense would fail to make whatever use he felt he could of the fact that you used a gun from which you removed a safety device ... A least a few of such jurors are likely to be uncomfortable with the fact that you tinkering with your gun, or the you have tinkered with your gun,... People unfamiliar with guns tend to have an exaggerated fear of them and are likely to see it as reckless to remove a safety device fitted by the manufacturer. Do you claim to know better than the company that made your gun?

[5] Remember also that a plea of self defense is different from most other defenses to a criminal charge. ... when you plead self defense, the first thing that you have effectively done is admitted that you did it. You must essentially say, "I shot the man." And the essence of the claim of self defense is, "But I was justified in shooting him."

[6] Because of the nature of a self defense plea, how the jury sees you can be very important. You will want them to be willing to accept your claim that you were justified in performing an act that is generally, in good society, repugnant -- an act of extreme violence against another human being resulting in the injury or death of that human being. ...

[7] ... I've had jurors tell me in post verdict interviews, that they didn't trust this witness or that they believe that witness because of personal characteristics of the witness that they either thought ill of or thought well of. That is the real world.

[8] At a trial, at the end of the presentation of evidence, each side gets to argue what the trier of fact should infer from the evidence. So a prosecutor might argue that a trier of fact should infer certain things about your character, your reckless disregard for safety and disposition for violence from the evidence that you modified the gun you used to remove a safety device that the manufacturer saw fit to incorporate.

[9] So Suzy Soccermom now asks herself, as she sits on your jury deciding whether to believe your story about what happened when you shot that nice gang member, why your gun wasn't lethal enough as it came from the manufacturer to satisfy your perverted blood lust. Remember, Suzi Soccermom and her friends are going to be deciding if the shoot was good....
And as I wrote in post #63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown post #63
A lot of folks, including Suzi Soccermom and at least some of the folks on your jury, with no knowledge of or interest in guns, have a deep seated fear of them. ...Such people will tend to have a strongly negative emotional response to someone who has disabled a safety device on a gun. ... If you are on trial for a shooting in which you are claiming self defense, you'd rather not have members of your jury harboring such thoughts about you.

You have been charged with a criminal act of violence on another human being. ...you will at least have to put forward evidence establishing a prima facie case of justification according to the standard applicable to the use of lethal force in self defense in your jurisdiction.

The prosecution will seek to discredit, ...your claim of justification. Facts, like your having disabled a safety device on you gun, that might incline your neutral, but unsophisticated about gun matters, jury to think you might be a reckless, trigger happy gun nut obsessed with making your gun the most efficient instrument of violence possible will help the prosecutor in those efforts.....
And as I wrote in post #76
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown post #76
...[Poseidon28] outlined some very valid reason why amongst folks knowledgeable about guns or willing to learn removing a magazine disconnect should not matter. BUT in a trial, you would be trying to make your pitch to folks unsophisticated in the ways of weapon craft. Many will intuitively react with horror at the very thought of someone actually, voluntarily turning off a safety device on a lethal weapon.

You are claiming self defense, so you have admitted committing an act of extreme violence on another human being. This is something that most people, probably including most of your jurors, naturally find repugnant. You stand before your jury bearing the mark of Cain. So while the words of the prosecutor, ""This man was so reckless in his wanton disregard for human life that he USED A WEAPON WITH A DEACTIVATED SAFETY DEVICE!" ... "HE, HIMSELF, DELIBERATELY DEACTIVATED THE SAFETY DEVICE ON A LETHAL WEAPON!" ring in their ears, you would expect them to sit and absorb a little lecture about why it's not a big deal. The words "uphill fight" and "tough sell" immediately come to mind....
And of course one implication is that if you have such a cavalier attitude toward human life and safety, might you not have been a little overanxious to shoot when it really wasn't necessary to use lethal force.
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Old August 28, 2009, 05:05 PM   #96
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen
...If the shooter argues that the weapon fired accidentally ...
There are a number of reasons why this can be a very bad idea.

[1] It might not get you an acquittal. In various jurisdictions criminal liability can also attach to negligent homicide if the the degree of negligence is sufficiently in excess of ordinary negligence. So this might not get you off, but it could seriously undercut your plea of self defense; and if your were justified, that does get you off.

[2] You've probably sealed your fate in the subsequent civil suit. So you might as well get the checkbook out.
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Old August 28, 2009, 05:25 PM   #97
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Wow never realised a simple ? could turn into a law suit debate I personally think that even if i were to get in trouble for the changes i made rather be armed then not at all. I will deal with the aftershocks later. Personally rather be a armed citizen than an unarmed subject even if its a poorly constructed out of pipe a rubber band and some 16 penny nails!
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Old August 28, 2009, 05:48 PM   #98
Mas Ayoob
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Recoiljunkie44, help me understand something.

How is it that you have a choice of carrying a handgun with a safety device removed, or carrying nothing at all?

If you wait to deal with the aftershocks until they hit, the damage is already done and you're too late. Kind of like waiting until after an armed robbery or home invasion to think about arming yourself. In both cases, isn't it better to be prepared beforehand?
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Old August 28, 2009, 06:04 PM   #99
PigPen
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen
...If the shooter argues that the weapon fired accidentally ...
There are a number of reasons why this can be a very bad idea.

[1] It might not get you an acquittal. In various jurisdictions criminal liability can also attach to negligent homicide if the the degree of negligence is sufficiently in excess of ordinary negligence. So this might not get you off, but it could seriously undercut your plea of self defense; and if your were justified, that does get you off.

[2] You've probably sealed your fate in the subsequent civil suit. So you might as well get the checkbook out.
I agree. That's why I said in essence, "If you are not practiced enough to keep your finger off the trigger until you have a justified use of lethal force, do Not remove the saftey" Personally, I agree with Tamara, I carry a series 70 -Pigpen-
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Old August 28, 2009, 06:04 PM   #100
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It seems to me...

... that this would be yet another argument for why a defense attorney should hire a firearms expert defense witness, such as, for example, Mas Ayoob.

The defense witness could point out that removing a disconnector safety from a BHP is a fairly common practice, to improve trigger pull and feel.

The defense witness could point out that the majority of semi-automatic pistols on the market do NOT come with disconnector safeties, and so the modification to the BHP would have brought it into line with the majority of pistols in the US market.

The defense witness could point out that the only scenario in which a disconnector safety would come into play as a safety would be with a magazine removed, which is NOT how the defendant was carrying the weapon.

The defense witness could point out that while some people claim the intent of the disconnector safety is so that one can drop the magazine if overpowered, to disable the gun, that's a bit of a reach; the magazine can be retrieved in short order. The real point of the disconnector safety was to prevent accidents during disassembly and cleaning, neither of which are factors in a defensive shooting.

Mas Ayoob does make a good point, though, that the OP can avoid the problem entirely by selecting a different weapon as primary CCW/HD.

I'm interested in this discussion not due to the BHP (I like them, but don't have one), but because I'm considering removing the Infernal Lock from my .44 Mountain Gun. Internal locks haven't failed all that often, but when they have, the majority seem to have failed in lighter weight, higher recoil revolvers. Since I use this revolver as a hiking defensive weapon vs bears, etc, I load it with BB Keith loads, and am therefore really leaning toward lock removal, just in case.

If I do perform that mod, then I'm in the same boat as the BHP owner with a removed disconnector safety.
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