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Old November 20, 2011, 03:20 AM   #26
BillCA
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Quote:
On edit: Is there a difference in self defense laws regarding what type of weapon one uses? I haven't heard of one.
Presumptions:
a. That Class III weapons are legal in the state.
b. The weapon used was properly registered and up to date.
c. The shooting itself, without regard to the weapon used, is justifiable.

Then there should be no difference what weapon was used. If you're talking a good self-defense shooting, based on the circumstances then the type of weapon used is moot. Most laws permit the use of "deadly force" or "lethal force", whether you applied it by hand, a 2x4, shovel, shotgun, or a 30mm Gatling gun.

Where you might get into trouble is if it appears you excessively shot someone who might otherwise survived. Such as an intruder who doesn't drop his gun when told, but raises it -- and you let off a magazine of 5.56mm into him just as he raises his hands over his head. He may have survived a single gunshot wound, but not 10, 15 or 20.
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Old November 20, 2011, 03:44 AM   #27
youngunz4life
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it really does come down to the legalities of it all

if grandpa used his legal 1970's auto to mow down multiple home invaders in his kitchen he would be cleared after it was determined it was a home invasion and self defense. I don't care if he took out 3-4 felons with a tommy gun.

just my opinion and a thumbs up to the OP's thread starter.
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Old November 20, 2011, 03:47 AM   #28
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also

lots of good points by BillCA
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Old November 20, 2011, 09:23 AM   #29
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Quote:
I believe "Mete" may be referring to the Gary Fadden incident. The article below provides a good account of the legal ramifications that Fadden faced in the wake of his lawful use of an automatic rifle in self defence.
Anytime the prosecution and the judge are unscrupulous, the law abiding defendent is going to be in trouble regardless of the weaponry use. It can and has happened with everything from Saturday Night Specials to hunting rifles, .22 lr to military and buffalo cartridges. The problem with the Fadden incident wasn't that the weapon was full auto, but that both the prosecution and the judge were highly biased apriori.

As a side note, Fadden and his significant other would likely be dead now if not for the use of the best only only firearm he had at his immediate disposal.
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Old November 20, 2011, 09:53 AM   #30
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Even if a shooting were adjudged to be legal and justified, there is still the issue of potential civil liability to contend with. It's not hard to imagine how a plaintiff attorney might seek to exploit the use of an automatic weapon to suggest any number of things to your detriment.
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Old November 20, 2011, 12:23 PM   #31
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Fully automatics have very limited situations when they would be a superior choice for self defense. For me the point is the current level of restriction is unconstitutional.... I will never win the lottery but on the odd ball chance I ever do I would love to spend it fighting these over reaching power grabs in court.
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Old November 20, 2011, 02:26 PM   #32
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BillCA: That's pretty much my take as well.

I'd go further and say that any question of the legality of the weapon would be a separate charge. One could have a legal case of self defense and an illegal weapon.
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Old November 20, 2011, 08:31 PM   #33
BillCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmssss
Even if a shooting were adjudged to be legal and justified, there is still the issue of potential civil liability to contend with. It's not hard to imagine how a plaintiff attorney might seek to exploit the use of an automatic weapon to suggest any number of things to your detriment.
Certainly in any civil action the plaintiff's attorney will seize upon anything he can to claim negligence or malfeasance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzcook
I'd go further and say that any question of the legality of the weapon would be a separate charge. One could have a legal case of self defense and an illegal weapon.
In fact, that's come up before here locally. When an ex-felon was visiting a friend's apartment, his friend intervened in a "domestic dispute" in the parking lot. The neighbor's estranged husband pulled a knife and slashed his pregnant wife, then fought with the felon's friend. The friend's wife pressed a .38 into his hand and said "Stop him" which, he did with one shot to a kidney. Police charged "Felon in possession" and "ADW". Prosecutor dropped the ADW due to the self-defense issue, but insisted that he still violated "felon in possession". The man faced 10 years in prison. Fortunately, a judge ruled that when lethal force is justified in self-defense (or defense of another) and a reasonable man would have done the same, as long as the felon's possession was "for the immediate circumstance of defense" it was legal. The prosecutor then argued it was not for "the immediate" [need] because the felon retained possession -- while stripping off his shirt to stop the woman from bleeding from a cut artery. The court tossed it, saying the prosecution's assertion the felon should have "abandoned the gun" -- say to the pavement -- was irresponsible thinking (as any other person could have taken it in the confusion).

Likewise, we can believe that even if the gun wasn't properly registered, the shooting itself could be ruled justified, but a conviction obtained on having an illegal machine gun.

Using a machine gun in an urban or crowded area is fraught with the risk of collateral damage. No doubt in some jurisdiction, the shooting might be ok, but using a machine gun ruled a reckless act ("wanton disregard for the safety of others/public), especially if bullets injure or came close to injuring bystanders.
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Old November 22, 2011, 11:51 PM   #34
dianahsieh
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Drat! I missed most of these replies, because I didn't get the e-mail alerts that I was expecting. In the webcast, I ended up not talking much about the self-defense angle, because (like many here!) I don't think that law-abiding people should have to justify ownership of a weapon to the government, so long as that weapon can be owned and used safely. So long as a person isn't a threat to others, then his firearms aren't any business of the government (including for extra fees, registrations, and other permissions). I also talked about 3-round burst weapons versus true full-auto. Anyway, many thanks to everyone who replied! I really enjoyed reading the thread.

The video from my webcast where I answer this question is now available on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXg7poYsBTw

If you like it, please feel free to share it! If you have follow-up comments and/or criticism, I will be checking this thread, so feel free to post them here.

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http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com
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