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Old June 27, 2011, 08:36 AM   #85
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,851
Originally Posted by 308lover
Another thing: Prosecution likes to charge people defending themselves with multiple shots. However as we see, the danger doesn't end, it's best to shoot to kill. Excessive firing should not be prosecuted. The Jerome Ersland case comes to mind.
I think you are confusing different concepts here. Normally the law does not allow you to kill people or do things that a reasonable person would anticipate as causing death or serious injury in another person. The law makes an exception for this in certain circumstances. For example, if you face an immediate, unlawful threat of death or serious bodily injury, the law will allow you to use lethal force to protect yourself.

Even though we recognize that death may be the result of using such force, the purpose is not to kill the attacker; but to stop the threat. When the threat ends, you must stop firing, regardless of whether the attacker is alive or dead. Often, it will take more than one handgun round to physiologically force an attacker to stop; but every single round you fire must be justified under the law.

Jerome Ersland was not prosecuted or convicted for "excessive firing." He was prosecuted and convicted because his earlier shot had left his attacker unconscious and lying on the floor. The threat from that criminal was non-existent - yet Ersland reloaded his firearm and returned and fired five rounds at him as he lay on the ground, unconscious. It wasn't the number of shots that got him into trouble, it was continuing to fire after a reasonable person would not have perceived a threat existing.

So the key here isn't the number of shots you fire; but being able to justify a continuing threat at the time you fired each one of them.
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