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Old February 17, 2013, 02:05 PM   #11
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,700
Originally Posted by adamc
You defend your life
You defend your family
You defend your propery

You get arrested & prosecuted

That is just sad, that it has turned this way in America,
Where criminals have more say & rights than you
Actually, it's been that way for hundreds of years, although you don't necessarily get prosecuted. It all depends on exactly what happened and how it happened.
  1. Let's start with the basic legal reality that our society takes a dim view of the use of force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human. In every State the use of lethal force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human is, prima facie (on its face) a crime of one sort or another.

    1. However, for hundreds of years our law has recognized that there are some circumstances in which such an intentional act of violence against another human might be legally justified.

    2. Exactly what would be necessary to establish that violence against someone else was justified will depend on (1) the applicable law where the event takes place; and (2) exactly what happened and how it happened.

  2. If you have thus used violence against another person, your actions will be investigated as a crime, because on the surface that's what it is.

    1. Sometimes there will be sufficient evidence concerning what happened and how it happened readily apparent to the police for the police and/or prosecutor to quickly conclude that your actions were justified. If that's the case, you will be quickly exonerated of criminal responsibility, although in many States you might have to still deal with a civil suit.

    2. If the evidence is not clear, you may well be arrested and perhaps even charged with a criminal offense. If that happens you will need to affirmatively assert that you were defending yourself and put forth evidence that you at least prima facie satisfied the applicable standard justifying your act of violence. This is all discussed in greater detail here.

  3. Of course, if your use of force against another human took place in your home, as you postulate, your justification for your use of violence could be more readily apparent or easier to establish -- maybe.

    1. Again, it still depends on what happened and how it happened. For example, was the person you shot a strange, an acquaintance, a friend, a business associate or relative? Did the person you shot forcibly break into your home or was he invited? Was the contact tumultuous from the beginning, or did things begin peaceably and turn violent, how and why?

    2. In the case of a stranger forcibly breaking into your home, your justification for the use of lethal force would probably be obvious. The laws of most States provide some useful protections for someone attacked in his home, which protections make it easier and a more certain matter for your acts to be found justified.

    3. It could however be another matter to establish your justification if you have to use force against someone you invited into your home in a social context which later turns violent.

Good, general overviews of the topic can be found at and in this booklet by Marty Hayes at the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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