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Old March 24, 2015, 08:28 AM   #26
Skans
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Hopefully you don't really believe that and are trying to be funny. A jury will determine your guilt or innocence. Eyewitness testimony frequently trumps physical evidence.

Actually, a jury probably will not decide the case, especially if the physical evidence indicates that a homeowner was simply defending himself. The investigating officer will first decide whether or not there is any "case" to proceed. Then the state's prosecutor will decide what to do with the case. And, before it gets to a jury, it's possible that the judge could dismiss the charges.

The facts of the Bryon Smith case might not be the same as someone who kills an intruder with a silenced handgun. But, the imagery of a silencer mounted on the end of a handgun will tend to imply "execution" to non-gun jurors - if the case got that far. I suppose your defense attorney could argue that it was to protect your hearing - if I were a non-gun juror, that would sound like a load of lawyer crap to me. Because (as a non-gun juror) 100% of my experience, based on the 274 movies and tv shows I've witnessed where the BG uses a silenced handgun to conduct mafia-style executions, I'm pretty much an expert on WHY someone would ever use such a device.

I hope those of you reading this realize that I like and have NFA things; support the right to own NFA stuff and even think there shouldn't be any such law like the "NFA". I'm just sharing my own reluctance in using a silenced handgun for home defense.

I don't know if/how a silencer would come into play in castle doctrine states.

Last edited by Skans; March 24, 2015 at 08:34 AM.
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Old March 24, 2015, 08:38 AM   #27
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@ Willie, there was a case in Florida where gun-store owner Harry Beckwith used a machine gun to effectively repel several armed burglars. I don't think charges were ever brought against him. You may be familiar with this.
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Old March 24, 2015, 05:50 PM   #28
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@ Skans

That would be what people now call the Beckwith incident. He used a Smith & Wesson M76 submachinegun (and an AR-15 and a shotgun) to repel a gang that was trying to rob his gun store.

I don't think he faced any charges but his situation was pretty exceptional. He did kill one person but that was with an AR-15 not his machinegun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayoob
Beckwith told me later, "I could have killed all five of them, at the end, when they were running away and exposed to me. But I was no longer in danger from them, so chose not to shoot them."
Of course there is the Gary Fadden incident. Gary used a AC556 to defend himself and things didn't work out very well for him. Then again it wasn't a home defense shooting either.
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Old March 24, 2015, 06:52 PM   #29
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The Fadden case hinged largely on the fact that one of his round struck the biker across the back as he spun, prompting the claim that Fadden shot the man in the back.
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Old March 25, 2015, 09:05 PM   #30
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Old March 25, 2015, 09:16 PM   #31
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I refuse to use a machine gun for home defense. In the chaos of a self defense situation, you may end up emptying the magazine, and the thought of running out of ammo scares me. There is no way am I going to club that intruder/home invader with my Mp5 and scratch the finish on my all original German gun.
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Old March 25, 2015, 09:53 PM   #32
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I have a SBR PS90 that is one of my go to "nightstand" guns. I feel better with it than most other weapons and it's tough to argue with 50 rounds per mag.

Would that constitute a NFA gun, and does that seem like a bad idea in the nearly inconceivable chance it would be used?
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Old March 26, 2015, 05:41 AM   #33
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the ONLY thing I agree with is that a full-auto could look really bad, unless you have several attackers, like a gang of black-belt ninjas. but either way, where is your motive, intent, deliberation/premeditation, malice for shooting and armed intruder no mater what kind of gun you happen to have "laying around".
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Old March 26, 2015, 07:23 AM   #34
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I refuse to use a machine gun for home defense. In the chaos of a self defense situation, you may end up emptying the magazine, and the thought of running out of ammo scares me. There is no way am I going to club that intruder/home invader with my Mp5 and scratch the finish on my all original German gun.
The AC556 has a built-in tri-burst setting. With a 30-round magazine, this would still equal the equivalent of at least 10 separate trigger pulls. IF machine guns were as common as 9mm handguns, and IF machine guns were not regulated any differently than ordinary rifles, and IF machine guns were worth what they should be worth, I might make my go-to home defense gun my 13" AC556. It really would make a good choice for home defense.

Quote:
the ONLY thing I agree with is that a full-auto could look really bad, unless you have several attackers, like a gang of black-belt ninjas.
From a non-gun person's perspective, I don't think full-auto looks any better or worse than a silenced handgun.
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Old March 26, 2015, 08:24 AM   #35
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Judging from my non-gun friend's reactions when I told them that Ohio has legalized hunting with silencers... I bet a HD shooting with a silenced gun would get a very negative response.

Let's face it, every idiot out there in television land has been taught that silencers make guns sound like bunny farts and are only used by assassins.


However with the great rise in popularity of suppressors, I have a feeling we will have our test case sooner than later. I hope it goes well.
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Old March 26, 2015, 09:35 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by vandyatc
I have a SBR PS90... ...Would that constitute a NFA gun
SBR are controlled by the National Firearms Act so, yes.
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Old March 26, 2015, 01:38 PM   #37
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What if you take the SBR and beat the intruder over the head with the SBR? Have you technically used an NFA weapon in self defense?

These questions should be keeping you up at night.
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Old March 26, 2015, 03:20 PM   #38
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...bunny farts and only used by assassins....
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Old March 26, 2015, 03:22 PM   #39
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These questions should be keeping you up at night.
They do. But most likely not for the reason you think.
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Old March 26, 2015, 04:33 PM   #40
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No offense but I think you step outside your expertise when you discuss how easy it will be for your attorney to deflect possible problems with the jury's perception of the firearm.

We have discussed this intensively and there is very strong evidence from multiple sources in the jury decision literature and real cases that suggests you are overly optimistic.
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Old March 26, 2015, 04:41 PM   #41
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I've heard that argument yet I have yet to see anyone produce a reference to a case where someone was convicted because of their use of a scary gun. Sure, there are outliers like the Fadden case (where it was claimed that he shot the guy in the back) and the Fish case (where there were multiple complicating factors) but I have yet to see someone point to a case where the defendant's actions were justified and he was convicted for a reasonable defense shooting just because he used a scary gun, even if we count self defense shootings outside the home. I know it's still outside my lane but it seems ever more unlikely that we could find such a case for a person defending their own home.
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Old March 26, 2015, 05:59 PM   #42
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I have to agree with Wiggins on this one...

But then again, I have a personal policy not to discuss law, religion, or politics, so I will withdraw from this discussion and will make no further comment.
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Old March 27, 2015, 12:41 AM   #43
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The Fadden case hinged largely on the fact that one of his round struck the biker across the back as he spun, prompting the claim that Fadden shot the man in the back.
One could easily make the case that this is an excellent argument against using a full-auto weapon for self-defense. Fadden triggered a 6 shot burst and it was the last shot of the burst that ended up looking questionable. Had he been shooting a semi-auto, or even had his gun been set to 3 round burst, the questionable shot almost certainly wouldn't have even been fired.

As the case so aptly demonstrates, we may be called upon to justify each bullet that leaves the muzzle--even if it's the last bullet out of a full-auto burst.
Quote:
Willie, there was a case in Florida where gun-store owner Harry Beckwith used a machine gun to effectively repel several armed burglars.
From what I've been able to determine, a major factor in the case was that the circumstances of the shooting made it clear that Beckwith could have easily killed all of the gang that attacked him but he very obviously was quite judicious in his application of force, shooting only one of them. The fatal shot was, by the way, fired with a semi-auto rifle, not the submachinegun he brought to the fight. He only transitioned to the subgun after running the rifle dry.

In addition, Beckwith was retirement age at the time of the incident, which probably didn't hurt his image any either with law enforcement or in court. He did have to go before a grand jury.
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Old March 27, 2015, 11:07 AM   #44
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The OP has inadequately researched the issue of what influences juries and does not understand the models of jury decision. It is not whether someone is convicted only on firearms type issues or just on an NFA issue.

Since this has been discussed intensively and in one of our stickies, regarding ammo, I suggest that that one does not buy into a simplistic analysis of 'find me a case'. To even say that indicates a lack of appropriate research into legal and jury processes. I am not replaying this endless discussion by folks who won't step up to the research needed to understand the issue.

That's blunt but it's your tush on trial. Of course, the OP will resist this and some readers will too. No skin off my back.
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Old March 27, 2015, 11:09 AM   #45
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So you can't find a case that supports that argument. Gotcha.
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Old March 27, 2015, 12:33 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin
I've heard that argument yet I have yet to see anyone produce a reference to a case where someone was convicted because of their use of a scary gun....
More of the usual drivel. As you, yourself, wrote in the article you linked to in the OP:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Betts (Andrew Wiggin)
The problem with opinions is that people who really don’t have any clue what they’re talking about are happy to offer one. They’ll just repeat any old garbage that they’ve heard on a subject, no matter how ridiculous and unfounded....
You are not as far as we know a lawyer. You do not, as far as we know, have any good reason to know from first hand experience how litigation works, how things are done in court, and how jurors think. For example, how many post verdict interviews of jurors by counsel have you participated in? Are you familiar with the research on jury behavior, such as this article, "Will it Hurt me in Court", by our own Glenn E. Meyer and published in the professional journal, The Jury Expert?

As far as looking for cases, the threshold question is always whether any the relevant factor (e. g.,modified gun, "scary gun", handloaded ammunition, etc,) was even present in past cases. How often have certain guns (or handloaded ammunition) been used in an incident in which self defense was claimed and which went to trial?

Historical research is helpful only if there's sufficient historical data. If the question is something like, "Is a private citizen who shoots someone and claims self defense more likely to be charged if he used a "scary" gun?", or "Is a private citizen who shoots someone and claims self defense more likely to be convicted at trial if he used a "scary" gun?", the availability of useful data depends on (1) a large enough sample of private citizens having shot someone in claimed self defense; and (2) a large enough subset of those private citizens having used a "scary" gun. I suggest that the vast majority of people who keep guns for self defense aren't enthusiasts and use pretty ordinary guns. Indeed, even many of the members here, who are enthusiasts, use pretty ordinary guns for self defense.

Just because there is insufficient historical data doesn't mean that professionals can't draw reasoned conclusions about how likely a particular result might be under certain circumstance. Indeed, it often happens in the practice of law that a particular issue of interest has not previously been addressed by an appellate court, and one must make a reasoned judgment without the guidance of on point precedent.

Things that go on in trials don't routinely hit the legal publications. In general, only decisions of an appellate court get published. So it would be very unlikely to see a case in which an issue with a lightened trigger showed up in published reports of appellate courts. There are very few cases of self defense in which a gun is actually fired; and only a few of those involved a modified gun; and only a few of those wind up in trial; and only a portion of those go up on appeal.

However, we have reasons to believe that things like ammunition or type of gun used can have an effect on the way members of a jury will view matters and therefore on whether, or how, they can be convinced. For example:
  • From post verdict interviews of some of the jurors who convicted Harold Fish in Arizona, we know that the ammunition Fish used played a part in the jury verdict. (Fish did win his appeal, a new trial ordered, and the DA chose instead to dismiss the charges.)

  • Jury simulation studies as describe in this article suggest that the type of gun used can also affect the perceptions of a jury. (The author, Dr. Glenn Meyer, is a moderator here.)

  • I have personal knowledge, based on my participation in post verdict interviews of jurors, of how various things can affect how a juror views and evaluates evidence.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out repeatedly in his books Fooled by Randomness, the Hidden Role of Chance (Random House, 2004) and The Black Swan, the Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, 2007), "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Taleb, a securities trader and professor at the University of Massachusetts, provides some interesting and useful insights into strategies for dealing with rare events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin
So you can't find a case that supports that argument....
So how frequently have NFA weapons/devices been used in acts of violence against other persons in circumstances later decided through our legal processes to have been justified self defense?
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Old March 27, 2015, 01:10 PM   #47
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As I said before, looking for a case as a deciding argument is prime evidence of not understanding the issue:

I suggest a starting primer into the large literature of jury decision making:

Jury Decision Making: The State of the Science (Psychology and Crime)
Devine.

Then there are many professional journals accessible from google scholar or professional data bases.

PS - the TJE article was one of its top downloads in the year it came out, so some attorney types seem to have paid attention to it.
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Old March 27, 2015, 01:10 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin
I've heard that argument yet I have yet to see anyone produce a reference to a case where someone was convicted because of their use of a scary gun.
There was a similar issue presented when Mas Ayoob regularly posted here. That version of the issue was whether an excessively light pistol trigger would be used as a basis for a prosecutor to treat a justified shooting as an unjustified one.

It is certainly true that you will find no case in which a defendant was convicted because his pistol had a very light trigger or because he used a suppressor. Neither a light trigger nor a suppressor are elements of homicide. Similarly, you will find no cases in which a police officer gave someone a speeding ticket because he was driving a red car. The color of the car is not itself an element of a speeding infraction.

Yet, we know from experience that some characteristics can draw attention and change perceptions. People who advise against very light triggers or suppressors in a home defense weapon or against getting your sports car in red are sounding a caution about how those traits can influence perceptions, not about the elements of the crimes contemplated.

Last edited by zukiphile; March 27, 2015 at 01:44 PM.
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Old March 27, 2015, 01:49 PM   #49
Andrew Wiggin
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Quote:
So how frequently have NFA weapons/devices been used in acts of violence against other persons in circumstances later decided through our legal processes to have been justified self defense?

That's okay, you could just cite a case where ANY scary gun resulted in a conviction.



Quote:
As I said before, looking for a case as a deciding argument is prime evidence of not understanding the issue:

The argument is that using a scary gun could land a person in jail. This argument cannot be true unless it has happened. Could a scary gun influence a jury in a complicated case? Absolutely. If you hesitate to call police or make a statement without an attorney or tamper with evidence or make any number of other mistakes, you could find yourself in a situation where every little thing matters, including the scariness of your gun.


Two hard facts remain:

STILL no one has been able to point to a case where a person acted legally in home defense but was nevertheless convicted because of their gun.

and


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Old March 27, 2015, 02:34 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin
That's okay, you could just cite a case where ANY scary gun resulted in a conviction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin
STILL no one has been able to point to a case where a person acted legally in home defense but was nevertheless convicted because of their gun.
In your rush to be defensive, it looks like you haven't fully read -- or at least haven't fully understood -- the three posts above yours. Read them again, especially Frank Ettin's post.
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