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Old March 3, 2010, 11:26 AM   #1
Sriracha
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When an unarmed burglar goes for your gun....

Hi everyone,

Sorry if this topic has been covered before, but I couldn't find it with the search function.

Scenario: You find an unarmed burglar in your house. You point your weapon and order him to leave. He charges you, possibly trying to take your weapon. What would you do? Assume that the burglar is not big enough to be a lethal threat by himself, but is strong enough to possibly disarm you.

Thanks for your advice,
Sriracha

(Please do not advise me that I should simply shoot the burglar upon discovering him. Even if I could get away with it legally, I simply would not do it.)
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Old March 3, 2010, 11:43 AM   #2
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Golden rule of firearms my friend. Don't point it at someone if you aren't willing to shoot them. Arming yourself will only put you in worse danger, i suggest you not even use it.
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Old March 3, 2010, 11:46 AM   #3
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Your "conditions" are a little contradictory...he's "not big enough to be a lethal threat by himself" but is "strong enough to disarm you."

First of all, how "big" does one have to be to be a deadly threat? Second, if he's strong enough to disarm you (which any average adult male is) do you not consider that a deadly threat?

Why do you completely rule out the possibility of shooting him immediately upon discovery? Would your feelings about this change if he obviously was armed?
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Old March 3, 2010, 11:49 AM   #4
rikerz
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How are you for certain he ISNT armed? BG in my home is shot. period . My family comes first and the BG comes last, sorry for his luck.
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Old March 3, 2010, 11:50 AM   #5
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I would call ADT and find out why my alarm system has failed.

First rule of protection. A "layered" system of doors, locks, superior glass and a rudimentary alarm is the best advice.

Having anyone get inside the wire virtually assures you of losing. Best case, you get knocked over. Besides serious injury, the worst case is that your wife no longer feels safe in her own home and demands you sell your home at a loss in this bear market so she can sleep.
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Old March 3, 2010, 11:56 AM   #6
Mike Faires
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Why would you confront anyone with a firearm that you were not prepared to shoot?
OK your scenario, you confront a BG in your home and point a firarm at said BG. Did he assure you on a stack of bibles that he was not armed? If he is not armed what did he use to break in to your home? A slap bar, a rock, a club , a baseball bat? Any of these are a weapon under these conditions.
Or did he say he was lost and took a wrong turn on the way to Mid Night Basketball?
Are you kidding me? In my house, I confront if he claims to be unarmed he gets ,one chance period to kneel down, cross his ankles, lace his fingers together behind his head while waiiting for the LEO to arrive. Any movement from that point forward is grounds for removal from the gene pool.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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I agree with Tourist, a layered system is the best. When it comes down to shooting someone, that really should be because you've expended all your other resources.

But in the case of the OP, if someone who breaks into your house doesn't turn and run at the first sign of you bringing your gun to bear, then you shoot. To me, that is the logical thing to do, because you do not want to get into a hand-to-hand, and you do not know if he is, in fact, unarmed.
Your locality will determine whether you end up in court after the fact.

All that said, if you know someone is in the house, get the family to a safe place, call the police, and wait.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:01 PM   #8
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Please do not advise me that I should simply shoot the burglar

I simply would not do it.
Just what would be the purpose of your weapon in this scenario ?

If finding a BG in your home that has chosen to advance towards you, to possibly (or likely) overcome and disarm you is not enough to cause you to use that weapon, you'd be far better off not to have it in your possession in the first place.

Granted, firing at a fellow human being is not to be taken lightly. It will change your life forever, and may even cause you emotional and/or financial ruin in many states, but consider what may evolve if your weapon is in the BG's hand instead of yours.

Shoot him if he disregards your instuctions and advances towards you is my advice, my friend.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:07 PM   #9
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Yo are better served with a can of pepper spray.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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He charges you
My CWP Instructor made sure we knew that anything, even bare fists or feet, could be considered a deadly weapon. He said, "If someone comes at you with their fists, you must assume they're Joe Fraizer."

Back in high school, I watched my math teacher, who was about 35, weighed about 145, and stood all of 5'8", bodily throw a 200 pound bully out the classroom door bare-handed. Literally picked him up by the collar and belt and slung him out the door. The teacher was a Paris Island Drill Sergeant in the Reserves.

Size does not determine threat.

The "charge" is an attack, he's in my home. Gun aimed COM. "STOP OR I WILL SHOOT YOU!" Anything except instant, complete compliance - BANG!
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:12 PM   #11
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Let's see. Hmm. So while you are holding him at gunpoint, the burglar goes for your gun. Sounds like poor survival instincts to me. He is attacking you. You pull the trigger, repeat as necessary.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:23 PM   #12
pax
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Quote:
Scenario: You find an unarmed burglar in your house. You point your weapon and order him to leave. He charges you, possibly trying to take your weapon. What would you do? Assume that the burglar is not big enough to be a lethal threat by himself, but is strong enough to possibly disarm you.
If the gun were lying on a table in front of him, and he went for it, you would be justified in shooting. That would be an obvious deadly threat, as he was reaching for a weapon and apparently intended to use it. Yes?

By the same reasoning, if an intruder charges you and grabs for your gun, you know one important thing: you know that the intruder believes he can get that gun and use it on you. That's why he's charging you. Regardless of what you might believe about his armed status or his ability to defeat you, you know that he thinks he can do it -- and because you are not a mind-reader, you also know that he may very well be in possession of facts not immediately obvious to you.

Do you choose to believe what he believes, and act accordingly?

I think that would be fairly defensible in a court of law. Of course, IANAL and TINLA. I'm just a practical person thinking about practical things. On a practical level, I think it's important to first survive the encounter.

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Old March 3, 2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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KLRANGL, as in the case of most "scenarios," the deck is usually stacked. In other words, a condition is outlined offering a limited number of pre-conceived outcomes. It has been my experience that the OP is actually looking for "permission."

Well, there's no burglar in his house now, unless the guy is a whiz as a typist. There is ample time to take a serious look at his security profile, and then look deeply into his wife's eyes--decide how hot flying lead makes her life better.

As for financing a layered system, it might mean doing without a bigger TV or a shinier Harley. It may mean placing the real needs of the safety and security of your family above that new 1911 and alligator skin holster.

Perhaps a quick call to ADT (they offer free consulting) might end the entire need for this debate. It would be no fun, but it would end.
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:09 PM   #14
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OK, somebody tell me what IANAL and TINLA mean.
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:16 PM   #15
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OK, somebody tell me what IANAL and TINLA mean.
"I am not a lawyer" and "this is not legal advice."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IANAL
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:19 PM   #16
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Look it up. Lazy. I Am Not A Lawyer and This Is Not Legal Advice. Most lawyers that post in the net use these terms regularly as to leave no way to understant or interpret that a post constitutes legal advice.
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
(Please do not advise me that I should simply shoot the burglar upon discovering him. Even if I could get away with it legally, I simply would not do it.)
You only have two options, give him the gun and beg for mercy satisfied in your mind that you have just given this gentleman the tools he needs to defend himself from his victims. Or run screaming from the room to protect yourself and your gun and let him have your property and family. If him charging you does not constitute an attack then you have no intention of defending yourself and you don't need a gun.
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:34 PM   #18
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If I'm on duty and an unarmed suspect goes for my gun, the assumption is that if he gets he'll use it on me or someone else, lethal force is justified to keep him from getting it. No difference in this scenario - try to take my gun, I'll kill you to keep you from it.
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Old March 3, 2010, 01:43 PM   #19
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I confront if he claims to be unarmed he gets ,one chance period to kneel down, cross his ankles, lace his fingers together behind his head while waiiting for the LEO to arrive.
At that point, should the perp elect to comply, the resident would have effected a citizen's arrest and subjected himself to immense civil liability.

He would also be a sitting duck should the perp's accomplice decide to ambush him. There's also the little matter of what might happen should a law enforcement officer who had been pursuing someone from another scene at which violent criminal action had just occurred should enter the house and see the resident with gun in hand. Remember the incident in Boulder?

Of course, should the perp elect to leave, the resident may not employ deadly force to enforce his command.

Quote:
Any movement from that point forward is grounds for removal from the gene pool.
Such "removal" would undoubtedly constitute grounds for a murder charge unless the perp had been attacking the resident. The forensic evidence would probably make it stick--lay opinion.

Castle doctrine laws provide a defense for a resident or in some cases, for the occupant of an automobile, who employs deadly force against an intruder by establishing a presumption that the intrusion in itself provides reasonable belief that imminent danger (to the actor and to anyone else in the house) exists. Contrary to the widely repeated assertions of the Brady Bunch, they were not intended to legalize murder, nor do they bestow upon the actor the roles of criminal investigator, jury, judge, or executioner.

No, I'm not going to risk holding anyone at gunpoint in my house.

Back to the original question: I think pax nailed it. If the perp tries to disarm the resident, what would a reasonable person expect his purpose to be?

Note: It is necessary to know the laws in one's jurisdiction. In some states, the resident is expected to retreat from the house.
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Old March 3, 2010, 02:03 PM   #20
BillCA
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Quote:
Scenario: You find an unarmed burglar in your house. You point your weapon and order him to leave. He charges you, possibly trying to take your weapon. What would you do? Assume that the burglar is not big enough to be a lethal threat by himself, but is strong enough to possibly disarm you.
Okay, the key element are:
- Burglar
- inside my home
- At gunpoint for my protection
- Ordered to leave
- The burglar charges at me.

Note that size or his status as armed or unarmed are not key elements here. In many states, there may be a duty to retreat. Know your state laws clearly - read them yourself. Most say to retreat if you can do so safely. When being charged or confronting an intruder by surprise, this is not possible.

In your scenario the response would be squeeze trigger, and move. Rinse, Repeat as often as needed. Once the intruder goes down and complies with instructions (or is no longer a threat┬╣) I stop making holes in him.

Once he has attempted an attack, I won't risk letting him go (get out of my house!), unless he is right next to a door. My concern is that he may try to turn the tables again, perhaps by running up the stairs/down the hall seeking a hostage.

By breaking in to my home, the person has committed a felony in California. So I am confronting a felon who, while at gunpoint decides to charge into the gun and myself. Clearly, this is not a rational person. A rational person would either (a)surrender and wait for police or (b)flee potential harm and capture.

So now, he's an irrational felon in my home trying to get to my firearm. Since he's acting irrationally, if he gets the upper hand, I cannot count on his charity, mercy or even a kind word. He's irrational and may do anything from just shooting me to putting my head on a stick.

┬╣ No longer a threat means he is unconcious, unable to move, injured but following instructions or becomes very responsive to orders.
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Last edited by BillCA; March 3, 2010 at 11:37 PM.
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Old March 3, 2010, 02:08 PM   #21
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He becomes Un-armed and Un-Alive.
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Old March 3, 2010, 02:14 PM   #22
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If someone has broken in your house, does their mere precense is to be considered a threat to you and your family, thus warranting the use of deadly force or do we have to engage in a meaningful dialogue as to the intruders intentions.

In the event someone detains an intruder (legal or ilegal) does his lack of compliance (if you move you die) constitute a risk to the homeowner that warrants the use of deadly force?

IANAL & TINLA, but I did stay in a Hollyday Express last night!
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Old March 3, 2010, 02:27 PM   #23
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If someone has broken in your house, does their mere precense is to be considered a threat to you and your family, thus warranting the use of deadly force or do we have to engage in a meaningful dialogue as to the intruders intentions.
Depends entirely on statutes and case law in the jurisdiction at hand...not as they relate to "dialogue", but as to whether the break-in provides a presumption of a threat of imminent danger, and whether you must retreat before using deadly force.

Quote:
In the event someone detains an intruder (legal or ilegal) does his lack of compliance (if you move you die) constitute a risk to the homeowner that warrants the use of deadly force?
If he attacks, maybe, unless where you live you must first retreat. You may not use deadly force to prevent his departure, except in a couple of states (New York, I think, is among them) and under very rare circumstances.

Best not to say "you die"--ever.
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Old March 3, 2010, 03:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Scenario: You find an unarmed burglar in your house.
There is realistically no such thing. as someone else pointed out, he had to use something to gain entry.

Quote:
You point your weapon and order him to leave.
If I point my firearm at him, I intend to fire. Also, if I have the drop on him, I am not giving up my tactical advantage by saying anything. If I do decide to order him to leave, he better beat feet away from me.

Quote:
Assume that the burglar is not big enough to be a lethal threat by himself, but is strong enough to possibly disarm you.
Making that kind of "assumption" will likely get you killed.

Quote:
(Please do not advise me that I should simply shoot the burglar upon discovering him. Even if I could get away with it legally, I simply would not do it.)
Then if you own firearms, keep them locked in a vault, and leave them to me in your will.
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Old March 3, 2010, 03:11 PM   #25
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If this guy was in my house, he made one mistake, if he then charged me he made his last.
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