Florida legislators OK opening fire on criminals.

Just when I think the politicians down in Florida can’t get anymore insane than they already are they prove me wrong by passing legislation that allows people to open fire whenever they see a threat.

MIAMI (AFP) – Florida’s legislature has approved a bill that would give residents the right to open fire against anyone they perceive as a threat in public, instead of having to try to avoid a conflict as under prevailing law.

Outraged opponents say the law will encourage Floridians to open fire first and ask questions later, fostering a sort of statewide Wild West shootout mentality. Supporters argue that criminals will think twice if they believe they are likely to be promptly shot when they assault someone.

Republican Governor Jeb Bush, who has said he plans to sign the bill, says it is “a good, commonsense, anti-crime issue.”

Current state law allows residents to “shoot to kill if their property, such as their home or car, is invaded by an unknown assailant.”

But it also states that if a resident is confronted or threatened in a public place, he or she must first try to avoid the confrontation or flee before taking any violent step in self defense against an assailant.

I haven’t seen the full text of the law yet so it’s hard to say just what the legal definition of a “threat” is, but given the fact that I tend to intimidate people with my shaved head and Amish biker beard I think I’ll have to make up some t-shirts for my next visit to Florida that say “Please don’t shoot me. I’m not a terrorist. I’m just a tourist and I mean you no harm.”

Not surprisingly the bill was backed by the NRA and passed easily in both Republican controlled houses. I guess those jokes about how the Florida heat will affect your brain are true after all.

Thanks to JPV for emailing me the news item.

52 thoughts on “Florida legislators OK opening fire on criminals.

  1. I think it would be funny if a person who was aggressively evangelizing was shot.

    “He was following me and talking in a loud voice. I felt threatened, and now it’s my right to shoot when I feel so.”

  2. Les’ t-shirt:

    *TERRORIST*
    *TOURIST*

    I dunno, Les… they’re pretty similar.  You could be shot by a dyslexic redneck.

    Actually I’m about 51% in favor of both concealed-carry and self-defense laws, provided they are coupled with some training and screening.  You can’t drive a car without a license, and there are some minimal standards for that.

    Criminals are well aware they usually have nothing to fear from their victims.  They have no reason to be afraid of the cops or the courts, either.

    Shooting someone, under any circumstances, is one of those “you’d better be right” dealies.  Or, it should be.

  3. Mmmmmm…those yahoos on Stormfront insist that I am threatening just because I’m a minority.  So what happens if an innocent Black guy is walking down the street minding his own business and just happens to be behind a lady—can she shoot him for feeling threatend?  What if someone is in a store and they reach into their pocket for a wallet, but the clerk thinks they are reaching for a gun and kills the poor guy?  A similar case happened not to long ago in New York with an immigrant and the cops; the guy was reaching for his wallet, the cops mistook the movement, and now there’s a sad mother loud there somewhere.  There’s just so many ways that this law can go wrong.

  4. Guess James Randi had better keep his head down. Some might consider him a threat to the moronic majority…

    I think it would be funny if a person who was aggressively evangelizing was shot.

    So, Mormon missionaries are “in season” in Florida. Hmmm… there might be an advantage to this law.

  5. In my opinion, that Yahoo article is more than a little misleading, particularly the phrase “perceive as a threat

  6. Hi, Infidel, and welcome.  Great name. wink

    As for myself, I don’t want to demonize gun owners either, but on the other hand I can’t get on board with the NRA’s complete denial that widespread access to guns has any effect on crime rates.  If guns don’t kill people, but people kill people, then why did they bother with metal detectors at the Republican convention, for example?

    Yes, people kill people, but it takes a lot longer, with more personal risk as a deterrent, to do it with a rock.

  7. Truth be told I’m not out to have all guns banned as I largely don’t have a problem with their reasonable use and I admitted that I hadn’t seen the text of this new law. There’s plenty of hunters on both sides of my family and I was trained in how to shoot a rifle by my grandfather so I’m not opposed to gun ownership in and of itself.

    My reaction is largely due to the fact that we just watched a lot of people act very stupid down in Florida (and elsewhere) over this whole Terri Schiavo thing and tossing about terms such as “Judicial Homicide” and mailing death threats to Michael Schiavo. I suspect some of those folks would argue that Michael was clearly a perceived threat to the life of his “disabled” wife and might feel justified in putting this new law to the test had it been in place at the time that whole sideshow was in full swing.

    I guess I’m just opposed to stupid people owning guns than gun ownership in general.

  8. The way I see it, if people who vote for Jeb Bush want to shoot each other, well that’s fine with me.  I’m just going to stay away from Florida…and Texas…and Alabama…and well pretty much any state that isn’t California, New York, or in New England.  I still feel like people are in general reasonable in those places (this is not to say that everyone outside of those states are unreasonable, I just feel really sorry for those of you who still think that rationality is a virtue).

  9. Awww, Swinie, does this mean you won’t come visit us in Texas?  Come on, Austin is the liberal oasis in this here Red Sea … grin

  10. Though I can see the possibilty of isolated incidents of idiots taking this new law too far (which would in part be caused by this seriously irresponsible article), I also see a basic right to defend oneself. I’m a fairly small woman. If someone has me backed in a corner trying to kill me or cause me serious harm, I don’t want to take any chances that person can get back up and come at me again. I might be callous, but when it comes down to the innocent or the potential murderer, I cannot seem to find a problem with the murderer catching a bullet between the eyes.

    Incidentally, I prefer old fashioned weapons and despise the NRA.

  11. Justice writes: “.. I cannot seem to find a problem with the murderer catching a bullet between the eyes. Incidentally, I prefer old fashioned weapons and despise the NRA.”

    Actually, you seem to AGREE with the NRA – they support your right to put that bullet between the eyes of the murderer.

  12. Whoa, there, SteveR. I would suggest some care in throwing out statements like that before you begin to look like the Straw Man out of Wizard of Oz. The KKK supports my right to freedom of speech, but you might have seen me protesting one of their Indianapolis rally’s. I didn’t get a chance to catch the one they held here.

    I say again, and mean it whole-heartedly, I despise the NRA.

  13. SS, you might want to avoid Massachusetts as well.  We have right-to-carry concealed weapons here too.  All you need is a proper permit.  A friend of mine has a permit and all he had to do was get a signature from the local law enforcement. 

    I have little fear of people with legitimate weapons.  Most people I know have some kind of gun.  I have been to a range down in Florida and it was a public range with families in attendance.  The people I fear are those that have unregistered, illegal firearms without the proper training to use them.

  14. Errm, Socialist Swine, you might want to avoid all parts of California that are not the city as well.  Those are generally all Right Wing Card Carrying NRA Members.  The only reason California usually appears as the Liberal state on the polls, is because the population is much more dense in the cities.

  15. Justice writes: ” The KKK supports my right to freedom of speech, but you might have seen me protesting one of their Indianapolis rally’s. “

    No strawman – I would assume that you support the right to free speech regardless of the KKK’s position, but how do you feel about the right to own firearms?

  16. SteveR, What exactly is it that you are trying to get at? Just because I happen to agree with a couple of things the NRA supports, does not mean I “AGREE with the NRA” as you so generalized. I feel we should have the right to own weapons within reason, and that’s where I fall short of an NRA supporter. I am sure there are NRA members who go no further than I in my opinion, but the NRA generally supports arming people with weapons and ammunition that are completely unnecessary if not insane, such as machine guns and bullets capable of penetrating bullet-proof vests, and stockpiling as much as an individual can afford or acquire. Exactly whose side does that put them on? This is an organization motivated by money and politics and right-wing fanaticism hiding behind a mask of “keepers of the Second Amendment,” and led by a nut job old man who, with a different skin tone, would be on some terrorist watch list.

    You seem set on finding some contradiction in my own convictions, but the fact that I happen to agree with a couple of things the NRA also supports absolutely does not contravene my rather hostile opposition to their organization.

  17. GM,

    I’ve been to Austin, I really like it there.  So I shouldn’t say that I would avoid Texas at all cost.  Austin does seem to be a fine place.  As for Massachusetts I spent most of my early life there, so I feel pretty safe there too.  As for backcountry California.  It’s not gun ownership that I find troubling, most the people I know have guns as well, I just find it troubling that the gov’t of Florida is pretty much making vigilantism legal.  As for my refusal to go other places, that was more of the result of my frustration with all the attacks on education that seem to be coming from the red states.

  18. Justice:
    I think that I understand your comments re. “agreeing” with some points that the NRA makes, but it is always a little hard to tickle the dragon’s tail without getting burnt. I am a gun owner myself, but I really can’t think of a single issue that I agree with the NRA on because I think that they pervert all arguments that they make to support the gun manufacturers. They pander to the worst aspects of our society – just think back on Heston’s comments in Columbine. The thin veneer was pulled back from the NRA by their dottering, stupified leader to reveal what anyone with any sense already knew – they believe that guns are the answer to the innercity element that threatens their lily white lifestyles, i.e., those “bad elements.” “For God’s Sake, if we don’t have guns, whose gonna stop our little white girls from bein’ raped by those big black men?!” Enuff, I am ranting…

  19. Justice writes: ”  ..I feel we should have the right to own weapons within reason..”

    Please define what ‘reason’ is.

    Justice: “..but the NRA generally supports arming people with weapons and ammunition that are completely unnecessary if not insane, such as machine guns and bullets capable of penetrating bullet-proof vests..”

    Again, who gets to define ‘unnecessary and insane’? The last time I checked, the only private citizens allowed to own fully automatic weapons were people with Federal Firearms Licenses. You and I could not legally own a fully automatic weapon,nor, IMO , should we be able to. (This is where I personally draw the line) Just about ANY centerfire rifle bullet will easily penetrate a bullet-proof vest – therefore, a lot of hunters stand to lose their guns if you had your way. ( I don’t think they would want you to be the one defining ‘within reason’)

    Justice: “This is an organization motivated by money and politics..”

    What special interest group ISN’T motivated by money and politics?

    Justice: “You seem set on finding some contradiction…”

    Not really. It’s just that it’s very unusual to encounter someone who believes it’s their right to shoot ‘a murderer between the eyes’, as you put it, and who also despises the NRA. Proving once again, that variety is the spice of life.

  20. “Again, who gets to define ‘unnecessary and insane’?”

    I do – for myself. When I am making the policies that effect your rights, then you can take issue with my definitions of ‘unnecessary and insane’.

    “The last time I checked, . .”

    We aren’t talking about what is. We are talking about what the NRA would have and do fight for.

    “It’s just that it’s very unusual to encounter someone who believes it’s their right to shoot ‘a murderer between the eyes’, as you put it, and who also despises the NRA.”

    Believe I have the right? Are you kidding me? I’m guessing you have never had to literally fight for your life. Let me assure you, should you ever be put in a kill or be killed situation, you will not be pondering whether or not you have the “right” to be the one who survives.

    You find your encounter with me very unusual, but I find my encounter with you stunning. Your vision is so incredibly blurred on the line between my belief that I should have every right to defend myself to whatever extent necessary, from my refusal to back a group of moronic extremists who happen to also hold that ONE same opinion, and that is just… unbelievable.

    Are you a card carrying NRA member, by chance?

  21. Good intution SS.  Out here we like our swine served on a platter in 3 oz slices with a couple of eggs and some biscuits.  Best stay where they eat quiche. wink

  22. Here in Austria, as in Europe in general, it is much more difficult for private citizens to purchase firearms and ammunition than in America.  There is also much less violent crime here, and although there are many reasons for that, one reason is almost certainly that it’s harder for criminals (and plain wackos) to get guns.

    My uncle Bob, a card-carrying NRA member, thinks it’s ridiculous how easy it is to buy guns.  Then again, he voted Democratic for the first time in his life last election, so he’s obviously going soft.

    Justice- I agree.  I too feel I should have the right to defend myself in extremis, and I too despise the NRA, although I understand their courses on gun safety are good.

  23. Out here they just eat a lot of cows.  Us pigs are safe here despite the great number of guns.  Though it should be noted that our guns tend to only fire one shot at a time that tends to make them less efficient at doing away with me and my porcine friends.

  24. …our guns tend to only fire one shot at a time…

    SS, you obviously live in some technologically forsaken place, like Canada…

  25. Justice writes:“When I am making the policies that effect your rights..”

    Oh, but you are – everytime you vote.

    Justice: “You will not be pondering whether or not you have the right to be the one who survives..”

    I couldn’t agree more. Good for you. Actually, it’s very refreshing to hear you take personal responsibility to defend yourself/family against hostile entities. The fact that you despise the NRA , is by contrast, insignificant.

  26. Zilch, Thanks for speaking up. That was beginning to feel a bit surreal.

    SteveR,

    “Oh, but you are (making policies) – everytime you vote.”

    Nu-uh. Don’t point in my direction. I pushed the button so hard for THE OTHER GUY, I almost broke it. I’m not making any policies yet.

    “The fact that you despise the NRA , is by contrast, insignificant.”

    hmmm

  27. To continue my long standing tradition of completely ignoring the main topic and jumping on some little point from a previous post, I’d like to respond to something from binxwalker’s post, ie:

    just think back on Heston’s comments in Columbine

    Are you referring to Heston’s actual remarks or the cheap, cynical manipulation of them done by Michael Moore in Bowling For Columbine? If you onject to what he really said, that’s fine, but if you’re objecting to what Mr. Moore showed you, please, go look over the article at http://www.hardylaw.net/Truth_About_Bowling.html and see just what Moore did to that speech. I’m not trying to defend Mr. Heston so much as I’m attacking Mr. Moore. I despise the way he manipulates reality and has the nerve to place the documentary label on his films.

    Anyway, enough ranting, back to your regular program…..

  28. I believe the original topic of this thread was the Florida law.  For those that are curious about what the law actually says, instead of what partisan pundits say it says, here you go:

    Section 1. Section 776.013, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
    776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
    (1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
    (a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
    (b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

    Hmmmm…….somebody breaks into a victim’s house and the victim, rather than the criminal, geta a presumption in their favor.  Pretty radical stuff to create what is in essence a victim’s rights law.

  29. On the one hand, I have little sympathy for somebody caught breaking and entering. On the other hand, I’m unclear why this law is needed in the first place; what gaps in the right to self-defense need to be filled?

    I can’t help wonder how such a law plays out in practice. Wouldn’t it be prudent for a burglar to be prepared to shoot first, thus lowering the bar on either side?

    Anybody with a bit of imagination can find a number of gaps in the quoted law.

    If one burglar encounters another, can he shoot on sight?

    Must the person using lethal defensive force be inside the home being entered? The law doesn’t exclude trigger-happy snipers.

    If you encounter an intruder, shoot him in the back and it turns out that he entered through an unlocked door, what are you in for?

    And so on…

  30. It is impossible to cover every contingency, hence the need for judges and lawyers.  There will always be the “law student hypothetical.”

    The presumption in favor of the victim of the home invasion is now the rule in nearly all cases.  Such a law is not indicative of the nuttiness of the South, but of some good ol’ fashion American common sense.

  31. It’s that second one – common sense in short supply.  There are lots of crazy examples of people being prosecuted for defending themselves against attackers – one in this area just recently.

  32. DOF is right.  The law often looks to see what type of threat you were presented with when you used deadly force.  On the face of it that seems to make sense.

    However, in some instances if someone breaks into your house and has a club, but not a gun, and you shoot him, there exists the very real possibility in many jurisdictions that you may be prosecuted.

    Florida is ensuring its citizens that this will be much harder to do, and that it won’t second guess a victim’s use of force, in most instances of a home invasion.

  33. On the face of it that seems to make sense.

    Just on the face of it?

    The impression I get is that this law sanctions the use of excessive and lethal force because prosecutors lack common sense, in which case there is a deeper problem and these laws are mostly calculated for their populistic appeal.

    In Florida and other states with similar legislation, what practical effect do these laws have?

    Are there fewer home invasions? If there is a correlation, can a causal relationship be established?

    In the case of a confrontation, are there more casualties on the side of occupants, the intruder, or both? If these laws endanger the occupants, than they are misguided and should be repealed and replaced with a prosecutorial clue-by-four.

    If an occupant uses force, are fewer of these cases prosecuted? As Consi admitted, these laws do not even spell out every conceivable scenario, so do they actually curb prosecutorial zeal?

    To be explicit and to repeat myself, I have no sympathy for intruders. However, excessive force shouldn’t be used even against criminals. In the case of a home invasion, the legal occupant should always have had the benefit of doubt and the freedom to react to a perceived rather than actual threat.

  34. The impression I get is that this law sanctions the use of excessive and lethal force because prosecutors lack common sense, in which case there is a deeper problem and these laws are mostly calculated for their populistic appeal.

    I cherish the American legal system.  It is a model for protection of rights that has few rivals in the world in which we live.  That said, there is no perfect system.

    What was happening is this:  Bob breaks into Tom’s house at 3:00 A.M..  Bob is loading up with goodies and is unarmed.  Tom comes down the steps and sees Bob.  Tom gets a gun, and confronts Bob.  During the confrontation, Tom thinks Bob is reaching for a gun, and shoots Bob.  Turns out Bob wasn’t reaching for a gun.  Now there are lots of questions.  Tom, who isn’t rich, is forced to hire Sharky, the very expensive lawyer.  Tom is faced with questions because the law required that a determination be made if a lesser force would have been more appropriate. 

    That system makes sense on its face.  If you are walking down the street and John punches you in the face, unless John’s hands are deadly weapons, you can’t just shoot John.  So on its face it makes sense.

    The difficulty that arises, is that circumstances are so much different at 3:00 in the morning, and your wife and daughters are faced with an unknown danger.  It is difficult to quantify what the danger is, and what force is appropriate in the confrontation that Tom faces.  Tom was not a vigilante.  Tom was a man faced with a very difficult situation, which if it occurred on the street at 2 in the afternoon, would likely result in a much different outcome. 

    The law is designed to stop the second guessing if Tom shoots Bob.  It would be easy to paint Tom as having used excessive force, especially in the light of day after everybody has had two cups of coffee and their daughters are safe at school.  That is the practical effect of the law.

  35. In your scenario, this is where things get tricky:

    Tom comes down the steps and sees Bob. Tom gets a gun

    If you rewrite the scenario to

    Tom gets a gun, comes down the steps and sees Bob

    you have a subtly, but significantly different backdrop. In my mind, at least…

    What you have answered is what these laws intend. What you have failed to address is if they live up to that promise and/or if they have other undesirable side effects.

  36. What you have failed to address is if they live up to that promise and/or if they have other undesirable side effects.

    The law was just passed.  I could only speculate on whether it will live up to its promise or have other undesirable side effects.  I’m not going to speculate on either of those issues. 

    I will say that there is an increased risk of the loss of life for those that engage in a home invasion.  Whether this actually occurs, time will tell.

  37. The law was just passed.

    I know, but you mentioned that this is just one more in a string of similar laws. Are you saying states far and wide enact such legislation, but nobody has empirical data yet?

    My concern is that I see an increased risk of loss of life for the victims of home invasions. If this is not borne out in practice, fine.

    I still have the impression that either victims have to be protected from overzealous prosecutors or these laws are a political ploy of the be tough on crime variety.

  38. elwed said: you have a subtly, but significantly different backdrop. In my mind, at least…

    In the hypo situation, Tom confronted Bob first, so I don’t think going back for a gun makes that big of a difference.  Now, if Tom went BACK for a gun, THEN came out shooting, maybe… 

    When I hear noises, I don’t normally grab a gun first. 

    I think one should keep pepper-mace for “uninvited visitors”.  Non-lethal, so your kids should survive if you’re the type that likes to shoot first and look later.  Lock the guns – if you’re not cognizant enough to unlock and load a weapon, you’re not in a frame of mind to use it.  Just my personal philosophy.

  39. I know, but you mentioned that this is just one more in a string of similar laws.

    I have not mentioned this.  My remarks have been confined to the piece of Florida legislation that is the topic of this thread.

    Are you saying states far and wide enact such legislation, but nobody has empirical data yet?

    No.  As far as I’m aware, Florida is the first state to enact such a law.

    I still have the impression that either victims have to be protected from overzealous prosecutors or these laws are a political ploy of the be tough on crime variety.

    I can’t take issue with the cynicism that underlies your impression. Given my optimistic nature, I choose to see the law as a benefit to my fellow man.

  40. The difference that I see is that in the first scenario, Tom had a number of choices. He could have fled, called the cops, hid or barricaded himself. Instead he actively sought a confrontation. In the second scenario, Tom is postured defensively rather than offensively. My personal take is that I would penalize Tom for making a poor choice in the first scenario, while I’d let him walk free in the second. Either way, tough luck, Bob.

    I’m curious, though, how Consi evaluates the difference between these scenarios. I certainly make no claim that my intuition matches the letter of the law…

    When I hear noises, I don’t normally grab a gun first.

    Why not? It might be too late by the time you change your mind.

    Call me a coward, but if an intruder risks entry into occupied premises, I’d rather run and file an insurance claim than play the cowboy.

  41. Consi,

    The presumption in favor of the victim of the home invasion is now the rule in nearly all cases.

    My mistake. I misread ‘cases’ as ‘states’.

  42. He could have fled, called the cops, hid or barricaded himself. Instead he actively sought a confrontation

    What if there are kids downstairs where the burgular is at?  Kinda hard to sympathize with a parent who holes up and leaves the kids on their own. 

    I think that if your home is invaded, you do have the right to go on the offensive and confront the intruder.  Dangerous, yes, any invasion of your home is dangerous, but being defensive does not preclude engaging an intruder.  I agree with you about giving the homeowner the benefit of the doubt, Elwed.  It seems you consider lethal force excessive in a life or death situation.  I’d probably consider just blasting an intruder on first sight excessive, but I do believe that if a person (that’s not committing a crime) believes that they are in life threatening danger, they should be able to use lethal force.

    Why not? It might be too late by the time you change your mind.

    I’m not one to shoot at shadows – I have a young daughter.  I was speaking about sounds in general – it could be my daughter making noise, wandering about the house at night.  If it were someone breaking in, or in the house, it would still depends on where they are at, did my daughter come out of her room (shotguns spread, they don’t discriminate), are they still in the process of getting in, are they standing 3 feet from where I’m sleeping, etc. 

    If you are worried enough to grab a gun getting out of bed, you should call 911 first, and get the cops on the way.

    I choose to see the law as a benefit to my fellow man.

    I try to look at the spirit of the law as a benefit, too.  I just worry about those who use the law for their own selfish/greedy means.

  43. I’m curious, though, how Consi evaluates the difference between these scenarios.

    My own personal preference is that the law not differentiate between the two situations, as you do. 

    Whether you would flee or not is a personal choice, and that is fine.  Shepharding family to safety rather than confronting the victimizers is a personal choice. 

    By the same token, one should not, under the law, be forced to retreat.  One should have the right to defend their family.  The Florida law is designed to eliminate the questions that could arise between the two situations. 

    In Florida, one no longer needs to skulk away from his own home in the dead of night to return only after the criminals have had time to finish their work in peace.

  44. He could have fled, called the cops, hid or barricaded himself

    No wonder criminals behave as if they have nothing to worry about.  It’s because they have nothing to worry about.

    I should have an increased level of sovereignty when my property line is crossed, and much higher levels of decision-making authority inside the walls of my own dwelling.  Don’t want to get shot?  Easy… DON’T BREAK INTO SOMEONE’S HOUSE.

    My home-defense weapon is an axe handle but I support the right to draw a line and defend it.  Yes, it will lead to family tragedies and that is something the gun owner will need to think about and take their own steps to prevent.

    Yes, fighting back is dangerous.  What kind of a world would we have if everyone always fought back against assault?  Some people would be killed under different circumstances but (for example,) the 9/11 hijackings would have been impossible.

    “Calling the police” is a joke.  They may be there in five minutes, or forty-five minutes.  Or they might not get there at all.

  45. What if…

    You are leaving the realm of the general scenario and move on to a specific situation. A prosecutor should cut a parent defending his or her children a lot of slack. None of us parents are rational when it comes to neutralizing threats to our kids.

    I think that if your home is invaded, you do have the right to go on the offensive and confront the intruder.

    Apparently this issue was in doubt in Florida. I would suggest to get qualified legal advice what your own rights actually are. I would guess that cops will tell you to avoid a confrontation at all cost, unless use of force is the only remaining option.

    It seems you consider lethal force excessive in a life or death situation.

    Huh? Quite the opposite, I consider it excessive unless it is a life-or-death situation. If you have a chance to run and don’t, then you are partially to blame for the outcome.

    While the military I served in didn’t saw action, I have once been in such a situation while on patrol in a remote ammo depot, ordered my partner to open fire upon suspicion, and would have done the same myself without any hesitation had a target presented itself. At least in this case, there was no legal ambiguity; the guard is explicitely authorized if not mandated to use lethal force to counter a perceived threat. Turned out that either nobody was there or they got away, so everybody went on living.

    If you are worried enough to grab a gun getting out of bed, you should call 911 first, and get the cops on the way.

    My point exactly. I dislike this law, because I’m afraid it will embolden occupants to take risks they shouldn’t, while at the same time the perpetrators may be more likely to use force first where before they might have run.

    I seem to recall a statistic that during a home invasion, you are more likely to be killed with your own gun than to fend off an intruder.

    In case this isn’t absolutely clear, my primary objection to this law is that I don’t quite understand why it’s needed in the first place.

  46. No wonder criminals behave as if they have nothing to worry about.  It’s because they have nothing to worry about.

    DOF, whatever.

    I don’t disagree with you in principle, but I don’t concur that a home invasion should be a carte blanche to use lethal force in each and every instance. This is my position, like it or not.

    I don’t feel like reiterating my position, either, so I’ll be out of this thread.

  47. I consider it excessive unless it is a life-or-death situation.

    My apologies, I misunderstood you.  I think dof and I had gotten the idea that you were advocating no confrontation whatever the case. 

    If I didn’t have my daughter to worry about, I’d just barricade in the bedroom with the shotgun and wait for the cops to arrive.  Our house layout is such that there’s no realistic way my wife or I could get to our daughter, much less get her back to our room, without an intruder noticing.  Like I said before, I prefer having non-lethal weapons with kids about. 

    I agree with you on home invasion not being carte blanche to kill, but I don’t think that a homeowner should feel they HAVE to capitulate or run out of their house just b/c they might get in trouble with the law. 

    Nitpicking:  We’re saying home invasion, but the scenario with Tom and Bob is not a home invasion, but a burglary.  Home invasion is the blitz when you open your door, usually by a group of criminals, sometimes masquarading as cops.  At least, that’s how I’m used to hearing it.

    What scares me, and I am a 2nd Amendment supporter, is those who buy a gun for home defense, and don’t shoot it or know how to handle a gun.  Or, sleep with it loaded under the pillow when they have kids in the house.  I don’t have a handgun b/c I’m more afraid of my daughter being accidentally killed with it than I am of someone breaking in.

  48. Well however you feel about opening fire on those reckless enough to scowl at you in public, you should go to Comedy Central and view John Stewart’s take on the Florida lawLOL

    (Unfortunately I couldn’t find a discreet link to that video so the link above is only to the videos page of Comedy Central.  But the feature, “Just Shoot Me” is up right now.)

    I’ll stipulate the incompetence of most people to defend themselves effectively, and this is partly the NRA’s fault.  By insisting on NO gun registration (you know, because the gub’mint might take ‘em all away just before they go commie) they’ve fostered an environment where people take gun safety and usage even less seriously than they do auto safety.  That needs to change.  No one should own a gun without some kind of license, which you couldn’t get without at least passing a safety test, and the guns should be registered and insured just like automobiles.  I do not see how that would violate the right to own one, only require responsible ownership.

    Uh-oh, hope the NRA doesn’t open fire on me – better get a gun!  wink  As if I could hit anything with it.

    Self-defense is very risky for those who attempt it, but it’s probably a good thing for society in general.  Committing violent crimes is too safe and easy for the criminal now.  Prison apparently isn’t much of a deterant, either, judging from the recidivism rate even assuming a crime is ever punished at all.

    Here’s a definition of home invasion I found: “Breaking into or entering a home, apartment, or hotel room for the purpose of committing a criminal act while the resident(s) is present.”  But it’s on an .edu website so who knows if it legally correct – and different states may define it differently anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.