Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

More Guns Means Less Crime

Shakrai (717556) writes | more than 4 years ago

User Journal 28

Op-ed by John Stossl:

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Op-ed by John Stossl:

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

Of course he's right about the mainstream media. It is exceedingly rare to find someone on one of the major networks with a positive view of civilian firearms ownership. The ABC news show 20/20 went so far as to rig a scenario to demonstrate that concealed carry won't save you -- they pitted a trained firearms instructor against untrained individuals whom had never handled a firearm before. They further rigged the test by telling the "attacker" in advance whom had the concealed weapon out of a room of a dozen or more people. In spite of this stacked deck one of the simulated concealed carriers managed to "wound" him before "dying". Naturally ABC dismissed this result by claiming that the wound would not have been sufficient to stop a shooting rampage. I suppose the staff of 20/20 are also experts in terminal ballistics and the psychology of pain.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone's at home.

This is a statistic that's often overlooked but I think it's very relevant. I would regard home invasions as one of the biggest violations of the person, short of rape, kidnapping or murder. Thankfully they are relatively rare in the United States. I suppose the prospect of dying over that big screen TV is an effective deterrent for most criminals. It's my understanding that in the UK the self-defense laws won't permit you to defend your home if it is broken into while you are present. Of course even if the law permitted you to do so it would rather difficult in a society that requires one to jump through bureaucratic hoops before being able to obtain a single shot rifle or shotgun.

I was somewhat surprised to see Canada included in that figure. I always thought they were a little bit more sensible than the Mother Country. I looked into obtaining a Canadian firearms license so I could legally transport my handgun through Canada when taking trips to Detroit (because really, who wants to go to Detroit unarmed?) and the process didn't seem particularly complicated or burdensome. Perhaps one of my Canadian friends could enlighten me as to Canadian laws regarding self-defense in the home? Are you allowed to defend your home against a home invasion?

cancel ×

28 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Jees I'm wierd.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32665110)

I would regard home invasions as one of the biggest violations of the person, short of rape, kidnapping or murder. Thankfully they are relatively rare in the United States.

Dork Side of the Moon [slashdot.org]
Alien Invader [slashdot.org]

Re:Jees I'm wierd.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32667816)

You are weird, but we already knew that my friend :)

BTW, I hadn't noticed that signature of yours until just now. I like it!

Re:Jees I'm wierd.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32670182)

It's new, just changed it this morning.

You almost got it right... (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32667430)

Who the hell would ever go to Detroit, armed or otherwise?

Slightly more seriously, you would do better following the southern side of NY and go through Ohio. The border is such a crap shoot at this point, you'll save time in the long run compared to taking Canada. I think actual drive time it is about an hour shorter to go through Canada, but you can spend anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours at the border depending on state of Schrodinger's cat. And really, the drive through the southern edge of NY is actually kinda pretty.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32667758)

I have a consulting client out in Detroit. They relocated their business there several years ago and kept me on as their IT consultant. I guess that says something really good about me or really bad about IT consultants in Detroit -- not sure which ;) I wind up going out there a few times a year. Thankfully MI is one of the handful of states that recognizes a New York State pistol license, which is a good thing because they refuse to accept "non-resident" permits (i.e: my Utah CCL) and don't issue their own.

I guess I've been luckier than you with the border crossing. I've never had them do anything more than look at my passport and ask me where I'm going. I've probably been across the border over a dozen times in the last few years too.

My client did ask me not to take that route, as they were worried about customs poking around their equipment. Kind of hard to argue with the guy that's writing you the checks. Besides, they pay me for mileage and I like to drive, so it's no skin off my back to take the longer route.

Concur with you regarding the drive across Southern NY. I've done it numerous times. NY-17/I-86 is a great route too because there's next to no traffic for most of it. NYS really is a beautiful place if you don't have the pay the taxes or deal with the politicians from downstate.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32667928)

My client did ask me not to take that route, as they were worried about customs poking around their equipment.

My father learned that the hard way. Nothing like getting to a presentation and discovering that during shipping, customs had taken a crowbar to your one and only prototype power-supply (apparently they were too stupid to use a screwdriver on the screws that they pried the sheet metal from). Of course, his destination was in the other country so he had no choice of getting around it.

The arc burns around the capacitors at least gave us comfort knowing that the machine fought back in self defense ;)

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32668150)

My client was more worried about the policy of CBP to troll through your hard drive than any possible breakage of equipment. Hard to blame him for that when they are filled with proprietary information.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32669324)

And $DIETY forbid if it's not Windows ...

Are you allowed to defend your home against a home invasion?

Home, business, etc. This was pretty much hashed out a decade ago when a convenience store owner shot a robber in the back after the robber was out of the store and running away. No charges were laid because there was no likelihood of getting a conviction.

So yes, it's a bit more reasonable than the US, where someone can break in, trip on your kid's toy, then sue you.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32669538)

I would actually vote for a conviction in such a scenario if I was on his jury and I'm a gun-toting American. I don't see any reason to take a life after the immediate danger has passed. If he had shot the SOB while he was being robbed it would be a different story of course....

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32671864)

The defense would have been "but he might have gotten away and come back later on, so the risk is ongoing ..." - perfectly reasonable. Plus he's running around with a gun that he's already used to commit a crime with, so he's a danger to others even if he is finished robbing the store, so the immediate danger isn't really passed.

The prosecutor said he knew there was no way to get 12 jurors to convict. Even if the judge had said they had to convict, Canadian jurors know about jury nullification, and are prepared to use it.

We have a right to say that someone running around pointing a gun in someone else's face loses the protection of the law. It's not that we're blood-thirsty, but that we take the use of guns in crime seriously. Use a gun, get shot.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673574)

Fair enough when you put it that way. I would not find him guilty.

I still don't think that I would personally make the choice to shoot the robber in the back as he was leaving my store though. Maybe if he murdered one of my customers or employees. Not over a robbery though.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672888)

Also the thing to do is to precede any violent action with a statement that you are effecting a citizen's arrest. Their unwillingness to comply with the arrest means that you are then authorized to use sufficient force to ensure compliance. If they are carrying any type of weapon, then this would typically mean you can legally use lethal force as your life is potentially in danger.

That particular piece of advice I heard on a radio talk show on the subject of defending yourself with violence. A lawyer called in and offered that gem, stating that you are likely to be charged with assault if you injure someone in the act of defending yourself but you are offered quite a bit of leeway when attempting to arrest someone. Thus, every self-defence situation is not actually self-defence... it's a citizen's arrest.

Naturally, check with your lawyer before putting that advice into practice!

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673250)

The lawyer was full of sh*t (not surprisingly - I beat up on lawyers in court all the time). A citizen's arrest does not give you the right, or itself, to use force, since you are still ONLY a citizen, not a peace officer (and yes, I've actually done a citizens arrest that stood up when the police arrived).

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673572)

In my state you can use force to effect a citizens arrest. Deadly force is only permissible if you personally witness them murder/rape or rob someone, but you can physically restrain them until the police arrive for most other crimes.

Of course, $diety help you if you are wrong.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32676624)

Exactly - you have only the same rights as an ordinary citizen. Saying you're doing a citizen's arrest doesn't give you a magic shield, contrary to what the lawyer claimed.

If you get it wrong, you're guilty of unlawful confinement (think "kidnapping"). You better have witnesses and a good reason. For example, a dozen people catching someone in the act.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32674414)

Well, I'd love to see some case law on this particular section of the criminal code [justice.gc.ca] . Particularly, 25(1)(a) seems to indicate that a private person, "if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose."

See also sections 25(10)(b), 34(1-2), and 40 which lay out additional conditions under which one may use a reasonable amount of force, even to the point of causing death or grievous bodily harm if one has a reasonable belief that failing to do so would cause your own death or grievous bodily harm.

So yeah, you can't blow someone away for stealing the donation box from Tim Horton's... but there are many cases in which that could be justified if you believe your life is in danger if you fail to blow them away and you have no reasonable lesser force alternatives.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32676836)

The lousy part is that section 34 only protects you if you're actually assaulted - a threat - even a credible one - to kill you is not justification.

Section 17 specifically removes the defense of acting under duress for many crimes:

Compulsion by threats

17. A person who commits an offence under compulsion by threats of immediate death or bodily harm from a person who is present when the offence is committed is excused for committing the offence if the person believes that the threats will be carried out and if the person is not a party to a conspiracy or association whereby the person is subject to compulsion, but this section does not apply where the offence that is committed is high treason or treason, murder, piracy, attempted murder, sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm, aggravated sexual assault, forcible abduction, hostage taking, robbery, assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, unlawfully causing bodily harm, arson or an offence under sections 280 to 283 (abduction and detention of young persons).

So if someone is pointing a gun at you and tells you to rob a bank or torch a car, you have no defense.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32679886)

The lousy part is that section 34 only protects you if you're actually assaulted - a threat - even a credible one - to kill you is not justification.

Wrong. "36. Provocation includes, for the purposes of sections 34 and 35, provocation by blows, words or gestures."

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681102)

Section 17 is clear - threats are not provocation. Section 34 says you can not cause "grievous bodily harm" when repelling those threats - so if someone's holding a gun to your head, you can't, for example, shoot them and claim it was justified.

justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.

... so your only "real" legal option in most cases is to try to flee, since the only way to stop a determined killer is with some serious bodily harm.

The courts will look at sections 34ff only after looking at section 17. Why? Because section 34 is general - section 17 lays out specific exceptions where duress (including threats or physical violence) is simply not an excuse.

Is this unfair? Yes. but it's the law. It's also why you should go for a jury trial and hope for jury nullification in such cases. A judge will say "I have no choice - this is the law" whereas a jury can make a finding of fact that what you did was justified, in spite of the text of the law.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681706)

Section 17 is clear - threats are not provocation. Section 34 says you can not cause "grievous bodily harm" when repelling those threats - so if someone's holding a gun to your head, you can't, for example, shoot them and claim it was justified.

That's a pretty piss poor law then. Someone holding a gun to your head has the ability to end your life. It's absurd to require you to wait until they squeeze the trigger before you can defend yourself. My state uses the following language:

A person may, subject to the provisions of subdivision two, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person

It goes on to say that you can only use "deadly physical force" in response to the use or imminent use of the same.

When I took my concealed carry class we were taught the "ability, opportunity, jeopardy" standard. Simply put, you can't use deadly force unless someone has the ability to kill or cripple you (or an innocent third party), the opportunity to do the same (a knife can kill you but isn't much of a threat at 100 yards) and has conducted themselves in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that they are in jeopardy. If all three of those elements are present then the use of deadly force will be justified in most (all?) American jurisdictions.

That standard doesn't dwell too much on the weaponry involved. A physically handicapped person could reasonably make the claim that a non-handicapped person has the ability to kill them with their hands. A 100 pound female facing a 300 pound male could make the same claim.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683146)

The situation you describe is covered by 34(2)(b):

34. (1) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.

Extent of justification

(2) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted and who causes death or grievous bodily harm in repelling the assault is justified if
(a) he causes it under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence with which the assault was originally made or with which the assailant pursues his purposes; and
(b) he believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm.

The assumption has to be that if someone is holding a gun to your head, they intend to use it and that forms reasonable grounds to believe that you would suffer death or grievous bodily harm.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685022)

Unfortunately, it depends on the court - there are contradictory decisions
http://www.law.utoronto.ca/documents/conferences2/Constitutionalism09-Stewart.pdf [utoronto.ca]

If I think someone is going to kill me, then as far as I'm concerned, I'll do what I have to survive, and whatever the law says about it later is after-the-fact.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686056)

Unfortunately, it depends on the court - there are contradictory decisions

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/documents/conferences2/Constitutionalism09-Stewart.pdf [utoronto.ca]

Is there a particular page/section in that document you are referring to?

If I think someone is going to kill me, then as far as I'm concerned, I'll do what I have to survive, and whatever the law says about it later is after-the-fact.

Totally agree.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686378)

Sorry - I read the whole thing, but didn't bother noting which part it was in.

As another paper pointed out, the police (and the crown) tend to treat someone who defends themselves (or someone else) as a criminal. I interfered with someone getting assaulted, the assailant ran away, then called the police to claim that I had assaulted them and the police threatened to arrest ME, despite witnesses saying otherwise.

Their modus operandi sometimes seems to be "arrest everyone and let the courts sort it out." So you've really got to have your ducks in a row if you're going to avoid stupidity.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682928)

Section 17 deals with being compelled to use force against an unrelated third party. Section 34 deals with use of force against the person assaulting you. This seems pretty clear to me.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684296)

Section 17 deals with being compelled to use force against an unrelated third party

That's not what it says. It specifies crimes where duress is not a defense, no matter who is involved. It simply says that you cannot claim you had no choice in the matter because of threats of death or bodily harm.

Robbery is one example given. You can rob someone without the use of force against them - they might not even be aware they were robbed. When caught, the "I didn't have a choice - they would have shot me" is no excuse under section 17.

It's the same for many crimes - right up to and including murder.

It's counter what we would expect - after all, given a choice of both you and someone else being killed by a psychopath, or just their intended victim (who's going to die anyway), the math should be obvious, but the law says otherwise.

Re:You almost got it right... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686254)

Section 17 deals with being compelled to use force against an unrelated third party

That's not what it says. It specifies crimes where duress is not a defense, no matter who is involved. It simply says that you cannot claim you had no choice in the matter because of threats of death or bodily harm.

I realize that. My description was meant to contrast S.17 with S.34 rather than be an authoritative description of S.17. Very loosely stated, S.34 is concerning "someone is attacking me, will I be excused for attacking them back?" S.17 can be loosely stated as "someone is compelling me to commit an offence... will I be excused if I carry out the offence they are directing me to commit?" That said, my comment that it's an "unrelated third party" will not always be true -- it is possible that some psycho will threaten to kill you if you don't kill them, for example.

Robbery is one example given. You can rob someone without the use of force against them - they might not even be aware they were robbed. When caught, the "I didn't have a choice - they would have shot me" is no excuse under section 17.

Though if the conditions you describe have been met, one must consider whether or not it continues to meet the definition of robbery under S.343. A competent defense lawyer would argue that if you didn't use a weapon and there was no violence or threat of violence, then it's not strictly robbery. A competent prosecution lawyer would argue that the mere act itself is violent and your actions were threatening. However, if nobody is present it almost certainly is not robbery. Put another way, if you steal something in a forest and nobody was around to witness it, that's plain old theft your honour.

But enough of the minor details. We're in full agreement that responsibility for some crimes is not excused simply because you were coerced to commit them.

One thing (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32675996)

You *CAN* defend yourself in the UK, however, what you can't do legally is shoot someone dead who is *fleeing*.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?