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    Rise in deadly force laws worries Police Chiefs

    A campaign by gun rights advocates to make it easier to use deadly force in self-defense is rapidly winning support across the country, as state after state makes it legal for people who feel their lives are in danger to shoot down an attacker -- whether in a car-jacking or just on the street.

    The law has spurred debate about whether it protects against lawlessness or spurs more crime. Supporters say it's an unambiguous answer to random violence, while critics - including police chiefs and prosecutors - warn that criminals are more likely to benefit than innocent victims.

    Ten states so far this year have passed a version of the law, after Florida was the first last year. It's already being considered in Arizona in the case of a deadly shooting on a hiking trail.

    Supporters have dubbed the new measures "stand your ground" laws, while critics offered nicknames like the "shoot first," "shoot the Avon lady" or "right to commit murder" laws.

    At its core, they broaden self-defense by removing the requirement in most states that a person who is attacked has a "duty to retreat" before turning to deadly force. Many of the laws specify that people can use deadly force if they believe they are in danger in any place they have a legal right to be - a parking lot, a street, a bar, a church. They also give immunity from criminal charges and civil liability.

    The campaign is simply about self-defense, said Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin Calvey, a Republican and author of the law in his state. "Law-abiding citizens aren't going to take it anymore," he said.

    "It's going to give the crooks second thoughts about carjackings and things like that. They're going to get a face full of lead," Calvey said. He introduced the bill at the request of the local National Rifle Association, and it passed with overwhelmingly support: The House agreed 83-4, the Senate 39-5.

    Democratic Gov. Brad Henry signed it and said: "This act will allow law-abiding Oklahomans to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property."

    Besides Oklahoma, the nine other states to sign on are Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota, according to the NRA.

    Critics say the NRA is overstating its success. Only six of those states expanded self-defense into public places, said Zach Ragbourn, a spokesman at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. There already is a presumption in law that a person does not have to retreat in their home or car, he said.

    And there have been a few high-profile defeats, too.

    In New Hampshire, the measure passed the legislature only narrowly and then was vetoed by Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who was joined by police and prosecutors.

    Police Chief Nathaniel H. Sawyer Jr. of New Hampton, N.H., said the legislation addressed a problem that does not exist. In 26 years in law enforcement, he has never seen anyone wrongfully charged with a crime for self-defense, he said.

    "I think it increases the chance for violence," said Sawyer, also the president of the New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs. "It increases the chance of innocent people being around the violence and becoming involved in it or hurt."

    The bill would have allowed a person "to use deadly force in response to non-deadly force, even in public places such as shopping malls, public streets, restaurants and churches," Lynch said when he vetoed the legislation. Existing law already gives citizens the right to protect themselves, he said.

    The NRA argues that victims wind up with an unfair burden if the law, as it does in New Hampshire, requires a duty to retreat, if possible. "That does crime victims little good when they have to make a split-second decision to protect their life from violent attack by a criminal," said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive director.

    "The only people that have anything to fear from this type of law is someone who plans on robbing, shooting or raping someone," LaPierre said.

    That argument sounds good and it's winning supporters, said Florida state Rep. Dan Gelber, a critic of the law when it passed in his state last year and a former federal prosecutor.

    But like Sawyer in New Hampshire, he does not see any instances now or in the past of a victim being prosecuted for failing to retreat. He sees the Florida law, and the national campaign, as an effort by the NRA to build support and keep its members riled up.

    "The NRA is a victim of its own successes. No political party in Florida today is going to advance any serious gun-control agenda," said Gelber, a Democrat. "What's left is these little things which have no impact on every day life, but inspire and activate the base."

    And, he argued, it gives defense attorneys a potential avenue to seek acquittal for crimes. In effect, criminals will benefit much more often than any innocent victim. "It's going to give the guy who's really looking for a fight, or does something totally irresponsible or venal, a defense he would not otherwise have."

    Last week in Arizona, the state appellate court delayed the start of jury deliberations in the trial of a retired school teacher charged with second-degree murder for shooting a man on a hiking trail in May 2004. The court is deciding whether the new law applies to his claim of self-defense.

  2. #2
    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    Will it apply to people who shot cops or other enforcement officers who are in the execution of their duty as they have been given a licence to kill anyone they believe is committing a crime against them.

    Will you care when you are either shot or have shot a person who pulled a gun on you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawEnforcementForums

    Critics say the NRA is overstating its success. Only six of those states expanded self-defense into public places, said Zach Ragbourn, a spokesman at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. There already is a presumption in law that a person does not have to retreat in their home or car, he said.
    That was my thought when I first read about that bill. No one has a duty to retreat in their own home. And there are a lot of court cases regarding search and such that expand that to a person's car.

    I'm grateful for the NRA protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, but like any one trick pony organization, they go overboard now and then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    Will it apply to people who shot cops or other enforcement officers who are in the execution of their duty as they have been given a licence to kill anyone they believe is committing a crime against them.

    Will you care when you are either shot or have shot a person who pulled a gun on you?
    Your kidding right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm357
    Your kidding right?
    No making a point you give civilians a licence through law to shot people they believe are commiting a crime against them how long before someone shoots a cop or other enforcement agent as the civilian believes they are being assaulted.
    Just sounds really dangerous to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    No making a point you give civilians a licence through law to shot people they believe are commiting a crime against them how long before someone shoots a cop or other enforcement agent as the civilian believes they are being assaulted.
    Just sounds really dangerous to me.
    Sux to be you then. We have had conealed carry laws here forever, and statisticly (sp?), permit holders are the most law abiding in the country. It is a good thing when "Castle Doctrine" laws are actually worded into law.

    You know what sounds dangerous to me? Living in a country where you can be prosecuted for self defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm357
    Sux to be you then. We have had conealed carry laws here forever, and statisticly (sp?), permit holders are the most law abiding in the country. It is a good thing when "Castle Doctrine" laws are actually worded into law.

    You know what sounds dangerous to me? Living in a country where you can be prosecuted for self defense.
    Civilians shooting people who look or possibly act like potential criminals isn't self defence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    Civilians shooting people who look or possibly act like potential criminals isn't self defence.
    Cite a case.

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    Dave, I think your mis reading the law. This law just protects someone who acts in self defense from civil suits and takes away the stupid duty to retreat rule. Thankfully, I have never lived anywhere that you have had an obligation to run when my life was in danger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm357
    Cite a case.
    As the article states they are new laws there are unlikely to be any cases indeed it states a case from 2004 is being held awaiting a ruling.

    This sums up my interpertation of what would be reasonable
    http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d030.htm

    I am not an expert on US law or any state in the US and give an opinion based on the article I can however cite cases where lifes have been taken for no reason other than revenge.

    To compare different legal systems I have used the following links
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-de...in_English_law
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-de...28Australia%29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-de...ited_States%29

    These are English but lets start with R Vs Martin a farmer who with a shotgun killed a burglar who was fleeing empty handed.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/martin/0,,214318,00.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/717511.stm

    R vs Noye a criminal who stabbed to death a Police surveillance officer who was in the grounds of his house.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Noye
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/crime/caseclosed/brinksmat.shtml
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/712160.stm

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    Ok, a couple of points and a couple of questions.

    such as if a person unarmed enters a house to commit a larceny, while there he does not threaten any one, nor does any act which manifests an intention to hurt any one, and there are a number of persons present who may easily secure him, no one will be justifiable to do him any injury
    So this means I can burgle your home and as long as I dont threaten anyone, you cant do anything to me?

    I followed R Vs Martin from the start and I cannot believe he was prosecuted much less jailed. Tis a damn shame you live in a country that gives criminals more rights than its citizens.

    On the case of Kenneth Noye, he was aquitted of murder. I dont know why you would use him a a souorce.

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    Noye killed a Police officer and used self defence as an excuss.

    Martin shot and killed the burglar in revenge for damaging his window and entering the property. The wounds were in the boys back.

    If you are burgling a dwelling you could be detained or arrested using resonable force there is a difference in my opinion between reasonable and lethal force. It's in the quote that he can be secured.
    Last edited by Standard Dave; 05-27-06 at 04:38 PM.

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    Noye killed a Police officer and used self defence as an excuss.
    Aparntly it worked. He was aquitted.

    Martin shot and killed the burglar in revenge for damaging his window and entering the property. The wounds were in he boys back.
    Martin shot two burglers. Boo friggen hoo.

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    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm357
    Aparntly it worked. He was aquitted.
    Thats my point he claimed self defence to kill a Police officer who by the accounts I have had wasn't about to kill Noye. Therefore the laws proposed in these states will allow criminals to kill Police, security and civilians and claim self defence everytime so they will carry guns to commit crime knowing that if you try to prevent it or intervein the law will protect them as much as it does you it will be a case of who can shoot fastest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    Will it apply to people who shot cops or other enforcement officers who are in the execution of their duty as they have been given a licence to kill anyone they believe is committing a crime against them.

    Will you care when you are either shot or have shot a person who pulled a gun on you?
    Dave,

    This would apply to those defending themselves against vioent crimes. This is not something to make it easier to shoot cops who are in the lawful performance of their duties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    Thats my point he claimed self defence to kill a Police officer who by the accounts I have had wasn't about to kill Noye. Therefore the laws proposed in these states will allow criminals to kill Police, security and civilians and claim self defence everytime so they will carry guns to commit crime knowing that if you try to prevent it or intervein the law will protect them as much as it does you it will be a case of who can shoot fastest.
    Self defense is about the only defense one has for killing an on duty police officer. It is often tried but only rarely works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSwitek
    Self defense is about the only defense one has for killing an on duty police officer. It is often tried but only rarely works.
    I only know of once. It was a narcotics raid, the first officer through the door was shot and killed. The guy was first convicted, but then it was thrown out after they learned the cop writing the search warrant used a fictious snitch. No dope was found in the house, btw although it was an Outsider M/C house.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    ........ they learned the cop writing the search warrant used a fictious snitch....
    Say it ain't so!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    No making a point you give civilians a licence through law to shot people they believe are commiting a crime against them how long before someone shoots a cop or other enforcement agent as the civilian believes they are being assaulted.
    Just sounds really dangerous to me.
    Someone may have already said this (I'll read all the responses later), but in many states in the U.S., cops have no more right to use deadly force than civilians.

    In fact, the victim of an physical assault involving reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury, usually has more legal power to stop the perpertrator than the entire Criminal Justice system put together, and always has - This is nothing new.

    In states like Texas, there is essentially no duty to retreat either, unless you believe it's safe to do so.

    They teach most of this stuff in CHL class, so it's not exactly news to us.

    And yes, in certain circumstances, civilians can legally use deadly force against cops (but only if a bad cop clearly steps outside his legal authority and becomes a criminal himself by committing an act that justifies a deadly force self-defense - but that is extremely rare. I've never heard of it happening, to be honest).
    Last edited by TXCharlie; 05-28-06 at 12:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    ....if a bad cop clearly steps outside his legal authority and becomes a criminal himself by committing an act that justifies a deadly force self-defense - but that is extremely rare. I've never heard of it happening, to be honest).
    I forget the name right now.... but the CHP officer that was taking people out into the desert and killing them..... they would have had the right to use deadly force on him.

 

 
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