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Old 03-22-2012, 14:39   #1
jeremy_283
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Kill Someone To Save Another's Life?

This may be a an easy to answer/stupid question but can you legally take down a perpetrator threatening another's life in an altercation in a public place as long as you have the right to have a gun in that location?

*by altercation I mean like an event where there is a completely innocent victim involved

Last edited by jeremy_283; 03-22-2012 at 14:42..
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Old 03-22-2012, 14:52   #2
OctoberRust
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Depends on your state........

Me personally? If it was my family, I don't care what the law says, I'd rather be locked up for life, than to have to witness one of them being killed in front of me.

If it was a stranger, as bad as this sounds, they'll most likely be on their own, unless I felt my life was in immediate danger soon after.
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Old 03-22-2012, 14:55   #3
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Depends on local and state laws, but in most cases you would be in the clear.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:00   #4
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Me personally? If it was my family, I don't care what the law says, I'd rather be locked up for life, than to have to witness one of them being killed in front of me.

If it was a stranger, as bad as this sounds, they'll most likely be on their own, unless I felt my life was in immediate danger soon after.




Unless I was nearly 100% certain that I knew what the situation was I wouldn't use deadly force...

The potential victim would likely have to be a kid or something like that for me to use deadly force to protect them.

If it was two adults or something like that... I have no idea what is going on and I might very well shoot the wrong person.

Last edited by CarryTexas; 03-22-2012 at 15:01..
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:00   #5
ithaca_deerslayer
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I'm not a lawyer but it seems NYS says you can use lethal force to prevent murder, rape, and arson.

I bet all such cases would be well investigated after the fact to determine whether those things were actually happening, and whether lethal force was actually needed to prevent them.

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Old 03-22-2012, 15:02   #6
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Originally Posted by jeremy_283 View Post
This may be a an easy to answer/stupid question but can you legally take down a perpetrator threatening another's life in an altercation in a public place as long as you have the right to have a gun in that location?

*by altercation I mean like an event where there is a completely innocent victim involved
Most places allow the use of deadly force to protect a third party. However, you need to be careful getting into situations where you don't know all the facts. If you didn't witness the start of the altercation, it's possible that the guy with the gun may just be the "good guy" who is holding their attacker at gun point. Domestic disputes can also be messy and the "victim" often doesn't appreciate being rescued.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:03   #7
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Texas is cool with it as long as you can absolutely assert that the person is in imminent, life threatening danger. That being said, this an area where a very well intentioned person could get in trouble here if they don't know all the facts. I would like to say that I'd help anyone whose life was being threatened but if they weren't my family or someone close to me...well, I just don't know. Hopefully I'll never have to find out.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:03   #8
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Depends on local and state laws, but in most cases you would be in the clear.
Correct. It is more clearly stated in some states like Florida.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:04   #9
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I believe that in most places, the answer is yes. However, there is a lot more to think about that just the legality of the issue.

One example to consider is if you were to witness a domestic violence situation. You may have truly believed that the victim was in iminent danger, however the victim may end up accusing you of assaulting/murdering her husband/boyfriend. If there is a lack of corroborating witnesses who can attest to the fact that it was reasonable to believe that the victim was in iminent danger, you may end up spending the rest of your life in jail.

Another item of concern is who may possibly be in a jury pool if you are charged. If you live in a liberal hippie commune, it is likely the prevailing thought will be "I know he was stabbing the dude, but you didn't have to kill him." So you end up in jail anyways despite the majority of the country believing what you did was a "good shoot."

There are too many moving parts to this question to provide you with a definitive answer. When you start thinking about it, you suddenly understand why it is not recommended to go in guns-a-blazin, and why it may be more prudent to instead be a good witness. My suggestion is to study the self defense cases out there... Especially the ones where the good guy ends up going to jail.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy_283 View Post
This may be a an easy to answer/stupid question but can you legally take down a perpetrator threatening another's life in an altercation in a public place as long as you have the right to have a gun in that location?

*by altercation I mean like an event where there is a completely innocent victim involved
Depends...

It very much depends on the laws of the state you are in AND, possibly more importantly, exactly what you mean by "threatening another's life". For instance, you would not be justifed to shoot someone simply because they said "touch my cheesecake and you're dead" in a resturant.




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Old 03-22-2012, 15:15   #11
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Unless I KNOW exactly what is happening I would take cover and observe if possible so as to be a good witness.

This is based on a situation when I was young in which I stepped up for a young woman being beaten by a guy about my age and size. She was clearly abused by this punk with black eye, bruises, etc. and I SAW him hitting her. Didn't expect to have to watch my back as the only person standing behind me was the victim. Guess who jumped me for bothering her boyfriend?

Had to beat a hasty retreat.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:22   #12
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My guns are for me and mine. If a stranger becomes a victim, sad to say, but better them than me. If they don't want to take responsibility for their own safety by doing what I do, well, sucks to be them. I'm not responsible for John and Jane Doe and their family, they are. Ill kindly mind my own business,make a phone call, and try to be a good witness.

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Old 03-22-2012, 15:39   #13
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My guns are for me and mine. If a stranger becomes a victim, sad to say, but better them than me. If they don't want to take responsibility for their own safety by doing what I do, well, sucks to be them. I'm not responsible for John and Jane Doe and their family, they are. Ill kindly mind my own business,make a phone call, and try to be a good witness.
Some people don't get to make that choice. A lot of people can't carry based on where they work (universities, public schools, military installations, etc.). Heck, I go without my gun 5 days a week because it would be unlawful for me to carry my weapon where I work. I can't even leave it in my car.

I won't say that I will blanketly just sit back and watch a stranger die, however I will wait until the last damn second before I commit to drawing a weapon.
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Old 03-22-2012, 15:41   #14
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The answer often lies in whether the other person could have legally defended himself or herself. (Lawyers use a phrase like "standing in their shoes.") The problem in intervening is that you don't know all the facts leading up to the altercation, so you very often can't know with absolute certainty that you are taking the side of an innocent for whom a shooting could be ruled self defense. If you make a wrong presumption, you can be up a particularly famous creek with no means of propulsion.
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Old 03-22-2012, 16:48   #15
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An example Massad Ayoob uses is a grungy, dirty guy laying hands on a young woman screaming "RAPE!!!" at the top of her lungs. What to do?

What about if the guy is an undercover cop and the woman IS a prostitute? He says prostitutes very commonly scream rape so as to cloud the situation for a well-meaning passer-by. Tough call. I'd guess calling 911 and maybe staying (out of the way) to provide witness to the cops when they come if the situation is not resolved by then.

That truly is a tough call!
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Old 03-22-2012, 17:08   #16
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The standard in MN is "imminent threat of death or great bodily injury" I may speak up and be ready in the rape situation mentioned above but it would have to be absolutely clear in my mind what was going on before taking that shot.
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Old 03-22-2012, 17:33   #17
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Old 03-22-2012, 17:56   #18
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An example Massad Ayoob uses is a grungy, dirty guy laying hands on a young woman screaming "RAPE!!!" at the top of her lungs. What to do?
At most, you verbally challenge the man. If he is a police officer that will quickly come to light. If not, further action may possibly be required.
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Old 03-22-2012, 23:13   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy_283 View Post
This may be a an easy to answer/stupid question but can you legally take down a perpetrator threatening another's life in an altercation in a public place as long as you have the right to have a gun in that location?

*by altercation I mean like an event where there is a completely innocent victim involved
In florida at least, yes, you'd be ok. And it's worth saying that you should morally anywhere. I don;t know about you but that would be really hard on me if I knew that I could have saved a life, and didn't because of legality. Just be sure which one is the bad guy
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Old 03-23-2012, 00:15   #20
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The danger to the shooter here is from the victim.

Suppose you save a woman from a situation that looks like she faces certain death of you fail to act. It's likely you'll later find that she was the mans wife, that he beats her all the time and she does nothing about it, and now she is the one who will testify against you, and lie as she pleases to make it all even worse for you in court.
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