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"Stupid Things On Guns." = Legal Woes?

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by SR25MK4, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. SR25MK4


    Jan 2, 2013
    New York
    I have a serious question about what I consider, "Stupid Things On Guns."
    Does anyone know of a case where someone who used a firearm in defense ever ended up going to trial - or have actually been convicted - because of SKULLS, Reapers, certain Flags or 'Kill'em All...Let God Sort‘em Out' (etc.) displays on the weapon they used in said defense? I think some eager (Liberal) DA would LOVE to tell a jury how this shows a pre-existing disregard for human life or at least a general tendency towards violence … or even a specific - ‘HATE’ - towards various groups or races etc.
    What say you?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  2. Sensai


    Dec 18, 2012
    I say in that situation, the Prosecutor is not your friend. He will use every bit of anything he can find and twist to use against the defendant. Anything on your computer,stickers on your car,type of ammo, gun,anything you have said to friends, family,in short,ANYTHING, and can make even the most innocent little thing look very ,very bad.His goal is not to help the defense bring out the truth, but to put that guy in prison. Don't know anyone in that situation, but in talking to criminal defense attorneys in a classroom setting, this is what I am told.:dunno::crying:
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

  3. Don't know which part of Virginia you're in but in my part, our commonwealth's attorney makes no bones about the fact that he doesn't like BG's doing evil things to good people.

    Don't forget that in our state, we have an affirmative defense. If you are the victim and are charged with homicide, your attorney, if he is any good, is going to put you on the stand and ask you a few questions;

    HIM: "Did you shoot Mr. Jones?"
    YOU: "Yes I did."
    HIM: "And why did you shoot Mr. Jones?"
    YOU: "Because I was in apprehension of imminent serious bodily harm by Mr. Jones."
    HIM: "Under the same set of circumstances, would you shoot Mr. Jones again?"
    YOU: "Yes I would."

    You have effectively destroyed the prosecutor's case because you freely admitted that you shot Mr. Jones and would do so again under the same set of circumstances. Your actions were deliberate and not the result of negligence, bare fear, or accident. The prosecutor is going to have a very hard time trying to convince a jury that this was anything but an excusable homicide.

    As to the OP's question, oh please don't go there. That sort of thing creates a very negative opinion and response in the the public eye. That and the fact that it is very immature.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  4. xmanhockey7


    Dec 6, 2010
    Long video but a good one.
    [ame=""]Dont Talk to Police - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=""]Massad Ayoob (Aftermath Shooting) - YouTube[/ame]
  5. md2lgyk


    Mar 23, 2001
    Why would anybody put stickers on a firearm in the first place?? I've been a shooter for over 50 years and have never seen even one sticker.
  6. beatcop


    Aug 13, 2003
    New England
    -best bet, use plain language understood by will be cross examined on your knowledge of "apprehension of imminent serious bodily harm". Should you fail to articulate, you will be made to appear foolish, reckless, whatever else they can.

    What happened?
    Guy had a big knife pointed at me and came toward me...I told him to stop, but he tried to stab me.

    You should prob direct it to Mas in the GATE forums.
    My .02 is that anything appearing to indicate "death" is probably not going to help. In and of itself, it may not be a "big deal", but if the scenario isn't quite cut and dry, aka Travon, you will now have to address unecessary crap.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  7. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Rebel South

    HIM: when you say apprehension, are you saying anticipation of a threat? Apprehension can be defined as ( fear of a future dread). You anticipatied that there was "going" to be a threat? So there actually wasnt a threat "yet"? is that what you are saying?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  8. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    any half way descent defense attorney can dismiss any questions about a justified use of lethal force without having to put his client on the stand.

    even the most anti self defense prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the lethal force was not justified.

    before the case even goes before a jury a descent attorney can get the case tossed out during pre-trial. lethal force is either justified or it is not....the case will expose the elements.
  9. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

    Dec 16, 1999
    Is there any reason they (The Police) want to tell you about that gal "Miranda"? Something along lines of "ANYTHING you say, CAN and WILL be used against you"

    Lawyers get paid to mess up jury. If you can't use facts use emotion. (kinda like anti gunners)
    I recall reading that all these "smoke screens" CAN be contested in court. BUT the Jury will hear them.

    Next time you are called for Jury Duty don't get out of it. See how things go from jury point in court. (and how jury members are swayed by the most stupid crap)
    Why give any more "ammo"? I don't carry handloads, "super/destroyer/max death" ammo. Heavy modified guns. (safety removed, trigger to half lb, bump fire, sbr....)
  10. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Rather than try to answer, I'll ask some questions and you decide for yourself.

    If you shoot somebody, the case will usually be seen by a grand jury that will decide whether you are formally charged.

    The grand jury is made up of people like you, except they mostly know nothing about guns. What kind of impression do you think "gun accessory X" or "gun decoration Y" will have on people like that, when they decide whether to indict you (the point where things get expensive)?

    If the grand jury indicts you, your case can then proceed to a trial with a petit jury. The petit jury is made up of people like you, except they mostly know nothing about guns. What kind of impression do you think "gun accessory X" or "gun decoration Y" will have on people like that, when they decide whether to convict you and send you to prison for up to the rest of your life? Is it a good impression, or one that might not be worth the cool factor of Punisher Grip and a Glock bayonet?

    Knowing that your CCW gun's purpose is either to shoot somebody in self defense or to pull down your belt all day, pretty much shooting somebody in self defense is why you have it, right? When you add something to it, just ask yourself if that benefits you more than it hurts you, if you use the gun to shoot a person.

    Keep in mind, "I'm right and the law says so" isn't necessarily enough to save you. I can think of one Kentucky case, where a self defense shooter was, under undisputed facts, 100% justified as a matter of law. Both the trial court and the court of appeals disagreed, using reasoning that was ridiculous and self-contradictory on its face. he spent years in prison before the Supreme Court pointed out that the lower courts were very obviously wrong and what they said was plain silly (basically that a guy who stated he was about to perform all of the eleements of burglary, then attempted to do so, was not attempting a burglary). The scary part is, the supreme court did not have to take his case, it was entirely discretionary.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  11. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    This is very, very bad legal advice.

    The overall problem is that "yes it was intentional and I would do it again" only helps if the jury agrees that you were justified.

    Aside from that, trying to mimic the words of the statute will always make a bad impression.

    I will also point out that you don't have a clue about what a "good attorney" will do, or what will "destroy the prosecution's case", and since you are starting at the point of a jury trial, you've already lost more than you'd want to (all you have, for the average Joe) even if you win from there (which is statistically unlikely).
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  12. unit1069


    Oct 10, 2007
    So. Central US
    beatcop hit the nail on the head in post #6.

    Think of yourself in George Zimmerman's situation. Think of all the media concentration on every aspect of his life and in particularly every last detail of the fateful rainy night when he shot and killed Travon Martin.

    Now imagine what that same media would do with the fact that you had a skull and crossbones decal on the CCW weapon used to defend yourself.

    A person doesn't really need to search for actual cases; all one has to do is recognize that the vast bulk of the mainstream media is controlled by a political apparatus with a clear agenda.

    I always try to consider the worse case scenario and go from there.

    Edit to add: Remember that the mainstream media for days (if not weeks) deliberately propagated the falsehood that Zimmerman exhibited no visible head injuries from the altercation. When I wrote of considering the worse case scenario it bears remembering that going forward in today's political climate a defender is potentially putting him/herself into the hands of the media and will be at the mercy of that rabid, indoctrinated pack of wolves.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  13. The word "apprehension" is actually used in one of the legal definitions I have been taught. You could just as easily substitute the phrase" in imminent fear of..." for this and should be fine.
  14. Well let's see. The attorney I got this from specializes in defending cases of victims using deadly force in their defense. He is quite good and quite successful. While the verbiage I used may not be precise or exact, the idea conveys. This attorney also holds classes on the use of deadly force in my state of which I have attended three. He will put you on the stand and ask questions of this nature (I obviously shortened this part for expediency).

    The point being is with an affirmative defense, you will be affirming that you used deadly force because you were in fear of serious bodily harm and saw no other alternative. Your actions were deliberate and under the same, or similar, set of circumstances, you would act in the same manner again.

    Hope this helps to clear things up.
  15. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    That also describes me. I teach classes on the legal use of force to law enforcement agencies and regularly defend their officers in lawsuits in state and federal court for the same.

    I don't necessarily trust a private lawyer who claims that as a "specialty" because the cases are far to rare in private practice.
  16. beatcop


    Aug 13, 2003
    New England
    ^ The goal is to not get to the point where you're in court, at your trial, invoking an affirmative defense.

    I have seen a couple things in my area. The court will send out an investigator to check out the facts that have been gathered and bring them back to a prosecutor...that day. The prosecutor will generally make the call as to whether he is interested in pursuing a prosecution. So there you have it, a dilemna...clam up totally, give a statement, or a combination of both w/a lawyer to help.

    In a clear cut self defense scenario most people cannot summon the willpower to clam up 100%. They know they are "right". Police have the lattitude to conduct general on-scene questioning, so they're going to as, "What happened?". A reply of, "Because I was in apprehension of imminent serious bodily harm by Mr. Jones" may be fine at a trial, but will not suffice on scene...usually a plain language answer will get everyone on board. If the guy is your brother in-law and is laying on your front lawn with a hole in his back, you may want to reconsider my advice and invoke silence.

    At a trial, invoking legal phrases is generally a no-go. You will be cross-examined at length...been there. I used the term "dying declaration" during one trial and was familiar w/ the definition and subtleties, however I was not allowed to fully explain a fine point due to the defense lawyer's agenda....which included actually lying about case law in the hope of no one picking up on it.
  17. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
  18. Cream Soda Kid

    Cream Soda Kid

    Jul 16, 2010
    Excellent insight Bren.

  19. Okay, perhaps the word "specializes" was not well chosen if it created the idea that this is all he does. But he does tend to get a number of cases in this area and not all of which are specifically deadly force (one comes to mind involving an armed individual who did not in any way use his firearm).

    But this escapes the point a bit which I intended. Several years ago I asked this attorney a question about trigger modifications and how this might affect a case where someone has been charged with a homicide. We constantly see questions and comments on this topic and lot of them occur on this website which is where I saw enough bantering about to raise this question.

    His comment was that the 800 pound gorilla in the room is not going to be what modifications you made to your trigger, but whether or not it was a good shoot. He went on a little explaining an excusable homicide and the affirmative defense concept, which at the time I was not aware of, and reiterated the fact that a valid use of deadly force is just that.
  20. blk69stang


    Jan 10, 2011
    Harold Fish. Look it up.

    In a nutshell, the d-bag prosecutor got a conviction based partly on the assertion that because Fish used a 10mm to defend himself, and the 10mm is more powerful than average, that it proved "premeditation" and that Fish went out looking to murder someone. Never mind the fact that he was charged by an insane vagrant who was screaming that he was going to kill Fish, and that Fish was backed up against a cliff and had no avenue of escape.

    The law has since changed in AZ stating they can't use caliber of a firearm to prove "intent", but the law doesn't say anything about the "stupid stuff on guns". I would say that a "Kill 'em all" sticker would be pretty easy to use to "prove" intent.