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Have you ever read YOUR State's firearms/self defense laws?

1920 Views 49 Replies 30 Participants Last post by  Warp
One thing that I notice frequently on this forum is people starting threads asking "What are the gun laws in this state?" or " Is it okay for me to carry here?"

When these questions get asked it seems that one of the more common responses is "Well some random unnamed cop/ gun store employee/ my concealed carry instructor whose class I took 10 years ago said....."

So I'm wondering how many people here have actually troubled themselves to sit down and read their state's black-letter self-defense laws.
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Yes. Law was the main focus of my CHL class, which was my first firearm instruction. I started there, then went to defensive, then competition.

Certainly not claiming to be a legal expert, but I do have some context. And I'm not on Facebook.
 

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One thing that I notice frequently on this forum is people starting threads asking "What are the gun laws in this state?" or " Is it okay for me to carry here?"

When these questions get asked it seems that one of the more common responses is "Well some random unnamed cop/ gun store employee/ my concealed carry instructor whose class I took 10 years ago said....."

So I'm wondering how many people here have actually troubled themselves to sit down and read their state's black-letter self-defense laws.
I not only read it, I had to pass a test on the articles dealing with Justification with a perfect score.
 

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You would think but clearly a lot of people haven't.

I was reading a story on Facebook yesterday. Happened in Virginia two guys met to sell a cell phone and apparently one guy decided to steal the cell phone from the other. So the thief gets the phone turns to run away and the victim of the theft shoots him and kills him. The shooter just got sentenced to seven years in prison for voluntary manslaughter because the shooting wasn't justified.

In the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary over half the people that responded to that discussion said the shooter was completely in the right to shoot somebody over a property crime and that they would do the same.
Seven years in prison over a cell phone? I will never shoot a person running away unless they turn to shoot at me while doing so.
 

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It can be difficult in certain states such as MA. So much of our law is case law or common law.

For example CA defines assault in penal code 240 PC as "An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another."

Here's what MA says about assault "Whoever commits an assault or an assault and battery upon another shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 21/2 years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000.". That's it. What exactly is an assault is all case law, some of it referencing colonial common law.

To my knowledge there is no statute covering self defense. It is simply recognized as a common law right by the courts. The only statute I'm aware of of is the castle doctrine.

In MA, a property owner can remove a trespasser using "reasonable force". There's no statute stating so. It's case law citing another "common law" right.

You can be arrested, charged, and incarcerated for interfering with a police officer or participating in an affrray (public fighting). Neither is a crime listed by statute. They're common law crimes dating back to colonial times, still in use today.

I'd imagine this type of situation makes it difficult for those in some states.
 

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Yes - and some lawyers will argue that (in the US) case law is functionally the only law. As case law is how statutory/codified law is interpreted - which may, may not, be the intent of the authors of the (statutory/codified) law. YMMV.
In Virginia with respect to self defense it is all case law. There is no written law that defines what self defense is or when you can use it.
 

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We went over some of the laws during our classroom training to get our CC permit. I also go to handgunlaw.us (they link the state laws concerning conceal carry) to read my state and any state that I plan to carry in laws that apply to CC. This is probably not enough, but it is better than no knowledge of the laws.
 

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Well, I teach the stuff, so....

Guys, you have both Spats and Bren posting in this thread. Ask them questions, ask them clarifying questions. It's a huge learning opportunity. If you wanna argue with them, well...you're wrong. I don't even need to know what you're going to say to make that prediction.
 

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Here is the problem I have. The State CCL says one thing. My 18 years of Firearms Training and my Federal retirement badge say another. I was trained to put two in the chest and one in the head as part of a Body Armor drill, that some like to call the Mozambique. State CCL course tells me head shots are murder. I was trained to shoot from 25 yards for 18 years. State CCL course tells me, I cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance. I was trained never to turn your back on a shooter, unless death was your goal. So, what ultimately takes primacy. My retirement Badge and Credentials, that I still carry, or the CCL course, and the CCL I carry. I want to know who wins in this one, Federal or State CCL.
 
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Here is the problem I have. The State CCL says one thing. My 18 years of Firearms Training and my Federal retirement badge say another. I was trained to put two in the chest and one in the head as part of a Body Armor drill, that some like to call the Mozambique. State CCL course tells me head shots are murder. I was trained to shoot from 25 yards for 18 years. State CCL course tells me, I cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance. I was trained never to turn your back on a shooter, unless death was your goal. So, what ultimately takes primacy. My retirement Badge and Credentials, that I still carry, or the CCL course, and the CCL I carry. I want to know who wins in this one, Federal or State CCL.
If your not a cop then civilian rules apply. What statute in TX states you "cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance."?
 

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If your not a cop then civilian rules apply. What statute in TX states you "cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance."?
CCL course regulations. My point is, I do have a badge (retired), and I do have credentials (retired), and I do posses a CCL. They can jam me up if they like, but training takes over, and it was never turn your back on a shooter.
 
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CCL course regulations. My point is, I do have a badge (retired), and I do have credentials (retired), and I do posses a CCL. They can jam me up if they like, but training takes over, and it was never turn your back on a shooter.
You have to know if you are a cop or a civilian, by law. Then you will know what laws apply to you.

CCL course does not set State statutes, I am asking what specific statute states a person " cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance." not what some LTC instructor thinks and or teaches. if there is no statute the maybe some case law?

ETA I am genuinely interested in knowing about the must retreat.
 

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Yes, but here in California it’s hard to keep up. Seems like it changes every six months. Even trying hard to study it, you have to sort through what is the current law versus what has been approved but is not yet effective. It’s a mine field.

They change statutes so often the caselaw can’t even keep up, so appellate court decisions can arrive after they have already changed the law.

But, despite the difficulty, you have to know it. Too much risk in messing up.
 

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You have to know if you are a cop or a civilian, by law. Then you will know what laws apply to you.

CCL course does not set State statutes, I am asking what specific statute states a person " cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance." not what some LTC instructor thinks and or teaches. if there is no statute the maybe some case law?

ETA I am genuinely interested in knowing about the must retreat.
Everything he has posted is BS.

18 years training he does not know if Federal or State law takes precedence in a defensive shooting.

He calls it a CCL, when here in Texas it is CHL (old) or LTC (new).

No law/regulations says head shot is murder.

No law/regulations says cannot engage past 15 yards.

No law/regulations require retreat.

And then there is the claim he was trained Mozambique.

I bet he was also a Navy Delta Seal too.
 

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Here is the problem I have. The State CCL says one thing. My 18 years of Firearms Training and my Federal retirement badge say another. I was trained to put two in the chest and one in the head as part of a Body Armor drill, that some like to call the Mozambique. State CCL course tells me head shots are murder. I was trained to shoot from 25 yards for 18 years. State CCL course tells me, I cannot engage past 15 yards, and must retreat if being fired on from a further distance. I was trained never to turn your back on a shooter, unless death was your goal. So, what ultimately takes primacy. My retirement Badge and Credentials, that I still carry, or the CCL course, and the CCL I carry. I want to know who wins in this one, Federal or State CCL.
I'm not licensed in TX, but you might want to take a closer look at its laws:

Here are the TX LTCH Laws
Texas legislature said:
. . . .
(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.
(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 9.32 (West)
Texas legislature said:
. . . .
(e) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this section.
(f) For purposes of Subsection (a), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (e) reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 9.31 (West)
Texas legislature said:
. . . . (c) The use of deadly force is not justified under this section unless the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is specifically required by statute or unless it occurs in the lawful conduct of war. If deadly force is so justified, there is no duty to retreat before using it.

Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 9.21 (West)
 
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