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Shakrai's Journal: More Guns Means Less Crime 28

Journal by Shakrai

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?

This discussion was created by Shakrai (717556) for no Foes, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

More Guns Means Less Crime

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  • 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]

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      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!

  • 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 ac

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      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

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        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

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          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.

          • by tomhudson (43916)

            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.

            • by Shakrai (717556) *

              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....

              • by tomhudson (43916)

                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 pre

                • by Shakrai (717556) *

                  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.

            • 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 cal

              • by tomhudson (43916)
                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).
                • by Shakrai (717556) *

                  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.

                  • by tomhudson (43916)

                    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.

                • 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

                  • by tomhudson (43916)

                    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

                    • 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."

                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      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

                    • by Shakrai (717556) *

                      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

                    • 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.

                    • 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.

                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      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

                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      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.

                    • 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.

                    • 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

                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      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."

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

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