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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jamison It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense: It’s Just the Law – Ammunition Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Foot Rule: How Close is Too Close? . What About Retreat?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Joe Kalil When is it Universally Justifiable to Use Deadly Force? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key Words . . . . . . . . . . . 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense: It’s Just the Law – Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Disparity of Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 K. . . . . . Some Things to Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .L. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 RK Campbell 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Delta Media. . . . . .L. . . . . Jamison After the Smoke Clears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LLC Use of Deadly Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 K. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aftermath of a Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .LEGAL REPORT Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . Researching Self-Defense Laws . . . . . . . . Escalation of Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
That is except for giving identifying information required when questioned by a police officer. he would have allowed it to happen by failing to properly secure the gun.” Some suggest advising law enforcement on the scene that questions will be answered when one’s attorney is present and offer no further information or answer any questions. 3 . However. the gun was not taken or used to hurt anyone. maiming. On September 24. A considerable segment of the over nine million US citizens licensed to carry a concealed firearm are better trained in the tactics of defense with a firearm than average patrol officers. there is concern over the amount of training those citizens have when it comes to law. It is too late to go hunting for adequate legal counsel after an incident. “He attacked me. there can be serious consequences of using a firearm in defense. More law abiding citizens are carrying guns every day. Any little word or interesting tidbit surrounding the shooting. One cannot stand before a judge and simply declare he had no idea there was even a law covering whatever crime he may be accused of committing. Whether the gun is used to defend in the home or out in public. Train the mind about the laws of using a firearm. Texas police officer left his gun in the public restroom of a courthouse. There is great debate if it is even appropriate to say something such as. it is of vital importance to prepare the legal defense now before it is ever required. The Supreme Court has declared the police are not under obligation to save individual citizens from crime. Establish a relationship now with an attorney trained in defending those who legally go armed. and turning one’s future over to a poke-and-hope hit in the Yellow Pages is foolhardy. To survive the aftermath of an incident where a firearm was used to protect the life of one or more victims. Understand that not only can a crime be committed by doing something. Many fail to realize that long prison terms and civil suits that wipe out every penny for a lifetime can occur in an instant for failing on one simple point of law. Things happen even to those with police training! Fortunately for this police officer. Citizens are going back to the fundamental fact that defending against the acts of sociopaths is accepting that the “self” in selfdefense is paramount. or killing. It is personal responsibility that needs to be taken seriously by every decent human being. Unfortunately there is a fallacy of confidence that permeates the minds of those who choose to go armed. but also a crime may occur by not doing something thus rendering the one who failed to act guilty by omission. Realize that the right to remain silent is a friend in time of stress. It is not a defense. When it comes to the legal issues of self-defense using firearms. can interest a prosecutor who has the resources to go after anyone his radar hones in on. whether from the one who used the firearm in defense or from witnesses. such as when one just shot another human being to defend life. The point of carrying a gun is to survive a violent encounter with a sociopathic individual intent on raping. Train better than most cops on how to run that gun. I was afraid for my life. 2008 an Austin. Some law enforcement agencies only require annual re-qualification with duty side-arms. They are very well equipped to handle themselves in a tactical situation where a sociopath is trying to rape. Do not be ignorant. More of those citizens are exceeding the amount of tactical firearms training and experience using firearms than many sworn police officers. it is obvious to most that there will likely be legal ramifications for shooting someone. Answering a question wrong can decide whether or not one may be sleeping behind bars for the next few decades. no matter the circumstances. If that gun would have been used to kill someone. LLC I t is unlikely that there is anyone reading this that has not heard that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Private citizens who carry firearms are taking advanced courses of self-defense tactics or at least learning fundamentals from DVDs and books prepared by industry professionals. and continue reading material like this special report on Legal Defense. Law enforcement leaders across the nation are advising citizens to take steps to protect themselves. They think that they will not answer any question wrong if it should happen that their time comes to have need of using a gun to defend life.LEGAL REPORT Introduction Delta Media. even though the officer did not actually pull the trigger. especially in light of the economic downturns decimating the amount of law enforcement officers on active duty. maim or kill them.
strength. blunt weapons. light and extremeley sharp. unarmed fighting skills. harmless in effect or intention.) You become aware of a threat. hours. Opportunity: Your assailant is capable of immediately inflicting injury by striking you at arm’s length with bare hands. “A person does not have a duty to re- 4 . Means/Ability: Your assailant possesses the physical power to Knives are very easy to conceal. 21 Foot Rule: How Close is Too Close? Studies have measured the amount of time it takes the “average” man to present his handgun from the holster and fire a single shot to the center of mass of a human size target. All of these factors must be present. you should. weeks or months. You or the person you are defending must be free of fault. or permanently disfigure through the use of physical apparently unarmed. The language and interpretation can vary substantially between countries and states. (See discussion of the “21 foot rule” below. The time is 1. when facing an opponent armed with a contact weapon who is 21 feet away. conversational distances with blunt or edged weapons. You react in the process of defending yourself. then use deadly force and claim self-defense. This knife is a Kershaw 1660CKT. Temporary cosmetic injuries such as abrasions. The rule is to be non-confrontational. or any reasonable range for a particular firearm. Kentucky’s new statute states. and in some areas of the country.) Intent: Your assailant is acting or speaking in a manner. Photo on left shows the author in close proximity. black eyes. For example. cripple. with nothing intervening between you and the weapon. edged weapons. When do you know that you are in reasonable fear of immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury? You know when your assailant has the means. photo on right shows he is ready to attack with a knife. F Use of Deadly Force Joe Kalil irst and foremost. (A few states use the term imminent rather than immediate). opportunity and intent. days. or permanently disfigure you.” Death: Loss of life. being armed is no mandate to act with bravado. Serious Bodily Injury: Any injury that cripples. firearms or other weapons. and compared that to the distance a man armed with a contact weapon (edged or blunt weapon) could run and inflict a fatal wound. But. Behave politely and non-aggressively. it carries with it a moral and ethical obligation to avoid confrontations whenever possible. (Also see “disparity of force” below.treat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. or could cause death within minutes. that any reasonable and sensible person would assume indicates your assailant’s intention to kill. then the armed citizen has an obligation to do whatever is reasonable to try to de-escalate the situation. Reasonable: That which a sensible person (or 12 of your peers) would recognize as rational and normal if they had the same information and were facing the same circumstances as you. If a confrontation is unavoidable. kill. Key Words Necessary: Unavoidably determined by prior conditions or circumstances. which works out to roughly 21 feet of travel. swollen lips and surface bruises are not considered serious bodily injury. Immediate: At the very moment. and in states with no preemption law it can vary between various local jurisdictions within a state. You cannot start or condone a fight. Therefore. you are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury. It is very small. When is it Universally Justifiable to Use Deadly Force? You are universally justified in the necessary use of deadly force when there is a reasonable fear of immediate or otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury to the innocent.5 seconds. cripple. Unavoidable: If you can avoid the lethal confrontation by breaking contact with your assailant and retreating to cover. absolutely essential. instigation or escalation. On the contrary. Numerous states have recently passed the “Stand Your Ground” law. Innocent: Free from guilt or fault. permanently disfigures. you must.
e. Even if you shoot first and you are shooting a more powerful firearm. Another consideration must be choosing a handgun of a size and weight that doesn’t preclude comfortably carrying it. If you detect an emerging threat or your “sixth sense” is telling you something is wrong. A good rule of thumb is to carry the most powerful handgun that you can quickly and accurately shoot. if your weapon is not of sufficient power to cause an incapacitating wound. However. a man attacking a woman. if you miss completely or hit in a non-vital area. opportunity and intent to kill or inflict serious bodily injury. many states have passed the “Stand Your Ground” law. Power is determined by the type of firearm and ammunition that you carry. Of course. Be wary of advice from others. Accuracy: You must hit your assailant in a vital area with well placed shots. 5 . state and local statutes and ordinances. accuracy. regardless of the jurisdiction. Speed and accuracy are improved with training and practice. you are likely to lose. you will not stop your assailant. which will help guide you in your efforts to avoid making critical errors. Researching Self-defense Laws If you routinely carry a concealed deadly weapon for your protection. even lawyers and law enforcement officers who do not specialize in self-defense law. speed and power. all of these examples are subject to interpretation and reason. and produces a weapon. thus stopping the attack. Power: You must hit your assailant with enough power to cause enough damage to incapacitate him quickly. Therefore. three factors determine the outcome of a gunfight: accuracy. retreat is a good idea and should be exercised if it is a viable alternative and does not place you or those around you in greater danger. Even if you are the more accurate shooter and you are shooting a more powerful weapon. Research specific instances of self-defense shootings and their final dispositions. It is strongly recommended that you conduct a thorough investigation of the all of the relevant federal. Even if you shoot first and hit in a vital area. The best gunfight is the one you avoid! If you must defend yourself. black belts) attacking a person without such training. or a very large man attacking a small man. The bottom line is that there are situations where unarmed assailants can employ physical force that can result in death or serious bodily injury. speed and power are all important in order to survive a deadly attack. you will not stop your assailant.What About Retreat? As mentioned previously. Escalation of Force This occurs when an apparently unarmed individual is in a confrontation with a second apparently unarmed individual. There is no shame in running from a fight. Some examples might include multiple members of a gang attacking an individual. thereby escalating the conflict and increasing the required force to end it. an assailant known to have special abilities (i. You may discover examples of what others did right or wrong. depart from the area for a safer location. if he hits you first. Speed: You must hit your assailant before you are hit.. it is your responsibility to know the law regarding firearm possession and justifiable use of force. You should NOT present your weapon unless your assailant has the means. as well as the conduct of the prosecutors in the criminal courts in your district that have been in such situations. Retreat establishes that you did everything possible to avoid the danger before it became necessary to shoot. Disparity of Force There are limited circumstances in which deadly force would be justifiable when the assailants are not armed. which states that a person does not have a duty to retreat if that person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
the most important fact is that you were able to save your own life and possibly the lives of those you love. If criminal charges are pursued. Some Things to Remember: • • • Be as reasonable and prudent as possible when dealing with a confrontation. Glock Armorer. and retreat are all good alternatives. member of the KC3 (KY Coalition to Carry Concealed) Board of Directors. rather than the end of your problems.com) and can be reached at: JoeKalil_DHT@insightbb. avoidance. de-escalation. You may face criminal charges against you despite your belief that you were justified. Never do anything illegal or unethical. insurance and legal contacts someplace where a family member can access them. “Master” IDPA shooter.DefensiveHandgunTraining. KY.com. allowing you a much better opportunity to maintain your freedom and return home safely to your family. Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to specifically present all aspects of this topic. It is quite possible to have 99 out of 100 reasonable people agree with your actions and still end up in prison on the decision of 12 jurors. so if something happens. OH. Defensive Handgun Training LLC (www. and even family members following a confrontation. and graduate of numerous professional shooting schools. Be careful of what you say to witnesses. the question of whether the use of force was ultimately justified is decided by a jury. A lawyer was not consulted and neither the author nor CCM are attempting to instruct you on when to shoot or not to shoot. It is a good idea to locate a self-defense attorney now. such as tampering with evidence. Prevention. Keep copies of all your licenses. 6 . medical personnel. police. Wait until you have the advice of counsel before making any statements! Bottom Line: The law abiding citizen should make every possible effort to avoid using deadly force. and keep their contact information with you. Joe Kalil is a former Army officer and pilot.Aftermath of a Shooting The act of preserving your life is more than likely just the beginning. UT and FL concealed carry instructor. you will be able to start the legal process right away. However. Joe owns his own company. Certified NRA Instructor.
his legs during questioning could be taken as a statement when later charged with murder. the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a suspect’s refusal to uncross Written Statement. I’m Reloading. The basic legal advice is “DON’T. If I were asked to defend a man named “Murder” or any variation thereof. “Keep Honking. I would charge more. Massad Ayoob testified in favor of a police officer who had killed a felon nicknamed “Snake. In 1996.” At trial the prosecution argued that the fact he did not remove this bumper sticker revealed something about his character.(3) In a separate death penalty case. Bang Bang Maxwell’s Silver Ham“I’m not a very good story teller. The Marshal might have avoided the worst part of the story had he not confused his right to remain silent with the right of free speech.Statements I K.” The first question is.” Most people tell stories badly. a rapper who rejoices in the stage name “C-Murder” is on trial for murder. the court found that the defendant had purchased a used car which sported the bumper sticker.(2) The story had a happy ending.(4) One can imagine the effect of bumper stickers bought in jest such as. “I’m the person your mother warned you about. nothing will. In the aftermath of self-defense there can be a giddy stream of consciousness statement which has more to do with the effects of adrenaline than reality. “What is a statement?” In a nation which counts exotic dancing as freedom of speech. In the movie Under Pressure a woman tried to explain the stalking and implied threats of a neighbor.(1) The Marshal defended himself and later vented his adrenaline to the responding Sheriff stating. and not a story the Marshal enjoyed very much. As of this writing. in part. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that it was perfectly acceptable for the state to kill this man. but a story four years and tens of thousands of dollars in the making. an unhappy consumer attacked the City Marshal of Lancaster.L.It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense: It’s Just the Law .” If this case does not also inspire a re-evaluation of one’s T-shirt collection.” mer Made Sure She Was Dead. a VERY BAD idea! 7 . uous events she lamely concludes. Jamison n 1996. “I hope the son-of-a-bitch is dead. Missouri with a hammer. a statement is also broadly construed. There is also the problem of nicknames. because of his failure to remove the bumpersticker.” Captain Ayoob slipped the nickname into his testimony which seems to have had an effect on the jury.unconvincing recitation of ambigmer Came Down On her Head. After a disorganized and “Bang Bang Maxwell’s Silver Ham.” This led to the Marshal’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter and a sentence of seven years in prison.
take a demand for a lawyer as evidence of something to hide. and used against him. There is the evidence. until arrested. It is a left-handed fortune that people who act in selfdefense are routinely arrested. Bernard Goetz was acquitted of criminal charges in the shooting of four thugs on the subway. one does not have rights. He attacked me. I WANT A LAWYER.” In the movie My Cousin Vinnie two. His 911 call records him saying that he thought he had just shot someone. or the minutes run out. In one case. The problem is that the police. he is placed under arrest regardless of descriptive terms. complete silence is the only bulwark against these mistakes.” This callous-sounding statement took accident off the table and the man had to live or die with a self-defense case. 3. but was sued for $43 million and lost. When the police arrive. Being in reasonable fear of life or limb is a prerequisite to acting in self-defense. Anyone who is questioned by police has the right to a lawyer.” Whenever a person is not allowed to leave. If the circumstances are ambivalent. a man cocked his double-action revolver and went after a person who was shooting out windows.” is to preclude the prosecutor from claiming that the citizen never said he was scared “until he talked to a lawyer. the other person the attacker. The man replied.”(5) The first sentence serves to introduce the roles of the parties.” “Send an ambulance. asked why he thought he had shot someone. this includes victims. If a real forensic team routinely conducted the investigations shown on television. simply state a fear of being sued. generations of TV shows advise us to remain silent. 2. Good Advice. the caller is the victim.”(6) The phrase “Send an ambulance” says that the caller does not want anyone to die.. they will want a more elaborate statement. defense attorneys smiled and nodded. In the criminal system. When he caught up with the threat he extended his revolver and in the process tripped the light single action trigger pull. arguably an accidental discharge. The next statement is the caller’s name. One incredulously asked. the victim’s decision to remain silent and demand for a lawyer can be used again him or her in court. The first statement is the 911 call. it will be played over and over again at trial. Western Missouri Shooters Alliance President Sheila Stokes-Begley employs a cell phone and CZ75 compact.There is a cynical defense attorney saying: “Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you. Theater audiences laughed. This all important introduction to law enforcement must be planned in advance..” “I was never so scared in my life. unfortunate Yankees are suspected of murder and during questioning are accused of shooting a clerk. The demand for a lawyer is both the best thing one can do. 8 . this should consist only of: 1. This restates part of the 911 call and points out critical evidence. The core of the 911 call consists of three sentences: “He tried to kill me. its budget would last about a week. 4. I will sign a complaint. and the caller’s cell phone records can prove that he or she made the call. To compound the problem. and a damaging statement. It may be called something else such as “detained” or given the “Alice in Wonderland” explanation “You’re being handcuffed for your own protection. and demand a lawyer to protect against frivolous litigation. If one is arrested. “Lady. and potential jurors. I think I’m a pretty good shot. Police are frequently sued by criminals and the explanation is likely to ring a bell. or some other technological catastrophe occurs the authorities will know that something of interest is at that location. If the battery then dies. These calls are recorded and if the call sounds bad for the defendant. it’s just the law. One cannot expect the “CSI” team to be called out to pick up every fiber and hair. it doesn’t have to make sense. The first words out of the caller’s mouth should be the location of the incident. The 911 operator. The phrase “I was never so scared. trained to keep him on the line and keep him talking. There have even been cases where comments by other persons have been attributed to the defendant. “I shot the clerk?” This is taken down and read in court as a confession.
(1) A City Marshal is a law enforcement officer position used in Third and Fourth Class towns in Missouri. there may be other elements as well.net. a more complicated process than most imagine. A lawyer must be immediately engaged to organize the statement.3d 294 (Mo. At some point a statement must be made. 9 . Jamison is an attorney in the Kansas City Missouri area concentrating in the area of weapons and self-defense. Comments to the media will be sensationalized and this is never good.Self-defense cases bring out the curious. comments to family will be mistaken and used against you. even when false. Ban.W. The most important element to include is fear. (5) Taken from the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance “Stay Out of Jail” card. see www. Jamison -. If one does foul one’s pants. He will not tell the client how to lie. Inaccuracies in the initial statement will convince authorities that the survivor is both a liar and a murderer.2614 NE 56th Ter -. The impression is that the earlier a statement is made. In the case of defense of home or defense of other persons. Both family and friends can be subpoenaed and forced to testify against you. 2000) at 296. Kevin L. the jury is sure to believe that. weak-kneed. (2) State v Beeler. Missouri 64119-2311 -. a not uncommon event. The effects of stress will confuse the statement and even cause temporary amnesia. No matter how ineffective a storyteller the survivor might be. the media in the forefront. A police statement is no place for macho posturing. the less reliable it is.WMSA. the earlier a statement is made.KLJamisonLaw@ earthlink. pants-pissing afraid. 12 S. The survivor must go over every detail of why he or she was terrified. 942 S. the more reliable it is. Knowledge of the assailant’s reputation for violence would certainly be relevant. The statement must contain facts which track the elements of self-defense. A lawyer is a professional storyteller. until he made unwise remarks to the news media. (6) A claim I have heard. he will tell him how to tell the truth.net.W. Comments to friends will be confused and used against you. 805 S. (3) State v Kinder. 1991) at 167.W.Gladstone. (4) State v Six.2d 159 (Mo. Please send questions to Kevin L.2d 313 (Mo en banc 1996) at 325. The New York City prosecutor’s office had determined not to charge Bernard Goetz. This information is for legal information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. One cannot use violence against another person unless in fear of life or limb. For specific questions you should consult a qualified attorney. make sure that goes into the statement. In reality. Individual answers are not usually possible but may be addressed in future columns.
L. I represented a man who shot an intruder with a . one can not say less likely too often.(2) In State v Davis. the jury contained persons who were familiar with magnums. they must be addressed at trial. Fortunately. However. the jury may come to believe that the use of a magnum is evidence of excessive force. The lawsuit threat appears to have been the deciding factor in police adoption of hollow points. In court. and police agencies sued when police round-nosed ammunition went through criminals.It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense: It’s Just the Law .(1) Five-hundred years later we have a different set of superstitions which appear in courtroom arguments and appellate decisions. the court found that the use of hollow point . Left without explanation. Another luridly claimed that if shot with a hollow point. the court found the guest of honor guilty of carrying an unloaded concealed gun on the grounds that ammunition was readily available and pointedly mentioned that some of the rounds were hollow points.(3) If these attitudes are filtering into appellate courts. It would be even better to address them in police reports. The bullet went through the chest cavity of the 200-pound intruder and through the kitchen wall behind him. Innocent persons have been killed. conclusively determined that the accuracy of rifles was demonically inspired. Some years ago. “Black Talon” is a brand of hollow point that was withdrawn S ixteenth Century Germany was familiar with the accuracy of rifled guns.357 magnum revolver loaded with his hunting cartridges. Virtually all law enforcement agencies use hollow point ammunition. Scientific experiment involving silver bullets. the use of hollow point ammunition has been stigmatized to the point of demonic possession.22 ammunition showed sufficient evidence of premeditation to support a death penalty conviction. including the bailiff in the Court of Appeals. you do. although this is what they do. which do not. Jamison tor referred to his “magnum” every time the hysteria seemed to flag and made it sound like “nuclear weapon” when he did so. and I emphasize less likely. They do not do so because the bullet expands two to three times its diameter and cuts blood vessels instead of shoving them aside. but could not decide if the superior accuracy of the rifle was heavenly or demonically inspired.” This nonsense has already seeped into appellate decisions. In State v Eggers. and lead bullets. A hollow point bullet is much less likely to penetrate a person or a wall.Ammunition Law K. the prosecu- 10 . Hollow point ammunition is issued because it is less likely to go through people and things and go on to visit remote and disinterested persons. which reject demonic influence. Some commentators have likened being shot with hollow points to being shot with a buzz saw or chain saw. “The bullet does not explode.
a jury might consider firing bombs at people to be excessive force. The best way to provide such proof is to keep a half-dozen rounds from the box used to load one’s gun. only after. The current record is an armed robber in Chicago who absorbed thirtythree rounds of 9mm in the chest and head. so there is no point in banning armor piercing rifle ammunition. and one 12 gauge solid shot before he went down. Ballistic tests show powder burns which prove the distance of a shooting. and all hand loads. so to speak. It is conceivable that under stress an officer might tighten up on the trigger. Under stress people tend to empty their guns into the threat. but with reduced velocity. by extra ammunition carried by a police officer. Handloaders have been criticized in court for being mad scientists brewing up exotic death loads. give different ballistic performances. This left some law enforcement with the impression that it is illegal. this total does not include rounds that missed. The amount of ammunition is a frequent issue. an armed and dangerous fugitive. At least one manufacturer has a nice video demonstrating how the cartridge works. It sounds terrible in a police report. The amount used is a function of need and stress. Certain ballistic chefs hand load ammunition in order to save money or obtain better accuracy. This means that it ricochets little and penetrates less (one can not say less too often). but when it happens to someone it is 100% of the time as far as that person is concerned. One extra reload is advisable. and only for pistols. one round of 12 gauge buckshot. It is possible for the average person to fire four to six rounds per second. If the worst thing happens. Tests by the Force Science Institute have found that there is no measurable combat advantage in having the fin- 11 . My own tests with a similar Remington 870 and a similar sling found that if the slack was taken up on the trigger and the weapon is vigorously swung. however some persons have been held while authorities hunted for a non-existent statute in order to support a charge. It is not necessary to place the finger on the trigger even when combat seems imminent. and reliance on their advice is not a defense in court. it is unlikely that it will be needed. 18 U. This ammunition does not actually explode. Different brands of ammunition. Evan Nappen provides a cogent explanation of New Jersey’s unfortunate and confusing hollow point ammunition law in his landmark book. This may not happen often.from the market a dozen years ago after a series of lurid predictions of how the bullet would perform. or was not disabled. He took the precaution of aiming his Remington 870 shotgun at the carload of suspects.(6) Officer Albrecht stopped a car reputed to contain. The rapid-fire syndrome is a frequently seen phenomenon in the stress of self-defense cases. the plastic peels away and the lead shot continues. Armor piercing ammunition for pistols. The effects of drugs. However. and must be explained to a jury. The amount carried is a function of ability. anything. The solution is obviously extra ammunition. It most decidedly is not armor piercing. whether it is raised in relation to the amount of ammunition carried or the amount used. only to discover that the threat had friends. It is no longer commercially available. quite the contrary. While it could be improvised. Some states outlaw the possession of hollow point or fragmenting ammunition.(5) In states without such a work. magazine or speed loader. It is not illegal. he faced an expensive hearing to prove this fact. These laws are designed to outlaw ammunition that will penetrate soft body armor used by police officers. psychosis and sometimes pure evil can keep criminals mobile. “How much is enough?” This question can never be answered before trouble. True exploding ammunition is banned in most states and limited by federal law. is banned by federal law. It makes a messy wound. the advice of an attorney is essential.S. An Indiana man found with Black Talons was charged with possession of armor piercing ammunition. He had previously taken the precaution of adding a sling which carried fifteen extra rounds. Code §922(a)(7). the question then becomes. there are six rounds available to prove the ballistics of the ammunition used in self-defense. among other persons.(4) “Fragmenting” ammunition is frequently recommended for selfdefense. An accidental discharge killed the driver. It is like a small plastic capsule filled with tiny lead shot. Gun shop owners and police officers are frequently mistaken in these matters. active and hostile long after they should be dead. record the date and gun loaded and store the rounds and data. Virtually all center fire rifle ammunition will penetrate soft body armor regardless of composition of the bullet. but if it is needed it will be needed very badly. then occasionally the weapon would fire. Representatives of Remington adamantly testified that the sling had no effect on the firing mechanism. A manslaughter case in Maryland was triggered. Subsequent investigation blamed the shot on the extra weight of the sling. When the capsule hits something.
The single cartridge fired inspired criminal charges because of fifteen extra rounds that were never loaded into the gun. 1984) at 927. There may be no law stating ammunition choices are legal or not legal.2d 923 (Mo. (6) Albrecht v State. police administrators seemed eager to place blame on the gun. However. For specific questions you should consult a qualified attorney. Gun Writes Press Inc Oakhurst NJ 1997. However. 675 S.W. (1) Kelly Gunpowder Basic Books NY 2004 at 144-145.D. This indicates a training error.KLJamisonLaw@ earthlink. There is no statute or court decision which will decisively confront the gunfight survivor with murder charges due to his or her ammunition choices. the sling. 2002. This seems counter-intuitive. 12 . of justifying the tools and tactics. W.ger on the trigger over keeping the finger on the frame above the trigger. (4) Indystar.W. (2) State v Eggers. 71 S. (3) State v Davis. Nappen on New Jersey Gun Law. This information is for legal information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. (5) Nappen. Kevin L. 1993). but these are reasons which should be worked into a police statement. showing a reason for the tools and tactics used. Jamison -. of Sp.com The Indianapolis Star 6 June. 632 A2d 163 (Maryland Ct.net. and even to sacrifice one of their own rather than expose the department to all the liability. rather than criminal behavior by the officer. showing what is reasonable.Gladstone. App.2614 NE 56th Ter -. Missouri 64119-2311 -. App. Jamison is an attorney in the Kansas City Missouri area concentrating in the area of weapons and self-defense. App. self-defense is a defense of justification. 2002) at 662.D. Please send questions to Kevin L.3d 659 (Mo. but has been conclusively demonstrated and widely publicized in police journals. Individual answers are not usually possible but may be addressed in future columns. E.
shooting is not the whole story. this woman. Survival is the first priority. The adversary may be able to acquire the weapon again. Never lie. well into her 60’s. but there is little point in such shooting for practical self defense. Once the adversary is down do not leave cover. I understand first hand the dynamics involved. Learning to quickly manipulate the piece at moderate range is what is critical. Remember taking cover greatly increases your chances of survival. A shot to the adversary after he is grounded is a bad idea. and their understanding of critical incidents and their aftermath is priceless. Your chances of being shot in a gunfight are about 50-50 if that information helps in choosing to avoid the fight if possible. But we must consider what we are training for. The marksmanship problems in self defense are not severe. I would advise against any statement to responding officers beyond. well. Visually confirm that he is down and beware of a second member of a team. You will wish to see where his weapon fell and if it is still in his hand. And they understand that some incidents may be avoided. According to my research eighty per cent of the officers involved in a shooting move to another agency after a shooting. Anything further. Be cautious and be certain he is indeed down. There is a flip side of the coin. After the Smoke Clears RK Campbell A point I have often made concerning instructors is that it is best by far to learn from an instructor who has both police experience and who has survived critical incidents. First. A peace officer with any time at all in can track a lie easily. Controlling your nerves. Knowing when to shoot is as important as knowing how to shoot. Whether or not the felon is shot or escapes your goal is to survive the shooting and its aftermath. No matter how clear cut the case may appear in your mind hostile witnesses or impetuous action can be devastating to your position. you may regret this attitude. I realize sport shooters are fine shots and that military professionals have a more dangerous duty than any I may have pulled. survive the incident. and had threatened the community. Experienced instructors are not as few and far between as you might think. Most handgun wounds are survivable so take heart. A harsh rule? Not at all. A point I think that is not stressed enough is that we should not fire unless we are sure of a hit. well. This fine lady was regarded as a hero. Neither add nor detract. A fast hit with a powerful handgun is better than a ragged group of fifty light hits on a pulp target. lies are difficult to keep track of as my time in interviewing criminal’s shows. A miss is unacceptable. A civilian involved in a shooting must be very careful in considering their words and deeds. Cops do not become investigators without a well turned BS detector hardwired in. A great advantage of an instructor who has been involved in a critical incident is that they understand the tyranny of the moment. As I often point out in a class I love to stretch my handguns to the limit and learn how accurate they are at long range. While arguably she is an ordinary person defending her rights. Just state the facts. simply stood her ground with a . that is another matter. My friend Ed’s twin sister recently shot and killed a burglar who had had his run of the county for some time.357 Magnum revolver. Learning not to press the trigger unless the shot is properly lined up and learning to call your shots on the range is not a difficult program. The fellow who has attended lots of schools but not walked the walk may be a good shot but good 13 . Peace officers involved in shootings under color of law often find the experience gut wrenching. That is the reality of the situation. Remember a hidden witness or unexpected piece of evidence may trash your story. ‘I was in fear for my life’ and the pertinent details. At the least your instructor should have a decade of police experience. I have heard the flippant ‘Better be tried by twelve than carried by six’ but if your actions end you up in the crossbar hotel with a room mate devoid of social graces and personal hygiene. and I would consult an attorney. A civilian may follow a similar but solo path.
Be certain you present your role as victim effectively. I was in fear for my life. ‘I was attacked. You may be placed in a patrol car. ‘He assaulted me during a robbery. He holds a degree in criminal justice and has studied firearms and their use for nearly forty years. Remember even trained peace officers have shot one another in cases of mistaken identity. Meanwhile. You were afraid. If they disarm you or even handcuff you then comply. Your thought processes may not be working at top form! Your round count may not be accurate. You may be arrested. An important piece of advice is to check for injuries. Give all information that is important and especially a description of any suspects who fled the scene. tell them what happened in concise terms. Never move anything on the crime scene. 14 . When you call 911. Cops don’t get armed citizens calls. Collect the names and addresses of any witnesses. Don’t say you fired three rounds. They are not likely to be sympathetic. disarmed and handcuffed. stress that. If you have faced a bad guy most peace officers will be sympathetic. Despite rather highly publicized incidents such as the Jon Benet Ramsey case. Some will advise that you say nothing to the police. Once you have the names of reluctant witnesses if need be you may subpoena them to a court hearing. We will follow up at a later date. That course of action will probably result in an arrest.’ Give your location and a description of yourself. brother or sister should be informed to call an attorney immediately. and reviews. Certainly you will be tem- porarily detained. If you are taken to jail do not discuss the situation with other inmates. Avoid being shot by an overexcited rookie.It is advisable to ask for an ambulance immediately as you also call for police assistance. A couple of witnesses of good character gives weight to your testimony. I was forced to shoot a robber. The police may ask why you were in a certain neighborhood. Your motives become suspect. and never volunteer anything that may be used against you. You may have fired four or five. Control your emotions. They will not care if were involved in an illicit affair and an angry spouse attacked you. Be certain to call someone reliable you can trust. Don’t bleed out on the scene! As far as you are able point out witnesses and evidence to arriving officers. finding a good one another thing altogether. Do not appear to give inaccurate statements. Finding an attorney is easy. columns. This is a short brief on what to expect after the ball goes up. He is the author of three books and over six hundred articles. Planting evidence or moving objects is transparent to a trained investigator. Stress that you have done nothing wrong but you do not wish to say anything further. I hope this is food for thought! RK Campbell is a writer with twenty years police experience. Cops are human and not immune to over excitement. all police investigators are not incompetent. You may decline a question but do not lie. Investigators will find you out. Be certain you have holstered or made your pistol safe when the officers arrive and follow their commands. My calls were ‘man with a gun’ calls. I have been stabbed and knew it but I was not immediately aware of a gunshot wound in my lower calf that was probably a ricochet. Advise them in a general way of the circumstances and let them know you are armed and have the suspect in custody or down. I had no choice but to fire. Do not put yourself in a situation in which you may have to explain why you made an inaccurate statement. You may have shot their friend or accomplice! You will be allowed a call. They are more likely to sympathize with those who respect their authority. Moral judgment is not present but your legal right to defend yourself is in question if you lie. A spouse.’ Never answer questions requiring more than a few words.
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