When is it legal to use your gun in America?

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Okay, I don't understand the gun laws in America. I also don't agree with them. But they are there, so be it.

Now can someone please explain to me when it is legal to actually use your gun in the USA? I suppose different states have different laws (which I suspect can get a bit confusing).

For example, is it legal to shoot someone who illegally enters your property? What happens if you kill them?

But what about in public? If say, someone noticed this Jared fellow in Arizona drawing out his weapon, and shot and killed him. before he used the gun. Is that legal? Even if you have no idea that he was actually going to shoot anyone?

I mean if you can legally carry these types of weapons and then you pull it out (say absentmindedly) in a public place, is that legal? And if it causes someone around you to act and pull their gun out and point it at you, is that legal?

I understand you can legally carry a weapon, but when is it legal to actually use it?

meljomur's picture
meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

Your right, there are lots of rules and they differ from location to location. So when is it legal to use a gun depends on where you are standing at the time.

Speaking for my location. One cannot use a gun on a trespasser, but they can use the gun to protect their person, or persons, or property from threats from a trespasser. For example, if you ask a person on your property to leave and they don't, you need to call the Sheriff. If that same person swings an axe at your head, you may now shoot him.

Displaying a gun in public is not illegal, but hiding it is. In other words, holding the gun out in the open is the legal activity, putting it inside a coat pocket is the illegal activity, unless you have a concealed permit of course. Therefore, of course, you cannot use your gun on someone who is simply displaying theirs. Now if someone displays intent to do harm, such as discharging their weapon, or pointing the weapon and announcing intent to kill, then someone else would be covered under Good Samaritan laws for using their own gun.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Depending on the state, you can shoot and kill someone at your front door. A visitor from outside the US got address wrong for a Halloween party and scared the people at the home he had stopped at to ask for directions, shot dead, perfectly legal, TX.

Two unarmed individuals on a neighbor's property carrying trashbags from neighbor's home at the same time 911 was called, the caller shot them both dead, perfectly legal, TX.

In another state, a birdwatcher shot and killed a stray cat that was stalking a rare bird he had been observing. Legislation enacted within a month or two made it illegal to shoot cats, neighbor's or stray.

So you can shoot and kill humans in US, but not cats.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Any stories that seem very clear cut (i.e., two guys walked across a guy's lawn and wewre shot for trespassing), find out the full story. There's always more to it. If there wasn't, these stories would be ballyhooed by the anti-gun lobby 24 hrs. a day; it'd never go away. Generally speaking, a person in legal possession of a firearm, whether on one's own property or whether confronted on the street, can use that firearm to defend themself and/or a threatened third party, if there is a reasonable perception of imminent serious injury or death. Each case is decided on its merits, but that is the general standard, and that includes police officers and federal agents. Case in point: locally, a young man broke into a rural house in the early morning hours. The sole occupant, an elderly man (whose house had been broken into before), got his shotgun and hit the intruder with a load of birdshot. It didn't kill the intruder, but it surely broke his heart (and his backside, where he took the brunt of the birdshot). Easy call; the prosecutor refused to file charges against the home owner. The intruder (a multi-convicted felon) is going to the calaboose. Less easy would be a street confrontation. Very dicey, and you'd better be sure you can clearly enunciate your case.

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cpp224
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It is true that some people who have been fed on the protect your property meme have shot burglars and had to face the courts for wrongful death prosecutions. Judge, Jury and Executioner is not acceptable everywhere; but there are places where it is.

When the burglar is trying to break in, the home owner is less likely to get off for blasting him instead of yelling at him. If he is in the house, the self-protection argument gains a lot of credibility. The problem is that guns in the house can become what the unarmed intruder uses to protect himself against the homeowner.

There are many things we could do as a society to reduce crime and make our homes more secure. Being alone side by side is not how a community secures itself. Engaging in radical self-interest and lack of concern about how the rest of the neighborhood is doing is not healthy. Your economic interest even depends upon them, so not being engaged in our communities puts the whole enterprise at risk.

Solving that by carrying a gun ain't gonna happen.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Americans obsession with guns is fascinating to observe and beyond the understanding of rational peoples of the world. Bring up the conversation of Americans love and enthrallment of guns in Scandinavia and they just shake their heads in disbelief and pity. Putting preeminence on owing guns becomes a raison d' etre, before family, friends, and decidedly before reason.

Even in my most zealous gun owning period.... when I fired in competition and reloaded my own...it was unsettling to observe others around me so obsessed with their weapons. Going through the CHP academy was an eye opening experience of how the typical LE mind worked.....and they were better than most.

Never joined the NRA and often protested against them....just never understood.... could not grok how guns could have such control over regular decent human beings. Must have been that Scandinavian DNA....

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Their take on the Founders' Intent is some of the most amazing rewrite stuff ever. The Second Amendment is clearly the response to not having a standing army and nothing else.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

Their take on the Founders' Intent is some of the most amazing rewrite stuff ever. The Second Amendment is clearly the response to not having a standing army and nothing else.

I agree, and for many years did not own a firearm. However, I do now. My justification is that I want to be as well armed as anyone who would break into my house. I don't want to have to battle an intruder with a stick, who is armed with a gun.When it's "OK" to use it is another matter, though.

My brother and I argued this question. I say that if I wake up in the middle of the night and there is someone in my house, they should fully expect to be shot, just as I would expect that if I were to break into another person's house. I think that is reasonable. I should not have to question a person, derive their intent, and then shoot them. That, to me, would be a pre-meditation, as opposed to an understandable, albeit impulsive, act meant to secure my property.

Don't get me wrong, though. If I ever killed anyone, it would scar me for life, no matter if I was justified or not.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

What carrying a gun, especially in your own home, solves is your immediate protection against an intruder. The cases about a gun being taken away from a homeowner and used against him/her are so few (if any) as to be statistically meaningless. Homeowners who have defended their homes and themselves are legion. Admittedly, the improvement in society that would reduce crime is something to constantly strive for by all good citizens. But until the day that that happens, people need to have the ability to protect themselves.

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cpp224
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It really is sad how much Americans fear one another.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I should not have to question a person, derive their intent, and then shoot them. That, to me, would be a pre-meditation, as opposed to an understandable, albeit impulsive, act meant to secure my property.

In most European countries, securing property [your words] does not warrant a death sentence. Property is important, but life is generally more important, except to a materialist. Florida passed a law recently allowing a resident to shoot someone at their door 'don't shoot the Avon Lady' law or something similar. When an assisted living Alzheimers patient wanders into your house or apartment because they are lost, you can kill them.

http://rackjite.com/archives/3406-Gale-and-Shelia-Muhs,-Texas-Rebs-Kill-7-year-old-Trespasser.html

http://rackjite.com/archives/987-Dec-8-Update-Texas-Hero-Joe-Horn-Shoots-2-Unarmed-Black-Men-in-the-Back.html

it's ok in TX, grand jury said so.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote meljomur:

It really is sad how much Americans fear one another.

I don't fear everyone in America. I just choose to prepare myself against the possibility that one of them might want to harm and rob me. It has happened to others here and abroad. I'd be very surprised if Great Britton were a a place where people never harm each other.

Does anyone in GB own a vicious dog? I'd rather have a gun I can control than a dog I can't. That's just me...

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

If you look at some of the comparitive staistics in terms of criminal justice issues between the U.S and the other Western democracies, the rates of police brutality in thje U.S stand in stark contrast to the other western democracies.. I think this fact coorelates to the issue of gun ownership in terms of our national obssesion with punishing and fearing the "bad guys" out there. What else cause people to go against the odds that your home gun is more likely to kill a family member or friend than a criminal. I understand the desire for saftey that is seemingly alleviated by owning a gun,but there are deeper issues when yoiu look at the society as a whole.

On a personal note for those who do not think Texas laws for shooting folks on your property are indeed much more lax than other states. My Wife"s Brother was shot a few years ago for simply being inside the apartment of his girlfriend who had a restraining order against him. Shot as in dead by the way. The door was opened he walked in and had a belligrent attitude but never touched anyone. Some guy shot him in the face with a shotgun. No charges whatsoever. Also my wife's family received few details since the privacy of the shooter was at stake

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mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote mattnapa:

If you look at some of the comparitive staistics in terms of criminal justice issues between the U.S and the other Western democracies, the rates of police brutality in thje U.S stand in stark contrast to the other western democracies.. I think this fact coorelates to the issue of gun ownership in terms of our national obssesion with punishing and fearing the "bad guys" out there. What else cause people to go against the odds that your home gun is more likely to kill a family member or friend than a criminal. I understand the desire for saftey that is seemingly alleviated by owning a gun,but there are deeper issues when yoiu look at the society as a whole.

I agree to a point, it's just that I'm not volunteering to be the person who makes society a better place by not being armed when someone busts into my house. I realize that a world where fire arms were taboo would be a better place. Yet, with human nature being what it is, I can't help but think that if all guns disappeared at once, mankind would immediately re-embrace the next deadliest thing. We still carry the genetic memory of hunters and gatherers and, most importantly, competitors in the human struggle for dominance, not just survival. I'm not excusing it...just observing.

On a personal note for those who do not think Texas laws for shooting folks on your property are indeed much more lax than other states. My Wife"s Brother was shot a few years ago for simply being inside the apartment of his girlfriend who had a restraining order against him. Shot as in dead by the way. The door was opened he walked in and had a belligrent attitude but never touched anyone. Some guy shot him in the face with a shotgun. No charges whatsoever. Also my wife's family received few details since the privacy of the shooter was at stake

I hate to say it, but he had a restraining order for a reason. The fact that he was willing to break the law and enter uninvited makes me think that he was unstable and maybe the people in the apartment had reason to fear. As for shooting him in the face, only they know what happened.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

So getting a restraining order is the same as getting a license to kill. I didn't know that. Are you allowed to have an insurance policy on a person you have the restraining order on? Can you ask the restrained individual to your property to just talk, as long as he comes unarmed? Restraining orders are sometimes defined within a certain distance. 50 yards might be survivable with a shotgun, Cheney would know.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I wonder if by nature, Americans are just a much more violent group of people.

To me, the fact that a person feels the need to own a gun, is because they are afraid of the people around them. But perhaps this is necessary in the USA.

God I am glad I don't live there any longer.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The laws vary greatly from state to state. When I went to the Police Academy 31 years ago (in California) the law had just changed so that Police Officers could NOT shoot "fleeing felons". This law had been on the books SO long that it was ingrained in my fellow officers. Us young guys were repeatedly drilled NOT to shoot fleeing felons out of fear that the tradition would continue in spite of the change in the law. I was only a cop for about a year and a half when I took my current job with the DoD. As a DoD guard we still carry the same weapons; Pepper Spray, Tazers, Batons and Handguns as our Law Enforcement brothers do, but the "rules of engagement" are quite different. As a Cop I couldn't shoot anyone in a public place unless there was an immediate threat to myself or other innocent people. Police are actually quite reluctant to shoot anybody due to the complexities of the laws. Sure, you hear about the flagrant shootings of innocent people by police all the time, but they are actually quite rare when compared to the thousands of times a cop COULD HAVE shot someone legally and didn't. As a DoD guard we are protecting an Ordnance Facility and are on Private Property. Technically we can not shoot someone unless they are a direct threat to us or innocents, except we are also protecting Military Property and Ordnance. Basically, "inside the wire" we could shoot almost anyone who even remotely posed a threat, the same as you could shoot someone entering your bedroom in the middle of the night. A private citizen or a Security Guard is far more likely to get away with killing a person than a Police Officer is. Sounds backwards, doesn't it? But it's true. I've trained dozens of young men and women over the past 30 years and I do know of what I speak. Basically, if you are threatened, or FEEL threatened you can shoot a person in self defense. Whether it was a "good shoot" or not will be decided by lawyers, a judge, and 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of Jury Duty...

Good Luck!

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Randy95023
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Oct. 20, 2010 3:13 am

Owning and Using are not the same thing.

The Gun Lobby is only interersted in selling guns and associated paraphenalia. They could care less whether you ever use the thing (unless using one will lead you to want to buy another one).

Convincing someone that they should buy your wares, even if there isn't much of a chance they will actually ever use it, is called Salesmanship.

Getting someone to pay $200 for $5 worth of metal is called Great Salesmanship.

The laws are as varied as our jurisdictions. The common thread is the selective enforcement of those laws.

One man's "packing" is another man's "brandishing".

Former-Marines don't need to do either :)

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Rodger97321
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What I want to is this item made it to American Rifleman's Armed Citizen column

<!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } -->

I can relate to some degree. I started to lose support for the NRA when I learned that they supported parts of CGA68 that was good for the manufactures' bottom line while shafting small time gunsmiths and lower income farmers and hunters. The fanatical ranting and lies from the leadership finished the job.

I think there are two reasons for your answer. I read a book by a FSU criminologist that showed parallels temperance movement. Emotional hysteria from Brady et al results in blow back with stupidity on the other. My personal theory is that less enlightened members of the shooting sports community started going down that road because they are brain washed that all progressives are evil and gun grabbing. First the second amendment, then the rest of the bill of rights follow. Some one like me and maybe you freak them out. Why? It occurred to me when I read Grover Norquest being keynote speaker at one of their convention. He seemed like an odd person to be there, but here is my conspiracy theory. The NRA wheels are in bed with the corporatists in a divide an conquer strategy. Divide union members to vote against their economic interests. To a lesser degree, it puts urban and rural progressives against each other.

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garyej
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You obviously have no idea about the history of our gun laws and why they have been in place. The funny thing is it's always the Liberals or people from Europe always complaining.

Do you know the first public laws that were was put in place the last 6 genocides?

Do you remember a guy named Hitlor???

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dsdomin27
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Mar. 31, 2013 9:54 am

You're allowed to shoot and kill unarmed people fleeing you in TX. Shooting in the back is OK in TX, if they shoplifted or have a big purse. In FL you can kill an unarmed attempted car burglar running from the car, even if the car was unlocked and the door open with a cd in the front seat. You can shoot to kill unarmed fleeing alleged burglars in your vicinity, not on your property, or even near your property, in TX. You can shoot and kill unarmed petty thieves fleeing by car with children in the car, in TX.

Hitler's gun control

The NRA was most vociferous FOR gun control when blacks started carrying them. Muslims should jointly seek conceal carry permits. An AR-15 can be concealed under a robe. Sikhs can hide a pistol under their beards. Both Sikhs and Muslims can conceal in their turbins.

The NRA is quite happy for massacres, gun sales spike. Hedge fund managers go long after each mass shooting. The best of all is when a psycopath picks a slow selling model to slaughter with. The killer's model is always the one that spikes the most in sales.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It depends on the situation I public if you are in fear of your life or others lives ie a robbery or shooting his happening you can stop it. However you may not want to intervene incase the shooter you stop in undercover police. Best course of action is to flee the situation. If the threat follows you than you can fight back.

If you are at home and some one breaks in they are fair game.

But as stated it depends on your local laws, a conceal carry class would be the best place to start.

firearm owner
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Jan. 18, 2013 9:52 am

Whew!!!!

When I saw the user meljomur back on the board, all I could think of was what happened back in Dec 2010. I can repost the deleted threads if anyone's interested.

So how many decent liberals and progressives who simply protested M's baseless accusations were banned in that purge?

Which reminds me, I'd like my old user name back... ulTRAX

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Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 2:19 pm
Quote meljomur:

Okay, I don't understand the gun laws in America. I also don't agree with them. But they are there, so be it.

Now can someone please explain to me when it is legal to actually use your gun in the USA? I suppose different states have different laws (which I suspect can get a bit confusing).

For example, is it legal to shoot someone who illegally enters your property? What happens if you kill them?

But what about in public? If say, someone noticed this Jared fellow in Arizona drawing out his weapon, and shot and killed him. before he used the gun. Is that legal? Even if you have no idea that he was actually going to shoot anyone?

I mean if you can legally carry these types of weapons and then you pull it out (say absentmindedly) in a public place, is that legal? And if it causes someone around you to act and pull their gun out and point it at you, is that legal?

I understand you can legally carry a weapon, but when is it legal to actually use it?

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TChamp3121
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Nov. 16, 2010 5:20 pm

Look. You are reading too much into this. It is really quite simple. Currently, in the U.S., if someone wants to harm or kill you, you have a right to protect yourself or your loved ones with letahl force if necesary. Your actions will be reviewed by the D. A., and tried if they feel appropriate. Despite the left wing propaganda machine, we in the U.S. value life! Someone that tries to snuff out innocent life deserves to be killed. Period!

So, when is it legal to use your gun?! When you feel that your life, or the life of your loved ones or others (good samaitans) is in immediate jeapardy. If it passes this litmus test, I think you are o.k.

The gun is a last resort measure. But, very often people push us to this limit. And, so be it. But, in your mind and heart, you should try to resolve differences thruough discussion first. Hope and try for the best, but be prepared for the worst, as the saying goes. We live in a troubled world. And, Evil DOES exist. And, sometimes others are unwilling to have a dialoug for conflict resolution. In those cases, We are left with very little options other than force on force.

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TChamp3121
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Nov. 16, 2010 5:20 pm

What you have to remember is that guns are a just a “tool” that:

a) can be used to shoot family members that you mistakenly identify as home intruders,

b) you can use to shoot your neighbors when their dog poops on your porch or they party too loudly,

b) your children can use to accidentally shoot themselves and/or their friends,

c) you can use to accidentally shoot yourself (e.g., when cleaning them, removing them from a carrying case or holster, in a hunting accident, etc.),

d) you can use to "accidentally shoot your friends" (e.g., like the Cheney did in a hunting accident) or innocent bystanders (e.g., when trying to stop a 'bad guy with a gun', at a gun show, etc.), and

e) are a very efficient means of committing suicide; usually works like a charm the first time, every time (although they do tend to make a mess of things)!

However, look at the brighter side of the situation: Every gun nut who kills him or herself (whether accidentally or on purpose) raises the average IQ of the US population by several points!

Gary the Gun Nut
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Feb. 3, 2013 3:16 pm

I just noticed. Good to see you again, Mel. It's been quite awhile.

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

We don't FEAR one another . Violent crimes occur all over the world. I have a right to bear arms a nd I choose to do so. I would NEVER want to be in a position where it was necessary to shoot anyone and think if it can be avoided it should be. However if me or my family are in danger it sure is nice to know I can defend myself. The only people i FEAR are te illegally armed criminals. Law abiding gun owners daren't the ones committing the crimes.

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Bikervince
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Aug. 18, 2013 9:30 pm

Your iQ must be very low if you think your post is accurate. Just because some states may be a little too loose with their laws doesn't give you the right to believe everyone with a gun is wreck less. Wake up dude!!

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Bikervince
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Aug. 18, 2013 9:30 pm

Displaying a gun in public IS illegal in a concealed carry state like NY. If you brandish your pistol you better have a reason to use it or you can be arrested.

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Bikervince
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THP Danielle's picture
THP Danielle
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Feb. 8, 2013 3:19 pm
Quote douglaslee:

So getting a restraining order is the same as getting a license to kill. I didn't know that. Are you allowed to have an insurance policy on a person you have the restraining order on? Can you ask the restrained individual to your property to just talk, as long as he comes unarmed? Restraining orders are sometimes defined within a certain distance. 50 yards might be survivable with a shotgun, Cheney would know.

Tell that to Marissa Alexander.

i forget, is Cheney white?

drbjmn
Joined:
Jul. 22, 2013 5:52 am
Quote mattnapa:

If you look at some of the comparitive staistics in terms of criminal justice issues between the U.S and the other Western democracies, the rates of police brutality in thje U.S stand in stark contrast to the other western democracies.. I think this fact coorelates to the issue of gun ownership in terms of our national obssesion with punishing and fearing the "bad guys" out there. What else cause people to go against the odds that your home gun is more likely to kill a family member or friend than a criminal. I understand the desire for saftey that is seemingly alleviated by owning a gun,but there are deeper issues when yoiu look at the society as a whole.

On a personal note for those who do not think Texas laws for shooting folks on your property are indeed much more lax than other states. My Wife"s Brother was shot a few years ago for simply being inside the apartment of his girlfriend who had a restraining order against him. Shot as in dead by the way. The door was opened he walked in and had a belligrent attitude but never touched anyone. Some guy shot him in the face with a shotgun. No charges whatsoever. Also my wife's family received few details since the privacy of the shooter was at stake

Restraining orders are issued for a reason, that being said they can't protect you like a gun can. Sounds like he earned a shot to the face.

firearm owner
Joined:
Jan. 18, 2013 9:52 am
Quote Bikervince:

Your iQ must be very low if you think your post is accurate. Just because some states may be a little too loose with their laws doesn't give you the right to believe everyone with a gun is wreck less. Wake up dude!!

If you have a gun and are wreck less, I assume your car insurance premiums reflect that. However, I don't have your iQ, though I do have an IQ score. Is an iQ a new measure to weight the questions to reflect the personal cultural differences that appeared biased against rednecks, or blacks, or non-eurocentric backgrounds? Tea party iQ tests would be welcome I think. Since they are also home schooled it would be only fair.

ie: A hand to a glove is like a) peg to a hole b) Key to ignition c) republican beastialitist

Answer C, the hand is human, the glove is sheep skin, answer a and b are inanimate, answer C is human/animal. When gloves start being made from tanned donkey skin the answer would change. Republicans engaging in beastiality won't poke an ass, those sodomy laws you know.

//

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douglaslee
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Time to Rethink the War on Terror

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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

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