PDA

View Full Version : Legality of shooting someone stealing your guns


steelrain82
10-06-2011, 10:05 PM
So I walked into my house the other day after coming home from school and the blinds in my room move like someone had just went through them. I instantly thought of my gun and someone stealing it. It ended up just being my cat. O if it was someone trying to escape with my rifle and I pulled my pistol and shot them to prevent escape what would possibly happen.

Two different worlds but when I was in, if we caught someone stealing weapons we were authorized to use deadly force since it was a threat to national security. Never happened but it was legit order if it happened. So I figure wouldn't it be similar since now with a weapon they would be a threat to society?

The Shadow
10-06-2011, 10:06 PM
If they got one of my guns, they're armed. Nuff said.

Grumpyoldretiredcop
10-06-2011, 10:08 PM
A peace officer can use deadly force against a fleeing felony suspect if the suspect is a proximate danger to the community. A citizen may use deadly force only if they or another person is in immediate danger of death, great bodily harm or injury. That does not include a suspect fleeing with one of your firearms unless they are preparing to fire/are firing at you or another person. Shooting a fleeing theft suspect who has just stolen your firearm, if the person does not pose an immediate threat of death, great bodily harm or injury to you or someone else - and you must be able to articulate the immediate threat; speculation is not sufficient - will land you in state prison. Period.

taperxz
10-06-2011, 10:10 PM
If they don't point them at you and you shoot them in the back be prepared to be on trial for murder. Not saying you will be convicted! Just be prepared for the wrath of CA.

a1c
10-06-2011, 10:16 PM
If they don't point them at you and you shoot them in the back be prepared to be on trial for murder. Not saying you will be convicted! Just be prepared for the wrath of CA.

Well, in Lake County, not necessarily. Remember the Hughes trial? :D

Doheny
10-06-2011, 10:22 PM
The short answer is that you don't shoot someone (or your cat) for a property crime (theft, in this case.) This would especially be the case if they were already outside of the house and making a run for it.

Obviously, if someone is in your house and has one of your guns and it's pointed at you, that's a different story.

.

taperxz
10-06-2011, 10:24 PM
Well, in Lake County, not necessarily. Remember the Hughes trial? :D

Who was the sheriff and DA? LOL

InGrAM
10-06-2011, 10:25 PM
If they are in your home. Shoot them.

swilson
10-06-2011, 10:50 PM
Something strange was going on so I went to investigate. The burglar appeared suddenly inside my home holding a gun. I thought I was going to be shot. I felt threatened and feared for my life, and that's why I shot him officer.

Mstrty
10-06-2011, 10:55 PM
Time to repost the Joe Horn 911 call. Not because it is relevant buy just because it is so funny.
_7jqLie6-Y0

email
10-06-2011, 11:12 PM
You can't shoot someone fleeing, but it's ok to rip their arm off and beat them with it for about 9 seconds. Then you must stop.

a1c
10-06-2011, 11:22 PM
Who was the sheriff and DA? LOL

Mitchell and Hopkins. Granted - although Hopkins was not particularly conservative. But that was just a few years ago.

Hey, that old lady some weeks ago shot that drunk guy who was trying to get into her house (probably thinking it was his buddy's), and she didn't get prosecuted. Good for her.

stix213
10-07-2011, 1:23 AM
This is an interesting question

What if someone stole a firearm, and you chased them. Then during your chase they aimed it at you, so you then fired.

steelrain82
10-07-2011, 7:39 AM
I understand the whole fleeing aspect of it but I thought about if I visibly see them with a weapon. I wasn't going to shoot my cat, the scenario was just an after thought of the situation and had me wondering. Not only are they stealing, but now they have a weapon and who knows what they are going to use it for. I would think it would be better to stop them then and there then after they have possibly shot someone or given the gun to someone who will.

adrenaline
10-07-2011, 7:44 AM
This is an interesting question

What if someone stole a firearm, and you chased them. Then during your chase they aimed it at you, so you then fired.
Or you took a short cut (cut them off) and they ended up facing you with your firearm pointed at you. :43:

lawaia
10-07-2011, 8:02 AM
This is an interesting question

What if someone stole a firearm, and you chased them. Then during your chase they aimed it at you, so you then fired.

You shouldn't have been chasing them. That's LE's job.

OP, you cannot shoot someone to "prevent their escape", whether they are armed or not.

I open carry
10-07-2011, 8:09 AM
Something strange was going on so I went to investigate. The burglar appeared suddenly inside my home holding a gun. I thought I was going to be shot. I felt threatened and feared for my life, and that's why I shot him officer.
and then STFU. Do not say another word until you talk to a lawyer.

IrishPirate
10-07-2011, 8:17 AM
you have to be in imminent danger to shoot someone. You can't shoot to stop or shoot to hurt, you are ONLY allowed to shoot to KILL. period. Only time you can ever shoot someone. You don't get downgraded because you didn't try to kill them. So unless they are pointing the gun at you, you can't shoot them. You're in your home though so you can point your gun at them and tell them to stop (not something you can do outside the home) but until your LIFE is in danger, you can't pull the trigger.

CA does NOT look kindly on killing over property. You would be crucified in this state and used as a poster child for the anti's. "Crazy gun nuts shoot first and ask questions later..." do you really want to be THAT guy over some wood and metal???

IrishPirate
10-07-2011, 8:21 AM
Something strange was going on so I went to investigate. The burglar appeared suddenly inside my home holding a gun. I thought I was going to be shot. I felt threatened and feared for my life, and that's why I shot him officer.

that's already too much information. This is what you tell your lawyer. all you tell the cops is "i want to speak to my lawyer". Don't make the mistake of saying anything else. Even the most well thought out, best intended, sounds good to us pro-gunners statement can be twisted around and when it comes down to it, juries believe police testimony over the accused.

STFU and don't talk to cops unless you're telling them you want a lawyer.

Tacobandit
10-07-2011, 8:28 AM
You could make a legitimate defense of public safety ylthat someone would steal a firearm to use at a later date to cause serious bodily injury or death. On a side note....get a gun safe

Smokeybehr
10-07-2011, 8:37 AM
Something strange was going on so I went to investigate. The burglar appeared suddenly inside my home holding a gun. I thought I was going to be shot. I felt threatened and feared for my life , and that's why I shot him officer. I would be happy to assist you in your investigation, but I will not answer any more questions until I speak with my lawyer.

FIFY.

a1c
10-07-2011, 8:51 AM
You could make a legitimate defense of public safety ylthat someone would steal a firearm to use at a later date to cause serious bodily injury or death.

No.

On a side note....get a gun safe

Yes.

lawaia
10-07-2011, 9:16 AM
you have to be in imminent danger to shoot someone. You can't shoot to stop or shoot to hurt, you are ONLY allowed to shoot to KILL. period. Only time you can ever shoot someone. You don't get downgraded because you didn't try to kill them. So unless they are pointing the gun at you, you can't shoot them. You're in your home though so you can point your gun at them and tell them to stop (not something you can do outside the home) but until your LIFE is in danger, you can't pull the trigger.

CA does NOT look kindly on killing over property. You would be crucified in this state and used as a poster child for the anti's. "Crazy gun nuts shoot first and ask questions later..." do you really want to be THAT guy over some wood and metal???

WRONG.

You do not ever shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat, when you are in reasonable fear of grave bodily injury or death. The BG's death may, however, be an unfortunate side-effect from you defending yourself.

Suvorov
10-07-2011, 9:37 AM
Good Rule of Thumb when ever considering the use of lethal force:

1. Does the goblin have the ability to do physical harm to you or others?
2. Does the goblin have the opportunity to do physical harm to you or others?
3. Has the goblin demonstrated the intent to do physical harm to you or others?

This is known as reasonable belief and is pretty much the standard that even LEOs are held to in self defense shootings.

So a guy running out of your house with your guns?
He probably has the ability and opportunity (he is armed and in your house) to do you physical harm but unless he somehow threatens you (by verbal or physical actions like pointing a weapon at you or charging you), then he has not shown the intent to do harm to you.

Obviously "castle doctrine" and LEO department SOP will modify this.

D-Man
10-07-2011, 9:43 AM
WRONG.

You do not ever shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat, when you are in reasonable fear of grave bodily injury or death. The BG's death may, however, be an unfortunate side-effect from you defending yourself.

Someone has paid attention in class!

xGearbox
10-07-2011, 10:04 AM
The easiest way to stop a threat with maximum assurance is to kill them.

That might be my Marine Corps style of thinking, though. :63:

lawaia
10-07-2011, 10:08 AM
The easiest way to stop a threat with maximum assurance is to kill them.

That might be my Marine Corps style of thinking, though. :63:

Yeah, but we live in a civilian world. And in this civilian world, if you go in front of a jury and tell them that you shot with the intent to kill, you are in a bad spot.

xGearbox
10-07-2011, 10:16 AM
I can sense that you're not former or current military and that you probably didn't interpret that as satire. It's all good.

I would go to my lawyer on how to behave myself in court. My intentions for doing what I do will continue to be genuine: to stop a threat. I'm not skilled enough to pull some John Woo stuff and shoot the gun out of his hand so I'll try the next best thing.

vmwerks
10-07-2011, 10:23 AM
If they got one of my guns, they're armed. Nuff said.

Not really - you or someone else have to be in imminent danger.

lawaia
10-07-2011, 10:55 AM
I can sense that you're not former or current military and that you probably didn't interpret that as satire. It's all good.

I would go to my lawyer on how to behave myself in court. My intentions for doing what I do will continue to be genuine: to stop a threat. I'm not skilled enough to pull some John Woo stuff and shoot the gun out of his hand so I'll try the next best thing.

Sorry I missed the satire.:)

bwiese
10-07-2011, 10:57 AM
Shooting a fleeing theft suspect who has just stolen your firearm, if the person does not pose an immediate threat of death, great bodily harm or injury to you or someone else - and you must be able to articulate the immediate threat; speculation is not sufficient - will land you in state prison. Period.

Exactly.

I'm always surprised these questions even come up.

Flopper
10-07-2011, 10:57 AM
A peace officer can use deadly force against a fleeing felony suspect if the suspect is a proximate danger to the community. A citizen may use deadly force only if they or another person is in immediate danger of death, great bodily harm or injury. That does not include a suspect fleeing with one of your firearms unless they are preparing to fire/are firing at you or another person. Shooting a fleeing theft suspect who has just stolen your firearm, if the person does not pose an immediate threat of death, great bodily harm or injury to you or someone else - and you must be able to articulate the immediate threat; speculation is not sufficient - will land you in state prison. Period.

Isn't it interesting how you said the same thing in two different ways, but at the end of the day LEO's can only use deadly force in the same situations as "civilians?"

bwiese
10-07-2011, 10:58 AM
If they got one of my guns, they're armed. Nuff said.

Go straight to prison - I'm interpreting your statement that you think that it's OK to shoot in a 'general possession of arms' condition, which it is NOT.

steelrain82
10-07-2011, 11:10 AM
I know the most likely outcome, it was just a thought I had running through my mind seeing how (two different worlds) in the military I was taught from that even if a person is fleeing after stealing weapons they are now a national threat as they can use that weapon to kill or injure, and we could put them down. I know the civilian world is different but if this hypothetical event happened and my for some people who aren't as gun law savvy and are out of the service would using this defense possibly be helpful. The thief is now in possession of weapons that are a threat to society in the wrong hands.

gunsmith
10-07-2011, 11:18 AM
I'm always amazed that people use the term "shoot to kill" .
Shooting is always deadly force, never use the term "shoot to kill".

Also, inevitably in these threads you get the same old fud about "you cant shoot him in the back" as if Judges/Juries/Prosecutors only follow what they learned from B movie westerns. If the criminal is a threat to ( for instance ) a loved one and you are directly behind him - he does not have to turn around before you can shoot him.

tiki
10-07-2011, 11:27 AM
http://www.sacramentotoday.net/news/templates/community.asp?articleid=1979&zoneid=1

jamesob
10-07-2011, 12:03 PM
they are armed, KAPOWWY

dantodd
10-07-2011, 12:17 PM
You shouldn't have been chasing them. That's LE's job.


No, it is society's job, just because some people are paid to do the job doesn't mean WE no longer carry an obligation. Abdication of such responsibility is just one of the many things that happen when we, as a people, become lazy.

email
10-07-2011, 12:25 PM
If they are stealing your guns, you'll need to get one back to shoot them.

:BRB:

lawaia
10-07-2011, 1:31 PM
No, it is society's job, just because some people are paid to do the job doesn't mean WE no longer carry an obligation. Abdication of such responsibility is just one of the many things that happen when we, as a people, become lazy.

While I admire your nobility, there is a reality to this situation. My obligation to protect and defend ends when the threat to me or my family has ended.

You are chasing down a BG that you know is ARMED with one of your own guns. You are creating the situation where you will possibly (likely) have to shoot (maybe thereby killing) this individual if they fight back when cornered or caught. At what point have you tried to de-escalate the situation? You have forced the issue, because he was already running away from you. Most cornered or trapped animals fight back. The BG did not bring the fight to you, you forced it upon him. Think about how a jury might view that.

Don't forget also that you are putting yourself into a situation where you could possibly be shot and/or killed. I prefer to live another day to buy a replacement gun and spend time with my family.:)

If chasing armed BG'S is what floats your boat, then I hope you are LE. If not, we'll be seeing you in prison or the morgue or the food line.

Tacobandit
10-07-2011, 11:44 PM
No.



Yes.

Actually yes, In Common law, the Fleeing Felon Rule permits the use of force, including deadly force, against an individual who is suspected of a felony and is in clear flight.[citation needed] Force may be used by the victim, bystanders, or police officers.[citation needed] In some jurisprudence failure to use such force was a misdemeanor which could result in a fine or imprisonment.[citation needed] According to David Caplan "Immediate stopping of the fleeing felon, whether actually or presumably dangerous, was deemed absolutely necessary for the security of the people in a free state, and for maintaining the "public security." ... "[citation needed] Indeed, it has been said that the social policy of the common law in this matter was not only to threaten dangerous felons and hence deter them, but was also to induce them to "surrender peaceably" if they dared commit inherently dangerous felonies, rather than allow them to "escape trial for their crime.

In a situation where a firearm is stolen you CAN use deadly force to stop the suspects flight, it is a public risk to allow a felon to leave a scene with a firearm as it can legally be assumed that the firearm will be used to commit crimes involving the threat or use of violence resulting in serious bodily death or injury.

I have nearly a decade experience in the legal system making arrests and interpreting laws including testifying on the stand. I have been on homicide investigations involving where a victims liquore store was robbed at gun point and as the suspect was fleeing the scene the store owners son came out of the back office and put 2 rounds in the guys back killing him, NO CHARGES FILED. I may have just a tiny bit of knowledge about what I am talking about.

Fossil
10-08-2011, 12:21 AM
This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of an apparently unarmed suspected felon. We conclude that such force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

That's straight from Tennessee V Garner (1985) the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared that shooting all fleeing felons was in violation of the 4th amendment.
I would say unless said burglar is presenting an immediate threat towards you or another person let them go it isn't worth it. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your firearms were improperly stored you may be on the hook for some of the liability from their misuse.

Tacobandit
10-08-2011, 12:44 AM
This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of an apparently unarmed suspected felon. We conclude that such force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

That's straight from Tennessee V Garner (1985) the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared that shooting all fleeing felons was in violation of the 4th amendment.
I would say unless said burglar is presenting an immediate threat towards you or another person let them go it isn't worth it. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your firearms were improperly stored you may be on the hook for some of the liability from their misuse.


That is a ruling against OFFICERS, you are a citizen you are not bound by the 4th amendment and it simply states that officers must have PROBABLE CAUSE before they can shoot, not that they can not shoot ever. As much as the board wants to downgrade officers to that of ordinary citizens its not going to happen the courts have all ready ruled that officers are not the same as citizens and must follow stricter rules then citizens in situations like this, also Garner was in reference to an unarmed fleeing felon not a felon you know to be armed. In the situation given you would be within the fleeing felon law if you would shoot.

You are correct though that improper firearm storage could result in civil litigation.

Fossil
10-08-2011, 1:16 AM
Taco you missed my point entirely... I also recommend you drink some decaf this early in the morning instead of trying to YELL words you think are important.

Yes Tennessee V Garner is directed at peace officers, but my point was simply. That as a plain civilian to shoot a fleeing burglar you better have a better reason than, "he is running away from me with my unloaded firearm that he just stole from my house" of course that's assuming proper storage. Also keep in mind that if you do decide to shoot this burglar, and miss your target striking little Timmy playing basketball you're now going to have your colon cleaned out by a steel bore brush as you are sent up river to prison.

Back to the OP's original question:
http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/Cfl2006.pdf
Here's some good reading material even though it is from 2006 it is still relevant. It covers many of the aspects of self defense and the use of firearms when doing so for non-peace officers.

Tacobandit
10-08-2011, 7:46 AM
Taco you missed my point entirely... I also recommend you drink some decaf this early in the morning instead of trying to YELL words you think are important.

Yes Tennessee V Garner is directed at peace officers, but my point was simply. That as a plain civilian to shoot a fleeing burglar you better have a better reason than, "he is running away from me with my unloaded firearm that he just stole from my house" of course that's assuming proper storage. Also keep in mind that if you do decide to shoot this burglar, and miss your target striking little Timmy playing basketball you're now going to have your colon cleaned out by a steel bore brush as you are sent up river to prison.

Back to the OP's original question:
http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/Cfl2006.pdf
Here's some good reading material even though it is from 2006 it is still relevant. It covers many of the aspects of self defense and the use of firearms when doing so for non-peace officers.


Dont drink coffee, cap locks are used for emphasis, not yelling. Also there is a little think called intent, your intent is to stop a fleeing felon, even with transferred intent which infers that if you are trying to shoot someone to cause them SBI or death and you kill timmy then you would be going to prison because your INTENT was to cause SBI. In the OP's scenario you are attempting to stop a fleeing felon, who will at a later date cause SBI to someone else with a stolen firearm. You will be open to civil litigation though. As I have stated earlier, get a safe and store your firearms properly to avoid every aspect of this scenario.

NotEnufGarage
10-08-2011, 7:58 AM
Shoot, Shovel, Shut-up?

zman
10-08-2011, 11:35 AM
Time to repost the Joe Horn 911 call. Not because it is relevant buy just because it is so funny.
_7jqLie6-Y0

Anybody know what happened to Joe after the incident?

steelrain82
10-08-2011, 12:15 PM
His case was dismissed by the grand jury. When went outside he ordered the guys to stop and one came at him onto his property so he shot him. A cop saw the incident and did not arrest him.

Grumpyoldretiredcop
10-08-2011, 12:21 PM
Isn't it interesting how you said the same thing in two different ways, but at the end of the day LEO's can only use deadly force in the same situations as "civilians?"

Read more carefully. I did not say the same thing two different ways. Hint: There's a difference between "proximate danger to the community" and "imminent danger of death, great bodily harm or injury". The distinction is important.

Flopper
10-09-2011, 4:05 PM
Read more carefully. I did not say the same thing two different ways. Hint: There's a difference between "proximate danger to the community" and "imminent danger of death, great bodily harm or injury". The distinction is important.

I can appreciate that you may have much experience concerning the exact legal differences between the two above legal phrases.

Can you please cite the PC or case law which speaks to said differences?

Brianguy
10-09-2011, 4:56 PM
Avoid shooting anyone in the back :)

gunsmith
10-09-2011, 5:02 PM
if someone needs shooting & you can articulate that in court then shooting in the back is fine

gunsmith
10-09-2011, 5:06 PM
Avoid shooting anyone in the back :)

fud

Doheny
10-10-2011, 12:35 AM
Dont drink coffee, cap locks are used for emphasis, not yelling. Also there is a little think called intent, your intent is to stop a fleeing felon, even with transferred intent which infers that if you are trying to shoot someone to cause them SBI or death and you kill timmy then you would be going to prison because your INTENT was to cause SBI. In the OP's scenario you are attempting to stop a fleeing felon, who will at a later date cause SBI to someone else with a stolen firearm. You will be open to civil litigation though. As I have stated earlier, get a safe and store your firearms properly to avoid every aspect of this scenario.

You can't shoot someone for the simple reason that he is getting away. Passing a bad check is a felony; are you going to shoot someone for that? How do you know what they are going to do with the gun they stole? Maybe they are going to sell it. I'm curious if you are still a LEO? if no, would you mind telling us why not?


Sent from my iPhone

Tacobandit
10-10-2011, 12:52 AM
You can't shoot someone for the simple reason that he is getting away. Passing a bad check is a felony; are you going to shoot someone for that? How do you know what they are going to do with the gun they stole? Maybe they are going to sell it. I'm curious if you are still a LEO? if no, would you mind telling us why not?


Sent from my iPhone


Question, do you like to stir the pot or do you simply not read what is posted? Im really curious because I all ready answered your statement and a bad check do not meet the same criteria as a fleeing felon in possession of stolen firearms, firearms kill people and are used to commit crimes, bad checks are not, though papercuts hurt your not going to try and rob a bank with a checkbook. Think about it before you post, and I am in the process with becoming a fed right now.

Anchors
10-10-2011, 1:16 AM
Also, inevitably in these threads you get the same old fud about "you cant shoot him in the back" as if Judges/Juries/Prosecutors only follow what they learned from B movie westerns. If the criminal is a threat to ( for instance ) a loved one and you are directly behind him - he does not have to turn around before you can shoot him.

That is true. Just to add, I see nothing in California's Castle Doctrine that assumes you can't be in fear for your life if someone is invading your private home just because their back is turned to you.

If I see a guy I don't know in my house at night, especially one holding a weapon in his hand, shouldn't I be shooting him where ever I can hit him?

Munk
10-10-2011, 1:26 AM
Go straight to prison - I'm interpreting your statement that you think that it's OK to shoot in a 'general possession of arms' condition, which it is NOT.

IMO, posession doesn't count as armed. Capability counts as armed. As in, he is capable of immediately firing at you or someone else. If the gun's just in a bag/box/lockingcontainer, then I wouldn't consider them armed. In hand? Yes.

Tacobandit
10-10-2011, 7:32 AM
IMO, posession doesn't count as armed. Capability counts as armed. As in, he is capable of immediately firing at you or someone else. If the gun's just in a bag/box/lockingcontainer, then I wouldn't consider them armed. In hand? Yes.

:facepalm:

Doheny
10-10-2011, 10:16 PM
Question, do you like to stir the pot or do you simply not read what is posted? Im really curious because I all ready answered your statement and a bad check do not meet the same criteria as a fleeing felon in possession of stolen firearms, firearms kill people and are used to commit crimes, bad checks are not, though papercuts hurt your not going to try and rob a bank with a checkbook. Think about it before you post, and I am in the process with becoming a fed right now.

Actually the reason I gave the bad check example is because you mentioned Common Law and shooting a fleeing felon. You didn't draw any distinction to the extent of the crime, so I wanted to see if you're continue down that same path.

I'm still curious about you and your LEO experience. You say you have over ten years as a LEO, but now you're in the process of becoming a FED. Why the break in service? Coming from Local LE to fed, or what? What are you now (what's your employment now)?