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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guns: Is THAT Premeditation?

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Anyone who owns a gun for self-defense has thought about the repercussions of having to use the gun to protect their life, or the life of another. I can think of few things that would be more of a emotional jolt than taking the life of another human being.

One of the things that would be worse would be my life being taken because I hadn't prepared for the situation.

We preppers plan. We look at the universe of events that could unfold, and we plan for them.

We put more time and effort into our preps for things we believe are more likely to happen, or which may have a significant, debilitating negative impact on our lives - regardless of the likelihood of the event coming to fruition.

Being killed by some random thug is high on the latter list. The places where I live and work aren't over-run with gun-toting, blood thirsty savages roaming the streets.

But dozens of people get mugged and murdered every day of every week here in America. It's a low probability event for you as an individual, but it's a real possibility.

So we plan. We prepare. We get ready.

We practice with our guns at the shooting range.

We buy memberships and insurance that will protect us if we shoot someone in self-defense.

We select ammunition that will most effectively stop the threat, and stop it quickly.

We learn advanced shooting techniques so we are more able to ensure we come out of the encounter alive.

Many people - the anti-gun crowd, much of government and most of the media in particular - will affix a special term to this kind of preparedness: Premeditation.

Why? Because they know it will scare many non-gun owners into thinking that anyone who uses a gun in self-defense is a cold-blooded killer. "Premeditated" is always coupled with "murder".

Let's first look at the definition of "premeditated" from Merriam-Webster online dictionary -
characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning [premeditated murder]
The word-nerds even have it out for us! So, by definition, all prepping is premeditated. Especially when it comes to guns.

And that's a very good thing. We "gun nuts" genuinely want people to act responsibly with their guns. People are harmed when you do otherwise.

What follows is one video and links to two articles about guns - written by lawyers. In Texas.

"We Don't Dial 911"

The point about the signs influencing a jury is well-taken - especially in a "blue state" such as California, New York, etc.

My biggest problem is that you are advertising that you own guns. To me, it would be the same as posting a sign out front saying, "Don't bother robbing my house. My gold and silver are in a burglar-proof safe."

Not a single one of my neighbors knows I own a single gun - or own an ounce of silver. Publicizing your "stuff" is an invitation for trouble.

Carrying a "Statement Card"

A Statement Card is a card you carry around that gives you a "script" to follow if you're ever involved in a self-defense shooting. An excerpt from this article -
Q: I called my attorney here in Denver to ask him, and he said if the prosecutor ever found out I had contacted him before an incident, which I was doing at that moment, it could be interpreted as premeditation.

A: Great question. Having pre-printed cards to that effect do seem a little premeditated, in that each factual situation is different. These are certainly good and accurate things to say, but having them pre-printed on a card seems a little over the top. Additionally, the invocation of your rights should be made verbally in the case of an incident.
Let me be painfully clear: I do not care how "premeditated" it appears to anyone asking me questions about a self-defense shooting. SecondCall Defense has a "script" they suggest you use if you're involved in a shooting, regardless of how innocent you think you may be.

Unless you're a gun law attorney, call 911, follow the script, then call SecondCall Defense. Then prepare yourself to be arrested. You'll have bail money and an attorney in hours.

You may say the most innocent thing, and it can get you convicted. DO NOT risk your freedom (see "7 Shooting Incident Mistakes").

By the way, as the article notes, most police officers are instructed NOT to say anything for 72 hours after they are involved in a shooting. There's a reason for that. Follow their lead.

Does Your Ammo Choice Matter In Court?

Lots of concern out there about being in possession of ammo with, "greater stopping power". This gets back to the whole "premeditated" angle and the blood-thirsty image portrayed by the media and some prosecutors -
Based on comments in the blog, many Cheaper Than Dirt! readers who might be forced to defend themselves with a firearm worry about how the effectiveness of their ammunition may prejudice how they’re viewed by the courts.

Q: From a legal perspective, does it matter what ammunition I use in my handgun?

A: The short answer is, probably not. But for the purposes of this discussion, let me be very clear — we’re talking only about Texas law here. Unfortunately, not every state can be as reasonable as ours. Some ammo may or may not be legal for possession or use in other states, so be sure to check the local laws to make sure what you are carrying is legal.
The bottom line is, get the most effective ammo that is allowed in your state. If they don't allow effective ammo, move. Isn't your life worth that?

In all of my beginner and advanced pistol classes, I teach that you keep shooting until the threat has stopped. Then YOU MUST stop. Crappy ammo ends up with crappy results. And you may be harmed or dead if you're forced (or choose) to use ammo that will not stop your assailant.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Anonymous said...

As far as which ammunition to use.
I would say try and find out what the local police use, and use that. That way the prosecuting attorney probably wouldn't try to pursue that angle.

Adam said...

First, I agree with everything the lawyer in that video said. The fact that you have a sign saying "We don't call 911" could lead someone on that jury to ask if you could have avoided the confrontation. If your sign says "survivors will be shot again" they will bring up whether the threat was over or not. The same thing goes for social media posts.

As to the premeditation aspect. I don't think that anyone outside of an anti-gun prosecutor would say that because you had thought about it or anything else, that you are guilty of premeditation. Every cop has thought about it. That is why they do training scenarios.

If you portray yourself as blood thirsty, then you will get hammered. I'd really recommend you consult with an attorney before any questioning. It's worth the cost. And try to do it the next day if you can.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, great point. I just wish they'd take the same point of view when determining what types of guns can fire the ammo. Dreaming, I know ;-)

Adam, Indeed, your "public persona" is a huge factor. Come off as a 'crazy' and you'll be portrayed that way.

I don't know if you've seen the articles, but a gun ban case was being tried in Illinois, and the Federal Appeals Court said that the city was within its rights to ban 'assault weapons' for the simple reason that many people in their jurisdiction were afraid of them.

Their feelings were more important than the Constitution. I'm guessing ANYONE with a gun for self defense would be portrayed as a 'crazy'.

We're so screwed...

Adam said...


Hopefully that case gets appealed to the USSC. We need a good ruling. The McDonald and Heller cases are just the starting point.

I'm still astonished the 9th Circuit made their ruling (that is now going en banc). Regardless of how that one goes, it'll get appealed to the USSC as well. So we will see.