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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to continue the discussion started at "grip safeties" here.

I think we have allowed the gun manufactures, gun control, institutional bias and our legal system to overwhelm and overcome our ability to quickly make good choices in many areas of self defense.

Examples for discussion, a Series 80 safety, 12# Glock triggers, the Glock "safety" system for gun manufactures.

Gun laws and the ban of high cap mags for the gun control crowd.

The use of the very difficult guns to shoot and qualify with because they are the lowest bid. Same guns with no safety system per se as examples of a institutions having and forming a public bias for appropriate guns for self defense.

The legal system declaring that anything under a 5# trigger or even a cocked and locked gun for self defense a liability that can are only be addressed by monetary settlements for their use.

Care to comment?
 

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On 2001-05-13 23:08, Dane Burns wrote:
I would like to continue the discussion started at "grip safeties" here.

I think we have allowed the gun manufactures, gun control, institutional bias and our legal system to overwhelm and overcome our ability to quickly make good choices in many areas of self defense.

Examples for discussion, <snippage>

Care to comment?

I am sure it will come as a shock but I agree with you completely :grin:

There are perhaps some rare exceptions, such as modern guns which don't have adequate passive safety devices (I am not thinking of 1911s here) and are not safe to carry fully loaded but generally society is way too ligigous.

I would be interested to hear some documented cases where these things actually made a difference in court (I saw one debate about triggers - in this case a Ruger Super Blackhawk - during a reinactment of a real case but It was not a criticism of the guns trigger pull).

This is one reason we need to miss no opportunity to point out that the real basis for safety is training and adherence to good gunhandling principles.... DA autos are no "safer" than SAs... and may actually be slightly less so.

Food for thought,
Jim H.
 

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The subject of liability is as deep as it is wide.

I have sued gun manufacturers, and I have represented them for free. Was approached in the recent blizzard of suits filed by cities and gov't entities, by both sides. Advised one manufacturer that in the state in question a party could bring in, as additional parties, each of the prisoners doing time for pulling a trigger. Let the jury see the 1,000 or so mugshots, let them hear a 1,000 or so bad guys taking the 5th on whatever :grin: was asked of them. Let the jury decide the comparitive fault. This particular maker's lapdog thought such a strategy was "risky", so, we didn't get married.

The insurance industry has made great strides in convincing good folks to fear lawsuits when, in reality, one will likely never come to visit. They play the heart strings like a fiddle though.

Many "safety" features are added to things not because they are necessary, but because they sell. Mostly, they sell to folks who have either lost their common sense somewhere back on the family tree a ways, or, they don't really know what it is they are shopping for...but this one has 37 safeties so, it must be "safe", whatever that means.

I have lived a very blessed life, so far. Never had a 1911, or any other gun, fire without my finger or something else on the trigger; never had a dog seriously mangle someone who had a right to be where they were; never had water flood my place on the high ground; never had a rifle send one down range on its own, despite its "breathe on me please" trigger. I think most people share my experiences, even if they don't realize it.

Pussification of America?
 

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I think part of the reason for the fixation on mechanically-based liability and the willingness to accept a less effective weapon (due to excessively heavy and long trigger pulls, questionable safeties, and so forth) comes from a form of self-delusion. Too many people view their carry or home defense gun as a talisman which will ward off evil-doers by its mere presence. Thus they are willing to accept spurious safety devices and gimcrack doo-dads that ostensibly make the instrument "safer". They do not FULLY accept the proposition that the instrument is a WEAPON and, moreover, one with which they may be fighting for their lives and the lives of their family before the sun goes down TODAY...or even before they take their next breath.

If these people really grasped, at the gut level, that they might be forced to USE that weapon, RIGHT NOW, to deck a gang of psychopaths bent on killing them and their families, then there would be less hand-wringing over pinned grip safeties, efficient trigger pulls, choosing the weapon one can use most effectively, or whether or not some bottom-feeding shyster will quibble over such things in court.

If someone decides that they can best defend themselves with some DAO, 16-pound-triggered, intergral key-locked monstrosity of a pistol, triple-strapped into a holster that requires two men and a boy to remove the pistol from, that's fine...so long as their decision is based on that being the hardware that they have objectively determined they can most effectively use. If, instead, that decision is made based on gun-zine articles about what will "sink" them in court or internet bull sessions in which anonymous participants express weightless opinions, then I would opine that their priorities might be misplaced.

Rosco
 
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I'm going to disclose too much here but I hope it may help other people who read this board...
I agree in concept with what Dane is saying in reference to the extra safety devices, guards, and safety belts that come with firearms these days.
On the other hand I believe in doing everything possible to make sure that an innocent person or child is not harmed either through stupidity or otherwise, if a 32lb trigger and safety suit with retinal scanning will accomplish that I am ok with it...

As to being sued and the issue of liability, I say good luck. If you believe in ignoring the quote un-quote popular safety recommendations you clearly have deeper pockets than I do.
I may have tainted feelings here but I feel I can offer an opinion after having been civilly persecuted for being involved in a justifiable self defense shooting incident that did not bring criminal charges against me, but it certainly did cost me a lot of money and time. Let me just say that you have not enjoyed or lived life until you have been deposed and questioned for a few weeks. Let me just say that these days I no longer work in the city and I avoid entering the jurisdiction at all costs if it can be avoided.
The letter of the law is interpreted in a very different and liberal manner in our city of brotherly love; in nearby NJ they are even nice enough to arrest and prosecute off duty PA State Police and Township Municipal Police Officers who carry into NJ without a NJ permit.
My honest opinion is "good luck" if you believe that civil litigation is no big deal. I live in the Northeastern USA outside of a city that refused to honor lawfully issued carry permits for over two decades and I'm sure that the laws are interpreted differently than in other areas of the country. What may fly in AZ or the southwest may very well cost you everything in an eastern city.
 

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David,
Was the type of gun used or modifications thereto an issue in your civil ordeal? If such issues were raised, were they easily deflected or were they a factor in the outcome of the matter? I appreciate your posting and I don't mean to pry, but was the ordeal worsened by hardware issues, or was it just the annoying and expensive aftermath of having saved your own life?

No doubt being sued sucks. I doubt that it makes much difference if it's over a self-defense shooting, a fistfight, or due to an aggreived employee claiming you slapped her on the bottom.

Of course, losing the gunfight would suck worse. Funerals are expensive too. (no snideness or sarcasm intended...but a "smiley" seems inappropriate here. I am genuinely interested in your perspective and hard-won experience in this area, David).

Rosco



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rosco Benson on 2001-05-14 21:05 ]</font>
 

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More boring stuff on liability.

There are two different types of liability the average gun owner faces; negligent conduct and intentional acts. Each liability issue is somewhat different, and has both civil and criminal ramifications.

Negligent conduct pretty much equals stupid conduct. Negligent conduct is a c- in gun handling, which causes an injury. You dropped your pistol while walking on the range, it discharged, and shot the leg off the 6 year old in the next firing point, or you stored your locked and cocked 1911a1 in a range bag, and when you tried to remove it from the car, it discharged, killing your next door neighbor. That sort of stuff. Almost everyone has discovered a loaded firearm that they thought was unloaded. How many have had a AD either at the range, at home or in the cleaning area. The next big area of gun owner liability may be stolen guns. Under very particular circumstances, you can be sued because your stolen car was in an accident, and I suspect that you will be sued if a thief steals your unsecured gun from your home, and hurts someone with it. You'll probably win, but you'll be sued.

In negligence cases, you'll probably have the benefit of your homeowners insurance, and the issue will be if you were reasonable in handling, storing, shooting the gun. This is where the modifications on your gun will be relevant. Did you have a 1.5# trigger pull on your gun with a pinned grip safety, which allowed it go off when dropped. Would the movement in the bag caused the discharge if the grip safety had not been pinned. A good plaintiff's attorney will investigate the cost of the pistol and use that for damages if possible or compare it to the cost of a safe in which to store the weapon to make the jury mad at you. After all, why do you need a $2,000 blaster when a $150 gun will do just fine. But, as said before, in a civil case, the chances of a settlement are great, and the insurance company will probably have to pay as you didn't mean to intentionally hurt the plaintiff. You might lose money if the injury is great and your insurance limits are low. The plaintiff's attorney might require you to forfeit the lot in the mountains for extra compensation. You might even have criminal liability, as there is such a thing as negligent homicide.

Of course, there is stupid stuff, like shooting birds in the next door neighbor's yard, seeing the splash of water when you shoot your suppressed Ruger Mark II from the roof of your house into the backyard pool late one night or clearing a suppressed weapon late one night and discovering it loaded. At that time, the sound of tinkling glass can be as frightening as sound as there is. Trying to shoot a beer can thrown into the air immediately after finishing one seems a routine sport here in the desert. All these are stupid. But, until you hurt someone or damage property, there can be no civil liability, even though the local cops would want to talk to you about this sort of stuff. I believe you deserve what you get is these sorts of situations, as you've been careless with something that can injure unless you take some care. In Arizona, you'd be prosecuted for any of these events.

But when you purposefully level the front sight on another human with the intent to destroy that person or be destroyed yourself, then you are risking everything. Failure to understand your situation can cause you to lose it all - your freedom, all you own, your family or even your life. As everyone has said, here's where your training comes into play, and the circumstance of your weapon plays little part, except it had better work. You'll be sued even with a valid shooting, just as the police are routinely sued for money damages for a very valid shootings. You will probably not have the benefit of insurance coverage, so you'll have to finance the litigation by yourself. Costly, very costly. And, the more you try to prove your qualifications, the more a jury would think you just might be looking to exercise your training, rather than defending yourself. It will harder for a jury to understand or believe that you are as well or even better qualified to shoot that the police. Damages would be interesting in this situation, as you'd be faced with the claim that the deceased, (hopefully) routinely supported his poor family through the profit from his life of crime, and but for your interference, he'd still be able to continue with the crime to support his family.

Advice? I join Bruce. He said it best. Don't say a word to anyone, ever, until your with your lawyer in a closed room.

BTW, Bruce, that's a absolutely great thought about bringing in all the criminals in these blanket gun manfacturing lawsuits.
 

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Thanks wr. A bit off topic, but I am stunned that the manufacturers have not brought in the crimminals, or sued the gangs in inner-cities. The fun thing about it is most convicts have some kind of half-baked appeal or lawsuit going while in jail, and they are all innocent :smile: and, they love taking the 5th...even while doing life.

In the state in question, taking the 5th could not be considered in determining guilt in a crimminal prosecution...but it can be considered by the jury in civil cases. Usually, if the convict takes the 5th to any question he takes it to all. So, you can imagine the fun you can have when every question you ask you know is going to be answered by a refusal to answer, and that refusal can be weighed by the jury.

Moreover, for every party in a case the workload grows exponentially. Adding 10,000 prison inmates to a case would make folks look at their hole card very carefully.
 

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I find it a little more than interesting that people who advocate using every available tactical advantage in a lethal encounter will not do so when preparing for the possibility in being sued or prosecuted.

One tactical advantage legally, is NOT disabling any safeties the designer felt was necessary for the safe operation of the gun.

Another tactical advantage legally is NOT reducing the factory trigger pull.

Another tactical advantage is helping the investigating officers who show up at your gunfight scene. (When I say helping the investigating officers, I refer to the simple courtesy of telling the cops what the deceased was doing that caused you to shoot him, pointing out to the cops any evidence that they might just miss or need to prove your actions were justifyable, or pointing out to them the witnesses in the crowd who saw what the BG was doing which caused you to shoot them).

Then again, I am not an attorney, I don't get paid for sitting in the room with the person who was arrested because the cops couldn't figure out what happened because no one would talk to them, and I am not a gunsmith so I don't get paid to modify perfectly good firearms, making them easier to discharge.
 

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Marty:

The great thing about being free is, you get to do whatever you think best when the time comes. If that means using a gun that has a ratchety trigger, or a safety that does not disengage because the situation was not one with unlimited time to poke a hole in paper...and your grip was hurried and not picture perfect, then so be it.

I am all for doing whatever it takes to make sure the police report is accurate, detailed as can be, and written in a way that can not only be understood at the time, but 6 months later when the officer who wrote it may have to recall what he / she reported [and after he / she has been asked to write 500 more of them].

Suppose I gave you a choice. I will talk, you write. I will go through a range of emotions while I talk. I will talk fast, slow, cry, whisper, and ask questions...some of which will sound very stupid to you. The only requirement is that you must write down what I say, as I say it, with as few interruptions as possible. Now, you get to do that under either of these two circumstances, in either of these places:

A) In a poorly lit back alley, temps hovering around 15-20, gusting wind, light snow / sleet, with colored lights flashing, cars coming and going, people coming and going, people from the neighborhood screaming / crying / or just trying to talk to you, a radio on your vest squalking intermittently...some messages being meaningless, some needing your response, your co-workers coming up to talk to you,show you things, ask you things, OR,

B) in a well-lit office of your choosing, maybe with a warm cup of java.

Which would you choose, if accuracy was *the* most important thing?

As for the "safety" talk, I smile when I read about 1911 grip safety stuff. Fact is, if that safety disappeared completely tomorrow, the 1911's I own would still have more external safety features than the pistol of choice of most cities for their officers to carry...and, more safety mechanisms than any revolver I own :smile: Plum crazy, ain't it? :grin:
 

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On 2001-05-15 12:25, Bruce wrote:
Marty:

The great thing about being free is, you get to do whatever you think best when the time comes. If that means using a gun that has a ratchety trigger, or a safety that does not disengage because the situation was not one with unlimited time to poke a hole in paper...and your grip was hurried and not picture perfect, then so be it.

All well and good, but I use a Glock, so none of the above applies.


I am all for doing whatever it takes to make sure the police report is accurate, detailed as can be, and written in a way that can not only be understood at the time, but 6 months later when the officer who wrote it may have to recall what he / she reported [and after he / she has been asked to write 500 more of them].

I am not talking about the police report, but at the scene, when the cop is trying to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. If the other guy, (or the guy's buddies) tell one story, and you say something like: "I ani't syaing nothin till my mouthpiece gets here", the cop will most likely take the preponderence of the evidence at face value and arrest you.

B) in a well-lit office of your choosing, maybe with a warm cup of java.

Or in the jail, because the cop arrested you because you kept your mouth shut at the scene, and the other guy(s) lied to the cops to cover up thier crime.

Which would you choose, if accuracy was *the* most important thing?

It's not an either or, it is both. You can give a brief statement at the scene, and folow up later with a detailed statement with your attorney present.

As for the "safety" talk, I smile when I read about 1911 grip safety stuff. Fact is, if that safety disappeared completely tomorrow, the 1911's I own would still have more external safety features than the pistol of choice of most cities for their officers to carry...and, more safety mechanisms than any revolver I own :smile: Plum crazy, ain't it? :grin:
I will agree with that.
 

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IMO, the decision to press or not press a trigger has nothing whatsoever to do with the weight of the trigger. Since the shooter's finger is off the trigger until he makes the decision to fire, of what "laibility" issue is the weight of the trigger?

If anything, I submit that a 12 pound trigger (NY+ glock) is a greater liability than a 3 pound trigger (glock "-"). Due to sympathetic movement of fingers that only those with constant practice reduce or eliminate, a right handed shooter will pull rounds low left with a heavy trigger pull. So AFTER the decision to fire is made, a heavy trigger increases the difficulty in accurately hitting the target.

Consider also, an LEO with a BHP scuffles with a perp. In the struggle, the mag catch on the BHP is hit - the magazine falls to the ground, striking and damaging the feed lips (or the floorplate bends). The perp opens fire as the LEO scrambles for cover with his gun, his magazine that will no longer fit properly, and thirteen rounds of useless ammo because he cannot even fire single shot because browning wants him to die! And they make sure he dies by preventing him from firing his weapon without an undamaged magazine.

The only thing mag safeties do is provide a false sense of security and occasionally prevent a fool who has ALREADY VIOLATED ALL FOUR of the firearms safety rules from hurting someone.
 

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Welcome, Gunplumber! For those who don't know Mark, he builds an absolute kickass FAL :grin: And I hear he knows a thing or 3 about putting together a Browning HP.

Mark, good to have you here, and yes, the 16"'ers are still running great.
 

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On 2001-05-15 17:07, Bruce wrote:
Welcome, Gunplumber! For those who don't know Mark, he builds an absolute kickass FAL :grin: And I hear he knows a thing or 3 about putting together a Browning HP.
Besides being one Hell Of A Nice Guy !!

To see some of his FAL work go here:
http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com

Welcome Mark !
R.L.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Blackjack on 2001-05-15 17:49 ]</font>
 
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On 2001-05-14 20:57, Rosco Benson wrote:
David,
Was the type of gun used or modifications thereto an issue in your civil ordeal? If such issues were raised, were they easily deflected or were they a factor in the outcome of the matter?

I am genuinely interested in your perspective and hard-won experience in this area, David).

Rosco

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rosco Benson on 2001-05-14 21:05 ]</font>
Rosco,
Check your private email.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So it would appear there is on record a self defense shooting that liability turned on the issue of gun modifications. Since I have yet to hear of one and a number of very astute legal researchers, that are experts on this issue, had never found one, it would be nice, if it is true, that the particulars that are germain ot this topic be public info :grin:

The regional problems with liability are an interesting subject. In Washington if your self defense shooting is found warrented, then there can be no civil liability. That is not the case everywhere.

I would like to hear more if there is such a case.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-15 21:43 ]</font>
 

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Dane, you are correct about the liability, but only if you are tried in court and found not guilty of a crime. Most legitimate self-defense shootings never make it that far, and thus, you are still open to possible civil litigation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Marty,
Can you be more specific? If I have a self defense shooting and it is ruled by the local and state juristiction after an investigation that the shooting was in fact justifiable that I am still open to civil tort on a wrongful death suit?

While in fact ANY suit can be filed and you will have to defend it, my current impression is that the original investigation will act as your ultimate defense. "Yes you did kill, but the deceased was responsible and your normally unfawful act, was then justified". Now with the state RCW limiting further liability.

No question there is at times different percentages of liability that a person might be found guilty of at civil trial for a self defense shooting. My impression was the Washington State law was to avoid such entanglements.

I guess I am going to have to look this one up myself again :grin:
 
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