Tag: guns

Gun Owner Ended the Attack and Hysteria

According to news reports, there was a “stabbing spree” at a store in downtown Salt Lake City.  Just the latest reminder that a crime can happen anywhere, anytime.  Fortunately, an unnamed concealed carry permit holder was on the scene and put a stop to the attack.

H/T  Instapundit.

Last week, Cato held a policy forum on the Stand Your Ground Laws and examined instances of citizens using guns to thwart crimes.  More here.

Teenager Shot and Killed

Very little media interest so far in the case of an 18-year old shot and killed by a man who claims to have acted in self-defense.  It happened a few days ago in Detroit.  At about 1:30 am, Willie White claims that an intruder broke into his home and that, fearing for his life, he  had to shoot.  Prosecutors have concluded that White acted in self-defense so there will be no criminal case.

It is too soon to tell whether White will be sued civilly for wrongful death.  Relatives of the teen might hire a lawyer to argue that White had a “duty to retreat” and that he should have tried to hide in a bedroom closet instead of using deadly force.  If that happens, White will need hire a lawyer to fight the lawsuit.  To protect people like Willie White from that sort of thing, some states, such as Florida [update: and Michigan!], have Stand Your Ground laws, that immunize persons who act in self-defense from civil liability.

The recent Cato study, Tough Targets, details many cases of citizens using guns to thwart crime.

The Trayvon Martin Shooting: Just the Facts

Americans use guns to thwart a lot of crime, very often without having to fire the weapon. When citizens do use deadly force, the legal system will adjudicate whether that force was lawful or unlawful. With respect to the Trayvon Martin case, our  focus thus far has been on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and what role, if any, it has played in that case. I have concluded that there is no connection between that law and the Martin shooting at all. The Stand Your Ground law  simply does not apply—so other legal principles will govern the legality of George Zimmerman’s conduct. My legal analysis will be published in an article next week. Walter Olson has related thoughts here.

With new developments in the case coming to light almost every day, it is difficult for outside observers to do anything but speculate. To take but one example, initially it seemed as if the Stanford police did a cursory investigation the night of the shooting. It seemed as if they simply accepted Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense and let him go. That would have been inexcusable. Yesterday, however, there was a report that Zimmerman was handcuffed, taken to the station, and questioned for about five hours. And the police questioned him again at the scene the following day. This is not to say that that was the best way to handle the matter; it is just to point out how we are getting new pieces of information each day. Today the  Associated Press has this helpful article that cuts through the charges and counter-charges and  simply summarizes what we know so far.

The central point to keep in mind is that deadly force is serious business. George Zimmerman took a life. Intense scrutiny into what happened is warranted.

Second Amendment Victory

The landmark Heller ruling said the Constitution protects a person’s right to keep a gun in his home for purposes of self-defense, at least as against the federal government (the case was filed in the federal capital city, Washington, DC). Next, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep a gun in the home  also had to be honored by state and local governments. The litigation has now moved on to consider whether, and to what extent, the right to keep and bear arms must be honored outside the home.

Yesterday, a federal court invalidated a Maryland law that granted carry permits only to those who could show a ”good and substantial reason” for carrying a gun (general worry about the possibility of a criminal attack was  inadequate). The Court said the Maryland law “impermissibly infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”

Last month Cato released a study concerning the frequency with which persons use guns for self-defense—way more often than the average person realizes.

Cato associate policy analyst David Kopel, has more over at the Volokh blog.

Courtland Milloy’s Self-Defense Quiz

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy mentions the new Cato study, Tough Targets, in his latest column

The article begins with this self-defense quiz:

Say you’re sitting at a bus stop in the District, alone at night, when a suspicious person approaches. There have been more than 475 robberies in the city this year — a 70 percent increase over this time last year — and many involve the theft of electronic devices such as smartphones.

But your chances of being victimized are greatly reduced because:

a. Your smartphone has a disabling device that makes it worthless to robbers.

b. More police officers have been assigned to street patrol.

c. You have a gun.

The local police chief says the correct answer is (a) & (b). In the comment section, however, an astute reader notes that the correct answer is all of the above, including Milloy’s point (advanced at the conclusion of his article) that “risk avoidance” should be a part of a sensible personal safety plan.

Broken Windows and the Unseen Crime Victims

Jack Goodwin was at home listening to a Lakers basketball game when he heard someone breaking one of his windows. He retrieved his handgun and then saw two intruders trying to gain entry at which point he fired, hitting one criminal. The other intruder ran away.

John Stossel and others have made the point that broken windows do not stimulate economic growth. Appearances can mislead—so we need to be mindful about where the money spent fixing the window would have been used if the windows had not been broken. Jack Goodwin’s broken windows provide us with a similar lesson: we need to consider what would have happened if this elderly man had no gun in his home because of a  government policy overriding his option/choice.

The new Cato study, Tough Targets, describes scores of such instances where citizens were able to stop attempted murders, rapes, and robberies.  And we are now tracking such cases on our new interactive map.  Co-author Clayton Cramer recently had this piece in the Washington Times.  More here and here.

Milwaukee Man Shoots Armed Robber

A Milwaukee man only recently acquired his permit to carry a concealed handgun and then found himself in the middle of an armed robbery.   As the robber threatened a store clerk with a shotgun, the permit holder was able to draw his weapon and shoot the culprit.  The Milwaukee District Attorney said: “He disrupted an act that potentially exposed himself and others to great bodily harm.”

Last week, Cato released a new study concerning the frequency with which citizens use guns in self-defense, along with a map to track such events.  We’ve already received many suggestions from readers all over the web and we’ll be updating our map regularly.

(H/T Ann Althouse)