The threat to new gun owners
There is a real threat to new gun owners. Many of us may see the threat as what’s happening in the news today, others will see it as gun violence. The truth is, that is not the biggest threat to gun owners. New gun owners face the real possibility of ending up in prison for simply owning a gun. There are gun laws that protect us but even more than against us.
No, I am not saying because you own a gun you will be locked up. I am saying if you don’t have the right information you could find yourself locked away for simply doing what you thought was right. A lot of people don’t realize those gun owners are the average American family member.
Instead, they see guns as the enemy and gun owners as criminals. They believe that every action we take with a gun should be restricted. Many states today have laws like “Stand your ground” and “The Castle Doctrine”. These laws were put in place to help ensure that when gun owners needed to protect themselves, they could do so legally.
The Misunderstanding of gun laws
Gun laws are badly misunderstood by both anti-gun and pro-gun advocates alike. For example, early on in Florida when the stand your ground law was first put into place. It was believing that it was a license for everyday citizens to go out and shoot anyone who was in the process of a crime. Some even believed that people would use it against innocent people and claim they were just following the law.
The no duty to retreat was never meant to mean you could run up and confront a bad guy. It was meant that if you have no reasonable way to escape than you are not required to. Yet many people have taken it to mean that very thing. Information passed on to new handgun owners can get us in real trouble if we believe that. Not having the correct information is a serious threat to new gun owners.
The Legal Mistakes
Many gun owners made the mistake of thinking they could then go anywhere armed and defend themselves if they were threatened. One handgun owner in Florida got into an argument with a person at the local theatre for texting during the movie. He believed that because the person texting was younger and larger that he could use the stand your ground law to use deadly force.
Instead what they found was the handgun owner initiated the argument, which made him the aggressor. They also found his life was also never in threat of great bodily harm or death. It is important to remember that you are not in fear for your life if you are confronting the person. A person that is truly afraid will be trying to get away unless they are helping someone else.
In response to the stand your ground law and the castle doctrine gun laws. Many laws were passed that enabled prosecutors to pick apart what was being done during a self-defense incident. For example, in states where they have the castle doctrine, which says you have the right to defend yourself if someone is breaking into your home, business, or occupied vehicle.
Some Prosecutors are now saying that just because someone is in your home, you cannot shoot them. We now have to distinguish whether they are there to burglarize us or kill us. As gun owners, we need to have this information before we ever go to use our guns.
The Mistake of not Knowing
You cannot defend or protect property even under the castle doctrine in most states. The same rules apply in your home and in public, you or someone else must be under imminent threat of great bodily harm or death. For example, there was a man who lived near Detroit who woke to someone breaking in his home.
It was 4:30 am and the man heard a person trying to get in. Believing someone was trying to break in to kill him, he armed himself. He then decided to open the door and shoot the would-be home invader in the face. Later it was determined that the person at the door was an intoxicated 19 yr. old girl who was in a car accident.
While he had every right to feel threatened for his life. The girl had no means of ever getting into the home. They do not know whether she was there looking for help, or thought it was her house by mistake. What they do know is she had no tools or anything that would have allowed her to enter. They also know in her condition she would have been no threat to the homeowner.
When to know
As gun owners, we are not only held responsible for the gun violence of criminals. We are also expected to know the gun laws in every area we are in. If we make the mistake of pulling out a gun at any time we can and will likely be prosecuted. It is a dangerous time, especially for new gun owners. That is why this site exists. We are here to help get you all the information we can.
Concealed Carry Magazine put it best when thinking of the two laws above.
- You must be someplace that you should be.
- You weren’t doing anything wrong
- You didn’t start it.
- You did not escalate it.
- You had no way to reasonably get out of the situation.
- There was no other way for you to prevent death or great bodily harm.
If you match all those criteria your lawyer may be able to utilize either the stand your ground or castle doctrine laws. You first have to know if your state even has these laws and if not, what are your laws. No excuse is going to save you once you pull out a gun.
Laws will be used against you and for you but ultimately you will be judged by your actions. When you had a split second to determine what to do, the attorneys are going to have months to tear it down and inspect every single action.
If the laws weren’t bad enough. People around you are going to put you on the court of public opinion. Even without an incident, you will be asked why you carry a gun. You may hear, I have lived my whole life without ever needing a gun to protect myself. So why do you need a gun? You will hear from the statistical experts who will site things like crime, suicides, and general gun violence.
They will wait for you to answer these things and want to argue their points. Then of course the political views, you will be thrown under one side of the bus or the other. Even if you have nothing to do with politics. Most people never stop to think that Republicans, Independents, and Democrats all own guns. What a politician does has nothing to do with our reasons for owning a gun.
You will have to come up with your own answers or tell them you don’t want to discuss it. I simply say I have a gun to protect you and my family from the nut job that is getting ready to walk in here and kill us all. Read my article on carrying a gun-the dangers gun owners face for more stories show just how bad one mistake can be.