I agree that Mr. Ersland had every right to own the guns and use them to defend his life & goods.
I think that the problem is that after the robber was shot in the head and incapacitated, he went and got the other gun and emptied it into the presumably helpless person in realatively cold blood.
If the robber was trying to get up or was still armed and attempting to bring his weapon to bear, then I think he would be justified in doing that, too.
According to one account, he went and looked out the door after the other robber fled. I presume that he turned his back on the injured man while doing so. That may indicate that he no longer felt him to be a threat. That would be a key point in the difference between a 1st or 2nd degree murder charge.
I believe that the usual standard on self defence is something to the effect of having a reasonable belief that you are in danger. I don't know if Mr. Ersland still felt he was in danger, or he was just angry. That said, nether do I want to second guess the actions of someone in such a highly stressful situation.
I suppose that we will have to wait for the trail for all the details to come out. Then everyone gets their say in front of the jury. They have a film, so I suppose that will be very helpful in getting to the truth of th matter.
God knows what we are to do! I am determined, for one, to go with my countrymen; "right or wrong, sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish," I am with them.
- William Barret Travis, July 30, 1835