Are you legally responsible to respond.

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by rayjohnson1974, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. rayjohnson1974

    rayjohnson1974 New Member

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    This is my first day on the forum and so far I have learned more than I thought possible. One thing that I have not found was my legal responsibility to step in. I have many arguments with uninformed people that like to tell me how I have to act with a gun to stay out of jail. The last one I did not know the answer to.

    For example if you were in a restaurant and a guy comes in has a gun and wants to rob the place. He has taken no one hostage and not physically harmed anyone. As an armed legal CC citizen what is my responsibility. Does that change if they do begin to harm others or start shooting. I was told I have to step in to stop harm from coming to others and that just by being in that situation I am legal responsibly and will be sued regardless. If I do nothing and someone is hurt or killed and they find out someone with a gun and a license to carry did nothing that person or their family can sue and if I do something and the gunman is killed or hurt then I may be sued by his family and if I hurt an innocent trying to stop the bad guy I can be sued by them also. So does anyone know what I am to do? I live in Indiana if it helps.
     
  2. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    I think it comes down to whether or not you really have a chance to help. If not, the best thing to do is be a good witness. But I'd say consult a lawyer from your state.
     

  3. RadioActiV

    RadioActiV New Member

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    I'd wait and see if he were to attempt to harm you. Your permit is for the ability to carry for your protection and the protection of your family. If the supposed gun man is there to rob the place and has a gun, but does not aim at you or fire a round in your direction then he is not puting your life at risk or causing you imminent danger. There fore you need not do anything anyone. Now if the supposed gun man starts executing people then I would look for a way to make a clear shot and take down the gun man. If you are unable to make the shot do not attempt it (meaning obstructions or possible harm to innocent bystanders). Either way it comes down to the situation that unfolds as you go not what others think is right.
     
  4. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ray. I am afraid that I do not know Indiana law. But, I do know that in Colorado we are under no obligation to step in. But, we certainly have the right to. I would check with a local attorney or law enforcement.
     
  5. RadioActiV

    RadioActiV New Member

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    Please do not use my inquiry as legal advise it's my own honest opinion
     
  6. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    Well, in Michigan, you have the right to defend your life, or the lives of others. Our law doesn't really specify that the "others" have to be family. It's usually described as other innocents. The way it's been described to me is this, if you see someone trying to beat someone else into the next life, you treat it as though it's you, as to whether or not you can step in.

    But again, I'm not a lawyer. :)
     
  7. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Legally no, you have no responsibility to respond to assist another under any circumstances. A CCW does not make you a sworn LEO and does not encumber you with the responsibility, all it allows you is the lawful right to defend yourself with a concealed weapon. If you choose to intervene, you may be immune from criminal prosecution but you are not immune from civil prosecution by the bad guys lawyers. yeah that sucks but welcome to America...
     
  8. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    Except in Michigan. :)
     
  9. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Folks, a carry permit is not a badge and does not make you an LEO. Other than to protect me & mine, my gun is not leaving its holster. Too many folks think that a carry permit grants special powers to the average citizen - it doesn't. Unless you are trained and experienced in jumping into the fray - I'd suggest you mind your own business...
     
  10. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Not a lawyer- could never pass the bar (without stopping for a beer)

    In general, you are under no legal obligation to protect anyone else. There are exceptions to that in the law- here in VA, if a LEO requests and requires your assistance, AND you are capable of providing assistance, in some cases, you are legally obliged to do so.

    While you are not required to TAKE action, you are legally responsible for any actions that you DO take. The courts have held that even a police department does not owe a duty of protection to any one individual, but only to the community in general.
     
  11. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    No, a CPL/LTCF/CCW/whatever your state calls it, is not a badge, and you are not under any obligation. But I'll be damned if I just stand by like that scene in Seattle, where the security guards just watched as a girl was beaten and robbed.
     
  12. cbw

    cbw New Member

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    In AZ they told us you do not have to, and that like many others have stated you are not a LEO. I guess it would depend on the situation, one thing that stuck in my mind from my CCW class is that "BEHIND EVERY BULLET YOU SHOOT IS A LAWYER". So if you step in and hurt or kill someone your at fault no matter what your good intentions were.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  13. collegekid20

    collegekid20 New Member

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    I'm not a lawyer so don't take this as legal advice. Laws differ from state to state and city to city. I am a law student in Virginia and mainly study va laws in my spare time as they apply to me. C3 shooter is exactly correct. In Virginia you CANNOT shoot a person unless they have a deadly weopon, and are putting YOU in IMMEDIATE danger. If someone puts a gun to someone elses head and I then shoot them, I could go to jail. It rarely happens and no jury in the world would convict you for it, I'm just stating what the law here states. now if it were me and I thought my life was in danger, I might take the shot. It really depends. As you stated it, if you take the shot, you could be facing criminal charges, being sued by the criminals family, or if you hit a bystander, be sued by their family. Best thing to do is let the police handle it, be a good witness and get a description of the bad guys, height, weight, tattoos, etc. Scenarios like this rarely happen, I'd look up your local and state laws. I tend to err on the side of safety but it's up to you. Carrying a gun is a great responsibility and liberals will look for any reason to infringe on our rights as citizens. Just be careful and shoot safe.
     
  14. Glasshartt

    Glasshartt New Member

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    Act if you feel you have absolutely no other choice. But it is better to be a good witness than carried by 6. You never know if it is just one on one, or there is an accomplice that you do not know about. You are not a LEO and do not have the training they do. If you feel that your life, or someone else's life, is in danger and you must act then do so, but be ready to accept the potential repercussions. If you shoot and hit someone else, (even if the bullet goes through the bad guy and hits someone else) you may be facing a lengthy court drama. If you do act, be prepared to fully articulate why you felt that you had to take the actions that you did.

    Just my $0.02
     
  15. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    This post bears noting that is written by a police officer who is also married to another police officer.

    There is much wisdom there, so please read it again.

    JD
     
  16. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    From Michigan's Firearm laws, otherwise known as the "Stand your ground" law.

    I have been told by those in the "know" the above applies to defending myself, or someone else, whether they're related or known to me, or not.
     
  17. Glasshartt

    Glasshartt New Member

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    Yes, you may have the RIGHT to protect yourself or others, but you are not REQUIRED to do so. No-one is saying that you do not have that right. Only LEO's are required to act. But that said, in some situations, it is more prudent for the LEO to be the unnoticed witness than to place him/herself and others in more danger than they are already in.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  18. Big Gay Al

    Big Gay Al New Member

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    In some situations, yes, it is better to be a witness. But sometimes, that's not enough.

    The example of those security guards in Seattle is one example. I know that their orders were to be witnesses, but, that crap only goes so far. I could NEVER stand by like they did and watch as someone got beat senseless.
     
  19. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    I totally agree with Glasshartt. A little story I hope won't bore you and maybe learn something.

    In the early early 70's an off duty Detroit cop goes into a bank with his young son about 7 years old. Waiting in line, a guy walks up to the teller with a gun and announces a hold-up. The cop draws his gun puts his son behind him and tells the B.G. " police, freeze, drop the gun".

    There is a gunshot and the cop falls to the floor. Another man walks up to the fallen cop and puts another slug into the back of his head, picks up the officers gun and both B.G.'s run out of the bank The second guy was standing in line a few people behind the cop and he was the one who fired the first and second shot, and no one had any clue he was part of the robbery.

    Moral: be sure of what is going on around you, and unless you are in danger of losing YOUR life, give the scene a moment to become reality so if you do need to act, you have a fighting chance. Also, think twice about getting involved when you have family members present with you.
     
  20. SR9

    SR9 New Member

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    Legally, no matter what we are doing, driving a car, flying a plane, treating an accident victim as an EMT or firing a legally owned and carried gun we are subject to law suits. Unfortunately, we have become a very litigous society. Law suits from the sublime to the ridiculous clog our courts every day.

    That said, getting sued for our actions, or inaction, can happen easily. Proving the acusation is a whole other matter. Unfortunately, the financial loss associated with defending yourself is astronomical.

    Before any of us makes a decision to draw a weapon we must very carefully consider the consequences, moral, legal and financial.

    IMHO we need to do what we feel we need to do at the time the decision is made be it to defend, intervene or be a witness. Every situation WILL be different and no one answer will apply to every situation.

    Know the laws, understand the consequences and make a decision.

    I can tell you that as a 30 year vetern of my towns Volunteer FD that every time I drive a truck to an emergency call or ever decision I made when I was Chief I was subject to literally thousands of ways to get sued. Will I stop helping others because of that? Not a chance. But thats my decision.