Property Defense in Florida

Property Defense in Florida

This is a discussion on Property Defense in Florida within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After an attempted burglary of the pump for my water filtration system outside my house on my property, I decided to invest in my home ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array NKMG19's Avatar
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    Property Defense in Florida

    After an attempted burglary of the pump for my water filtration system outside my house on my property, I decided to invest in my home defense considering everything else that I had invested in including my home. It finally hit me that a knife or a baseball bat would not help me to protect my family or myself and property.

    I went to the range and bought a Glock 19 on the advise of a friend who had wanted me to go to the range with him a long time ago. I also took the CCW class and is now waiting on my permit.

    My question is this. If someone was stealing my car that was parked outside on the driveway or stealing anything on my property, what would be the best way to handle this? I know I can't just go out and shoot someone in the act here in Florida. But should I just stay inside and watch and wait until the cops arrive or is there anything else that I could do to stop this person. Is it legal to fire a warning shot if someone is on my property?
    Your responses will be greatly appreciated.


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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    In general

    I don't live in Florida, but the general rule of thumb for defensive shooting is to only draw and fire if you or somebody you are protecting is in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury. It is usually not advisable to "brandish" a gun as a warning, or to fire warning shots, as that will likely put you in violation of the law.

    Normally you can't shoot somebody to protect property, with a few exceptions in Texas.

    The clearest situation is somebody coming straight at you with a weapon in hand, stating their intent to hurt you. And you should fire to stop the attack, not to intentionally kill the person.

    Always call the police immediately after a shooting and stay on the scene. Say as little as possible when the police arrive, lest you say something that will later be used against you. Don't be afraid to consult a lawyer right away.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    NKMG19,

    First, welcome to the forum. You will find tons of great information, much fun, more than a few opinions and a great learning environment for your self-defense.

    If someone was stealing my car that was parked outside on the driveway or stealing anything on my property, what would be the best way to handle this? I know I can't just go out and shoot someone in the act here in Florida. But should I just stay inside and watch and wait until the cops arrive or is there anything else that I could do to stop this person.
    You've pretty much answered the first part of your own question. You are right-you can't just shoot them (no matter how attractive the thought at the moment). You really can't do much (safely) other than to call 911, be a good witness, and protect yourself and your family while waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

    If you want to live dangerously, you can certainly go outside and confront the goblin(s). But, few wise persons would suggest that is the way to go. There is just too much chance for Murphy to rear his ugly head and bite yours off.

    Is it legal to fire a warning shot if someone is on my property?
    Almost no one on this forum is likely to recommend warning shots. Warning shots, it is often believed, will do nothing for many BGs. In addition, it is highly irresponsible. You don't know where the bullet will come down, and if you harm/kill someone else, you are probably responsible emotionally, financially, judicially.

    If you are in fear for your life or in fear of grave bodily harm, you may put your hand on your weapon. If the situation warrants, you may even draw your weapon and keep it out of sight (to avoid charges of brandishing). If it comes out and visible, a reasonable person would have to believe you are in grave danger.

    Now, might you get lucky with the police, State's Attorney, press, etc.? Maybe. But, not likely. It just isn't worth it IMO.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

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    Im sure this isnt the reply you had hoped for . The best option when someone is committing a theft on your property is to call the police and be the best witness possible . I would certainly be prepared to defend your home/family if the crime was escalated , But going outside is not a good idea . Also firing a warning shot is a really stupid thing to do , It may work in Hollywood , But it could get you into a lot of trouble or legal trouble if someone else was injured by your actions . The only backstops that i would consider firing a weapon into , Would be the local range , Or the bad guy !!

    If your new to Concealed carry , I would highly reccommend a book from Florida attorney Jon Gutmacher , Called Florida firearms -Laws , use , and ownership . It is the best source for answer like this , From a attorney side of it .
    Good luck
    Anyone make a IWB holster for my AR ??

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    Member Array NKMG19's Avatar
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    It's tough to watch your hard earned belongings go bye bye and not be able to do anything about it but I certainly will heed all the advice I get here.

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    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedlinehobbies View Post
    If your new to Concealed carry , I would highly reccommend a book from Florida attorney Jon Gutmacher , Called Florida firearms -Laws , use , and ownership . It is the best source for answer like this , From a attorney side of it .
    Good luck
    Great advice! Your gun range will probably have it. If not, google and order from gutmacher's site.

    Through this forum, and some other reading/listening I have done, I have discovered how much I don't know. My life and family are too important for me to stay ignorant on these issues.

    Stay armed...stay safe...stay smart.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    Member Array NKMG19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miklcolt45 View Post
    Great advice! Your gun range will probably have it. If not, google and order from gutmacher's site.

    Through this forum, and some other reading/listening I have done, I have discovered how much I don't know. My life and family are too important for me to stay ignorant on these issues.

    Stay armed...stay safe...stay smart.
    I did see that book on the shelf of the gun range and I will pick up a copy. On a side note, I can't believe how supportive my wife is about all this. She has been to the range with me on two occasions and after she becomes comfortable will do the CCW class also.

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    Member Array GHFLRLTD's Avatar
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    Florida Law

    Talk to a Florida Attorney.

    The Law reads like this:

    CHAPTER 776

    JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

    776.012 Use of force in defense of person.

    776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

    776.031 Use of force in defense of others.

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

    776.041 Use of force by aggressor.

    776.08 Forcible felony.

    776.085 Defense to civil action for damages; party convicted of forcible or attempted forcible felony.

    776.012 Use of force in defense of person.--A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

    History.--s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27.

    776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.--

    (1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

    (a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

    (b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

    (2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

    (a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or

    (b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or

    (c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or

    (d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.

    (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

    (5) As used in this section, the term:

    (a) "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.

    (b) "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

    (c) "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

    History.--s. 1, ch. 2005-27.

    776.031 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

    History.--s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1189, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 2005-27.

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.--

    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term "criminal prosecution" includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

    (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

    History.--s. 4, ch. 2005-27.

    776.041 Use of force by aggressor.--The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

    (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

    (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

    (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

    (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

    History.--s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1190, ch. 97-102.

    776.08 Forcible felony.--"Forcible felony" means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

    History.--s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 4, ch. 75-298; s. 289, ch. 79-400; s. 5, ch. 93-212; s. 10, ch. 95-195.

    776.085 Defense to civil action for damages; party convicted of forcible or attempted forcible felony.--

    (1) It shall be a defense to any action for damages for personal injury or wrongful death, or for injury to property, that such action arose from injury sustained by a participant during the commission or attempted commission of a forcible felony. The defense authorized by this section shall be established by evidence that the participant has been convicted of such forcible felony or attempted forcible felony, or by proof of the commission of such crime or attempted crime by a preponderance of the evidence.

    (2) For the purposes of this section, the term "forcible felony" shall have the same meaning as in s. 776.08.

    (3) Any civil action in which the defense recognized by this section is raised shall be stayed by the court on the motion of the civil defendant during the pendency of any criminal action which forms the basis for the defense, unless the court finds that a conviction in the criminal action would not form a valid defense under this section.

    (4) In any civil action where a party prevails based on the defense created by this section:

    (a) The losing party, if convicted of and incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, shall, as determined by the court, lose any privileges provided by the correctional facility, including, but not limited to:

    1. Canteen purchases;

    2. Telephone access;

    3. Outdoor exercise;

    4. Use of the library; and

    5. Visitation.

    (b) The court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid to the prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the losing party's attorney; however, the losing party's attorney is not personally responsible if he or she has acted in good faith, based on the representations of his or her client. If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime and has insufficient assets to cover payment of the costs of the action and the award of fees pursuant to this paragraph, the party shall, as determined by the court, be required to pay by deduction from any payments the prisoner receives while incarcerated.

    (c) If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, the court shall issue a written order containing its findings and ruling pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) and shall direct that a certified copy be forwarded to the appropriate correctional institution or facility.

    History.--s. 1, ch. 87-187; s. 72, ch. 96-388.

    Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : flsenate.gov
    George H. Foster
    Orlando, Florida

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    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forum! You'll find excellent advice in here. Use lethal force to thwart someone from using lethal force against you or your family - period. As much as it hurts to see your property take a walk (or be escorted off of the premises), it's all replaceable.
    Last edited by sniper58; April 14th, 2008 at 10:43 PM. Reason: sp
    Tim
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    BAC
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    Congratulations on taking the time and energy to invest in better defensive tools; since you're at home, I suggest upgrading to a long gun, but one step at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    My question is this. If someone was stealing my car that was parked outside on the driveway or stealing anything on my property, what would be the best way to handle this? I know I can't just go out and shoot someone in the act here in Florida. But should I just stay inside and watch and wait until the cops arrive or is there anything else that I could do to stop this person. Is it legal to fire a warning shot if someone is on my property?
    Your responses will be greatly appreciated.
    The best way to handle it would be to be armed and ready to use force if force is brought upon you. Calling the cops is a good idea. Confronting someone who does not appear to pose harm (at that moment) is also acceptable. In Florida you are NOT allowed to shoot to protect property, NOT allowed to brandish the firearm, and for your sake NEVER fire "warning shots". If you pull the trigger, you better be able to account for all of your shots, because the ones you don't will be the ones lawyers do. It's preferable to keep all shots fired within a human-sized target.

    Hope this helps.


    -B

  11. #11
    Member Array bigdog21's Avatar
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    You can use NON deadly force to stop someone from stealing your property in florida.

    776.031 use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with , either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect.
    However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    After an attempted burglary of the pump for my water filtration system outside my house on my property, I decided to invest in my home defense considering everything else that I had invested in including my home. It finally hit me that a knife or a baseball bat would not help me to protect my family or myself and property.

    I went to the range and bought a Glock 19 on the advise of a friend who had wanted me to go to the range with him a long time ago. I also took the CCW class and is now waiting on my permit.
    Welcome to the forum, and to the community of Florida gun owners.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    My question is this. If someone was stealing my car that was parked outside on the driveway or stealing anything on my property, what would be the best way to handle this?
    Call 911. Observe. Do not go out and initiate a confrontation. That is a pathway to prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    I know I can't just go out and shoot someone in the act here in Florida. But should I just stay inside and watch and wait until the cops arrive or is there anything else that I could do to stop this person.
    It's property. It's not worth losing your life (or taking a life) over.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    Is it legal to fire a warning shot if someone is on my property?
    Absolutely not. Warning shots are for TV and the movies.

    If you are facing an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, you don't have time for warning shots.

    Conversely, if you have time to fire a warning shot, you are most likely not facing such a threat.

    Bear in mind that in Florida, should you be prosecuted for a self-defense case gone wrong, firing that shot can bring a mandatory 20 year prison term to the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    Your responses will be greatly appreciated.
    If I might make a suggestion, there is one vital piece of equipment that every single person who owns a gun in Florida should have.

    Florida Firearms by Jon Gutmacher. (ORLANDO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY | AGGRAVATED BATTERY DEFENSE LAWYER JON H. GUTMACHER, Esq.)

    Mr. Gutmacher is an attorney in the Orlando area. I've met him (at a gun show), and he really gets this stuff. His book is excellent, and it breaks down the Florida laws in a clear manner.

    On pages 248-250, he discusses warning shots - and how one could land someone in prison.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
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  13. #13
    Member Array FLSquirrelHunter's Avatar
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    again, welcome!

    I can add little to the good advice above, except that a digital camera might be helpful in dealing with theft of property.

    Here's a cliche, tailored for your G19: "My insurance protects my property; my Glock protects my family."

    Also, if you are new to handguns, PLEASE go to Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest ammo you can, then go to the range and shoot it, slowly, carefully, until every shot you make at 3 yards is exactly where you aim, then 5 yards, then 7 yards. Then take it home, unload it, clean it, and while still unloaded, practice drawing, getting a sight picture, and (dry) firing, cycling the slide, and repeat until it becomes very comfortable and easy to get a good sight picture. And keep us posted. Then when your license arrives, you'll be more ready to carry on the nacho run.
    Last edited by FLSquirrelHunter; April 15th, 2008 at 08:28 AM. Reason: added request for practice

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post

    If I might make a suggestion, there is one vital piece of equipment that every single person who owns a gun in Florida should have.

    Florida Firearms by Jon Gutmacher. (ORLANDO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY | AGGRAVATED BATTERY DEFENSE LAWYER JON H. GUTMACHER, Esq.)

    Mr. Gutmacher is an attorney in the Orlando area. I've met him (at a gun show), and he really gets this stuff. His book is excellent, and it breaks down the Florida laws in a clear manner.

    On pages 248-250, he discusses warning shots - and how one could land someone in prison.

    Matt
    +1. Get Jon's book. You should have also been given a copy of the statutes in your CCW class. Learn them. You'll note that the first responsibility required of a CCW holder in FL is to be familiar with the applicable laws as they relate to CC and to the use of force.

    Welcome and congratulations on taking the necessary steps to keep you, and yours safe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NKMG19 View Post
    If someone was stealing my car that was parked outside on the driveway or stealing anything on my property, what would be the best way to handle this?
    Good advice given, above. Basically, it comes down to this: prosecutors and juries are fairly open to the idea that when faced with a person crime you took the steps needed to defend yourself, but folks are decidedly less humorous about dramatic steps of escalation or non-person crimes stopped violently. As well, you need to decide whether it's worth losing your life over insured items.

    Now, I'm all for defending your property. But except for Texas and a few other places, you're likely to be strung up by your toenails for doing so in such a manner that results in the death of the intruder. Sad, but true.

    If a 10yr old were futzing around with the mail at your mailbox at 12noon, you'd have no qualms about heading towards the mailbox and demanding to know what the fool was doing. Me, too. Well, some stranger piddling around with your car in your own driveway isn't all that different, except that the fool isn't 10yrs old, is possibly armed, and is highly likely to turn on you and attack. Who's to say? You're equally reasonable in your actions to demand both thieves stop what they're doing. The mere happenstance that one is 10yrs old and the other ~25 is irrelevant. If the car thief then turns on you in violent attack, you're fully justified in defending against (not the car, but) the attack. Though, all the questions will soon begin about the options you had and suggestions about "your escalation" of the situation. Again, your state's laws may vary (ie, in Texas), but basically this is the score.

    A good rule of thumb when the exact limits aren't fully known: Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy. This focuses on your defense against violent person-crimes directed at you or another. It requires three critical elements be present. It can generally be justified no matter where you live.

    A good book to acquire, if you haven't already is: In The Gravest Extreme, by Massad Ayoob. It covers most questions about the risks and responsibility of carrying and using a firearm for defensive use.

    It may be helpful to review your questions with an attorney competent in these areas.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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