Hypothetical Discussion with friends...opinions??

This is a discussion on Hypothetical Discussion with friends...opinions?? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Sitting around discussing firearms with some pals and the question came up about minors (under 18) and their legal rights to defend themselves. (A little ...

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Thread: Hypothetical Discussion with friends...opinions??

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    Member Array MadDawg34's Avatar
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    Hypothetical Discussion with friends...opinions??

    Sitting around discussing firearms with some pals and the question came up about minors (under 18) and their legal rights to defend themselves. (A little background...all of us have older kids that are very comfortable and proficient with firearms and often hunt, practice, and compete with us dads). Anyway, the question arose about our kids using deadly force with a firearm to defend themselves in a situation where we were not around, or God forbid, had already failed to the same. So here are the two hypotheticals we presented...

    1. As dad's we conceal carry 90% of the time as allowed by law. Most of our kids know this. BG presents himself as intending to harm us and for any given reason takes dad out of the game (permenantly or otherwise). Do our children then have the right to aquire our carry weapon and defend themselves appropriately??

    2. Some of our sons are old enough now where at times, they may be left to themselves at home while us adults partake in shopping, dinner, movie, etc.... If a BG were to break in the home, other than dialing 911, would our sons have the right to defend themselves with an available firearm if necessary??

    Now for some clarification and our opinions as discussed at this gathering. Scenario 2 is the tougher of the two because of laws that prohibit us as gun owners from allowing our children access to ready firearms. In Texas, keeping my guns in a manner that would allow access by my children is a big no-no. However, as I mentioned before, my son often participates in shooting sports with me, so there have been times when I have asked him to retrieve an item from the safe, so he may or may not know my combination depending on when I changed it last. Our opinion on Scenario 2 was that, of course we want our children to protect themselves when necessary, and although the child may be protected legally in defending himself, we as the adults would probably be liable to the BG or the govt for allowing access to the guns. We then all agreed any legal action against us would be gladly dealt with if it meant our children were alive and well.

    Scenario 1 presented a little more questionable debate as to the definition of "allowing access by a minor" guidelines.

    I am just curious if any of you fine folks have considered this type of scenario concerning your child, or if you have heard of any such cases that this may have actually played out.

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    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    I would do a search here for threads and also Google to find articles on how kids under 18 have successfully defended themselves and family members against the criminal element.

    One kid did it recently by using a BB gun to thwart an attack on his mom.
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    Member Array Doubledown's Avatar
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    I cannot see how there would be any action against anyone in case one. You are hurt or killed and your child picks up the weapon and blasts the guy that just shot or killed his father, he is a hero in every sense of the word.

    Case 2 you could run into issues with the law but as you stated I would happily deal with those problems if it means my son is still by my side.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    From Texas Penal Code 46.13.......
    46.13: MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD

    (a) In this section:

    (1) "Child" means a person younger than 17 years of age.

    (2) "Readily dischargeable firearm" means a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber.

    (3) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.

    (b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal negligence:

    (1) failed to secure the firearm; or

    (2) left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.

    (c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the child's access to the firearm:
    (1) was supervised by a person older than 18 years of age and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;

    (2) consisted of lawful defense by the child of people or property;
    There is more to the section but the bolded part there pretty much answers the question for us in Texas.
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    I cannot recall one instance where a minor, who was "legitimately" defending self or family, was prosecuted for the offense, nor were the parents for allowing the firearm to be accessible. Most states have gun laws that preclude minor access to fireams though.
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    Good questions, but the bottom line is that regardless of state law, or interpretation, I want my children to defend themselves if they need to, and we'll deal with the aftermath later.
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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    IIRC, NC law has a similar exception for self defense. Regardless, I would want them to do it and deal with the consequences after the fact. Right now they are too young and do not know much about firearms other than not to touch them without me or mom. But we are getting ready to start teaching them to shoot, so it's something we will have to consider soon.
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    Member Array JJVP's Avatar
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    Here are two cases, one in TX and another in Louisiana where a minor used a gun to defend him or herself from a home intruder. As far as I know neither parent was arrested for allowing gun access to a minor. There are probably dozens more. Now if you are in California, Illinois, or DC you will probably be hung at first light.

    Investigators: 15-year-old son of deputy shoots burglary suspect | khou.com Houston

    Child shoots intruder during home break-in - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana |

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    Member Array Doubledown's Avatar
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    Most lynchings take place in the dark of night so nobody can see or be outraged until it is over.
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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    I've brought up this same exact conundrum in other threads before. The best I can make out, you are essentially gambling. If you allow the child access to a gun for self defense, you are gambling that nothing will go wrong and you won't be put in prison for giving a child access to a gun. On the same token, if you don't allow access you are gambling with your child's life when the possibility of a robber comes into the home. So you take a chance either way.

    I think I've decided what I'm going to do. Right now my daughter is too young, in my opinion, to be left home alone anyway. She is only 8. But she has been learning to shoot the Walther P22 and she knows how to load the rounds into the magazine, chamber a round, fire, etc. I suspect by the time she is old enough to be left at home she will be decently proficient with it. Not sure what age that will be. Lets say, for sake of argument, that it is 12 years old. Well, since we have a security camera system in the house, what I plan to do is add an indoor camera pointing to the gun safe. At that point she'll be given access to it with the knowledge that if she gets into it, I WILL know about it and she will be punished and lose access until she is 18. So there won't be any "playing with guns" while parents are out. period. On the other hand, if somebody tries to break in she will have the ability to protect herself.

    Of course, it is hypothetical right now.. I've got a few more years to work out exactly how to set it all up. I know the law would still not agree with giving a child access under any circumstance. But I also know the law will happily stand by me in the event she defends herself with one. It is quite a catch-22.
    "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." -Plato

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    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    Good questions, but the bottom line is that regardless of state law, or interpretation, I want my children to defend themselves if they need to, and we'll deal with the aftermath later.
    That^ is most definitely the bottom line. Secondly, a DA would get boo'ed out of office if they attempted to prosecute a traumatized minor who had to defend themselves from some scumbag.
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    Member Array JJVP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAm_Not_Lost View Post
    That^ is most definitely the bottom line. Secondly, a DA would get boo'ed out of office if they attempted to prosecute a traumatized minor who had to defend themselves from some scumbag.
    Except that he would not prosecute the minor. He would prosecute the parent that allowed acces to the gun to an unsupervised minor. I posted two case earlier where to my knowledge no charges were brought to the parents of a child that used a gun for self defense.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adric22 View Post
    I've brought up this same exact conundrum in other threads before. The best I can make out, you are essentially gambling. If you allow the child access to a gun for self defense, you are gambling that nothing will go wrong and you won't be put in prison for giving a child access to a gun. On the same token, if you don't allow access you are gambling with your child's life when the possibility of a robber comes into the home. So you take a chance either way.
    If you read the definiton in the Texas law you will see that they specify a loaded firearm even if the chamber is not loaded. There is nothing in the law that would prevent someone from leaving a revolver with an empty cylinder on their child's nightstand with a couple of loaded speed loaders next to it. It is not something I would recommend but it would be perfectly legal.
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    Member Array TommyGun4169's Avatar
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    18 to own/use a rifle or shotgun but 21 for a handgun says it all !
    If you are responsible enough at 18 then yes . At 18 you could purchase a rifle or shotgun so why not a handgun ? I guess because of the barrel legnth ?
    If you could serve your country at 18 and operate military weapons why not be able to buy a handgun ! Somethings just don't make sense ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyGun4169 View Post
    18 to own/use a rifle or shotgun but 21 for a handgun says it all !
    If you are responsible enough at 18 then yes . At 18 you could purchase a rifle or shotgun so why not a handgun ? I guess because of the barrel legnth ?
    If you could serve your country at 18 and operate military weapons why not be able to buy a handgun ! Somethings just don't make sense ?
    What the heck does this have to do with anything? This conversation is about minors, aged 17 or under, defending the home with ANY firearm.


    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    Good questions, but the bottom line is that regardless of state law, or interpretation, I want my children to defend themselves if they need to, and we'll deal with the aftermath later.
    This is what it really comes down to. Do you trust your teen? My kids are still young but when my son is old enough to drive and operate a deadly weapon on the road I'll probably feel pretty comfortable letting him know the combination to my safe. Let's be honest. Would you rather not get jammed up by the law and bury your child? Not me.
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and Ió
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

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