Is firearms training a legal liability?

This is a discussion on Is firearms training a legal liability? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In other words, if I have to shoot a bg and he ends up suing me will some attorney make it out to the jury ...

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Thread: Is firearms training a legal liability?

  1. #1
    Member Array Dusty Miller's Avatar
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    Is firearms training a legal liability?

    In other words, if I have to shoot a bg and he ends up suing me will some attorney make it out to the jury that I'm held to a higher standard because I've had the training? If so, what is the likelihood that it'll have an impact. BTW, I live in the PRC.

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    Senior Member Array kavity's Avatar
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    haha hopefully if you are properly trained there won't be a bg to file a lawsuit

  4. #3
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    IMO (non legal) thinking, I reckon defence guys can put spin in any direction - ergo ....

    "The shooter was highly trained and so should have been able to avoid shooting the 'victim' (BG of course!)."

    "The shooter had purchased this gun but never had any demonstrable practice and so was not proficient in its use".

    I could dream up many and they'd be polarized all the way from North to South. In the end I reckon all would be down to circumstances and the ability to prove a good defensive shooting, whatever the level of ''training''.

    Being in fear (proveably) of one's life is where it all stops IMO - the mechanics behind that are almost irrelevant despite what attornies might try and distort. I'd always hope for good witnesses as a real side bonus!
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    Might hold water if the BG was unarmed or armed with say, a stick and you had extensive martial arts training. They might be able to "prove" that you shouldn't have feared for your life (no disparity of force because of your awesome kung-fu grip). I don't see how being highly trained with your firearm make the above BG with his stick less threatening to your life. The BGs attorney might argue that you were looking for trouble by getting all that training, but I don't know that it would hold any water.
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    IMHO firearms training is a liability in the same sense a defensive driving course is lol . The more training you have on any potentially lethal piece of equipment the better off you are if you ever god forbid set in the defense seat .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  7. #6
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    It could be a liability sure... but I think its a far greater liability not to train.
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    Would any training even need to be disclosed ?

    If I where an attorney I'd leave those facts to remain between you and me and not the DA or a jury until which time it may be needed to demonstrate a level of proficiency with firearms. Let the facts of the case stand on their own merit. If a shooting takes place and BG is wounded with a permanent disability then just be happy that you live in a state with castle doctrine law.

    If your state has adopted similar legislation and the shoot is cleared "clean" then you don't have to ever worry about a civil lawsuit or an attorney spinning your training into a "wannabee assasin" presentation.
    Perhaps your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    IMO (non legal) thinking, I reckon defence guys can put spin in any direction - ergo ....

    "The shooter was highly trained and so should have been able to avoid shooting the 'victim' (BG of course!)."

    "The shooter had purchased this gun but never had any demonstrable practice and so was not proficient in its use".

    I could dream up many and they'd be polarized all the way from North to South. In the end I reckon all would be down to circumstances and the ability to prove a good defensive shooting, whatever the level of ''training''.

    Being in fear (proveably) of one's life is where it all stops IMO - the mechanics behind that are almost irrelevant despite what attornies might try and distort. I'd always hope for good witnesses as a real side bonus!
    I would agree with this post, but I'd like to add, with good firearm training, hopefully only the BG's family will be suing you instead of an innocent bystander's family

  10. #9
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    i'd love to see it become a liability for the state. for instance, if any shooting incident occured, it's on the state since they assumed the responsibility of training its gun owners.

    i recently moved to AZ, where i must undergo 8-9 hours of training before i can get my CCW here (besides spending 75 bucks on the course). this seems like an impingement to bearing to me. luckilly i still have my GA license, which has reciprocity here.
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  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phaed View Post

    i recently moved to AZ, where i must undergo 8-9 hours of training before i can get my CCW here (besides spending 75 bucks on the course). this seems like an impingement to bearing to me. luckilly i still have my GA license, which has reciprocity here.
    If I'm not mistaken, don't you need an Arizona CCP to carry here if you are a resident? I thought that was the law.
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    I can hear the lawyer now......

    "Your honor, my client should have been shot in the leg....instead of of twice in the chest & one in the head!.......This man with his assault pistol & cop killer bullets is so well trained, he should have been able to spare my client these medical bills!"
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  13. #12
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    Training is an asset because it helps you in understanding the limits of use of force for any given situation and how to operate successfully within those limits.

    When can you preemptively strike someone who is exhibiting pre-assaultive behavior?
    Are you required to retreat in a given situation?
    Can you ever use force to recover property?

    Use of force training should help you with those answers, and help you act within the bounds of law while doing so.

    It does you no good to win in the street then loose in court.

    In addition it assists in your decision making process by offering you expert advice on how to deal with a threat.

    A prime part of the aftermath of self defense is justification. A major part of justification is articulation.

    Simply put, why did you do what you did?

    Not only what did you see, or think you saw, or what you felt, but you need to be able to put into words your thought process which lead you to the use of force option you used.

    Simply saying "I was in fear for my life" will generate questions of "Why were you in fear of your life? What in this situation made you believe that shooting someone 6 times was the correct response? Why didn't you just walk away?"

    You need to be able to explain why someone's behavior justified your taking their life, and you need to be able to describe it so that it fulfills the subjective/objective test of self defense:

    That your actions, under the circumstance, with the information you possessed at the time, and your reasonable interpretation of this information, lead you to believe that you faced grave harm or death ( < Subjective), and that your interpretation of this information, and your actions resulting from your interpretation of the information you possessed at the time, made your response reasonable to a person evaluating the situation in the aftermath.(< Objective)

    But...what made your interpretation of the information a reasonable one?

    Surely everyone's opinion in equally valid...

    Such as "Why didn't you just shoot him in the leg?" or "Shoot the knife out of his hand!"

    Humm...Nah.

    The opinions that matter should come from an expert. Someone who is qualified to instruct on this issue and who's body of work you can cite.

    It is good to have someone who's teaching sets the standard for what is objectively reasonable for you to fall back on, even if its only being able to refer to your library of instructional material.

    Why did you do as you did?

    Because the situation required it, and expert #1 and expert #2 both agree with me (See reference material in appendix A & B).

    Courts expect you to act as a reasonable person, and in determining what is reasonable they like to have evidence of your conforming to the standards of care/conduct set by experts.

    Is it a guarantee you will be found justified if an expert (or his work) can back you up?

    No...but sure as hell helps.

    As an aside, if you get this situation:

    Quote Originally Posted by goawayfarm View Post
    I can hear the lawyer now......

    "Your honor, my client should have been shot in the leg....instead of of twice in the chest & one in the head!.......This man with his assault pistol & cop killer bullets is so well trained, he should have been able to spare my client these medical bills!"
    The lawyer you hear is a moron.

    Anyone who starts to call a defendant the expert is cutting their own wrists.

    As an expert your decisions and opinions should be given more weight. More credibility. More importantly, they need to be challenged BY ANOTHER EXPERT...

    Good luck on finding one who is going to testify as to the shooting of the leg or the knife out of the hand.

    If I'm going after you, the last thing I'm going to do is call you an expert if your conduct is anything near correct.


    If you screwed the pooch, THEN being trained becomes a liability in that I would first try to set you up as someone who aught to know better, but either was too incompetent to figure it out or as someone who disregarded the common standard of care in their actions.

    Think medical malpractice. Doctor is told he is supposed to remove your gall bladder and takes out a spleen instead...he should know what they look like and realize "hey...this is the wrong organ...".

    In that case, you start by showing how he graduated in the top half of his class, did 8 years as an Army doctor, been a teacher for 9 years after that, has several awards...and you screwed this simple procedure up?

    Were you drinking? On drugs? Just plain negligent? Maybe you were reckless? How bout just stupid?



    If your actions in a use of force incident were unjustified, being an IDPA shooter and/or an NRA instructor become the double edged sword because it is evidence that you knew what you should have done, but either were negligent in that you failed to do it, reckless in that you acted with disregard for the safety of others, or that you did something intentionally to hurt another person when you didn't have justification to do so.


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  14. #13
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    Interesting question, and I agree that a lawyer can attempt to use your training against you. But, I agree with the post that suggested that it would be akin to arguing that driver training should have enabled you to avoid the accident. IMO, a specious argument, at best, and one which a capable defense attorney should be readily able to refute. Contrary to what some may believe, most juries are not stupid and usually will not buy into illogical arguments.

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    I'm not a lawyer, but I'd go for training over lack thereof. I've no idea what the likelihood of having to use your firearm is, but I know I handle mine everyday. And if a little extra training helps me act safely, and be better familiarized with my gun, then I'm all for it. If it ends up being a liability (I personally don't think it would, but what do I know) in the court room, at least it probably helped me make it to the court, rather than the morgue.
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    Any lawyer is going to do his best to make the shooter look like Atilla the Hun. Forget about what a lawyer will do. If you judge that your choices are limited to kill or be killed, you must act. If you go to trial later, your action may be judged to be legal or it may be judged illegal. At the moment of action, there's no time to waste asking yourself "If I do this, will a lawyer crucify me?" The only outcome of a shooting that will save you from the possibility of court difficulty is if you select the be-killed option.

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