Non-factory modifications and the law

Non-factory modifications and the law

This is a discussion on Non-factory modifications and the law within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Trigger jobs, aftermarket barrels, compensators, etc... 'smith work in other words. How does law percieve these modifications in the event that the weapon is used ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array V8 Thumper's Avatar
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    Non-factory modifications and the law

    Trigger jobs, aftermarket barrels, compensators, etc... 'smith work in other words. How does law percieve these modifications in the event that the weapon is used in self defense, assuming justificaiton?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    take a look at this thread, it discusses basically the same issue
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ght-think.html
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

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  3. #3
    Member Array V8 Thumper's Avatar
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    Thanks Kenpo, some very interesting perspectives there. I was not aware of the retired teacher (reportedly from AZ, as am I) that was convicted of murder (?) becaues he chose to carry a 10mm.

    SAY WHAT???

    I'm going to research that case. That's spooky...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    There is also some cases that Ayoob has cited agains't having a "Hair Trigger" modification to your concealed weapon of choice.

    If I can find them again, I'll post the article.

    In two cases the prosecutor used the modification to a lighter trigger as negligent homicide. I believe both cases involved unintentional discharges which resulted in the death of the assailant, even though a deadly threat was eminent. I believe they may have even been New York cases.
    Perhaps your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    The Fish case in Arizona

    Quote Originally Posted by V8 Thumper View Post
    I was not aware of the retired teacher (reportedly from AZ, as am I) that was convicted of murder (?) becaues he chose to carry a 10mm.
    I've read the long description of this Arizona case, which involved a man named Fish as the 10mm shooter. Although the caliber of the gun was mentioned in court by the prosecutor, I believe the critical factor in Fish's conviction was that the man who charged at him was mentally unstable and unarmed. There was reasonable doubt by the jury that Fish had to use deadly force at that point.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    You can bet that a prosecuting attorney will use everything against you he can from gun mods. to the caliber you chose. I know from experience.
    Psalms 144:1
    Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
    Senior Instructor for Tactical and Defensive of Texas
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    In the case of the teacher, I think his lawyer failed to point out that the 10mm is roughly the equal of the .357 Magnum which most people know is a common defense caliber. If it's a case of self defense, the caliber is irrelavent.
    As far as modifications go, items like hair triggers and exploding ammo are out. Night sights, modifications which make the gun more reliable and accurate are generally accepted as positive. Using ammo similar to what the local police use is also a plus. One just needs to be gun savvy and have an attorney that is too.
    "First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
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  8. #8
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I think a lot of it depends on the mentality of the prosecutor. If you limit yourself to things like finishes, grips and night sights you would be fairly safe. If you start talking about trigger jobs the ice could get very thin, very fast.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I'll agree that lightening a factory trigger pull might be a bad idea....not just in the eyes of the law, but for safety purposes also. Heck...if it came down to swaying a jury, a knowledgeable attorney could probably turn your choice of a SA pistol into intentional malice since DAO and DAK action pistols are also widely available.

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    It depends.

    It depends on the modifications and if you can articulate why you had the modifications made. If they pass the "reasonable man" test, you should, I repeat, should be OK.

    I've added better sights, rendered my carry Revolvers Double Action Only, and had an "Action Job" done all to faciliatate putting the bullets where I intend to put them, with accuracy.

    Take it for what it's worth, I'm not a lawyer, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    Biker

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    It depends.

    It depends on the modifications and if you can articulate why you had the modifications made. If they pass the "reasonable man" test, you should, I repeat, should be OK.

    I've added better sights, rendered my carry Revolvers Double Action Only, and had an "Action Job" done all to faciliatate putting the bullets where I intend to put them, with accuracy.

    Take it for what it's worth, I'm not a lawyer, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    Biker
    I am with Biker. I do what I desire to do with my guns and do not worry.

    I have a responsibility to be as proficient as I can. Mods that increase my proficiency makes it much more likely that bystanders and innocents will not be inadvertently injured. That goes for handloads also if using them makes me a better shot, and my gun more reliable.

    The guy that was found guilty that used a 10mm had an incompetent lawyer. The FBI did not discontinue using it because it was too dangerous, but because the recoil was more than some agents could handle.

    I refuse to be ruled by "what ifs" unless I can determine that they make sense. I think most of them are gun writers trying to make themselves more expert than they are. I agree that some are good, but they also go over the top at times.

    Best,
    Jerry

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Its a rough question which varies state to state . I am sure that in some states any mod to a pistol might aid a prosecuting attny in portraying you as a " killer in waiting " . However i will disagree here and say that nowadays we must apply the " common man " doctrine to mods . This simply means that if you mod a firearm you best be able to explain to a jury of " common men " how the mod made you and the firearm safer for society at large . You can think of it as i had a trigger job done not to make my pistol a more effecent killing weapon , rather to safeguard innocents from missed shots . The problem is that when you mod an action from " factory spec " you give an argument to hang a prosecution on . Hell one fella just went to prison for innocent mods to an oly ar 15 whereby it would slam fire if you set everything up just right . Actually i am not sure he modded the gun at all , but he was a natnl guard armorer so he might have , or should have changed the old oly so it was not as likely . Olofson IMHO is a manufactured felon . None the less he serves time today . Think mods thro carefully . Ask your self both is this mod court defensable under common man , and is it legal ? As an instance bolt on vertical fore grips are common for the AR 15s nowadays . So are " Tac rails " on pistols . Did you know if you take the fore grip off the ar and put it on your say ... glock you are now a felon ?? .

    Mods are fine if they help and you can explain to a jury why you did it . Otherwise dont do it , you may not only be handing ammo out , but you may wind up in violation of some obscure state , federal , or local law which by its self makes you a bad person .
    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 .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array sass20485's Avatar
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    Well, I would not go too far with making it a tricked out super gun with a hair trigger and all. Make it reliable and safe, but stay as close to factory specs as possible. We are gun people on this forum and understand modifications. Your average juror is NOT and won't be immune to all the crap and garbage the prosecution will throw at them. They might believe all that junk. I've been on a few juries and it is SCARY how some of these folks think and the hair brained "logic " they throw in the mix, in coming to a verdict.
    Last edited by sass20485; August 27th, 2008 at 07:57 PM.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Sorry about the long post it is huge even for me, I did cut is down some

    The fact is that a persecutor will do everything they can to win a case. Every aspect of your life and gun ownership may come into play. The weaker the facts of his case, the more they will focus on trying to make you out a psycho killer clown. A attorney friend of mine said the below is not an unlikely tact for persecutor would take. Considering that he was the youngest attorney to have tried a capitol case in Washington and has tried more capitol cases in the Tri State Northwest (WA, Or, Id) than any other attorney I give his opinion some credence
    Ladies and gentleman of the jury we have proven that this individual is not you average gun owner. One who has a gun at home for self protection. This individual carried his gun with him EVERY DAY, every where he went, looking for his chance. On his person every day he carried an EXTREME DUTY .45 Caliber weapon produced by Springfield Armory a major weapons supplier for our military. His .45 caliber weapon is the caliber favored by military, the Navy Seals and Spec Ops military renowned for it deadliness. He practiced weekly spending thousands upon thousands of dollars fine tuning his skills to kill another human being. He spent many more thousands of dollars taking combat training courses intended for law enforcement and special ops military. These killer training courses cost hundreds with expenses even thousands of dollars EACH. These covert training camps are held in isolated parts of the country. Imagine the huge commitment of time and money, travel, securing lodging. Not to mention he often traveled across the country with a car load of weapons and ammunition. Typically they will shoot a thousand rounds or more, in one weekend. Who does this? Not your average citizen. Do you know anyone who has gone to one of these killer camps? Of course not. No, this fanatic is not your every day gun owner. He did not just go to a gun range and target practice. He combat trained, learning to shoot one handed. Learned and practiced point shooting while running moving advancing on his victim. Do any of us even know what point shooting is? Techniques reserved for specialized military and federal agents. He had his gun customized with military grade high tech fiber optic night sights and a military style laser sight. We have shown you the advertisement for the Deadly Federal HST 230 grain bullet. Designed for the exclusive use of law enforcement. Who knows where someone could get ammunition like this. Not a single gun store in this city carries it. Ammunition that is designed to RIP through his victim. Not like a regular bullet hole but made to RIP, TEAR and SHRED a quarter sized hole through human flesh. He even went so far as to have a specialized hand made custom holster made for deep concealment to assure his prey would not know he was armed until it was to late. As we have shown when he was not practicing killing he was reading books like Kill or Be Killed and participating in an online message board, dedicated to guns, the most deadly ammunition, how to shoot and venders who specialize in making custom combat weapons. No this is not your average gun owner but a man obsessed with committing murder. A man who equipped and trained himself to be a killer, for years waiting for his chance. When poor little johnny full of dreams for the long promising life before him. Whose broken heart grieving mother you heard testify was a kind gentle boy whom everyone loved fell through the window onto the defendants wife he did not have a prayer. How could he have known that a vicious killer like the murderous defendant lay in wait for him?
    That is similar to the tact the persecutor took against Harold Fish, focusing in on the 10mm as evidence that Mr Fish had a desire to kill someone. Members of the jury said that the 10mm and hollow points were the deciding factor in convicting him. A competent lawyer would have been able to make the persecutor out as the clown for trying to make an issue of it. Harold Fish was hiker his primary concern was four legged predators not humans. A whole slew of hunters, campers, outdoors men are available to confirm that a 10 mm is arguably the minimum caliber that anyone would want to shoot a bear wolf or cougar with. They could have presented 50 to 500 caliber handguns commonly carried by guides and outdoors men for comparison. Along with many LEO who do carry 10 mm. Instead the defense attorney offered little or no rebuttal nor did they deal with the "Killer Hollow Point" myth which is one that the general public have come to believe because that is what the experts in the media keep calling them. Hollow point instead could be called safety bullets. That is the rational that LEO used when they first started using them. The claim was that they were designed to stop in the target and not go through and hit innocent by standers. That they do not ricochet like FMJ bullets do, again for the safety of the children of course. Additionally as we all know hollow points are the standard issue of virtually every PD in the nation. But Harold Fish's lawyer never argued any of that and let the persecutors image of Harold Fish as the killer clown in lambs clothing ride. Even though the police released Harold Fish initially having determined the shooting was justified based on Harold Fish's statement. Those statements were later used against him in trial.
    The point of this lengthy post is DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE and that every single aspect of our gun ownership as well as every other aspect of our lives can be made an issue during a murder trial. If you go to church regularly you will be a religious fanatic. If you do not go to church you will be a heathen.

    Rather than worry how unscrupulous bureaucrats will interpret the make or caliber of gun we choose, the ammo we use or our reasonable performance modifications to our HD and carry weapons. I suggest spending the time finding the very best criminal lawyer you can. One who can destroy the the absurd type of arguments used against Harold Fish effortlessly. One who has tried murder cases and wins. One who has the experts phone number on his rolodex. A trial attorney who knows juries not a deal maker (most are deal makers)/ Keep you gun modifications within what he defines as defensible limits i.e. I do not suggest carrying a suppressed race gun with holo sights and a two pound trigger as an EDC.

    If we live in fear making all our life choices based on the possibility that an unethical persecutor will try to twist it to use against us than we have lost. Prisoners to our own fear.
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    The unethical prosecutor you speak of is the same guy you cheered on last week when he put the needle into the arm of some true scum.

    Instead of unethical, you are better off calling him misguided, because unethical implies he doesn't believe that good people should come out ahead when dealing with bad ones, or that he is a bad one himself...

    In the circumstance you are referring to, something has convinced him YOU are the bad person who did something that endangers the public, and therefore he has to protect the rest of us from YOU.

    I know some prosecutors I'd describe as...well, I've been warned about my language, but lets say they aren't pleasant people to deal with.

    They don't like criminals.

    They think everyone is guilty and if people feel they aren't guilty, they can just go to trial and take their chances.

    And They Don't Like To Loose.

    Now, don't get me wrong, they aren't the type who would weep over a citizen killing a criminal in a lawful self defense incident.

    They would probably say "Great. One less repeat customer" then walk the paperwork to the judge for him to sign and get you the gun back...

    But.

    But...

    If you start running your mouth to the police and say something incriminating, or it appears you went outside of the bounds of use of force laws, they would feel an obligation to act consistent with what they feel is the obligation to the public inherent in the oath they took when they entered into the office of the prosecutor and the oath they took when they became members of the bar...,i.e., protect and serve the public by prosecuting what they believe to be criminal action on your part.

    Would they manufacture evidence to get you convicted? Withhold exculpatory evidence?

    No.

    Would they use every trick in the book including rhetoric about your weapon to insure a conviction because in their opinion your actions went over the line, endangered the public and thus other people need to be protected from you?

    Yes, they would.

    Do unethical prosecutors exist, yes. See: Nifong.

    Is that common? No.

    Stop with the cartoon character of the prosecutor.

    It's no more valid than the image the Bradys paint of any of you.

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