Legal Concerns Re: Modifications

This is a discussion on Legal Concerns Re: Modifications within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I came into a few hundred bucks that I am considering spending on some upgrades to my XD9SC (my primary carry weapon). I have read ...

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Thread: Legal Concerns Re: Modifications

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array McPatrickClan's Avatar
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    Legal Concerns Re: Modifications

    I came into a few hundred bucks that I am considering spending on some upgrades to my XD9SC (my primary carry weapon). I have read some authors suggesting that a permit-holder never make any non-factory (i.e. upgrades done by someone other than the manufacturer) upgrades, only because an attorney can twist the information to make an upstanding citizen look like a hotshot with a race gun.

    Of course, most jurors have no idea what a "heavy trigger" is or know the difference between night sights and a nightstand, but my concern is that the attorney would take a legitimate improvement by a non-factory gunsmith and make it appear to an uneducated jury that a defensive shooter acted rashly with a "souped up" gun.

    Assuming that what I have written is semi-accurate, the logic is that you should only have the manufacturer do upgrades, saving receipts, etc. so you can show you were careful to stay well within the bounds of what is suggested by the actual gun maker.

    The reason I am even debating SA vs. everybody else is because SA is so much more expensive than everybody else. I am interested in some hard chroming, night sights, etc. and it seems that there are a number of fine gunsmiths out there willing to do the work for about half of what SA charges.

    What do you guys think?

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    Member Array gilliland87's Avatar
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    Mod--on carry

    Personally I am already over the line you were discussing I personally removed the magazine interlock safety in my carry gun. The rest however does remain stock and I don't plan on changing that.

    From the sounds of what your planning hard chrome and night sights those are what I like to term peripheral changes and would not worry about it. Especially if the work is done by a cert. gunsmith.

    As for an over active DA I think you would be in more trouble for collateral samage than hitting your mark with your sights of choice.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I think exterior modifications would be a non issue. The weapon wont malfunction and discharge prematurely because you have non standard sights on it. Same with the finish. Unless you are talking about modifications to the firing mechanism or its components it should be a non issue.
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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    I think exterior modifications would be a non issue. The weapon wont malfunction and discharge prematurely because you have non standard sights on it. Same with the finish. Unless you are talking about modifications to the firing mechanism or its components it should be a non issue.
    If we hold to the suggested assumptions of OP, I would agree.

    +1

    "Unless you are talking about modifications to the firing mechanism or its components it should be a non issue."

    Unless you are adding a skull and cross bones or aggressive engraving.
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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Don't ask, don't tell. If you keep your mouth shut it is highly unlikely that anyone would know any sort of mods were done.

    Any gunsmith properly licensed by the ATF ought to do appropriate work. After all, they are qualified to perform repairs? People have things repaired all the time...why can't they do other work?

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    Member Array laguna0seca's Avatar
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    I would hope that a lot of these horror stories are rare, and that most of the time a decent lawyer can easily discount these factors. But they do happen. There was that school teacher in Arizona got 25+, in part, because he had hollow points.
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    Member Array kimberland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    I have read some authors suggesting that a permit-holder never make any non-factory (i.e. upgrades done by someone other than the manufacturer) upgrades, only because an attorney can twist the information to make an upstanding citizen look like a hotshot with a race gun.
    Did the authors cite ANY cases where this has happened?

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    No. Not even the Great Ayoob can come up with anything. Merely suggestions.
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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPatrickClan View Post
    Of course, most jurors have no idea what a "heavy trigger" is or know the difference between night sights and a nightstand, but my concern is that the attorney would take a legitimate improvement by a non-factory gunsmith and make it appear to an uneducated jury that a defensive shooter acted rashly with a "souped up" gun.


    What do you guys think?
    I think a good, scummy trial lawyer can educate a jury real quick on the difference between the standard trigger that comes on a gun and a "Hair Trigger" that makes the gun more "deadly". I don't modify my carry guns in operation at all. I will put night sights on them or add a LaserMax to them to aid in aiming, but I don't mess with the operations.

    I do not disable any type of safety, I do not lighten triggers, I do not put plus one or two base plates on the magazines.

    Just my opinion, you do what you feel comfortable with.
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    Member Array flaboatbum's Avatar
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    If the case is about a justifiable SD shooting, why bring up modifications to the gun itself? The bullets go just as fast and the primary concern would be justifiable or not. Little technical details need not enter to further puzzle the jury or judge.

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    I believe that carry guns fire control components need to remain stock,as far as sight and grips they do not affect the function of the gun,I would not recommend disabling safetys as it may come back to bite you.My new M&P 45c was ordered with no xtra safetys such as mag disconnect or the lock feature
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    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    My first thought is just because you have a trigger job done, or change out sites, for adjustable or nigh sites, who is the world is going to know, or care. And second is what modification you did to your sidearm will be the last thing on the DA mind, if you involved in justifiable self defense shooting.

    My only real concern is what modifications.

    Keep in mind that many such modification can reduce the reliability of the weapon, and thatís why most LEO departments forbid it. And I would also recommend the same.

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    I don't worry about it. I carry a SA Mil Spec, modified by a gunsmith for a beavertail safety. Trigger action smoothed, but not lightened. I shoot it better with the mods, and that's my main concern. In my opinion, the looks of the gun will matter more to a jury than the internals, if it ever came to that.

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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laguna0seca View Post
    I would hope that a lot of these horror stories are rare, and that most of the time a decent lawyer can easily discount these factors. But they do happen. There was that school teacher in Arizona got 25+, in part, because he had hollow points.
    Hi Laguna,
    Can you provide a link to that. I am wondering what part the HP played?

    Personally I think all that is a non-issue and a competent defense can easily counter the HP and gun mod issues. I am going to have to see some evidence that they do play a significant part before I give it a second thought. Ayoob has often been quoted re handloads, but I am not aware that he has ever provided a single case where it played a part in a conviction.

    The case of the man using the 10mm is not a good case to quote as his defense lawyer was evidently incompetent.

    But if there are a couple or three cases where ammo or mods to the gun played a part in a conviction it will not change what I do. I use the best ammo, and make sure my guns are reliable, shoot well, and I can use them.

    I want to be accurate enough so that by standers are not injured, if possible, and want to practice with HP ammunition I might use. I even use handloads due to the cost of premium HP. The practice hopefully will make me better and put innocents at much less risk.

    For some reason I don't ever think of a problem with a jury, but first to make sure me and mine live through the day with the least problems from attacks.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    It depends on what you are looking at having done to the gun. Hard chroming, night sights, having a gun dehorned should be no problem. I personally would never have the trigger on a carry gun lightened.

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