Any lawyers out there? Legal question

This is a discussion on Any lawyers out there? Legal question within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by buzzg Advice I have had from an attorney; "Find out what local LEO's use and use it." Or something very similar. He ...

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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzg
    Advice I have had from an attorney; "Find out what local LEO's use and use it." Or something very similar. He also stated that the opposing attorney would be missing an opportunity if he didn't make an issue of handloads vs factory. He could not however, cite a case where it had been used in Oregon.
    This is a similar issue to my post about trigger mods, except trigger mods help one shoot better. I suppose handloads could do the same thing, if you can proof it. I now believe it would be pretty easy to justify trigger mods because, as I understand it from a VERY reputable source, many cops have trigger jobs, and of course many don't.

    But another issue about handloads is will they perform as well as factory loads? The "factory" goes to great lengths to test, maximize, and insure consistency of performance in their loads. They have street results to work from as well. We simply can not do all that with handloads so there may be a bit of downside there.

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  3. #17
    Member Array old4x4's Avatar
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    Here's my take: If you reload on a regular basis and only use store bought stuff for self defense, that looks bad as well. "You went out of your way to buy ammo just to kill when you reload everything else on God's green earth" Had this discussion w/a friend of mine today...

  4. #18
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    old4x4 - I think that is down entirely to the way it is argued - and on balance I'd have thought most folks could ''justify'' their choice of factory fairly easily.

    Anyways - it's always a contentious subject and if anyone wants a long read, there has just been a large thread on this subject over on THR.
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  5. #19
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    What about someone who loaded light? Maybe factory loads were too powerful and they loaded theirs lighter. Would that help them in court?

  6. #20
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    Yes, I do remember reading about actual court cases where handloaded ammunition was turned into a legal issue.
    I am only saying that case numbers and XXX VS YYY were cited but, I did not go anywhere and check to see if they were real court cases or not.

    I sure will not tell anybody else what to carry.
    That's not my place to do that. I will say that I personally stay with factory and with the ammunition that our many of our local Police carry.
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  7. #21
    Member Array Erich's Avatar
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    I'm a lawyer.

    Sure it could come up. Anything can come up. You wouldn't believe the stupid things that I've seen come up.

    Not this, though (although I recently saw a case - first one in over a dozen years doing this sort of work - in which the prosecutor argued that the defendant's use of Black Talons evinced bad intent on his part). Never seen handloads even mentioned in court, though I've seen that they were used in cases I've worked.

    This is one of those things that's sort of silly to discuss. "What'll happen if I _______________?" Who knows? Do I look like I have a crystal ball? No lawyer can tell you with certainty what will happen. What might happen? All kinds of unspeakably bad things might happen when you shoot someone, even if it's righteous. If you aren't prepared to deal with that, don't carry a gun.

    If it's a good shoot with handloads, based on what I've seen, one would probably be okay. But as an appellate guy, I see cases all day where things didn't go the way that they should have. There are no guarantees in the law. Remember, the judge, lawyers, and jury are all fallible humans. So, be as cautious as you want - one should always err on the side of caution, no?

    That said, I carry handloads in my .38s. I do so because, among other reasons, my loads are more accurate than factory loads (these ones are) and because they are more precisely tailored to optimum performance in my revolvers (I've spent a great deal of time working them up, consulting with others, researching, chronographing, etc.). They were also certainly assembled with a great deal more care than factory loads are.

    I'm capable of discussing my reasons for choosing my loads in great detail. I don't think it would ever be an issue in a prosecution (I say this as someone who's been a prosecutor and who has worked in criminal law for over a dozen years), but I could see some small chance that it might come up in a civil suit. If it's a good shoot, I think that's a pretty good defense. And I have a large umbrella policy, something that I would recommend for anyone who owns a gun.

    But folks should do what makes them comfortable and be prepared to take the consequences.

    Edited 4 Jan because, amusingly, I misspelled "fallible." You can't make these things up!
    Last edited by Erich; January 4th, 2006 at 10:59 AM.

  8. #22
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    Thumbs up Great Post Erich

    Useful Info. It's nice having a legal eagle here.

  9. #23
    Member Array Kompact9's Avatar
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    I've spoken with my lawyer several times about this. He says the prevailing attitude here is to use what the local LEOs use or something VERY similiar. He also recommends keeping the gun as "stock" as possible other than a trigger job.

    I thought it was odd that a trigger job would be in the realm of "OK", but when I asked, he replied it makes you shoot more accurately. That means to a jury that you're less likely to hit a bystander and more likely to stop the BG. That's different than when CHL in Texas first started...back then, if you used anything but factory ammo and a pure stock gun, you were a genuine baby killer; probably worse than the BG you had to shoot to stay alive. I'm glad that sometimes things change for the better...
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  10. #24
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    That means to a jury that you're less likely to hit a bystander and more likely to stop the BG.
    I'd say too from my own POV, that would apply also to my CT grips and night sights.

    My ''case'' would be based on my requirement that - should I have to defend against lethal force - my sole prerequisite is control of or stopping of a threat. No mention of the word ''killing'' - purely threat negation.

    That said - I claim it needs done in the most effective (and safest) way possible. The defensive shooter is not playing games - he is fighting to survive - thus his efficiency is all important, from whichever angle it is studied.
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  11. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kompact9
    I've spoken with my lawyer several times about this. He says the prevailing attitude here is to use what the local LEOs use or something VERY similiar. He also recommends keeping the gun as "stock" as possible other than a trigger job.

    I thought it was odd that a trigger job would be in the realm of "OK", but when I asked, he replied it makes you shoot more accurately. That means to a jury that you're less likely to hit a bystander and more likely to stop the BG. That's different than when CHL in Texas first started...back then, if you used anything but factory ammo and a pure stock gun, you were a genuine baby killer; probably worse than the BG you had to shoot to stay alive. I'm glad that sometimes things change for the better...
    Boy it does get interesting! I spoke to a gun-guy type lawyer and he said a trigger job could cause problems in court. But, as we discussed the issue, I learned that his "stock" trigger on his "stock" gun had a lighter trigger than my gun with a modified trigger action. We both had an H&K P2000.

    When I pointed out to him that his gun couldn't be stock, he said that he ordered it from the factory that way. I pointed out that, to me, that would be considered a special order that deviates from the normal factory stock gun and that there's no question that the trigger has been modified.

    It sure makes you wonder.

  12. #26
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    All of which goes to show that there's no definitive answer. You have to do what you feel comfortable with, and be prepared to defend it.

    And there's no guarantee how things will turn out when you have to defend it.

  13. #27
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    Even if it has never been successfully used against someone in court... why do it? Does anyone of us really think we can create a better load than the major ammunition manufacturers??

    I sure wouldn't want to be the test case. Even winning a court battle can bankrupt you.
    This is the best IWB holster I have found... ever! :)

  14. #28
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    This subject always get asked in the Q and A section of the classes I teach.

    Our Prosecuting Attorney had stated that reloaded ammo for defensive use wouldnt be an issue with him, but he also notes that it could be a liability somewhere else.

    The point is, why risk it ?

    The factory ammo that we have today is better than it ever has been with big advances in bullet technology...its faster,hits harder,stays together,has better penetration and is generally more accurate than at any other time in history.

    Although I personally have no issues with reloaded ammo being used, doing so is giving the opposing lawyer another "tool" to work with that he can use against you.

    In a defensive shoot, you'll want and need every advantage that you can get.

    IMHO, there really is no reason to use reloads.
    ksholder likes this.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    I agree with carrying the same ammo as the police carry because at least you have one leg up on the lawyer against you. Maybe....
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

  16. #30
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    If I was a prosecuting attorney I'd probably try to liken factory vs handloads as similar to the difference between a baseball bat and a baseball bat with a nail through it. ;) You may have been justified to hit him over the head, but you made sure that he was killed outright rather than just stopped.

    I am not a lawyer, and I personally have no opinion on handloads for self defense. I'm still debating if I should use any kind of HP for my Bersa .380 because I'd heard it's not powerful enough to reliably expand...

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