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UN's New Attack on Law-Abiding American Gun Owners

Advanced Topics in Human Rights Law. Exam, Spring 2010. Question 4: One day, a woman goes to a gun store in Florida. She provides picture identification to the store owner, who then, pursuant to the National Instant Check System, uses his telephone to contact law enforcement, and ensure that the woman has no criminal record. The woman then purchases an expensive double-barreled shotgun, manufactured in the United Kingdom. She plans to use the gun for all lawful purposes, but primarily for sporting clays. In accordance with Florida law, she did not need to obtain a government license to possess the gun.

Two years later, a man breaks into her home at night. The woman reasonably (and correctly) believes that the man intends to rape and torture her. She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her. She shoots the man and kills him.

Summarize the human rights violations

Answer:

1. The United Kingdom violated human rights by allowing the export of small arms to the United States for retail sale, under conditions which the U.K. knew (or through due diligence should have known) made it likely that the arms would be used to violate human rights. The Arms Trade Treaty was proposed in the fall of 2006 in the United Nations General Assembly by Australia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom. Those nations, and many others, later ratified the treaty. The treaty makes it illegal to export small arms to a nation when it is likely that the arms will be used to violate human rights.

Almost all of the public discussion of the ATT focused on violations of "traditional" human rights — such as selling arms to the Burmese police, some which would be used to murder peaceful dissidents. However, the text of the ATT applies to all human rights violations, include newer human rights. The U.K. knew or should have known that its export of arms to the civilian market in the U.S. would lead to the human rights violations detailed below.

2. The United States and the State of Florida violated human rights by allowing the woman to possess a firearm without a license. The July 27, 2006, Final Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the use of small arms in human rights violation stated:

16. Minimum effective measures that States should adopt to prevent small arms violence, then, must go beyond mere criminalization of acts of armed violence. Under the principle of due diligence, it is reasonable for international human rights bodies to require States to enforce a minimum licensing requirement designed to keep small arms and light weapons out of the hands of persons who are likely to misuse them....The criteria for licensing may vary from State to State, but most licensing procedures consider the following: (a) minimum age of applicant; (b) past criminal record including any history of interfamilial violence; (c) proof of a legitimate purpose for obtaining a weapon; and (d) mental fitness. Other proposed criteria include knowledge of laws related to small arms, proof of training on the proper use of a firearm and proof of proper storage. Licences should be renewed regularly to prevent transfer to unauthorized persons. These licensing criteria are not insurmountable barriers to legitimate civilian possession. There is broad international consensus around the principle that the laws and procedures governing the possession of small arms by civilians should remain the fundamental prerogative of individual States. While regulation of civilian possession of firearms remains a contested issue in public debate - due in large part to the efforts of firearms manufacturers and the United States of America-based pro-gun organizations - there is in fact almost universal consensus on the need for reasonable minimum standards for national legislation to license civilian possession in order to promote public safety and protect human rights. This consensus is a factor to be considered by human rights mechanisms in weighing the affirmative responsibilities of States to prevent core human rights violations in cases involving private sector gun violence.
Neither Florida nor the United States require a license to possess a gun. Nor did either government require any "proof" that the woman had "a legitimate purpose for obtaining a weapon." Notably, even if the woman had lived in an American state or city with more restrictive laws, there still would have been a human rights violation. Only a minority of jurisdictions have licensing system, and of those, many require a license only for hand guns (not long guns), and require a license only for purchase — rather than a license for continuing possession, which must be periodically renewed. Notably, even the most restrictive jurisdictions (e.g., New York City for handguns) do not require a purchaser to prove that she has a legitimate purpose. Hence, any export of firearms for civilian sale to the U.S. is per se human rights violation.

On August 21, 2006, the UN Human Right Council's Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights endorsed the Frey Report in toto, and recommended that the full Human Rights Council do so. The HRC later did so.

Although the Arms Trade Treaty has been signed by President Clinton, it has never been brought to the Senate floor for ratification. However, the ATT, as well as the decisions of the HRC, are relevant guides to the interpretation of U.S. and Florida constitutional provisions, including those which forbid the deprivation of life without due process. The principle that unratified treaties (such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), or treaties to which the United States could not even be a party (such the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child) may be used in interpreting the human rights provisions of the U.S. Constitution is well-established by Supreme Court precedent. Significantly, the ATT and the HRC standards on gun control have been endorsed by several international bodies, as well as international organizations concerned with human rights, including Amnesty International, the World Council of Churches, and the International Action Network on Small Arms.

3. Finally, the woman's use of gun violence against the man was also a human rights violation. This gun violence was also accountable as a human rights violation by the State of Florida. According to the Frey Standards adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, self-defense is not a human right. Rather, "When small arms and light weapons are used for self-defence, for instance, unless the action was necessary to save a life or lives and the use of force with small arms is proportionate to the threat of force, self-defence will not alleviate responsibility for violating another's right to life." (Para. 26). Moreover, "Because of the lethal nature of these weapons and the jus cogens human rights obligations imposed upon all States and individuals to respect the right to life, small arms and light weapons may be used defensively only in the most extreme circumstances, expressly, where the right to life is already threatened or unjustifiably impinged." Under international law, a jus cogens standard supersedes any contrary rule. The constitutions of the United States and of Florida, as well as numerous human rights treaties ratified by the United States, recognize the government's obligation not to take life unjustifiably. As the Frey Report details, a government's failure to enact sufficiently stringent gun control laws (discussed in item 2, above) and to enact sufficiently stringent restrictions on self-defense constitute a governmental failure to exercise due diligence, and consequently a violation of the right to life.

The laws of all American states allow the use of deadly force against certain violent felonies (include rape, torture, and mayhem) when the person being attacked reasonably believes that no lesser force will suffice. The use of deadly force against an attack which is not life-threatening is plainly disproportionate, and a violation of the HRC standards.

Florida--like many other American states--compounds its human rights violation by not requiring that the defender use less-than-deadly-force if lesser force would sufficient to stop the violent felony.

Extra credit: Although the law regarding private suits for human rights violations is still evolving, the estate or relatives of the man who was the gun violence victim might have a cause of action in a U.K. or European Court to sue the firearms manufacturer, and also to sue the United Kingdom itself. Further, the estate/relatives of the gun violence victim could sue the State of Florida, and the United States, for violating his right to life. The suit would be based on section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, which encompasses private lawsuits for the deprivation of federal civil rights, including the right not to be deprived of life without due process. The American court, following the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court, could use international law standards, such as the HRC standards, in determining the scope of a government's duty regarding the right to life.

The federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, and its Florida analogue, prohibit a lawsuit against the manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of the shotgun. Florida law prohibits a lawsuit against the gun violence perpetrator, because the perpetrator was acting within the scope of Florida self-defense law when she shot the victim. However, the estate/relatives could argue the all the statutes mentioned in this paragraph are unconstitutional, because the are contrary to the right to life guaranteed by the federal due process clause, as informed by the evolving standards of international human rights, as defined by the UN Human Rights Commission.

As the Frey/HRC observed, the "regulation of civilian possession of firearms remains a contested issue in public debate - due in large part to the efforts of firearms manufacturers and the United States of America-based pro-gun organizations." If the victim's human rights lawsuit were brought before a judge who was sympathetic to such manufacturers or organizations, it is unlikely that the suit would succeed. However, there are many judges who do not have such sympathies. Thanks to the flexibility of international law, and the evolving practice in U.S. constitutional interpretation of using international law guidelines, it would be possible for the lawsuits to result not only in monetary damages, but also in injunctive relief, and the judicial negation of the state and federal laws on self-defense and gun control which violate international human rights.

PooHPoohBear:
"She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her. "

I'd think the same thing, correctly, if I had a loaded shotgun waiting for the SOB..........
9.13.2006 7:40pm
Luke 1152 (mail):
Nobody pays any attention to UN pronouncements that Israel has violated International law re various matters - why in the world do you think that UN prounouncements about guns would have any effect?
9.13.2006 7:42pm
Houston Lawyer:
It would be far less academic if the Senate were to ratify the treaty. Then we'd get to see what happens when a treaty conflicts with the constitution.
9.13.2006 7:45pm
Justin (mail):
Wow, look at that strawman being beaten to a pulp.
9.13.2006 7:54pm
k parker (mail):
Justin,

Perhaps you could clarify just what you think the straw man is? For my part, I think it's quite useful to take the implications of the UN Gun Control campaign (as well as what appear to be recent UK trends in self-defense law) and see where they lead. Sure, it's a bit of reductio, but I find it very interesting to see exactly where people think they need to get off the bus.
9.13.2006 7:58pm
MatthewM (mail):
David, you've got a job waiting for you at the ACLU's litigation department....
9.13.2006 8:05pm
MnZ (mail):
Justin,

It is only a strawman if no one actually takes that point of view. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people that take most if not all of that point of view.
9.13.2006 8:06pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Justin, you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Straw man - The arguer makes up a proposition never offered by her opponent (usually weaker than the true proposition) and then attacks it as if his opponent had offered that proposition. This is most common on Internet chat sites.

The position described above actually is the UN's position, and the hypothetical accurately addresses the state of affairs, as it would exist in a world where the UN's view is adopted.
9.13.2006 8:08pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Notably, even the most restrictive jurisdictions (e.g., New York City for handguns)


and long arms, too.
9.13.2006 8:15pm
MnZ (mail):
Straw man - The arguer makes up a proposition never offered by her opponent (usually weaker than the true proposition) and then attacks it as if his opponent had offered that proposition. This is most common on Internet chat sites.


Too many people don't understand the definition but use it as a debating tactic nevertheless.

Once, when I was accused of using a strawman argument, I replied, "I am sorry. Please explain how I mischaracterized your position." I got an utterly blank look.
9.13.2006 8:40pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):
Summarize the human rights violations : Dave Kopel. For suggesting a hypothetical that is likely to never happen, only politicizes the issue more, and inflames everyone.

Your final paragraph of analyis is pure speculation (you said it yourself) and suggests 'activist' judges will allow extra-territoriality of international law within a U.S. that is directly contrary to the 2nd amendment (inter alia). What's your basis for this? Can you cite a case that is even remotely on point with your conjecture?
9.13.2006 9:03pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
This is ridiculous. You know quite well that the US courts aren't going to strike down florida's law allowing self defense as a violation of the right to life.

You are basically arguing because some international standards and norms aren't sufficently precisce to indicate this is not the intended result, or even just downright flawed, there is some imminent danger to consulting international standards at all.

This argument is tantamount to noting that some states have laws against masturbation or no wearing a hat indoors still on their books and that therefore federalism is a great danger as it gives the states the power to enforce this horrible laws.

Or we could equally well turn this into an argument against respect for precedent or deference to state courts interpreting their own laws. Find one deciscion that, while fine in the situations it has been applied in, has some long convoluted logical implications that would require some horrible result. Now argue that judicial respect is horrible as it would lead to this result.

Until you can name a case where anything like this has happened this is just BS.

It's becoming more and more clear to me that you aren't interested in a real honest debate about the issues but only in misleading emotional rhetoric.
9.13.2006 9:19pm
Toby:
logicnazi - I would say that it is you that squirted a squid cloud of emotionally laden vebiage over the clear discussion. It is an interesting (in the sense that any gross miscalculation by another is interesting) and unconvincing to assert that no clear reading of the law be considered until you are actually arrested for it.

UN gun law is designed to support the authoritatrian needs of the majority of its voting members and creates exactly the sort of scenario that the Founders were concerned about - a submissive populace that *must* bow before the leviathan state.
9.13.2006 9:35pm
Steve:
To be clear, the point that makes the hypothetical absurd is that we supposedly know with certainty that the man intends to rape and torture the woman, but there is absolutely no possibility he will kill her. Obviously any such scenario involves danger to her life and you can't simply wish it away.

U.S. law typically breaks down self-defense situations into "defense of life" and "defense of property" for much this reason - it is generally impossible to break down the risk any more precisely than that. There is no way anyone can know with certainty that a person who intends to rape and torture you does not represent any threat to your life whatsoever.

It is alarming, however, for international law to provide that self-defense against a rapist is not permitted. There is an analogous point in U.S. law, in that Supreme Court precedent permits imposition of the death penalty for murder, but not for rape.
9.13.2006 9:56pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
WTF? Is this a joke? No one's human rights were violated. Once a man attempts to rape and torture a woman, the best possible outcome is that he be killed before he can commit the crime.

When attacked by a rapist in the middle of the night, a reasonable person would assume they were in great danger of death or greivous bodily harm. Greivous harm is an element of both forcible rape and torture. Such person would be fully justified in intentionally using deadly force against the attacker.

I propose that whoever volunteered this clever answer should be raped and tortured as a reward for their sophistry.
9.13.2006 10:04pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
Oh wait, nevermind, it was just scaremongering.

It's still stupid, but for completely different reasons this time.
9.13.2006 10:18pm
hey (mail):
Beerslurpy: You're obviously not familiar with the leading paragon of sexual assault law, the Islamic Republic of Iran. There and in Pakistan a woman who defends herself with deadly force against a rapist is put to death, a woman who accuses a man of rape is put to death, and a woman who has sex outside of marriage is put to death. A much better solution than to let women run around with guns killing men willy nilly.
9.13.2006 10:24pm
liberty (mail) (www):
The most frightening part is that the UK is adopting these standards, most of Europe has these standards and the Democrats would favor adopting these standards; then judges are convinced that we must look to international law as a basis for how to interpret our own constitution, and we could be next.

I don't expect it to happen any time soon - and I think we can prevent it - but it sure is scary.
9.13.2006 10:35pm
bruce (mail) (www):
2010 is a little too early... I say more like 2015 or 2020 at the latest. But it will happen, unfortunately.
9.13.2006 10:50pm
JB:
Isn't shooting someone proportional to torture?
9.13.2006 11:33pm
Island Boy:

Houston Lawyer:
It would be far less academic if the Senate were to ratify the treaty. Then we'd get to see what happens when a treaty conflicts with the constitution.
Simple - A treaty trumps the constitution. That is why it requires the Senate to ratify it. In theory, a treaty could be ratified that abrogates the entire Bill of Rights. No freedom of speech, no freedom of press, no freedom of religion, etc. etc. etc.
9.13.2006 11:55pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Still, all legal sophistry aside, I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six, as the saying goes....
9.14.2006 12:13am
Gumbey (mail) (www):
If George Bush hasn't done anything else, and even if he almost made a collossal appointment mistake, he did appoint two outstanding Supreme Court Justices. I can't see either of those men turning to International laws for guidance. Ginsberg, most definitely!.
9.14.2006 12:16am
Steve:
Simple - A treaty trumps the constitution. That is why it requires the Senate to ratify it.

That's a bit of a head-scratcher. The Senate doesn't exactly have plenary authority to rewrite the Constitution.

"This Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty." Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 17 (1957).

On the other hand, take a look at this.
9.14.2006 12:27am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Summarize the human rights violations

Mr. Kopel did not say, summarize what this woman will be charged with under U.S. law. He said to summarize the human rights violations (as defined by the U.N.)

You need to pay attention to the question before you accuse anyone of "scaremongering" or making up a "strawman" argument.

If the U.N.'s definition of human rights does not at all resemble a workable, realistic vision of human rights, that's a problem. That's what Mr. Kopel is pointing out, not that this is comming to a police force near you.

The people at risk from these crazy definitions of human rights are not you and me, but people in poor, strife-torn countries stripped of their right to defend themselves, their families, and neighbors. The U.N.'s small arms policies enable genocidal regimes to more easily carry out mass murder. That's why this matters.
9.14.2006 12:30am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Simple - A treaty trumps the constitution.

Absolutely wrong, although you could be forgiven, because that is close to what the Constitution says in plain enough English:
Article VI. - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
...
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
(emphasis added). It looks like a law that would be unconstitutional could be put into place by passing it as part of a treaty. It would have been very stupid for the Supreme Court to allow this, because it would allow treaties to override anything and everything we hold dear in the Constitution.
9.14.2006 12:46am
Ken Arromdee:
You are basically arguing because some international standards and norms aren't sufficently precisce to indicate this is not the intended result, or even just downright flawed, there is some imminent danger to consulting international standards at all.

...

Find one deciscion that, while fine in the situations it has been applied in, has some long convoluted logical implications that would require some horrible result. Now argue that judicial respect is horrible as it would lead to this result.

The UN calls the right to bear arms a violation of human rights because the UN *intended* exactly that result, not just because it poorly worded a rule that was meant to do something completely different. It's not that way because of a lack of precision, nor is it that way because of some long convoluted logical implication that its creators didn't intend. It's that way on purpose.
9.14.2006 12:46am
Lev:

any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.


Maybe it's just me, but the constitution referred to in that clause is a state constitution, hence the parallel construction "Constitution or laws of any State". State constitutions and laws are not allowed to override the Federal constitution or laws, or treaties.
9.14.2006 1:07am
Lev:
Island Boy


Simple - A treaty trumps the constitution. That is why it requires the Senate to ratify it. In theory, a treaty could be ratified that abrogates the entire Bill of Rights. No freedom of speech, no freedom of press, no freedom of religion, etc. etc. etc.


A treaty is signed by the President, and ratified by the Senate 2/3 vote. The House and the states have no say.

Article V of the Constitution says Amendments require 2/3 vote of both the Senate and the House, and 3/4 of the states. The president has no say.

Kindly reconcile your statement with Article V.
9.14.2006 1:13am
therut:
Only the UN could make self defense a human rights violation while at the same time make abortion a human right. Espically if I remember right it was argued that abortion was self defense by a woman aganist the fetus. Only immoral, power hungry politicians and dictators and throw in lawyers could have such intellectual reasoning.
9.14.2006 2:16am
Malvolio:
any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Maybe it's just me, but the constitution referred to in that clause is a state constitution, hence the parallel construction.
Bingo.

Treaties and Federal laws over-ride state constitutions. The US Constitution always refers to itself as "this Constitution" not "the Constitution".
9.14.2006 2:17am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
If a woman buys a gun made in the UK and later while believing the birth of her unborn baby was not a threat to her life or that of Kofi Anan shoots the baby to death, prior to its birth, does this woman get an award from the UN or comdenation?

Does a human baby have human rights while its still located within the mother's vagina? If the baby in women's vagina does have human rights that protect it from being shot with a gun made in the UK does the baby have human rights against its skull being crushed by a doctor using forceps made in the USA??

Says the "Dog"
9.14.2006 2:21am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
OOps, should be condemnation, I think above. Is it a human rights violation to shoot someone for poor spelling?

Says the "Dog"
9.14.2006 2:23am
Tito:
From this day forward, I will only read the VC blog to avail myself of the humor provided by Mssrs. Kopel and Bernstein.
9.14.2006 2:36am
eric (mail):

"Isn't shooting someone proportional to torture?"



Only if your a bad shot.
9.14.2006 2:39am
cac (mail):
I'm no fan of trends in self defence law in either the UK or Australia (which is where I am from), beleiving that if choose to break into a house you are volunatrily assuming the risk that someone will respond with deadly force and this is no one's fault but your own.

I should point out though that as far as I am aware, all the case in the UK that so exercise Americans are where people have been imprisoned for using deadly force against burglars, not rapists. As I said, I think this is a wrong outcome but concede it ain't the same as defence of the person. I am not aware of any instance whatsoever where a rapist or potential rapist has been killed or injured and the responsible person found guility. I suggest Mr Kopel should cite such an incidence in the UK if he expects his case to be take seriously.
9.14.2006 3:05am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Cac,

The problem is that a burglar is the term for a rapist who hasn't started yet. More precisely, he's a "burglar" the moment he breaks into the house. The homeowner shouldn't have to (and in the U.S., does not have to) wait to see what the guy's intentions are -- rape, murder, or "merely" theft -- before acting to defend himself, his family, and his home.
9.14.2006 3:18am
cac (mail):
Mr Nieporent, I agree completely and that's one of the reasons why I'm quite in favour of shooting burglars without waiting for them to star endangering life. But Mr Kopel specifically cited a case where the hypothetical permits no doubt about the intent of rape and goes on to say that UK self defence law would convict the woman. I repeat that there are to the best of my knowledge no such instances.
9.14.2006 3:24am
dearieme:
Why is it considered fruitful to consider a hypothetical case which contains a premise that is inconsistent with the human condition? "She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her": this is, as we say in Britain, bollocks. Her belief is, of course, possible; its being known to be correct is not.
9.14.2006 5:21am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Why is it considered fruitful to consider a hypothetical case which contains a premise that is inconsistent with the human condition? "She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her": this is, as we say in Britain, bollocks. Her belief is, of course, possible; its being known to be correct is not.
What if Gandhi breaks into your house? Gandhi wouldn't kill anybody.


Seriously, yes, that's the weakest part of DK's hypo. It's impossible to conceive of a situation where that provision would hold. But I don't think the overall question turns on that issue.
9.14.2006 7:47am
A. Zarkov (mail):
What if Gandhi breaks into your house? Gandhi wouldn't
kill anybody.

Don't assume too much about Gandhi. From a review of the movie "Gandhi" by Richard Grenier:


It is something of an anomaly that Gandhi, held in popular myth to be a pure pacifist (a myth which governments of India have always been at great pains to sustain in the belief that it will reflect credit on India itself, and to which the present movie adheres slavishly), was until fifty not ill-disposed to war at all. ...

9.14.2006 8:51am
Latinist:
"She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her": this is, as we say in Britain, bollocks. Her belief is, of course, possible; its being known to be correct is not.

I don't know about that. Not likely, sure. And of course, her belief can't be absolutely, positively KNOWN to be correct, nothing in this world being certain. But imagine that there have recently been a series of rapes and tortures by the same perpetrator in this woman's neighborhood; all the victims have been left alive (and not been at any serious risk of death); and this woman recognizes her attacker as the same man caught on videotape committing the previous crimes. I'd say she might (depending maybe on some other circumstances) be reasonably confident that she was about to be raped and tortured, but not killed.

I don't think the point is an incredibly important one, but the hypothetical (though certainly not very likely) isn't quite as implausible as it seems.
9.14.2006 9:08am
Westie (mail):
Ummm...am I missing something or does the hypothetical answer fail to cite to any binding international law? As far as I can tell all it does is cite to a report adopted by the UN Human Rights Council that interprets international treaties and conventions that do not themselves expressly prohibit the conduct in question. But to state the obvious: the UN Human Rights Council is not an international court or legislative body with the authority to announce international law norms. The effect of its pronouncements is entirely advisory. Even if the hypo were to be amended and state that the General Assembly had adopted the report that would still not give that interpretation ius cogens status. The GA, after all, is not a super-legislature with plenary authority to amend international conventions. So where is the binding human rights norm that has been violated? I don't see it.
9.14.2006 9:48am
Nick P.:
Seriously, yes, that's the weakest part of DK's hypo. It's impossible to conceive of a situation where that provision would hold. But I don't think the overall question turns on that issue.


Eh? IANAL, but it looks to me as though the hypothetical entirely rests on that issue. If she has reason to believe that the intruder intends to rape and torture her, then shooting him is not a human rights violation:

"When small arms and light weapons are used for self-defence, for instance, unless the action was necessary to save a life or lives and the use of force with small arms is proportionate to the threat of force, self-defence will not alleviate responsibility for violating another's right to life."

The only way to make the use of force "disproportionate" in this scenario is to add the frankly ridiculous claim that the woman knows there is no possibility of being killed. This is patently absurd in a scenario that involves rape and torture, and if it is taken away, the scenario appears entirely consistent with the quoted UN guidelines on the use of small arms.

There might be reason to question her conviction that the man intended to rape and toture her, but it doesn't look like a slam dunk case for human rights violation even under the quoted guidelines.
9.14.2006 10:19am
Steve:
David Nieporent is entirely correct. As I noted above, there are only two possibilities in the real world; either an intruder poses a danger only to property, or else he presents a danger to "something more." The law in this area is premised upon the evident fact that once we enter the "something more" category, there is no way to distinguish between the person who intends to kill and the person who only intends to inflict great bodily harm.

Examples where only property is endangered would be where an intruder breaks into an unoccupied storage facility on your property, or where the intruder is in the process of exiting your home with your DVD player under his arm when you discover him. Some states do permit the use of deadly force in these circumstances, if I'm not mistaken, but it's clear that they present a separate category. When someone is coming in your bedroom window, however, you need not wait for evidence as to his precise intent, and formulating silly hypotheticals like this one ignores the fact that the law says what it says precisely because it is very rarely possible to discern the intruder's precise intent, and the law chooses not to place this burden on the victim.

This point doesn't affect the licensing issue, but it does impact a number of the other issues discussed in the original post, so it's not merely a nit.
9.14.2006 11:10am
Lior:
For an Israeli perspective on this, note that just because US courts won't recognize the human rights violation won't mean that the Governor of Florida (or at least the woman in question) won't be liable for arrest if he visits western Europe -- he's a human rights violator after all. By the way, the current Federal Government supports this kind of behaviour -- see the recent trend of arresting foreign purveyors of internet gambling.
9.14.2006 11:32am
Gordo:
Look at the picture of the Montreal killer on Mr. Lindgren's more recent post, and you'll see why so many of us are appalled by the glorification and absolutist defense of untrammeled gun ownership that is espoused by Mr. Kopel and other 2nd amendment absolutists.
9.14.2006 12:46pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
She also, correctly, believes that there is absolutely no possibility that the man will kill her.

Even if she resists the rape?
9.14.2006 12:55pm
Xmas (mail) (www):
The hypothetical is bad. It assumes that rape is simply unwanted sex. Rape is an act of violence. A woman, man, or child who is sure they are about to be raped cannot be sure at what point the act of violence will stop.

Saying that the woman is sure she will be raped and not killed is the same as saying she is sure she will be hit with a baseball bat until unconciousness but not killed.

Also bad in your hypothetical is you're missing the initial Assault vs. Assault interaction between the woman and the rapist, where "Assault" is the threat of violence.
9.14.2006 1:06pm
tebucky:
If only "proportionate force" is allowed, does that mean the woman should rape the man instead of shooting him?
9.14.2006 1:09pm
Anon Y. Mous:
The hypo could be improved by leaving out the torture, and making the man an acquaintance. Further, the man has date-raped her in the past. Now it's conceivable that she would know his intent is to rape and nothing more.
9.14.2006 1:14pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Gordo:

Look at the picture of the Montreal killer on Mr. Lindgren's more recent post, and you'll see why so many of us are appalled by the glorification and absolutist defense of untrammeled gun ownership that is espoused by Mr. Kopel and other 2nd amendment absolutists.

Not to worry, nothing that can't be fixed with a little censorship.
9.14.2006 1:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The hypo could be improved by leaving out the torture, and making the man an acquaintance. Further, the man has date-raped her in the past.

So now you're saying the guy is a non-violent serial date rapist whom the woman knows will not kill her or seriously harm her (ignoring the fact that rape is, in and of itself, an act of violence) no matter how much she resists. Yet she still resorts to deadly force instead of say, just clubbing him over the head with the butt of the shotgun (remember, Anon has already established the rapist is not willing to harm her, only force her to have sex without causing any bodily harm). Now we have a perfectly ridiculous scenario.

So basically, Anon is claiming the right to have the woman use deadly force to prevent the guy from begging and refusing to leave until she has sex with him.
9.14.2006 1:31pm
dick thompson (mail):
Assume that that Montreal guy was coming after your wife or your kids and then defend restricting you not to have a gun to protect them. Would you then complain about your inability to get a gun? The whole point of opposing gun control is that while law-abiding citizens will knuckle under and give up their guns, crimnals will not. Therefore you are essentially giving criminals a field day to do whatever they feel like and not have to worry that the put-upon citizenry will be able to fight back.

Of course with socialized man coming along nicely that will not be a problem, n'est-ce pas? After all look at how wonderful it was in the USSR and Nazi Germany and Vichy France.
9.14.2006 1:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Assume that that Montreal guy was coming after your wife or your kids and then defend restricting you not to have a gun to protect them.

Assume a burglar doesn't have a gun and breaks into the unoccupied home of a law-abiding gun owner who is not at home (as is the case in 9 of 10 burglaries) and steals your gun that you bought to defend your wife and children. Further assume that just as the burglar was preparing to leave the house, your wife and children pull into the driveway. Precious lot of good that gun you bought to protect them does now, doesn't it?
9.14.2006 1:49pm
nick (mail) (www):
Countries with English-derived law could do worse than based human rights law for self-defense in a house on a precedent we all share, Semayne's Case.
9.14.2006 1:52pm
therut:
Thomas------He does not have my concealed weapon which I have with me. I guess it would come down to who was quicker to shoot at that point. Or what if he broke in and was already armed. I just love all the what if's. What if he had a rap sheet already a mile long and what if he had not been out on parole for good behavior. What if all guns were banned but he had an illegal one? Or he had a baseball bat, ball ping hammer or had got my kitchen knife and stabbed my wife and children? What if he threw gasoline on my family then a match? Oh what if?????
9.14.2006 2:18pm
Tim (mail):
What if a Florida prosecutor found a Florida judge that believes in gun control and uses this international "law" as an excuse to declare the woman guilty because her shooting was murder?

Is anyone out there willing to say that this would not happen, or be willing to fork out the woman's extra legal bills on appeal?
9.14.2006 2:55pm
Puzzled (mail):
I'm a 66-year-old female and I've never heard recommendations to carry a gun to prevent rape or to shoot the attacker. What I've always heard is similar to this from defensesystems.blob.com:

PREVENTING RAPE
If you are in immediate danger of being raped, here are some things that you can do.
Make a loud noise - Carry a whistle or scream "police" to attract attention
Run - Only run if there is somewhere safe to run to. If there is no where to go you may aggravate the assailant further by running.
Stall - Speak calmly and rationally. Try not to plead, cry or show that you're scared, this may be the reaction that he's going for.
Urinate or vomit - Do anything you can to repulse the assailant. Tell him that you have a STD or AIDS.
Fight - Women who resist attacks and act quickly are less likely to be raped, than those who are passive. The optimum time to react is in the first 20 seconds when the body releases chemicals in the blood that help to put up a fight. Be cautious if he has a weapon.
Keep alert - Even though it will be difficult, try to pay attention to as many details as possible, so that you can identify your assailant.
Get help - Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Police are becoming more willing to help victims of rape. You are not obligated to press charges or go to court.
Collect evidence - Do not bathe, shower or douche. If you change clothes, put the clothes you were raped in into a bag and seal it.
Tell someone - Call the police, rape crisis counselor, telephone operator or friend. It is very important that someone knows and that it is not kept a secret.
9.14.2006 3:44pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I can modify the hypo to still qualify and yet not be unrealistic - a woman comes across a man who has broken into her house by jimmying a lock and is having sex with her unconscious daughter. That's legally rape in many states, and the UN HRC would not permit lethal force to stop it.
Someone who intends to torture, however, is at least highly reckless about the death of the person they're torturing (by heart attack if nothing else), so I don't think lack of intent to kill still would hold in the torture situation - unless the UN demanded specific intent.

Nick
9.14.2006 3:52pm
Dan Hamilton:
Puzzled,

They didn't talk about pulling you concealed carry pistol a blowing the ))(^&@$_ rapist away because the idiots giving the advice believe it is better for you to get raped then that the rapist gets dead.

A bullet between the eyes says NO loud enough for the rapist to hear and understand you.
9.14.2006 4:01pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I can modify the hypo to still qualify and yet not be unrealistic - a woman comes across a man who has broken into her house by jimmying a lock and is having sex with her unconscious daughter.

Well no, any hypothetical that involves rape yet somehow imputes some knowledge on the woman that the rapist is unwilling to use deadly force to carry out the crime--or will kill her if she resists--is on its face ridiculous. I can not think of a situation where a woman would not have a reasonable belief that a rape also a threat to her life.

Consequently, any scenario that DK dreams up where a woman is about to be raped and tortured but somehow knows the impending torturer and rapist will not kill her is just silly, contrived and meant to stir yet more ridiculous fears of blue helmented thugs breaking down our doors and taking our guns. Only in DK's fevered imagination and paranoid fear of the UN do such strange and bizaare events happen.
9.14.2006 4:04pm
Westie (mail):
Tim,
This would not happen. In order for a norm of international law to be obligatory it must either be a (1) ius cogens norm of customary international law (which is an extremely limited category of prohibitions---I think only piracy, slavery, genocide, laws of war, and torture), or (2) a norm enshrined in treaty or convention to which the US is a party. The rule discussed above is neither. It is nonbinding interpretation of a treaty. As I mentioned above, the UN is not the final arbiter of the meaning of international law and cannot issue authoritative interpretations of treaty or customary law. The hypothetical does not include any reason (nor has anyone suggested one this thread) why a judge would be obliged to follow that interpretation. Of course a judge might be persuaded that the interpretation is correct and apply it but that doesn't tell us anything about internation law. The possibility always exists that a judge just as well might be persuaded by a goofy argument in a law journal or legal blog. Anyway, as others have pointed out the facts of the hypo are complete bs.
9.14.2006 4:11pm
Spartacus (www):
Puzzled:

Part of the advice you cite includes:

"Fight - Women who resist attacks and act quickly are less likely to be raped, than those who are passive. The optimum time to react is in the first 20 seconds when the body releases chemicals in the blood that help to put up a fight. Be cautious if he has a weapon."

Why does this preclude fighting back with a firearm? Unfortunately, those who recommend fighting back without a firearm may be ignorant of studies like these:

"Handgun Control Inc. suggests that the "best defense against injury [when attacked by a rapist, robber, or other felon] is to put up no defense - give them what they want or run." Such advice, regularly repeated in newspapers, ignores unambiguous criminological evidence showing that victims who submit to victimizers are injured twice as often as those who resist with a firearm."

(from The Great American Gun Debate)

Generally, if you are attacked, the safest thing to do is to resist with a gun. Next comes doing nothing. The most dangerous option, especially for a physically weaker victim, is to fight back if he or she is unarmed.
9.14.2006 4:13pm
Spartacus (www):
It also seems cruel comfort that, although listed under the heading of "Preventing Rape," the last three options deal strictly with what to do after having been raped.
9.14.2006 4:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
What if a Florida prosecutor found a Florida judge that believes in gun control and uses this international "law" as an excuse to declare the woman guilty because her shooting was murder?

You are really posting this question on a legal blog? You really have no idea how the criminal justice system in this country works or how unlikely it is that any woman who was home alone who shot a male home invader dead would be to see the inside of a courtroom, let alone indicted for murder, do you.

In fact, I would like DK to produce one incident where homicide charges of any type went to trial in this country in the last twenty-five years in a situation that even remotely match his hypothetical. Let's make it easy. A woman home alone in her own home shot and killed a male breaking into her house who she did not know.

I will also remind you that judges in Florida are elected, not appointed
9.14.2006 4:19pm
Jeff Robinson (mail):
After reading all of these comments, i see a very bad trend. This topic is truly bogus.

1. International Law has no application inside the US border unless enacted by US representatives.
2. No one can verify the rapist would not kill her, thus self defense is appropriate.
3. By even arguing this everyone here proves they are nothing more than socialists with no real life
9.14.2006 4:24pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
ignores unambiguous criminological evidence showing that victims who submit to victimizers are injured twice as often as those who resist with a firearm.

Relying on Kleck to provide "unambiguous" evidence is laughable. He most likely fabricated his evidence, and even if he didn't it is statistically invalid, his methods suspect and his extrapolations unreasonable. He can sue all the people he wants for defamation in an effort to shut them up. It doesn't make his theories and his conclusions valid.
9.14.2006 4:27pm
Kazinski:
JF Thomas:
I will make the decisions on how to best protect my family, not you and not the government. That is why the right to bear arms is in both the Federal and my state constitution. I am however willing to try to find some middle ground: If you refrain from using your first ammendment rights to try and restrict my second amendment rights, then I will refrain from using my second amendment rights to restrict your first amendment rights.

That said Koppel should be censored. Some gun control nut of an attorney is going to use it to start suing foreign gun manufacurers like Uberti. It is at least as plausible theory as "negligent distribution".
9.14.2006 4:35pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I will make the decisions on how to best protect my family, not you and not the government.

Actually, although I don't have the right to make those decisions, the government most certainly does. You are profoundly mistaken if you think you have the right to make decisions on how best to protect your family without government interference. That is an extremely dangerous attitude. You make a mockery of all the claims that gun owners are "law abiding citizens", since you apparently haven't a clue what it means to be either "law abiding" or a "citizen".
9.14.2006 5:16pm
T-Web:
If you're trying to improve the hypothetical, what about a case of sexual molestation by a visiting relative? He does it one night. The girl (perhaps a legal adult) is too scared and ashamed to tell anyone. The next night he comes in and attempts to do it again. She feels certain that that the perpetrator will not kill her because he doesn't want to run the risk of murdering a relative in her home with other relatives around. (That would clearly ruin his life.) Instead of crying out, she kills him with a gun owned by bought by her father for legal use, etc. etc.

I'm not a lawyer, so some of this likely this falls under other legal categories. But it does set up a situation where someone can feel certain that they will not be murdered, but will be raped.

In any case, it seems that those who insist on questioning the hypothetical are trying to avoid the issue. There's a movement in international law to make lethal force in self-defense illegal unless in the most serious of circumstances and only after every other option has been considered--a tall order in situations when self-defense is called for. Most Americans would reject that standard.
9.14.2006 5:41pm
markm (mail):
"any scenario that DK dreams up where a woman is about to be raped and tortured but somehow knows the impending torturer and rapist will not kill her is just silly, contrived and meant to stir yet more ridiculous fears of blue helmented thugs breaking down our doors and taking our guns." I might believe that IF I didn't follow the news from the UK, and know at least one case where someone actually was prosecuted for killing a violent intruder because the prosecutor claimed that he wasn't a threat to life. I also know of Sudanese women in a UN refugee camp who resisted a rapist - and are now charged with murder under Sudanese law. So the only unlikely part of this scenario that I can see is the UN and UK notion of "human rights" ever getting enough traction in the USA to give an American prosecutor that law he would need to stretch to actually prosecute such a case. But if the woman in this scenario is in the UK or the Sudan, she's SOL...

And finally, I know that the majority of the countries in the General Assembly are nasty little dictatorships and serial violators of *real* human rights, who really hate it when their victims have the means to fight back.
9.14.2006 5:46pm
Shuksan:

Relying on Kleck ... laughable ... fabricated his evidence ... even if he didn't .... statistically invalid ... methods suspect ... extrapolations unreasonable

JF-
Care to say anything of substance about Kleck? I take it you don't agree w/ his conclusions. Why? Can you cite any evidence that he's fabricated anything? Make an actual arguement about why his evidence is "statistically invalid"? I've only read Point Blank; the statistical analysis there is right on.
9.14.2006 6:03pm
Captain Holly (mail) (www):

I'm not a lawyer, so some of this likely this falls under other legal categories. But it does set up a situation where someone can feel certain that they will not be murdered, but will be raped.


I don't know about other states, but Utah Law allows deadly force to prevent death or severe bodily injury, and rape is considered a form of severe bodily injury (UCA 76-2-402(1)).

So in Utah, at least, it wouldn't make any difference: If a man is trying to rape a woman, she is justified in using deadly force to prevent it, even if the man has no intention of killing her.
9.14.2006 7:25pm
jim:
Several posters have commented that the woman cannot know that she is not in mortal danger. For most points of Mr. Kopel's argument I think the following substitution in the hypothetical provides the needed foundation for the argument:

There are a thousand cases in which a man breaks into a woman's home with violent intent. It is not true in every one of these cases that the man poses a mortal danger to the women. If all of these women defend themselves with small arms, some human rights violation will have taken place, even if it is not possible to discern the cases in which it has taken place.

This hypothetical also demonstrates the problem I see with this standard. In each of the thousand cases the woman acts identically and in a reasonable fashion. It is problematic to me that in some instances this is a human rights violation, even if it can never be prosecuted as one. It seems like a better rule to force violent intruders to forfeit certain rights so that we may err on the side of protecting the innocent.

It amazes me how willing the U.N. is to try to bind the hands of innocents who attempt to live within the law, while letting horrible people do whatever they please. It would be one thing if the U.N. was actually exercising the right of defense on behalf of the individuals that they insist should not exercise that right directly, but they are not doing so. Passing a resolution that a war or genocide is bad does not count as stopping it, especially if you then refuse to pass a resolution to use force in stopping it
9.14.2006 8:00pm
Justin (mail):
"I will make the decisions on how to best protect my family, not you and not the government."

Clearly that's not true. Pre-emptively killing the "arab-looking people who just moved next door" would hopefully be considered, you know, murder.
9.14.2006 8:09pm
NickM (mail) (www):
T-Web - that's a good example too - at least as applied to a child victim.

J.F. - perhaps you didn't quite understand that someone having sex with an unconscious person is not expecting there to be any resistance - or indeed any knowledge of the crime. In fact, that sort of rape occurs precisely because the perpetrator sees it as non-violent (and risk-free). Think things through before you call them ridiculous.

Nick
9.14.2006 8:29pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Precious lot of good that gun you bought to protect them does now, doesn't it?
I don't understand that argument. Is it that if it doesn't help in all situations, we should act as if it doesn't help in any situations? You can always invent scenarios where a gun doesn't help. If your wife gets the measles, would you say, "Precious lot of good that gun does now, doesn't it?"

Why not "assume" that your wife is carrying the gun with her, instead of leaving it uselessly in the house?

Why not assume that a criminal prepared to kill already carries a weapon? Why not assume that a criminal prepared to do so can harm or kill your family even if neither of them have a gun?

-----

Relying on Kleck to provide "unambiguous" evidence is laughable. He most likely fabricated his evidence, and even if he didn't it is statistically invalid, his methods suspect and his extrapolations unreasonable. He can sue all the people he wants for defamation in an effort to shut them up. It doesn't make his theories and his conclusions valid.
Yes, Thomas, exactly. Except one small problem: you've confused Gary Kleck and John Lott. You owe Kleck a major apology.
9.14.2006 8:48pm
triticale (mail) (www):
The neat thing about strawmen is the way they blow apart when hit by a shotgun blast.

Anyway, why on earth was this woman buying a shotgun manufactured in the U.K.? She could have done better for less money with either an Italian import or a domestic product.
9.14.2006 10:07pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
The only human rights violation I saw here was the man breaking into her home, which is her castle. The U.N. can go pound sand. Tell them to go deal with real problems.

As a side note, about 3 years ago I heard noise from my back yard at about 10 p.m. Turns out some guy was on the run from tne cops and just as he tried to break into my back door. He has no idea how close he came to being as dead as Julius Caesar. I was less than 10 feet from the door, safety off and fully loaded. I have a wife and 2 young daughters. I wasn't about to inquire as to his intentions. And nor should I have to, nor anyone else.

As a wise man once said, "An armed society is a polite society"
9.15.2006 3:03am
anonymuss:
What a crackpot scenario. It's up there with some of the nutcase first-year hypotheticals in crim law that I was subjected to — e.g., whether you could have sufficient mens rea to commit a specific intent crime if aliens influenced, but did not control, your brain remotely.
9.15.2006 4:12pm
KC Interested Party (mail):
The UN Human Right Council is made up mostly of dictatorship governments who have a real interest in making sure that only the government has guns. They want internation law that makes it illegal for private citizens to have a firearm that they could use for self defense, not only against criminals but also self defense against abusive governments. What is this council's area of action? It is human rights so if they can get everyone to buy into the idea that allowing private ownership of guns is a human rights violation, then they can disarm private citizens world wide. Then who will be able to resist them when they come to strip your house, farm, or business? Who will be able to stop them when secret police come in the middle of the night to arrest those who oppose the dictatorship's abuses of it's population?

It sounds much more innocent to put gun banning into terms of human rights violations rather than calling a spade a spade, i.e. talking guns away is gun banning.

In other countries such as England, Austrilia, and Canada, changes in government have resulted in sharp changes of government policy that favors eliminating legal gun ownership and allows criminals to operate with little fear of resistance because the criminal does not obey the law and they certainly DO NOT turn in their guns. If we in the United States do not keep a watchful eye on what the U.N. is trying to force on the world as a whole, these international laws can be put in place and a US government in favor of gun grabbing can bring them into the United States.
9.16.2006 1:58am
Reinhart (mail):
You are profoundly mistaken if you think you have the right to make decisions on how best to protect your family without government interference. That is an extremely dangerous attitude. You make a mockery of all the claims that gun owners are "law abiding citizens", since you apparently haven't a clue what it means to be either "law abiding" or a "citizen".

So, Mr. Thomas, people must rely on the police for protection?

I'd be glad if they were to come to my aid when I'm accosted by a violent individual whose intentions I cannot be completely aware of, which means I must always assume the worst from the attacker. (After all, I cannot read minds to know what the attacker truly intends and assuming less than possible death from the attack would be foolhardy in this case.)

However, what do you do when the police cannot respond fast enough? Most of the time, it takes minutes for the autorities to arrive in response to a summons for help. In that span of time between the summoning of the police to their arrival, you are, more or less, on your own. What do you do in a situation like that?

I would defend myself, with deadly force if necessary. The point is that I'm being victimized by an attacker and I cannot be certain that he will spare my life. It's not that I want to kill that attacker, but I must to stop him from committing his violence against me.

That's the point of self-defense, which you seem to be missing above all else: it's not about hurting others but to stop others from hurting you. And, guess what is most effective at stopping an attacker?

Again, it's not that I want to, but I can whenever I have to when I consider what can happen if I don't take adequate action to defend myself.

And, if you think I'm just spouting a "worse-case" scenario, well, it's rather fascinating how that perception can change when you, yourself, gets to experience such a scenario first-hand. Sometimes, the worst does happen to people who don't deserve it. In that case, you're either prepared or you're dead. I prefer to the former and hope you're intelligent enough to understand the wisdom of not taking the latter.

True civility is not achieved through passivity, but by a balance of freedom and justice. - Reinhart
9.16.2006 4:12pm
Reinhart (mail):
Clearly that's not true. Pre-emptively killing the "arab-looking people who just moved next door" would hopefully be considered, you know, murder.

Now that's just insulting and totally uncalled for, Justin.

The person who you were responding to never even remotely alluded to your ridiculously crass insinuation. On top of all of that, your utterance is totally out of context.

The discussion is not about wrongfully going out and preemptively attacking someone else in your rather tasteless suggestion of racism shrouded in defense from terrorism.

The discussion is about self-defense in the event that you have a perp breaking into your house for whatever reason. That perp may only be wanting to steal your valuables or he may be up to something more sadistic. Either way, the resident must assume the worst and take appropriate action to defend against a willful trespasser whose intentions could be the worst case.

The benefit of the doubt, in this case, must always lie with the victim, not the trespasser.

I shed no tears for a person who decided to violate another's dwelling for whatever reason and loses his life in the process. Such an action of invading another's property without right or permission for whatever reason is utterly dishonorable, illegal, and wholly inconsiderate to the rights of others. It also happens to be stupid since the perp is needlessly risking his life on the fact that the homeowner could be armed and ready for defense against the perp. - Reinhart
9.16.2006 5:37pm
Reinhart (mail):
Look at the picture of the Montreal killer on Mr. Lindgren's more recent post, and you'll see why so many of us are appalled by the glorification and absolutist defense of untrammeled gun ownership that is espoused by Mr. Kopel and other 2nd amendment absolutists.

I look at the picture AND SEE A REASON WHY THERE MUST BE AN ABSOLUTE DEFENSE of the 2nd Amendment.

If any of the victims had been armed, the Montreal Killer's spree could've been STOPPED then and there, saving lives in defense.

Interesting that there are people that think the citizenry must be rendered MORE helpless and reliant on overworked and stretched police forces for defense against criminals in light of such tragedies. Even more so when the blame is placed not on the criminal but on what he used to commit the deed.

And, here's the fundamental difference between a law-abiding gun owner and the Montreal Killer. The Montreal Killer loves death and taking life. The law-abiding gun owner loves LIFE and cherishes it enough to preserve and defend it against people like the Montreal Killer! - Reinhart
9.16.2006 6:00pm
Reinhart (mail):
Assume a burglar doesn't have a gun and breaks into the unoccupied home of a law-abiding gun owner who is not at home (as is the case in 9 of 10 burglaries)

Sources, please. Otherwise, your numbers are meaningless, Mr. Thomas.

and steals your gun that you bought to defend your wife and children. Further assume that just as the burglar was preparing to leave the house, your wife and children pull into the driveway. Precious lot of good that gun you bought to protect them does now, doesn't it?

Well, what if the gun you are describing as being used against the family was with the homeowner and his family via concealed carry?

Furthermore, if you have to go through "what-if" scenarios instead of concrete FACTS verified by independent sources to back up your claims, then, well... precious good your contentions do to prove your point, eh? - Reinhart
9.16.2006 6:10pm
Allan Robichaud (mail):
The criminal rapist put his life on the line when he attempted the offence. He violated her rights to the lawful enjoyment of her pperson and property and with the killer diseases in today's world, he could have caused her premature death over time.

The UN nutz are good at turning victims into villans and villans into victims. His life-after-death looks good on him.
9.17.2006 8:19pm
Lorddunsmore (mail):
Yhe US is free and prosperous because it does respect the individuals right to be free and not subjected to the rule of man but of law. The US Bill of Rights recognizes a citizen's right to individual freedom and human dignity. Along with these rights is the right to life, and the right to defend that life against another individual taking it away from them without rule of law being applied. Most members of the world community haven't a clue as to what real freedom means.
9.18.2006 11:13am
Steve James (mail):
Hope she used both barrels !!

Its called the United States of America ....... The UN can piss off .
9.18.2006 1:56pm