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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone brought this up on another thread.

We have all heard that if you modify your gun it "MAY" be a liability on the street, even if the shooting is justified.

I kinda think this is a myth.

Can anyone show a case where this happened?

Larry P
 

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MY TAKE

It's only a liability if you modified the reliability out.

First, survive.
 

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Larry,
I'm gonna move this to Tactics and Personal defense.
RT
 

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Larry,
What other thread are you referring to and exactly what do you mean by "liability on the street"?

Are you talking about combat liability or some sort of legal liability?

Why do you think it is a myth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Competition forum: Idpa Rules Are Arcane And Irrational

Sorry Legal Liability

Because its much talked about but, TMK, I have never heard of anyone being Prosecuted for having a modified gun in a otherwise "legal" shoot.

I have seen it in Gun Rags A LOT. TMK never an instance of it.
Just "It could happen"

Oh my the sky is falling
 

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Larrys1911 said:
Someone brought this up on another thread.

We have all heard that if you modify your gun it "MAY" be a liability on the street, even if the shooting is justified.

I kinda think this is a myth.

Can anyone show a case where this happened?

Larry P
First the disclaimer. I am not an attorney, and the following comments are NOT intended to serve as legal advice.

With regard to this issue, my professional position as an instructor, is while I personally have never heard of any legal liability being caused by the modifications to a defensive handgun, I instruct my students to avoid modifications which will reduce the required trigger pressure required to fire, or any other modification which a lawyer could use in court.

In short, if you are involved in a shooting, and are required to stand before a jury of your peers (Never Happens), most of these people may not be overly familiar with firearms, and will rely on what they hear from the attornies on both sides. If the opposing attorney is able to convince either the judge or the jury that the modifications made to your weapon made it easier for you to injure or kill the attacker, you will have more fighting to do to clear yourself.

Just my thoughts and opinions.

Be Safe

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bryan,

Thanks for your reply.

I understand the reasons that everyone quotes for Not modifying a carry weapon.

What I want to know is if anyone has ever seen a case where these "reasons".

There is a counter arguement to modifying your weapon too.
I can show pretty good compency with my "modified" weapon.
More than most LEO in fact and I can prove that in court.

So back to the question has anyone seen this in court?

Or

Is it something that we have repeated enough that it is now spouted as fact?

FWIW I just had a pretty good dealing with our court system.
I was NOT impressed. Short version, we recieved legal advice from an attorney and that legal advise got us into a 25K legal suit.

His response was, people just dont do this that often, its not worth the money. It wasnt about the money to these people, it was about spending money they knew I didnt have.

Moral is, if it gets to court I think a modified gun will be the least of your problems. IF they want to hang you for something they will find something.
I was told by my Carry Instructor (a friend) that my home towns Prosecuting atty is going to make an example of the first CCW use.

They charge you with 1st deg Murder and let you plead it down to manslauter or some such CRAP. THAT is with a good one. imagine if there was a question.

Larry P
 

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Larrys1911 said:
Bryan,

Moral is, if it gets to court I think a modified gun will be the least of your problems. IF they want to hang you for something they will find something.

Larry P
I agree with you on this point, however I also position myself to say that I do not want to give a prosecutor or other any additional things to attack.

With that said, there are variations. For instance, lets assume that you are a big competative shooter. You can only afford one pistol, which you choose a decked out race gun that has been primed for competitive shooting. You carry his gun for protection as well, and are involved in a confrontation. This situation would be easier to defend.

As to actual cases, the answer is NO I have not heard of any convictions as result of a modified firearm within an otherwise justified shooting. But I have seen circumstances which I described above.

Good luck.

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com
 

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Larry,

The modified gun liability theory is something of an Ayoobian myth. This is one of the things he has pressed for several years and continues to do so. It is his mantra and apparently he isn't willing to back off of it even though there is no proof that gun modifications increase criminal liability in any way for an intentional shooting. Either you had the right to use lethal force or you did not. If you didn't, the liability is the fact that you did, not the number of #s pull your trigger has, melt job, night sights, etc.

There is on potential case in Ayoob's favor. It was in Florida, State v. Luis Alvarez. Alvarez is/was a cop charged with manslaugher for shooting a suspect he had at gun point. He was using a revolver with a trigger that had been lightened and apparently had the gun cocked. The suspect was shot in the back when, as originally claimed/stated to other officers on the scene, another officer bumped Alvarez's arm and the gun discharged. The suspect died and so Alvarez was charged with manslaughter as he did not intend to shoot or kill the suspect. So there is the liability aspect of the case. Alvarez, with a cocked gun, lightened trigger, finger on trigger, ended up killing a suspect by shooting him in the back. So maybe the gun would not have discharged had the trigger pull been the full poundage, or maybe if the gun was not cocked or maybe if his finger was not on the trigger. Between the time of the incident and the trial, Alvarez changed his story and managed to convince other officers to go along with him and say that the suspect made a furtive movement and so Alvarez acted in self defense to stop the suspect. Keep in mind that the furtive movement was a little fact not originally reported by the officers on scene and his lawyer explained away Alvarez's bumped arm story as something like post traumatic stress.

People worry too much about giving the prosecution ammunition to work with. If your best self defense gun, for you, is a highly modified and tricked out gun with all sorts of modifications, why would you NOT use it to defend your life on the slim chance that the prosecution might somehow use those modifications against you? To be charged, you gotta be alive. Defend your life with the best defense gun you have or have at the time.

Let's see, what are some of the more common modifications or attributes folks think will cause them trouble in court for intentional self defense shootings...

light triggers on handguns (but a deer rifle with 1.5 # pull is okay. I don't know why, but nobody ever seems worried about a light trigger pull on a hunting rifle used in self defense)
night sights
weapon light
laser
mean gun name (Wilson Combat, Defender, Combat Master)
military-type gun
hollowpoint ammo (shows intent to kill, not to stop, known to do maximum damage and inflict maximum pain)
ball ammo (known for devastating bone crushing effects)
handloaded ammo (obviously you have loaded superlethal loads)
scope
If you shoot the guy more than once, it is an act of punish, not defense, and you are playing judge, jury, and executioner

Please feel free to add to the list. Keep in mind that every attribute of you and your gun have the potential to be turned on you in some manner. You practice every week? Great, you should have been able to shoot and wound the guy and not kill him. Or, the fact that you practice so much indicates that you are a loose cannon, constantly honing your skills so that you can kill at the drop of a hat with your reaction being a well practiced lethal response. So you have been to Gunsite and Thunder Ranch several times, you must be some sort of gun nut militant extremist plague on society. Do you own more than one gun? If so, then you are a gun nut.

It is all crap.
 

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Double Naught Spy said:

It is all crap.
Sums it up nicely.

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Modify to your heart's content, as long as reliability isn't compromised.
 

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I agree. I have carried totally custom guns, and come to think of it, every gun I have carried has had some modification.
These issues can come up at trial, which means you survived the shooting!
I have had trial lawyers in various cases try to make something out of the truck I drove (a Dodge RAM), the fact that it was silver ("He watches too much "Walker, Texas Ranger" [A show I have never watched all the way through}), the kind of issued ammo I carried (hollowpoints), the fact that for a number of years our issue guns were nickled, and on and on.
None of it mattered. The physical evidence and eyewitness testimony aggreed with my reports, and I won all of these cases. In most of them, no guns were even drawn, let alone fired.

Modify your guns for maximum reliability and the best fit to you. Train and practice often. Get through the shooting, and then you can get a defense team to help you through the trial.
 
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