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18 September 2015, Hermitage, Tennessee
Successful defensive gun uses (DGU) don’t always require lethal force. According to the Obama administration, there are over half a million of them per year, most of which don’t even make the local news, or even the police blotters.
In this case, we have a case of a Good Guy With A Gun defending his neighbor’s property as if it were his own and going above and beyond the call of neighborliness by not only stopping the theft of his neighbors utility trailer by three criminals, but capturing of one of the criminals, Marty Harris, and holding him at gunpoint until the police arrived, and driving off the male accomplice after he attempted to come back and rescue Mr. Harris.
Mr. Harris admitted to police that he and his accomplices intended to sell the utility trailers
As always, we’re not just here to discuss what happened, but what we can take away from this. We have some good things and some bad things:
1. Good thing: This man helped his neighbor. While most states have some form of Good Samaritan Law, no state requires a civilian to intervene in the commission of a crime. Heck, the Supreme Court has ruled that not even Law Enforcement is required to come help you. This man stepped up and defended his neighbor’s property when he could not.
2. Bad thing: Our Unnamed Good Guy decided to fire warning shots. Remember, YOU are accountable for EVERY round you fire. Gravity and ballistics are two facts of guns which cannot be avoided. When you fire a warning shot, especially into the air, you have almost no idea where that round is going to land. If you hurt or kill someone, or damage property, even in the course of your capturing of a criminal, you are liable and can be prosecuted.
3. Sometimes, you are not just Your Own First Responder, sometimes You Are Your Neighbor’s First Responder. You have no legal duty to do so, and intervening with a firearm can leave you open to some pretty big consequences, but if you CAN do something…shouldn’t you?