Wednesday, September 05, 2007

From the Department of Misinformation

Since spending the long weekend in San Antonio, I have been slowly catching up on my blog reading. Front Sight, Press posted a very inclusive roundup of firearm related news and blog entries in News from The Sight M1911, Volume 256. He included a link to this little gem of false statements and misinformation from a Texas CHL instructor.

From the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise:

By Michael Cary

ZUEHL — The state’s “Castle Law” removes a requirement that a citizen retreat from an attacker before using force if the other person is entering a citizen’s home, auto or workplace.

But, do you shoot to kill?

Never, says Guadalupe County Commissioner Judy Cope, who not only stands occasionally on the political firing line, she frequently is on the firing line at the Bexar Community Shooting Range.

About once a month or so, Commissioner Cope answers the shoot to kill and other questions about carrying a concealed handgun in her capacity as a concealed handgun instructor, certified by the Department of Public Safety.

“Do we shoot to kill? Never shoot to kill. You shoot to stop someone because you are in fear for your life. And you can protect a third party if the person is in imminent danger. It’s a judgment call. Use only the amount of force sufficient to protect yourself,” Cope said recently to 14 men and two women who signed up for her class, either to renew a license or obtain a new one.

Cope explained to the class that every shooting, even with the advent of Senate Bill 378, or the Castle Law (it goes into effect on Saturday), deadly force must be justified.

“Every shooting goes before a grand jury, and you’re either no-billed or indicted. You must be in fear for your life, that’s the answer you should have when an attorney asks you the question,” Cope explained to the class.
First, not all shootings go before a Grand Jury in the State of Texas. Many DA's do send most shootings to the Grand Jury, but not all.

Second, and this is a biggie, no where in the Penal Code does it state that being "in fear for your life" is justification to use deadly force. Someone cuts me off in traffic and I have to slam on my brakes I am in "fear for my life", but not justified to use deadly force. The law is pretty clear on what acts justify deadly force, and being in fear for your life is not one of them. Granted, it is probably a good idea to express the fear you were under when you shot the goblin when being quizzed in the presence of your lawyer, but that fear in and of itself is not justification.

As for the question "Do you shoot to kill?", well... that's why they call it deadly force. Yes I will shoot until the threat is stopped. I will stop the threat by placing 230 grains of copper and lead into the vital organs of the attacker, I expect that the attacker will be killed. This is why there are limits as to when deadly force is justified, and why a responsible individual will know and understand those limits.

The article continues:

A concealed handgun carrier who gets pulled over by a police officer would be wise to notify the officer about the handgun, because the information will be on the computer when he or she runs the license plate number.
It is not just wise, it is the law in Texas.

This quote is from the La Verina Mayor Pro Tem, Harold Schott. Mr. Schott retired from the San Antonio Police Department after a 33-year career.

“If you go to buy a new shotgun, even if you’re in a policeman’s uniform, you have a five-day wait for an FBI background check. If you have a concealed handgun license, you could have the gun today. If you want to purchase a gun, a license makes it easier,” Schott said.
There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Texas. Not a handgun, not a long gun and not even a "shotgun". All a CHL does is save you the time it takes to make the NICS phone call. A retired police officer who is the Mayor Pro Tem of a small town does not know this basic fact? A State trained and certified CHL instructor who states she has been teaching the class for the past 12 years teaches her class that "fear for your life" justifies deadly force? Maybe the reporter got it wrong, maybe he quoted her out of context. I kind of doubt it.

1 comment:

AlanDP said...

Note that he was an officer in a small town instead of in right-down-the-road San Antonio. That tells you something.

As for the mayor part: how did he get to be Mayor for the time being? Popularity. It has nothing whatsoever to do with competence.

La Vernia doesn't need a mayor. The vast majority of people who claim La Vernia as their home don't live inside city limits and therefore don't vote for the mayor and aren't subject to any of his decisions anyway.