Citizens arrest or let em go?

Discussion in 'Firearm Related' started by DrGlock, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. DrGlock

    DrGlock New Member

    Not sure if this has been addressed or if this is the right forum but here goes.

    Like all of you, I carry everywhere I go. One of the questions I have is this scenario:

    I'm out, with or without my family, and am approached by a person who displays a knife or some other weapon less than a firearm. Upon presenting my firearm, the person drops his weapon and no shots are fired.

    The question: Can you order him to the ground and make a citizens arrest or must you let him flee and inform the police of his description, direction of flight, etc.. assuming he will not comply to orders to get on the ground.
    Also, can you give chase to physically subdue him or follow him to phone in his location?

    Yes, I know that some of you will say if you pull your gun just shoot, some will say stay safe and do not pursue, etc...
    I'm really looking for the legalities here, my safety is my own concern.

    My concern of course is two fold:
    1) he will recognize me at a later time and seek to "get even"
    2) he will commit a crime later if not caught

    I ask this bearing in mind the quote "all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

    Thank you in advance for your replies!
  2. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

    IANAL, but I think that there are specific requirements to legally conducting a citizen's arrest.

  3. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

    For more information , you can read OCGA sections 17-4-60 through 17-4-62.
  4. DrGlock

    DrGlock New Member

    Adam 5, thank you!
  5. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    The more you choose to do the more chances your life can be messed up by the government.
  6. jdh31313

    jdh31313 Active Member

    Depending upon the situation and your level of comfort, either one of these is a viable answer. I would not however just let the person go without a call to police.
  7. 45_Fan

    45_Fan Well-Known Member

    Here is my view. I lack qualified immunity. If I mess up, it could at best be expensive. There is also a potential safety problem when a MWAG pursues an unarmed individual with a third party calling 911.

    That being said, if they comply with commands to disarm and get on the ground, I wouldn't be beyond using a camera phone to take pictures of them and any weapons. I'm not likely to approach and attempt to restrain (personal safety and additional liability concerns) nor shoot at a fleeing individual. I'm not hopeful they'd still be there when law enforcement did arrive, but I might as well contribute what I can to any future law enforcement efforts.
  8. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    I think you would be doing the public a great service if you could successfully arrest them and hold them for the cops, if they just assaulted or tried to rob you with a weapon and they dropped it.

    But I don't know if you can "legally" continue to point your gun at them after they drop theirs and start complying with your commands.
    At that point, you can't really say you are in reasonable fear for your safety, can you?

    As a practical matter, it may not matter. If you're the good guy armed citizen and the other dude is the scumball felon, nobody is going to arrest you or prosecute you.

    But in theory, it's "aggravated assault" to point a gun at somebody when you are not legally justified in shooting them.
  9. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke New Member

    I would order them to the ground and stay behind them where they could not see if I was still pointing the weapon at them, call the police and tell him not to move. If he ran I'd immediately write down everything I could remember about his description and wait to give that to the police when they arrived. We don't have the same immunities as the police so it would take a special scenario to do more than that.
  10. MesaCranker

    MesaCranker Active Member

    The subject has already presented one weapon to you in a matter which caused you to be in fear of your life or receiving great bodily harm. Continue pointing your weapon at the after they disarm and are laying face down in the dirt until they are properly restrained. They could always have a back up weapon somewhere on their person....

    YMMV, IANAL, yada yada yada...
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    I am not putting my gun away while an armed robber lies on the ground next to his knife. No way! Sorry.

    I have responded to a person pointing a gun at two armed robbers lying on the ground spread eagled. No, we did not "mistake him for the bad guy." No, we did not prone him out. No, we did not handcuff him or disarm him. Nobody would have even thought of the ridiculous claim that his life was no longer in danger sufficiently to justify keeping them covered until we arrived.

    To the original poster:
    I know not what others may do, but as for me, that boy is going to prison. I will use force to detain him until the police arrive. I have done this twice as a non-police officer. Once for a misdemeanor, and once for a felony (burglary). Both times involved resistance and judicious use of force. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I could not look at myself in the mirror afterward if I chose to let the guy go.

    If you let the armed robber with the knife go, and he later kills a young mother, how will you ever make up for your cowardice in this lifetime?

    And yes, fear of liability is cowardice, too.

    It is within the law to make the arrest. No, you do not have immunity, and so you better be correct, but there are some situations in which there is no ambiguity and no mistake to be made, such as when an armed robber approaches you with a weapon. No training is really needed to discern whether you are being raped, robbed, or murdered. If any of these three things is happening to you, you will know.
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    I'll take my chances with a jury on that question rather than taking my chances with the mercy of a violent predator, thank you.


    My guess is that at least one juror will refuse to find me guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that would be all I need, right? :wink:
  13. EJR914

    EJR914 Cheezburger Operator

    MP, rocks again. Glad to see there are still those of us out there that are willing to police criminals when there are no LEO at your immediate disposal.

    If someone commits aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon on me, I pull a firearm, and they get down on the ground, my pistol will remain on them until LEO arrive, and I will be announcing very loudly that I'm the good guy from the time I see their squad car. I'm sure they can figure it out.

    I doubt I will ever be able to run after and catch a resisting criminal from running, as I'd probably fall to the ground in a heap of pain from my bad back. I'm trying to work on it, though.
  14. blackbirdzach

    blackbirdzach New Member

    One of the bests posts on this forum, ever.