In these situations...

Discussion in 'General GWL Questions' started by drjay, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. drjay

    drjay New Member

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    First off, great site! Every so often I would try to look up GA laws on firearms but only found little tidbits. I literally spent almost the last 2 hours reading most of this forum. Great stuff all around.

    However, there's one scenario that keeps playing in my head and there were a few threads that touched on it but not to the specifics I'm wondering about. Please bear with me here, I have been wondering about this for a long time and I'd sincerely appreciate answers to each of them, if you're bored :)

    This scenario seems stuck in a few gray areas between stopping a 'forcible felony' against a third party and citizens arrest. Play along:

    1) I'm walking in somewhere and I hear a commotion; across the parking lot two guys are about to fight. They're shoving each other and unless something happens I'm 100% certain there is about to be a fight.

    Q: Can I go across the parking lot, draw my weapon, and demand that they stop? That even sounds crazy to me, but "what if"? Can I use the words "Stop or I'll shoot" (legally) even though I have absolutely no intention of shooting someone over a fight not inclusive of myself?

    2) Same scenario as above but they're in the middle of fighting, and doing a good job of it.

    Q: If allowed, after saying "Stop or I'll shoot" they refuse to stop. At some point one of them could easily get permanently injured (fights have killed many times). I *HATE* the idea of seriously wounding or killing so if in an area I can be fairly sure of a safe discharge (soft ground) could I fire a warning shot? Putting aside that it could ricochet for that question.

    Final question: Same as above but I either don't fire a warning shot and/or it doesn't have any effect. Am I allowed to use deadly force? I could imagine if one of them is clearly beating the crap out of the other, but what if the "winner" isn't so clear cut?

    Keep in mind there are no weapons (aside from mine) in the scenario. I don't want to be a vigilante, I carry for my own protection. But I hate to think that I would get into a situation like that and just sit back while some poor guy gets beat half (or fully) to death.

    Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate any advice.
     
  2. phaed

    phaed New Member

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    absolutely not on either account.
     

  3. M249

    M249 New Member

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    Get out your mobile phone or find the nearest pay phone and dial 911. You are not an LEO.
     
  4. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    +1

    and :welcome: to the board!
     
  5. gizmo5

    gizmo5 New Member

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    CALL 911.


    BUT, if one is KILLING the other OR causing severe bodily injury, than YES you can use deadly force to save the others life. BY LAW.

    Back home before I joined the military there were TONS of situations where a fight would be so disgustingly brutal that one would end up in intensive care or wind up dead. People have had their heads kicked in with steel toe boots, heads stomped on, knocked out and then broke their arms or hands on purpose.... All of these situations have happened in my home town. So by all means, you have the right to defend the individual not capable of defending themselves.

    But if they are going toe to toe, seems even, one on one.... Grab a seat, a bag of popcorn, and enjoy the show. :wink:
     
  6. drjay

    drjay New Member

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    Wow you guys are quick! Awesome, thanks.

    I'm a bit confused though as no matter what there is clearly a law being broken. Outside of MMA or boxing there are no legal fights, especially those in a parking lot. Wouldn't this fall under citizens arrest?

    GA Code 17-4-60 "A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge."

    "Offender" being the operative word.

    Aside from that, if someone is beating the holy crap out of someone, wouldn't I have a right to step in under the current law which allows intervention during a forcible felony? I would think if one guy is kicking the other in his face it could be reasonable to think he could be killed or caused serious bodily injury because of it. The law seems to clearly state it covers third-parties also.

    Again, I'm not trying to jump into a fight or anything. This is is just the most likely situation I'll run into.
     
  7. merlock

    merlock New Member

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    Add my +1 as well. Be a good witness. Maybe intervene if "A" is doing the Bristol Stomp on "B". Otherwise, like it was said earlier: :popcorn:
     
  8. phaed

    phaed New Member

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    one thing ya gotta understand about law...it doesn't matter what's on paper, it's what the judge says. sucks, but that's the way it is. if it weren't like this, our right to own and bear arms would have never been "infringed" in the first place.

    if you had some silver-tongued expensive lawyer, you *might* be able to defend your taking some action. that's *if* no case law has already covered this (i bet it has). you'd really need to ask yourself if you really thought it was worth it to take the chance. then you'd need to be able to live with your decision, no matter the outcome.

    not worth it for a couple of guys in a fistfight. hell, i'm happy to see folks fight with their fists these days instead of shooting each other.
     
  9. gizmo5

    gizmo5 New Member

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    Thats how I feel! A fist fight is a lost art it seems.... "What ever happened, to catchin, a good ole fashion, passionate, ass whoopin"
     
  10. drjay

    drjay New Member

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    haha sounds about right. Yea yea, if it's some dumb drunken bar fight I'm not going to run around waving a gun.

    The only time I think I'd really be tempted to step in is if some little guy is being bullied then has to fight back against some jerk attacker. I mean if I see some skinny guy dressed in a suit being shoved around and punched in the head by some hooligan, shouldn't I be able to do something? Obviously it would start with "hey knock it off" etc. But at some point before it turns into something very serious, is there nothing I can do but wait till the poor guy is almost dead?

    I read a story on here from some guy who was being bullied while shopping for a TV (anyone remember that one?). If he had ended up getting boxed in the head over and over, do I have to sit back and watch a one-sided @$$ kicking?? Even if both guys are still standing?
     
  11. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    You absolutely should try to stop it. However, pulling a gun is unlikely to be a good idea in the situations you described. It's just another option for when things get really bad.
     
  12. Corbomite

    Corbomite New Member

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    I agree with keeping your distance as a witness depending on what happens. Now if one guy knocks the other to the ground or knocks him out and just starts going for head shots then yeah I'd step in at that point. If the guy is helpless to defend himself then to me it's justified. You have to remember that there are spots on the head where all it takes is one blow to put you in a coma, brain damage or death.
     
  13. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    Call the 5-0 and let them do what they get paid to do. Otherwise...just be a good witness.
     
  14. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

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    No warning shots either... I think the cost of such would outweigh the benefit.
     
  15. wsweeks2

    wsweeks2 New Member

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    Is there anything at all in the statute that says you have to stick around and be a witness? I don't have time to get subpoenad and go to court over something that doesn't involve me.

    *Disclaimer* This may sound anti-LEO, however I'm just playing devil's advocate - why stick around and try and help the LEO's do their job by being a witness when most of them aren't trying to help me when it comes to exercising my 2A rights? They can't expect everyone do bow down to the badge when they trample on everyone's rights in the name of officer safety.
     
  16. AeroShooter

    AeroShooter New Member

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    As I understand the law, doing nothing is certainly an option. You aren't required to intervene, report in-progress or after-the-fact, or bear witness unless subpoenaed. There are perfectly good reason not to get involved.

    I would not get directly involved unless I clearly felt a life was in jeopardy, I would report, not to help the LEO's but because there might be a victim in this case and because I hate seeing this sort of **** in public.
     
  17. ThetaReactor

    ThetaReactor Active Member

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    I'll put in another vote for "Call the cops, then leave it alone unless you believe someone's life is in danger."

    Unless it's just a good friendly brawl. I enjoy those. The kind where I've got someone in a headlock and alternate between "Are you done yet?" and punching 'em in the face... :twisted:
     
  18. ICP_Juggalo

    ICP_Juggalo Professional Troll

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    drjay, what you're describing in your scenarios is battery which is a misdemeanor charge. You certainly wouldn't be justifitied in pulling your piece to stop the fight. Battery becomes a felony when bones get broken, limbs become dismembered, and/or bodily disfigurement happens. I wouldn't try a citizens' arrest either. What if you detained the wrong person? You could be charged with false imprisionment (and aggravated assualt if you drew your weapon to detain them) and also sued by the person who you falsely detained.

    Remember your GFL and firearm are a last resort. You should never "clear leather" unless you absolutely believe yourself or someone is about to be killed, severly injured, or a forcible felony is about or being committed in your presence. Forcible felony would include murder, rape, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, kidnapping, robbery, defense of an habitation, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery. I may have forgotten one or two, but those are the main ones right there.

    Unless there is forcible felony happening within your immediate knowledge, then it's just best to call and let the police handle it.
     
  19. wsweeks2

    wsweeks2 New Member

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    Very well put.
     
  20. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    Being a good witness is more than helping LEOs, its about making sure a criminal is off the streets and helping the victim. If you were being beaten wouldn't you want another person to be a good witness and/or jump in if it got too serious.