Did you know around 48% of gun owners say that they own a gun for protection? But we know that not every one of these people knows how to use it properly for self-defense.
It’s not easy to claim self-defense in court, as there are many factors to consider. One basic element is an imminent threat, but you and the evidence have to prove even that.
Self-defense shooting laws are in place to protect people from owners who want to fire their guns at every opportunity. Below, you’ll learn when you’re allowed to shoot and what elements true self-defense has.
Self-Defense Shooting Laws
There are no specific self-defense gun laws, per se. If you kill someone, either with a gun or something else, that’s an automatic homicide. If you can prove it’s for self-defense, then it’s justified homicide.
There are laws, however, governing the justified use of deadly force, such as the following.
Duty to Retreat
In most states, the laws say that a person must try to retreat first. Even if there has been an assault, the victim must walk away if there’s a reasonable opportunity to do so.
In front of the jury, you will have to prove that there was no other way but to use force. It could be that you tried to flee, but the aggressor followed. The aggressor may have also trapped you.
Stand Your Ground
In some states, though, there’s a Stand Your Ground law that doesn’t require the victim to retreat from any location where they have a lawful right to be. It gives the right to use force to defend themselves regardless of whether they can retreat.
That said, you can still get charged even when Stand Your Ground applies.
The castle doctrine is similar to the above law in that you don’t have to retreat from your home if a dangerous situation arises. It gives you protection when you decide to use deadly force to protect yourself from a dangerous intruder. You do not have a duty to escape, even if you can do it safely.
The difference is that its scope is only within the confines of your home. Outside of it, though, you still have a duty to retreat, unless your state has Stand Your Ground laws.
What about using firearms to protect property? Does self-defense shooting apply to your properties? No, for the most part, except in some cases of arson in some states.
With most properties, you won’t be able to justify the use of deadly force. You won’t be able to justify shooting at a car thief, for example, unless they also posed a threat to you. You also can’t shoot at an intruder who’s running away with your TV since there’s no threat to your life anymore.
Components of Self-Defense
The laws don’t give you immunity the moment you declare that you used a gun for self-defense. The evidence has to point to that conclusion. It has to show that the use of deadly force was justifiable under the circumstances.
You can’t shoot anyone who looks at you funny or every stranger in your home and then claim it’s for self-defense. You must have reasonable grounds to assume you’re in imminent danger. Yes, that means you’re not free to shoot an intruder right away, even under the castle doctrine.
How do you decide if the situation is reasonable enough to protect yourself by shooting a gun? The other party must have the intent, ability, and opportunity to harm you.
The aggressor might speak out their intentions to cause you harm at that moment. But it’s not always they tell you such things.
Of course, we always won’t know the intent of the other person unless they verbalize it. An intent is a mental process, but they can show it through their actions. If their actions cause you to think you’re in imminent danger, then it can support your case.
A person might give out empty threats about killing you, but you still shouldn’t shoot them right there and then.
They must have the ability to carry out that threat right at that moment. For instance, they may be holding a weapon or they’re in a position to inflict bodily damage.
Then, they should also have the opportunity. Are they holding a knife but they’re in a wheelchair? Then they don’t have the actual opportunity to harm you since you can outrun them.
Shooting them at that point won’t help your case. A Volquartsen Black Mamba gun, on the other hand, doesn’t need a close distance to become a hazard.
Fear of Harm
In some cases, fear of harm is enough reason to justify the use of force. The intent may not be there, but you may still have sufficient reason to fear for your life.
For instance, an attacker may be holding a fake gun. That means you weren’t in much danger, after all, but you can still justify your self-defense argument. Since you have no reason to believe it’s fake, you believed there was a real threat.
A person coming at you with a weapon in hand can also cause you to fear, even if that person weren’t aiming for you in the first place.
However, you still have to justify that it’s what a “reasonable person” would do. A reasonable person would swat the hand of a stranger reaching out for their face, even if that stranger were only getting at a bee.
On the other hand, a reasonable person would not shoot a hooded stranger walking towards them at a deserted street without doing anything else because that person may only be trying to get home.
Cessation of Threat
There’s a limit to how many times you can shoot to claim self-defense. That limit has no number though.
The number of times you shoot depends on how many times you needed to shoot to stop the threat. It may be one or it may be five.
The latter becomes justifiable if the attacker kept going at you even after you shot them four times. If, however, the threat disappears and you keep shooting, the court would consider that excessive.
Consult a Lawyer
Each state handles self-defense shooting in different ways, so you better consult a local lawyer to help you, whether the DA charges you with a crime or not. They will help you understand the laws in your area and represent you in court, if necessary.
Why stop learning here? We’ve got tons more of tips for you to check out. If you need more tips, don’t hesitate to explore our content and read more of our guides.
Recently, when evaluating whether a part of a semiautomatic rifle, the lower receiver mechanism, met the legal requirements of a firearm, the presiding judge offered “no immunity from scrutiny” to a law which, in his view, had been misapplied for a long time. According to the judge’s interpretation of the federal definition, the lower receiver of the AR-15 does not classify as a firearm. As a result, the individual that was charged with illegal possession of a firearm was not convicted and his case was dismissed.
Meanwhile, many other individuals charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm due to the same AR-15 lower receiver mechanism have been convicted of illegal possession. As Federal Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman of the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman notes, “Clearly, the jury is still out, so to speak, on whether the AR-15 lower receiver meets the federal definition of a firearm. What is clear, however, is whether the AR-15 lower receiver is a firearm is a legal technicality being hotly debated throughout the nation.”
Although AR-15 gun charges amount to a small percentage of the thousands of federal charges filed every year, the semiautomatic rifle is the weapon that has often been used in mass shootings. An AR-15 was the weapon used in the Parkland, Florida school incident, the Las Vegas, Nevada mass shooting, and the Newton, Connecticut shooting. It is estimated that over 17 million AR-15 rifles are in the United States alone.
In a recent case involving a defendant by the last name of Rowold, the accused individual was found to be in possession of 15 AR-15 lower receivers and had used a proxy to purchase 50 more. Because Rowold is an already convicted felon, he faced more gun charges for the possession of the lower receivers. His attorney argued that the lower receivers fell short of meeting the federal definition of a firearm. Agreeing with Rowold’s counsel, the presiding judge viewed erroneous prior readings of the regulation to include AR-15 lower receivers in the firearm category and refused to categorize the rifle mechanism as a firearm. Rowold’s charges were dismissed.
Convictions on AR-15 lower receiver charges continue to happen as well. For example, in November of 2019, a convicted felon with a record of domestic violence was sentenced to seven years on a gun-related charge involving an AR-15 lower receiver. In April 2019, an Oklahoman was charged with illegal possession of a firearm involving an AR-15 lower receiver.
With the latest mixed interpretations amongst courts, some feel the need for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) to address the legal definition of a firearm. However, a concern for clarity on this issue is not new. In 2016, the dismissal of a North California case where a convicted felon was charged with purchasing an unmarked AR-15 lower receiver prompted then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to write a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Calling attention to the need for clarification, Lynch’s letter implored the ATF to take regulatory and administrative action to define a firearm as it relates to an AR-15 lower receiver.
Although no changes have been made to the regulatory language, being able to trace and regulate the AR-15 is a concern expressed by ATF agents, especially in light of the recent court ruling excluding the gun piece from the federal definition of a firearm. Even with federal interpretations of the legal definition, state laws may take a different approach to determine whether criminal charges can move forward. Furthermore, some state courts have continued to uphold gun charges involving AR-15 lower receivers.
Currently, according to the ATF, 15 U.S.C. Chapter 18 defines a firearm as any weapon that fires a projectile or the frame or receiver of any such weapon. The regulation further defines a firearm frame or receiver to include the part that houses the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at a forward portion to receive the barrel.
As the federal regulation designates a frame or receiver as a piece considered to be the gun itself, an AR-15 receiver is divided into two mechanisms – upper and lower. According to the federal definition, the upper receiver of the AR-15 contains some of those requisite pieces while the lower does not. Alone, the lower receiver is incapable of firing a bullet. The lower receiver is comprised of the trigger and hammer, has a magazine slot, and rests above the pistol grip. In the event the AR-15 lower receiver is unable to classify as a firearm, the ATF will be unable to trace and regulate it.
With a ton of amazing attractions, beautiful scenery, and fun things to do, Wisconsin is a hidden gem.
People from around the world visit Wisconsin for its peaceful atmosphere, incredible food, and a chance to experience the outdoors.
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Wisconsin is hunting and shooting. And there are plenty of places to enjoy shooting in Wisconsin. But with recent changes in Wisconsin gun transport laws, outdoor enthusiasts need to be careful they don’t break the law.
In this article, we’ll go over Wisconsin gun transport laws and some basic definitions to help you stay within the law and enjoy your time in this great state.
Important Definitions to Know
Before we dive into the gun transport laws in Wisconsin, we need to go over some basic definitions.
These will help you understand the laws without issue. There are three things you should know before learning Wisconsin’s gun laws: what counts as a long gun, what counts as a handgun, and what counts as an unloaded weapon.
Long guns are typically used for hunting and home defense.
Long guns include shotguns, rifles, or black powder rifles. It doesn’t matter if they are semi-automatic, pump-action, or bolt action. Any firearm with a stock that is designed to be fired from the shoulder is a long gun.
A handgun is any type of firearm that lacks a stock, is concealable, and can be fired without bracing against the shoulder.
This includes firearms like pistols and revolvers.
The laws surrounding the use of handguns are typically more strict and stringent with harsher penalties and more regulation.
An unloaded weapon might seem like a simple concept.
But with the different ways firearms can be loaded, that term might be confusing.
An unloaded firearm is a firearm that is completely free of ammunition, including the chamber and magazine.
For example, some people might consider a handgun unloaded if there is a magazine in it, but a round isn’t in the chamber. However, that is technically a loaded gun.
The same goes for rifles and shotguns that hold multiple rounds.
No rounds may be in the gun at all for it to be considered unloaded. For a weapon to be encased, it must be in a hard case that latches closed.
Wisconsin Gun Transport Laws
In Wisconsin, there are different transport laws for handguns and long guns that change depending on the vehicle, the location of the vehicle, and whether the person has a concealed carry permit.
Follow these laws carefully, because transporting a firearm illegally can carry serious penalties.
Long Gun Transport Laws
Wisconsin gun laws used to require that all long guns be carried unloaded and inside a case when inside a vehicle.
However, this law made it inconvenient for hunters. Hunters frequently drive from location to location while hunting. Having to take their guns in and out of a case every time they hopped in the car was a pain, so they changed the law to make it more convenient.
Long guns are typically used for hunting and home defense. That’s why there is no logical reason why someone would have it loaded while transporting it.
Wisconsin adopts this same idea for its long gun transport laws. Wisconsin gun laws state that you cannot have a loaded long gun in your vehicle, including automobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
The only exception to this rule is when the vehicle is stationary. If the vehicle is stopped, you can have a loaded gun on the top or exterior of the car. But you still cannot load the gun or have a loaded long gun inside the vehicle.
In regards to boats, you cannot have a loaded long gun on board unless the motor is not running. The boat may be drifting, but cannot have the motor running.
If you transport a long gun on an aircraft, it must be unloaded and in a case.
Handgun Transport Laws
The handgun transport laws in Wisconsin have recently been at the center of hot debate.
The law states that you cannot carry a loaded firearm in your vehicle unless it is a handgun. This law drew controversy after a man was arrested for carrying a loaded pistol in his glove box without a concealed carry permit.
If you have a loaded handgun in your car that isn’t in plain view, it is considered to be a concealed weapon. That requires a concealed carry permit, which allows you to carry a concealed pistol on your person and in your vehicle.
If you do not have a concealed carry permit, you must have your loaded handgun in plain sight and not concealed in any way.
Plain sight is defined as having the firearm above the window line and not concealed by any furniture or debris. You can also load and carry your pistol in your car, as long as it is in plain sight.
Having a concealed carry permit will allow you to carry a loaded pistol to many places in Wisconsin that would otherwise be off-limits.
However, there are still places where you cannot possess a concealed firearm. This includes places such as schools, courthouses, police stations, and other government buildings or facilities.
You also cannot carry a handgun onto an aircraft without it being unloaded and cased.
Follow the Laws and Have A Blast in Wisconsin
Now that you know a little more about Wisconsin gun transport laws, you can enjoy the incredible outdoors of Wisconsin and protect yourself while obeying the law.
Make sure to review these gun laws before planning your next trip or purchasing a new firearm. And if you need more information, keep scrolling our blog.
Over the past few centuries, policemen and their trusty handguns remain inseparable. Especially during the most critical situations, handguns turn the tide in favor of the police.
In situations where lives are at stake, police opt to use their handguns to end the threat. It is crucial for them to carry firearms that can effectively neutralize criminals.
With the rich history of handguns, you may be wondering what the top 10 police handguns are?
Even if semi-automatics are today’s top options, there are older handguns worthy of inclusion in an all-time list. Keep on reading below and get to know the 10 important handguns that helped shape law enforcement.
Top 10 Police Handguns
With the history of handguns dating back to several centuries, it is hard to come up with a definitive top 10. One handgun model can easily take the spot of another. However, there are police issued guns that left a lasting mark.
1. Flintlock Pistol
Let’s start with one of the oldest pistols the U.S. Marshals Service used. The Flintlock became the most popular choice back in the late 1700s. It’s lock or ignition mechanism was flint.
The good thing about flint during that time is that it ignited gunpowder in an instant. It also worked under different weather conditions.
The flintlock pistols became the standard weapon of the Marshals Service. They carried the firearm for several decades up until the mid-1800s.
A little trivia: the flintlock pistols of Simon Bolivar sold for over $1.6 million at an auction.
2. Colt Single Action Army
The Colt Single action became a legend not only because of what it brought to the table. It became a legend also because of the legendary names that carried it on their sides.
Three names come into mind whenever the discussion revolved around the Colt Single Action: Pat Garrett, Bill Tilghman, and Bat Masterson.
Garrett was an ex-Texas Ranger as well as a sheriff in Lincoln County. His name reached legendary status after neutralizing Billy the Kid. He took down the Old West outlaw using the Colt Frontier single-action .44-40.
The handgun featured nickel plating and a 7 and 1/2-inch barrel.
Tilghman, on the other hand, carried a Colt Single Action .38 specia
l. The gun featured a 5-inch barrel. Tilghman partnered it with another handgun: the Colt .45 caliber.
His gun also showcased pearl grips with diamondback rattler embossing.
Meanwhile, Masterson used eight different single-action Colts. But he had two most notable ones.
First was the 1882 Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolver. Next was the Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber LC revolver.
The first one featured nickel plating while the other one used gold plating. The nickel-plated handgun also featured ivory grips and a 4 ¾ barrel. It also sold for $85,000 at a 2015 auction.
The gold-plated revolver, on the other hand, showcased longhorn grips.
3. Colt New Police
This handgun became valuable for the New York Police Department. Back in the late 1800s, Theodore Roosevelt who was then New York’s police commissioner, armed the police force with new guns.
He ordered 4,500 units of the Colt New Police .32 caliber. The handgun featured 4-inch barrels. It also came with six rounds of ammo.
The guns also offered a more personal touch. They each came with a unique serial number. The numbers matched those of the officer’s badge numbers.
The handguns also came with a “New York Police” engraving on their backstrap. The idea behind the engraving and the serial numbers was to promote accountability.
4. Model 27
When the 1930s arrived, the popular choice was the Colt New Police. Then the bureau decided to issue the S&W .357 Magnums.
Later on, people started to call the magnums as Model 27s.
The Registered Magnum featured a balance of power and performance. It also came in over 20 different barrel lengths. Moreover, it also showcased different types of grip, finish, and front and rear sight options.
During the height of its popularity, the manufacturers marketed the Model 27 as “The Most Powerful Handgun in the World.”
Later on, the Registered Magnum evolved. The Model 28 Patrolman succeeded the model as the top choice in 1954. The handgun was a hit being the more economical choice.
Despite the departure of the luxury features, the Model 28 still retained the power.
5. Glock 19
This handgun first came out in 1988. Australian company Glock manufactured the handgun that showcased a lightweight body. Because of its weight, the Glock 19 became an instant hit among police officers.
The Glock 19 carried a magazine with 15 rounds. Despite this, it still weighed a total of 30 ounces.
On top of its lightweight design, the Glock 19 also excelled in terms of versatility and durability. It was also easy to clean and maintain.
But most important it offered better accuracy despite its remarkable stopping power. Whether it’s a bank robbery or a pursuit of a car thief, the Glock 19 is a worthy companion for officers.
6. Sig Sauer P226
When we talk about some of the best modern semi-automatic options, the Sig Sauer handguns are always in the conversation.
Today, the Sig Sauer P226 is still one of the favorites. It features 15 rounds, which is larger than its predecessor, the P220 offered. It also comes with a longer barrel that adds accuracy.
In addition, the P226 offers an ambidextrous catch. This allows left-handed law enforcers to carry the gun without adjusting to the grip.
Other notable handguns from Sig Sauer are the P229 and the P250. The P229 is the handgun of choice among Secret Service agents. The P250, on the other hand, is what the Air Marshals use.
7. Smith & Wesson M&P 9
In 2013, the entire Los Angeles police force started carrying the Military & Police (M&P) 9. Manufactured by Smith & Wesson, the M&P 9 became an easy favorite. The police loved its personalization offerings.
The handgun features a Picatinny rail under its muzzle. This allows users to clip in their other accessories. Some of these accessories include flashlights and laser lights, among others.
When it comes to safety, the M&P 9 makes room for some key upgrades. Officers can install the loaded chamber indicator to prevent any accidental firing.
Much like the Sig Sauer P226, the handgun also features ambidextrous controls. Find out how Philadelphia sheriff sale goes?
8. Ruger LC9
Police officers also carry firearms even when they’re off-duty. One of their favorite off-duty handguns is the Ruger LC9.
The handgun is small and compact. The size gives officers the opportunity for concealment. It offers a chance for a surreptitious draw when assailants get to draw first.
It measures six inches long and weighs 17 ounces. It also offers safety features. It comes with a loaded chamber indicator, as well as a magazine disconnect safety.
Officers who attempt to foil a felony or robbery while off-duty find the Ruger LC9 an easy companion to carry.
If you are looking for a small handgun that packs a punch, this is a good option.
9. Heckler and Koch HK45
The German builders of Heckler and Koch handguns abide by a motto: “No Compromises!” Thus, the HK45 handgun does not compromise when it comes to its features and performance.
Its design offers versatility and power for its user. The gun was originally meant for the military. Hence, it provides power, accuracy, and durability.
Similar to the M&P 9, the HK45 also offers customization options. Officers can clip laser lights and silencers during their operations.
But the most notable feature of the handgun is its recoil reduction technology. The technology reduces gun recoil by 25%. Less recoil means quick realignment and better accuracy.
10. Colt Rail Gun 1911
Last but not least is the Colt Rail Gun 1911. This masterpiece from Colt combines contemporary enhancements with timeless classic design features.
It is basically an M1911A1 .45 ACP handgun. It does, however, come with an M1913 Picatinny rail on its frame’s dust cover.
Similar to the M&P 9, the Colt Rail Gun 1911 also allows officers to mount some key accessories. It also has a 5-inch long barrel and double-diamond, checkered hardwood grip panels.
Lefties will also find the handgun very friendly.
So there are 10 of the finest police handguns in history. Sure, there are other firearms worthy of making the cut. But these 10 leave some of the most lasting of impacts.
Keep in mind that the police and military people also use rifles and shotguns. They also invest in different accessories like Spikes Tactical barrels and muzzles.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
If you are a private citizen and you wish to buy a handgun, you need to be aware of the existing laws in your area. Before arming yourself with a gun, make sure to arm yourself with knowledge. Feel free to try out any of the firearms in our list of the top 10 police handguns.
We encourage you to check out our other blog posts on gun laws and other important legal topics. We also tackle topics like criminal law and what you should do after an auto accident.
We also discuss laws surrounding DUI, eviction, loans, and liabilities, just to name a few.
Let’s face it, many of us adults made some pretty silly mistakes in our youth before our brains were fully developed that we would give anything to take back. There are also those of us who made errors in judgment or were involved in complicated situations that resulted in some run-ins with the law.
Most felons are not bad people. They are people who made some mistakes or were even mistreated by the justice system. Having the right to bear arms is one of our fundamental constitutional rights as Americans. It is the substance from which this great Nation was born; freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms.
Yet, for felons, that right has been rescinded. So what are you supposed to do if you were an avid hunter before your incident and you just have to get that eight point during deer season or that turkey for your families’ Thanksgiving feast?
Well, in the state of Minnesota, you have some options. Regaining gun rights is a complex area of law which involves both state and federal statutes but it can be done. It is always best to consult an attorney regarding the restoration of your gun rights as you may have been misled by whoever told you that your gun rights were taken away. Many attorneys have free consultations and can point you in the right direction.
According to Minnesota state law, gun rights may be restored to a felon “automatically” if the crime that caused them to have felony status was non-violent. But do not be disillusioned; there is little that is automatic about this process.
As with most legalities; the restoration of a felons gun rights in Minnesota generally starts with a petition. This is where having a good Criminal Defense Attorney Comes in handy.
Under §609.165 subd. 1d RESTORATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS; POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION; Judicial restoration of ability to possess firearms and ammunition by felon.
“A person prohibited by state law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition because of a conviction or a delinquency adjudication for committing a crime of violence may petition a court to restore the person’s ability to possess, receive, ship, or transport firearms and otherwise deal with firearms and ammunition.
The court may grant the relief sought if the person shows good cause to do so and the person has been released from physical confinement.
If a petition is denied, the person may not file another petition until three years have elapsed without the permission of the court.”
In layman’s terms; you must have a non-violent felony, show proof of release from physical confinement and “good cause” for restoration of your gun rights.
So, what exactly is “good cause”? Minnesota courts have not provided a definitive example of “good cause”. However, many felons have had their rights restored with the court based on any of the following:
- needing a firearm for employment purposes
- because there is no reason to believe that you cannot be trusted to own a firearm
- needing a firearm for hunting
It is imperative to have a few character witnesses and it helps if those witnesses have good credentials, (such as a doctor or attorney). Often times it is a good idea to get a mental health evaluation and ask the person performing it to give you a written statement as to their opinion on whether or not you should be able to have a firearm at such time of the evaluation? However; this is entirely up to the evaluator as to whether or not they feel comfortable doing this for you.
Your character statements and explanations should be attached to the petition that you are submitting to the court of your local township, city or village. Your local court clerk can help you procure the paperwork that the specific court requires.
The firearm rights restoration process in Minnesota can take from seven to eight months, depending on your particular circumstances, the court’s workload at the time of your petition, and whether there are any objections from the government.
The court may set a hearing date if your petition has not been denied. You will get a letter in the mail several weeks before the date. If you have an attorney; you may not be required to attend but always double check with your attorney.
Be meticulous, have patience and hire a great gun rights attorney. If you are denied from the first petition; you may not reapply for three years so choose wisely as to whether you want to tackle this yourself or pay a professional.