Is That a Home Invader or a Police Officer Executing a No-Knock Warrant?

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Gun owners across the country may want to keep track of what is scheduled to be a September capital murder trial in central Texas, because it illustrates a nightmare scenario for home defenders: A homeowner shoots and kills a law-enforcement officer whom the homeowner had reason to believe was an intruder that might do the homeowner harm.

We asked Emily Taylor, an attorney with the law firm of Walker & Byington in Houston and a Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney, to shed some light on how the law in her state works in situations where a homeowner mistakenly shoots and kills a law-enforcement officer.

  • Background

Marvin Louis Guy, 51, is alleged to have shot and killed police officer Charles Dinwiddie, who was part of a team with a warrant to conduct a no-knock search at Mr. Guy’s home on May 9, 2014. Mr. Guy is also alleged to have wounded three other policemen, David Daniels, Xavier Clark, and Otis Denton, during the narcotics raid that took place around 5:30 a.m. that fateful day. Click here and here for more background. The officers didn’t find anything, for the record.

Marvin Louis Guy. Jail photo.
Marvin Louis Guy. Jail photo.
  • What is Capital Murder?

Taylor explained that there are several ways to commit capital murder. She elaborated that “of the ways to commit capital murder, we are looking at the ‘biggie’ here — a person who murders a peace officer, who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer, commits capital murder.

This is worse than your run-of-the-mill homicide because if you’re convicted of capital murder, you’re eligible for the death penalty. The alternative isn’t much better; life in prison without parole. Taylor summarized that, “for this individual to avoid a life sentence without parole, or worse, the death penalty, the most important issues are: were the police in lawful discharge of their duties; did the individual in question know that it was a police officer entering his home; and finally, is there evidence that indicates the shooting was reasonable and justified.”

  • Why didn’t the police knock and announce who they were before entering the home?

“The general rule is that the police must ‘knock and announce’ their presence prior to entering a premises to execute a warrant,” Taylor said. She elaborated that there is an exception to this requirement. “If the police can articulate a reasonable suspicion to believe that if they knocked or announced before entering it would be ‘dangerous, futile, or would frustrate the search’s purpose,’ then they no longer have to knock and announce.”

Taylor stated that there are two ways to accomplish this “no-knock” goal. The police can ask in the warrant itself that it dispense with the knock-and-announce requirement. Alternatively, they may claim that the circumstances on-scene surrounding the actual search justified dispensing with the knock-and-announce requirement at the time the warrant was executed—no prior approval needed.

How hard is it for the police to satisfy this requirement? In practice, the potential for the destruction of evidence and concerns of officer safety will almost always supersede the knock-and-announce rule.

So what does this mean? Taylor said, “It is pretty easy for the police to legally break down your door to execute their warrant, without any warning to you.”

  • What about the Castle Doctrine?

Taylor made it a point to mention that “People who are familiar with the law in Texas will immediately ask, ‘isn’t this a Castle Doctrine situation?’ which is a good point to make.” She referenced the Castle Doctrine law, which says you are presumed reasonable to use deadly force to defend yourself when a person has unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter, your occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment.

Taylor’s analysis was that, “the Castle Doctrine requires that the entry be unlawful. In this case, the police had obtained a warrant and thus had a legal right to enter the property by any means they deemed necessary, such as by executing a no-knock warrant.” This means that the homeowner does not get the advantage of the Castle Doctrine (namely, that his use of deadly force is presumed reasonable) and we must analyze the reasonableness of his deadly force as though he were not in his “Castle.”

  • Did the homeowner know that the person crawling through his window at 5:30 AM was a peace officer?

To summarize, the no-knock entrance was legal, and the Castle Doctrine does not apply. The defense can only effectively argue the remaining option; that the elements of the crime of capital murder have not been met, and that the use of deadly force was reasonable and justified.

There is no question that the officers were acting in the lawful discharge of their duties. So the only issue that can negate capital murder lies in whether or not the homeowner knew, or should have known, that it was a peace officer coming through his window. In other words, a “mistake of fact,” in which the homeowner believed it was your run-of-the-mill intruder slipping through the window that morning.

What are the facts to be considered? Things like whether the police officer identified himself as he slipped into the home, were there police lights or sirens outside, was the police officer wearing anything that had POLICE written on the front.

Taylor explained that “a mistake of fact needs to be both honest and reasonable.” She elaborated that “honest” means he really didn’t know the man was a peace officer, and “reasonable” means an ordinary and prudent person in the same situation would not have known the man was a peace officer.

If the jury believes he committed an honest and reasonable mistake of fact as to the man’s identity as a peace officer, and that he used deadly force based upon his reasonable belief that it was immediately necessary to defend himself from a burglar/home invader, then he did not commit capital murder.

Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not the jury of 12 random people believe that he didn’t know it was a police officer entering his home.

Taylor concluded by saying, “Whether or not the homeowner can succeed, and avoid both the death penalty or a life sentence without parole, will depend entirely on the evidence presented, and the jury sitting in front of him that day.”

And in a recent development, Mr. Guy says it was police gunfire that struck the officers, not his shots. That assertion was made in a federal civil rights complaint Mr. Guy filed, court records show.

How do you think this will resolve? If you were on the jury, which way would you be leaning based on the incomplete facts presented so far?

AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime

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NRA News contributor Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL and founder of Dynamis Alliance, reminds us that the AR-15 is the best defense against terror and crime in this informative video. Along with reminding us that banning AR-15s wouldn’t have prevented most of the recent terror attacks, Mr. Raso offers his common sense solution to stemming the tide of terror: Law-abiding citizens prepared to deal with the imminent threats we face.

Raso added, “After the attack at Pulse night club in Orlando, Hillary Clinton looked past the obvious enemy – radical Islamic terror – and instead said “weapons of war have no place on our streets” and that we need to ban AR-15s immediately. AR-15s are fine for Hillary and her family. They’ve been protected by armed guards who use them for three decades. But average Americans who watch the news and feel genuine fear for their safety, and their families’ safety—Hillary wants to deny them the level of protection she insists upon herself.”

What did you think of Raso’s “Best Defense Against Terror” video? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section.

SAAMI Accepts 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum Cartridge

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Weatherby-6.5-300x3.56 in. 4cFor the first time in decades, Weatherby unleashed a new cartridge in 2016, this one is based on a necked-down .300 Weatherby Magnum: the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), the firearms and ammunition industry’s technical standards-setting organization, recently announced the acceptance of the new cartridge and chamber standard.

This cartridge isn’t exactly new, even though Weatherby is billing it that way. Roy Weatherby built a 6.5-300 in the early 1950s, as evidenced by an old Mauser-action rifle in the company’s collection. Also, in the early 1970s, a group of benchrest wildcatters built rifles chambered for the 6.5-300 WWH (Weatherby Wright Hoyer), a 6.5mm cartridge using the .300 Weatherby as the parent case.

In keeping with Weatherby’s DNA, this is a high-velocity centerfire rifle cartridge that, when combined with high Ballistic Coefficient (BC) projectiles, targets the bolt-action rifle, long-range shooting market.

“This is now the fastest production 6.5mm cartridge in the world,” said Adam Weatherby, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Weatherby Inc. “The speed and energy of this cartridge is unprecedented and worthy of carrying the Weatherby name, all while exhibiting very manageable recoil.”

SAAMI was founded in 1926 at the request of the federal government and tasked with coordinating the industry’s technical data, creating and publishing industry standards for interchangeability, reliability, performance, quality and product safety and promote safe and responsible use of firearms.

The company released specs on three loads: a 127-grain Barnes LRX running at 3,531 fps, a 130-grain Swift Scirocco shooting at 3,475 fps and a 140-grain Swift A-Frame scooting along at 3,395 fps.  The 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum was chambered in the New Mark V family of rifles and offered in the Accumark, Accumark RC and Ultra Lightweight models for 2016.

All the rifles have 26-inch barrels (the Ultra Lightweight also has a 2-inch muzzle brake) with 1-in-8-inch twists. Factory-supplied ballistics show that with a 300-yard zero, the 127-grain Barnes drops 7.12 inches at 400 yards and 18.99 inches at 500 yards. The drop figures for the 130-grain Swift are 7.2 inches and 19.0 inches at 400 and 500 yards, respectively. Drops for the 140-grain A-Frame are 8.6 and 23.3 at 400 and 500 yards, respectively.

What do you think of the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum’s introduction?

Bullet Seating Depth Determination

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The following is a specially-adapted excerpt from the book Top Grade Ammo, by Glen Zediker. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com or BuyZedikerBooks.com for more.

by Glen Zediker

Since I’m focusing on bullets for the next few times, I’ll say some more about the relationships of bullets and barrels.

Barrels have two diameters: groove and land. The groove diameter is the caliber size (within, usually, 0.0005 inches); the land diameter is smaller than that, usually about 0.0050 smaller, or a little more. That means that the first point of contact the bullet makes inside the barrel will be the lands. Learning where this point is can be a valuable thing.

Here’s a Hornady LNL OAL Gauge, along with the Hornady LNL Bullet Comparator. Midsouth has them. This appliance combination works along with a caliper and lets you determine the seating depth that touches the lands, and then gives a better way to measure and record it. Every serious handloader needs this setup! Get the angled version (as shown) because it’s more accurate than the straight one and easier to use.
Here’s a Hornady LNL OAL Gauge, along with the Hornady LNL Bullet Comparator. Midsouth has them. This appliance combination works along with a caliper and lets you determine the seating depth that touches the lands, and then gives a better way to measure and record it. Every serious handloader needs this setup! Get the angled version (as shown) because it’s more accurate than the straight one and easier to use.

We talked here about the essential forms a bullet ogive or nosecone can take, that some are more or less rounded or blunt, and also the gradual curve of a tangent-style ogive versus the more “spikey” secant style.

Usually (almost always) the nearer to the lands a bullet is the better the accuracy. “Jump” is the distance a bullet has to travel prior to engaging the lands. Different profiles will net different amounts of jump, and that led to my recommendation of a tangent-style bullet with no more than an 8-caliber ogive to give better results when it’s loaded to fit into a box magazine. Such a profile more easily enters the rifling and will have a longer bearing area (both mean less disturbance and a smoother trip through the bore).

There’s a valuable tool that will let you determine the relationship between your barrel and your bullet, which varies from barrel to barrel and bullet to bullet. Originally conceived by Tom Peterson of Stoney Point, it’s now offered through Hornady as the LNL O.A.L. Gauge.

This makes it easy to see how a comparator works, and also why it’s an asset: The tool measures at a point along the bullet ogive, avoiding the tip completely. Much more precise.
This makes it easy to see how a comparator works, and also why it’s an asset: The tool measures at a point along the bullet ogive, avoiding the tip completely. Much more precise.

The purpose of this tool is to show the overall cartridge length that has a bullet touching the lands. To get the most from this determination requires another gage, a bullet length comparator. What that does is measure the length of a bullet in a way that avoids the bullet tip coming into the equation. Especially in match-style hollowpoints, bullet tips are inconsistent. I’ve seen as much as 0.020 inches difference in some brands measuring base-to-tip in a box of 100. Closed-nose bullets, not so much, but they’re not perfect either.

There’s an opening in a comparator that comes to rest at a point along the bullet ogive, excluding the tip entirely. The diameter of the comparator opening may or may not coincide with land diameter, but it’s usually close. That doesn’t matter though. The combination of tools provides a pretty accurate picture. Of course, comparator-measured lengths won’t correspond in any way to tip-to-base lengths, but they provide a way to, as its name implies, compare different bullets. It’s the comparison, the net, that matters.

Use this tool set to determine the overall length that touches the lands, and then use the comparator afterward to determine the amount of difference when the bullets are seated to fit into a box magazine. Write it all down and we’ll talk more about making use of it next time…

 

22plinkster vs Julie Golob

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While in Missouri for the Federal Ambassador meeting, two world class pistol shooting champions went to the range to pit their skills against one another. 22plinkster, a long time friend of Midsouth shooters, and the fantastic Julie Golob went head-to-head to see who could split a card the fastest. It’s friendly competition at it’s finest! Check out the video below:

Stop by 22plinksters channel for more vs videos, and amazing trick shots by clicking here!

‘Surviving an Active Shooter’ Events Scheduled for 8 States

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Want to learn about “Surviving an Active Shooter” situation? Who doesn’t?

Texas & U.S. Law Shield recently launched a new special event in Florida and several other states to advise gun owners and others how to get past the end of such an incident — and live to tell about it.

The groups have scheduled “Surviving an Active Shooter” special events in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. At these events, law-enforcement professionals explain how to “run-hide-fight” effectively, then a lawyer details how to handle the legal aftermath, including how to react to arriving police who are trying to sort out who did what to whom.

Randy Macchi, general counsel of Texas & U.S. Law Shield and coordinator for the “active shooter” events, said the companies saw the need for more training of this type when the initial Texas events filled up within an hour of being announced.

Macchi said, “We were inundated with calls from people who were disappointed they were unable to register for these events because our limited schedule of ‘Surviving an Active Shooter’ events was full.”

He added that because of the importance of the topic, the events are not just for Law Shield members. “Our best hope is that you never, ever have to put into action any of the ideas presented at these ‘Surviving an Active Shooter’ events,” he said. “Regrettably, this is the world we live in, so we choose to be prepared.”

To register for these events, click GunLawSeminar.com. You’ll then be able to choose events from a pull-down state-specific menu.

Macchi said, “Not all of the events listed in the seminar schedule will have ‘Active Shooter’ programming. Check the ‘Event Type’ for a description. The ‘Surviving an Active Shooter’ events are clearly noted, but they may not be at the top of the screen.”

If anyone has questions about the events, he said they could call customer service at (877) 474-7184 (option 3) or e-mail seminars@uslawshield.com prior to the event.

Macchi said, “Please consider inviting friends, family, and work colleagues. Sadly, it is not alarmist to say these unspeakable tragedies can happen anywhere — the fact is, they have happened at night clubs, work gatherings out of the office, schools, movie theaters, political rallies, and many other venues where large groups of unarmed people gather.”

House Democrats Stage Sit-In Over Gun Control

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After the Senate didn’t pass four gun control bills a few days ago, Democrats in the House of Representatives have been doing a sit-in until they, too, get to vote on the matter of gun control.

Do you think these Representatives are showing us “what real leadership looks like,” according to Hillary Clinton, or is this just a tantrum by people who are frustrated that the U.S. Constitution is getting in the way of their plans?

Of course, we welcome you to express your opinion pro or con in the comments section below. You can also click the YouTube link on the bottom of the video (which is from the YouTube site of Rep. John Lewis [D-GA]), and offer a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote on this demonstration. The last time we looked, downvotes were well ahead of upvotes.

The AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime?

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In this informative video, NRA News contributor Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL and founder of Dynamis Alliance, reminds us that the AR-15 is the best defense against terror and crime — and he points out that banning AR-15s wouldn’t have prevented most of the recent terror attacks.

Raso also offers his common-sense solution to stemming the tide of terror: Law-abiding citizens prepared to deal with the imminent threats.

Raso highlight quote: “After the attack at Pulse night club in Orlando, Hillary Clinton looked past the obvious enemy — radical Islamic terror — and instead said ‘weapons of war have no place on our streets’ and that we need to ban AR-15s immediately. AR-15s are fine for Hillary and her family. They’ve been protected by armed guards who use them for three decades. But [for] average Americans who watch the news and feel genuine fear for their safety and their families’ safety — Hillary wants to deny them the level of protection she insists upon for herself.”

What did you think of Raso’s “Best Defense Against Terror” video?

Not Just for the ‘Jungle’: Inland’s New Carbine

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Inland Manufacturing recently released the American-made Jungle Carbine, which brings back the looks of the original 1944 and 1945 WWII combat carbine with some modern features. Continue reading Not Just for the ‘Jungle’: Inland’s New Carbine

Pink Pistols: How About ‘Designated Carrier’ Like Designated Driver?

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PinkPistolsLOGO

The Pink Pistols, an international organization dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community, offered a strong gun-rights message after the nightclub attack in Orlando — and one specific proposal that makes a lot of sense. Continue reading Pink Pistols: How About ‘Designated Carrier’ Like Designated Driver?

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