Not legal in Oregon, legal in Washington?

Discussion in 'Firearm Laws & Legal' started by I-Shoot, Jun 8, 2017.

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  1. I-Shoot

    I-Shoot
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    I saw this article the other day about a couple in Everett Washington that discovered a thief in their stolen car in a McDonald's parking lot, and held them at gunpoint until the police arrived.

    "Police said the owner of the Land Rover did not commit a crime."

    My understanding of Oregon law is limited to what I was instructed in regards to my CHL -- that I am not permitted to pull/expose my gun unless my life is in imminent danger, and then if so, I am expected to use it. Otherwise, it is considered "brandishing" a weapon.

    If this had happened in Oregon, would those people have been arrested? Or is my understanding of the law all wrong?

    News Story:
    Couple finds own stolen SUV in McDonald's parking lot, holds suspects at gunpoint for cops
     
  2. Misteramax

    Misteramax
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    Yup, in Oregon it has to be a black and white case of not self defense but your life or the life of another is in immediate danger of being seriously injured or killed.
     
  3. I-Shoot

    I-Shoot
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    Thanks for the reply. I had no idea Washington was so open in their gun use laws.
     
  4. Guilty

    Guilty
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    I suggest that you look up the laws instead of believing everything you read on the internet. Of course you can hold someone at gunpoint if they had committed a felony. Stealing a vehicle is typically a felony.
     
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  5. HB of CJ

    HB of CJ
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    I do not know if there is an actual law describing banishing in Oregon. There might be others laws that cover this? Dunno. I do believe there is a law allowing any needed force to prevent a major property crime? Prevention of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle? This might have some common law origins connected to horse stealing? Dunno that either. Any law professors here?
     
  6. The Nothing

    The Nothing
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    "He was stealing my car and I thought he was going to run us over."

    Done.
     
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  7. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w
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    let them steal the car.

    it should be insured.

    a car is not worth killing someone over

    just my opinion
     
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  8. IronMonster

    IronMonster
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    I suspect what the law says is far less important than who is interpreting the law. My guess is if you did that in Seattle you would be arrested and charged with a crime. If you did it in say, Republic or Coleville the cops would probably pat you on the back and ask you what kind of ammo you carried in the fine piece and congratulate you on a fine job. The law is the same in both places.
     
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  9. Nick Burkhardt

    Nick Burkhardt
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  10. mcfoto

    mcfoto
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    The same would be said Oregon. I was told in a group discussion with one of our finest that you are allowed to use a firearm to protect harm from yourself, others, and "property." The hypothetical was asked, "what if someone was threatening your dog?" He replied that animals are properly and that would be covered. However, the big caution was that if you shot another human being in any circumstance, you would be taken to jail and a DA would review your case. He warned that lawyers in general and DAs in particular are of the Liberal persuasion and would be inclined to look for any reason to charge you with a crime. Even a trigger job or aftermarket spring kit could be argued to contribute to deadly intent. The lesson: either way, it's going to result in a major hassle-make sure it's worth it. Like an above opinion, I'd be inclined to let someone steal my car and deal with the insurance company than to pay a lawyer to keep me out of prison.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  11. Misteramax

    Misteramax
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  12. pchewn

    pchewn
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  13. B3dlam

    B3dlam
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    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. For accurate legal advice please contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction familiar with use of force laws in your area. All information below is purely my opinion and should not be taken as legal doctrine. In other words use at your own risk.

    This isn't accurate. Specifically, you can draw your firearm in the event that you or someone near you is at risk of imminent death or extreme bodily harm. If upon drawing that firearm the situation de-escalates or changes to one in which using your firearm would no longer be justified or practical you can re-holster the weapon or take other action as appropriate. There is often the misconception that basically you have to shoot if you draw your firearm and it's a bad mindset to be in. Its similar to the old training scar of teaching 'tap, rack, bang' as an immediate action which resulted in multiple instances of specifically Law enforcement officers completing the tap and rack and during that time the situation changed but due to their training they continued on through the bang without reassessing the situation resulting in unfortunate consequences. Hence why a lot of good instructors now teach 'tap, rack, reassess'.
     
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  14. Alexx1401

    Alexx1401
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    Bottom line here is the couple made a HUGE, and I do mean HUGE mistake. They put their entire life at HUGE risk doing this. It looks like they got away with it but they probably have no clue just how big a risk they took. This could have easily gone sideways. If if did they could easily have both ended up with prison time over the car. While back guy here sees wife's car being stolen. He gives chase in his car. Thief tries to use stolen car as weapon and he shoots and kills him. He ended up charged with murder. He ended up taking a plea for some form of manslaughter over that car. So is it worth it? Not to me. If I was "king" this is not how it would be and I don't like this. I'm not king though and people who do this stuff are risking their entire life by doing this.
     
  15. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40
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    1) Almost every law is open to interpretation and opinion. From what I've read, it doesn't appear that Oregon has a specific brandishing law, but there are laws about threatening someones life. Ask Mr. Strickland about it!

    2) CHL instructors are not lawyers. Unfortunately Oregon SB719A would require that they give legal advice as part of teaching a course.

    Like it or not, it's up to you to find out what is in the laws. The OFF handbook is a good start. Looking it up yourself is another option. Just remember, lawyers make a living interpreting laws and giving their opinion so it's difficult for us mere mortals to figure it out.
     
  16. Alexx1401

    Alexx1401
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    Something like this to me is not just about "law and is it legal". I know this always gets few people upset but to me this belongs in a new tab. We should make one of "Moron things to do with a gun". This is one great example. Yes it would be nice if people could just do this. If the thieves made a move shoot them. If I was in charge it would be. The problems here are legend though. For one these guys had like 10K worth of stolen crap in the car. Sounds like dopers. Dopers often will start a shootout. So this couple pulls guns on them. If said dopers had also pulled, a gun fight would have broken out. Now say it does and some innocent in that parking lot is hit. Especially if they are hit with one of the "good guys" rounds. This could EASILY have happened. Then the press would have a field day. The couple would have certainly been prosecuted. Even if not convicted they would have been ruined. So again if it's me and my car? I would call 911 and try to keep and eye on them. That is ALL. Whipping out a gun in public for a damn car is just BEGGING to end up in the news for all the wrong reasons. Just not worth the risk to me.
     
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  17. Alexx1401

    Alexx1401
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    Also have to remember when it comes to the "law" some guy or gal in a black robe can make the "law" any damn thing they want it to be. A LOT of judges don't like the common people to have a gun. Get in front of one and god only knows what they are going to do. You may win on appeal later but how many years and how much money?
     
  18. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson
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    I am not a lawyer nor play one on TV ...
    Do not take anything I say here as gospel or the "final word" etc ...

    It seems to me that if you hold someone at gunpoint , you have made clear that if they make any threatening moves or if they run you will shoot them.
    If they run away are they still a threat?... Are you justified in shooting them?
    Could your actions of holding at gunpoint be considered as unlawful imprisonment?
    Or be worthy of some sort of Assault charge?

    learning and knowing the law is one important thing ... but how a lawyer or judge may view the same law could be vastly different.

    I will always go with a avoid contact or "break contact" whenever possible ... even if it means that I have to replace a car....
    To many lawyers , "what if's" and opinion in a courtroom.
    Andy
     
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  19. HuckleberryFun

    HuckleberryFun
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    I fear lawyers more than I fear death. I'm not pulling my weapon unless someone is actively trying to stick a knife between my ribs. Anything else is asking for court dates and bankrupting legal fees.

    That being said, my firearms instructor in my CHL class said that under Oregon law you can pull your weapon to stop crimes against persons or property. It's right there in the statute. But... if there is anything the least bit squirrelly or questionable about your actions you are gonna spend a long time sitting in court rooms. Oregon has no "brandishing" law. Here it is called "menacing" which is legally distinct from brandishing. But I'm just "another guy on the Internet" so what do I know?
     
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  20. etrain16

    etrain16
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    I kind of enjoy digging into stuff like this (sick, I know), and this one had me wondering. So, prepare for another epic Etrain16 post of agony!

    I don't know that there is a clear answer to this question, but there is information available to anyone with a computer to at least attempt to understand the intent of the law.

    The situation described in the OP appears to me to be the equivalent of a "citizen's arrest". The baddie was attempting to steal a truck, which could be, depending on the value, a felony offense. In Oregon, a citizen's arrest is legal as per ORS 133.225:

    (1)A private person may arrest another person for any crime committed in the presence of the private person if the private person has probable cause to believe the arrested person committed the crime. A private person making such an arrest shall, without unnecessary delay, take the arrested person before a magistrate or deliver the arrested person to a peace officer.

    (2)In order to make the arrest a private person may use physical force as is justifiable under ORS 161.255 (Use of physical force by private person making citizen's arrest). [1973 c.836 §74]



    So it is lawful for a citizen to arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe the person has committed a crime. It appears that the OP's case is clear - they caught the bad guy in the act of stealing the truck. At this point, they are justified in placing him under citizen's arrest. That said, the waters can get considerably muddier from here. The question isn't whether they can stop him, but whether they can use force, or in this case, present a gun, to make the arrest. Take a look at ORS 161.255:

    (1)Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a private person acting on the person’s own account is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to make an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person whom the person has arrested under ORS 133.225 (Arrest by private person).

    (2)A private person acting under the circumstances prescribed in subsection (1) of this section is justified in using deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. [1971 c.743 §31; 1973 c.836 §339]


    That means, in Oregon, "citizen's arrest" is a valid, legal action. But, as noted above, there are, in some cases, different ways these seemingly simple statements can be interpreted. So, what is clear is that a private person, acting on their own accord, can not only make an arrest, but "is justified" in the use "physical force" if they "reasonably believe" it is necessary to make an arrest. I put certain things in quotes because you need to also know how the state defines those terms. Some definitions available right in Section 161, specifically 161.015:

    "Physical force" includes, but is not limited to, the use of an electrical stun gun, tear gas or mace.

    "Deadly physical force" means physical force that under the circumstances in which it is used is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.

    (from ORS 133.005) "Arrest" means to place a person under actual or constructive restraint or to take a person into custody for the purpose of charging that person with an offense. A "stop" as authorized under ORS 131.605 (Definitions for ORS 131.605 to 131.625) to 131.625 (Frisk of stopped persons) is not an arrest.


    Summary: You can make a citizen's arrest. You can use physical force. And, you can place an arrested person under actual or constructive restraint. And, if necessary, justified and reasonable, use deadly physical force if they are about to cause death or serious physical injury to you or someone else. Those items are clearly called out in the law. But what about pulling a gun, is that considered "physical force", and if so, is it justifiable? What it comes down to, for me, in my quick reading of the statutes is whether using a gun is allowable as a form of "constructive restraint". The ORS's, as far as I can find, have no clear definition of "constructive restraint". Again, a little more searching brought up several cases where "constructive restraint" needed to be further defined by the courts, up to, and including, the SCOTUS. In general, "constructive restraint" can be as simple as saying "you are under arrest" or something to that effect. Keeping their car keys is also a form of constructive restraint. But what about holding someone at gunpoint? Is that constructive restraint? Google wasn't as much help there, but I'm sure the answers are out there, if someone wants to go deep enough down that rabbit hole.

    The ORS's don't make it clear whether you can or you can't use a gun to hold someone whom you are arresting for the commission of a crime. I think a case could be made (highly dependent upon the jurisdiction you find yourself in), that you could lawfully hold someone at gunpoint to prevent a crime, until police arrive. But I would say it's probably not the best choice to make unless the person committing the crime is presenting an immediate threat of physical harm or death to you or someone else. Is it worth the possible risk that you may be committing a crime to save a piece of (likely) insured property? That's a call each individual has to make for themselves. In general, my rule is to leave law enforcement to the police. But if there is an immediate, imminent threat of physical harm or death to myself or someone else, that's the time I will need to act and not wait for the LE's to get there.

    It's an interesting question, and one with no clear answer. I will add one more thing, in reading these rules, one of the rules basically says that if you're the one that, basically 'started it', then you have no justification for things like physical force. And I think that's where the discussion on brandishing may really lie - are you, maybe a hothead, who pulls a gun out of anger or to try and threaten someone? I think you're more likely to get a brandishing case there. But pull a gun to stop the commission of an actual crime? I, in my uneducated, non-expert, non-lawyer opinion, is a different and perhaps more justifiable, set of circumstances.

    If you're concerned, do your own research and consult an actual attorney. Leave the arm chair legal rambling to the realm of the interwebs. Besides, I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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