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Posted: 6/17/2003 7:25:55 PM EDT
OK, my first thread yielded some answers, but was still somewhat confusing. And now it's on its way to being hijacked, so let's get specific...

The other night I was up around midnight doing some things around the house. I hear a knock knock knock at my back door.

A few seconds later the knock comes again. At this point, I'm all worked up because NOBODY comes to the back door. To get to it you have to walk between my house and the next door neighbor's house and by the time you get to the door you're deep onto my property.

So I figure it's either a visitor for my tenants upstairs, or it's some asshole off the street. My tenants aren't the party-all-night types, so I didn't think it was a visitor, and even if it was, any visitors should come to the FRONT door.

So I cautiously opened the door to see who the hell it was. Turned out to be a guy who I immediately knew was not a friend of the people upstairs (they're foreigners, and all their friends speak with Russian accents).

If I lived alone, I would have answered the door with my shotgun, with it being midnight and the back door an all. But I figured maybe one of my tenants locked himself out or it was a visitor and if I showed up with a shotgun it would freak them the hell out, so I left the shotgun just out of sight.

My best guess is it was a guy fiending for drugs or something and needed to score some money, so he was begging door-to-door. All the same, how do I know he doesn't have a pistol or a knife underneath his shirt??? He could have stuck a knife in my guts and walked right into my house.

I would have felt better holding a 12-gauge from the door and telling him to beat feet NOW, but what would the DA have to say about that? I'm a believer in the philosophy that you don't display a weapon unless you're commited to using it (not saying that you HAVE to shoot if you bring out a gun, just saying that you're prepared to).

I absolutely wouldn't shoot unless he came at me with a weapon, but could I have been charged with brandishing, or assault, or something like that? That is the reason for my initial post.

What would YOU have done in that situation, and how does that relate to NYS laws?

-Nick Viejo.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 6:38:26 AM EDT
Nick, do you have good lighting in your back door area? Always good to be able to see what is going on BEFORE you open the door. Did you speak to the person before opening the door?

I keep a 1911 handy for any such occasions. I had occasion to mention that fact to 2 would-be burglers last fall who had opened the door to my unlocked truck. They rapidly exited the property empty handed after I made my presence known. I was alerted to their presence by my dog, as it was night time on a rainy November night. I live in a rural area. I wasn't overly concerned about "brandishing" and I didn't figure they would complain to the cops
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 6:42:50 AM EDT
Actually, just the presence of a gun in a good guys hand has probably ended many more problems than it has caused. Had you really needed your shotgun, you might have been screwed...

Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:42:57 AM EDT
Back to the point:
Would holding the firearm in plain sight to scare the would-be perp be considered brandishing and a crime?
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 2:32:30 PM EDT
I honestly can't say but I think you would be in the clear. I know I wouldn't convict you of a crime if I was on the jury. May I suggest you get the book Firearms and weapons laws Gun Control in NY from Loose leaf law. It covers self defense and brandishing pretty well in NY along with alot of other usefull info.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 4:55:22 AM EDT
just show up at the door with a cleaning rod in one hand, and a gun in the other.
yes, I know it's not that simple. You could have used the door as a shield, with a firearm in the hand behind the door. Motion detecting light fixtures are easy to install and in-expensive. posted at head height, they'll temporarly blind (or make it difficult to see it) anyone at the door. Take a walk around your property late at nite, and think to yourself "how could I see what's going on inside, before breaking in."
Use the whole experience as a lesson. Learn from it! God knows, I've done enough stupid shit to get myself or worse yet someone else killed.
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