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Reader Jeff J. writes:

I have a normal 8 to 4 job here in a town in north Texas while my wife is a self-employed photographer and cares for our 6-month-old during the day. One day last week around 11am, while I was at work, my wife was in the bedroom getting ready for lunch with a friend and our boy was napping in the living room. My wife heard the front screen door open, and thinking it was her friend she hurried out to the living room to greet her but when she got to the living room, through the glass in our front door, she saw a man in a black hoodie about to open the front door . . .

He saw her and immediately took off running down the street. My wife was extremely shaken up by the encounter, and we did call the police to report the event. The intruder literally had to walk past the security system sign in our yard to get on the patio and to the front door. We live in a normally quiet neighborhood with active neighbors on all sides (the neighbor across the street had their front door open).

So my question is this: would it be wise for me to put up one of those yard signs that say, “We don’t dial 911/protected by the 2nd amendment… etc, etc”? Or is that asking for trouble/liability later on down the road if another intruder attempts to break in, and is shot while I or my wife protect our family?

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137 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Advertise Your Intent to Shoot?

  1. Asking for legal trouble, if the local prosecutor is not on your side. “This sign clearly showed that the defendant was pre-disposed to kill anyone who came on his property, whwether or not the intruder was a threat.”

    Asking for a civil lawsuit: “This sign shows that the defendant wanted to shoot my client, no matter what the circumstances. The defendant is clearly trigger-happy.”

    • They’re not on my house or car and I don’t wear clothes with gun related logos. Very few people have any idea that i may carry.
      Criminals choose the time and place if they decide to attack you and only a high level of awareness and/or luck can overcome that advantage. They may be overconfident or careless thinking I’m not armed and that’s the only other counter to the odds being stacked against me in that situation.
      The perception of the police or prosecutor is the least of my worries. I want to survive first.

      • I have a small sticker on the rear window of my truck , drivers side , that says I carry . I want any law enforcement that would happen to approach me in my drivers seat to know that I am carrying or have a firearm in my possession . It is and should be noticeable enough that an observant individual would see it and not so outlandish that someone from any distance could read and or feel threatened . I will not automatically inform verbally that I carry unless I am in a state that requires me to do so , by law . Many of the signs and plaques and bumper stickers out there may actually lead to home invasions and auto break ins . LOOKING FOR GUNS .

        • Haven’t been pulled over by a police officer since I was in my early twenties . I have noticed a few squinting at my decal however . That is what I want . Nice informative discussion here . Interesting .

        • Very interesting idea to display an “I Carry” sticker (bumper-sticker) on a car.

          That says what it says: “I Carry”. It doesn’t say “I leave a gun in the glove compartment”. So, I don’t see how it significantly raises the risk of a car break-in. Seems a different case than a sign on your home.

          As for a sign on your home, I’m of mixed emotions. I think it incumbent on all of us to assume we have a high probability of a burglary with or without a sign. With a sign, we lower the risk of a home invasion but maybe increase the risk of a burglary. We should, in any case, keep our guns in a safe or very well hidden.

          It seems to me that OC is extremely important to normalizing guns in civilian hands in “polite company”. If we don’t OC then know whether carry occurs not-at-all or whether it’s a normal thing. Under CC, we are “in the closet”.

          Your idea of a car sticker – or it’s equivalent in a T-shirt message (and some tasteful imagery) is a good way of coming out-of-the-closet without giving the pearl-clutches any inroads.

          In PA I COULD – if I wished – OC; but, it’s simply “not done” here. If I did go wandering around the mall with a Glock on my hip I’d eventually provoke a cry: “Look! An OFWG with a GUN!!!!!” The local TV channel would be called with a camera crew and a cumly reporter wringing her hands with shock and awe in her voice of women and children relating how afraid they were when they saw an OFWG with a gun on his hip.

          Conversely, if my gun is safely concealed in my pocket, and my message about carry is blazoned on my t-shirt, then what could they possibly make of this? The t-shirt is the 21st Century equivalent of the town cryer; just about anything goes and is taken in good humor.

          Eventually, the not particularly interested general public will get used to the idea that all those guys/gals with the t-shirts also are sporting a bulge in the right pocket or under the right side of their kilts. I.e., we will teach them to recognize printing. Thereupon, they will realize that there are guns all around them and they are still breathing and not bleeding.

          Virtual OC without the hoplophobe hysteria. Who knows, it just might work.

    • This is talked about a lot on TTAG, yet no one has ever pointed out a case where any one has ever been convicted of homicide because they had a sign, or other tactical designed stuff (such as a skull logo) on their holster. Why? Because it doesn’t happen. If it did, in NY we would see people convicted of 1st degree murder on a regular basis just for owning a gun, because just owning one “predisposed you to commit murder.” Does having a skull tattoo prove someone is “predisposed” to kill? How about an NRA membership? I think a lot of people here need to spend a little less time worrying about some hypothetical “overzealous prosecutor,” and if that is a main concern of yours, you should reconsider your gun ownership.

      • call your lawyer. Ask him if he could defend you in court with those signs. Ask him if it makes it more difficult. Ask him if it would also make it more expensive. Make your decision based on his answers.

        • I don’t need to call a lawyer to know that if I’m involved in a defensive gun use I won’t be prosecuted based upon signage or apparel or tatoos alone. Why? Because I would’ve had to violate the law in order to be prosecuted (example: execution shot.) If you need to call a lawyer every time you question your behavior than perhaps you need to take a good, hard look at how you live your life. Also, if your that afraid of prosecution, perhaps you shouldn’t bother using a gun for self defense, and just pray you’ll have the ability to call the police and they’ll arrive on time.

        • AllAmerican,

          You bring up the very point that a prosecutor can call every single action into question, especially how many shots your fire in self-defense. If you only shoot a home invader once, a prosecutor might have trouble making anything of that. But what if you shoot the home invader multiple times? It is quite common that a single shot has no immediate effect on an attacker. In fact we can find countless examples where a victim had to shoot an attacker five or more times to incapacitate an attacker who was still coming at the victim. In that situation a prosecutor could argue that you wanted to kill the home invader because you shot him so many times. The fact that the attacker was still a threat, which was obvious to you at the time, is anything but cut-and-dry at a trial after the fact. Why give a prosecutor any reason to doubt your character or integrity?

        • That’s my point. This hypothetical prosecutor could charge anyone based on anything, why bother worrying about it? Just know and follow the laws best you can.

        • ” If you need to call a lawyer every time you question your behavior ”

          He didn’t say he needed “to call a lawyer every time”, just perhaps on this instance.

          “than perhaps you need to take a good, hard look at how you live your life.”

          WOW, you are one mind reading through the WWW wizard! You set him straight with that one!

          ” Also, if your that afraid of prosecution, perhaps you shouldn’t bother using a gun for self defense, and just pray you’ll have the ability to call the police and they’ll arrive on time.”

          And what if he shoots multiple assailants, on various occasions. HUH? HUH? I mean you sound like a real tough as nails, confident shooter! C’mon, set us all straight!

          OH YEAH!

      • The only case I’ve seen even remotely involving ‘appearances’ was the Harold Fish trial in AZ. An overzealous prosecutor made a big deal about the 10mm pistol Fish used to defend himself. Despite basically no evidence, the prosecutor succeeded in railroading him, although Fish was released after 3 years in prison on appeal (he has since died), and AZ law was changed to avoid it happening again. But that case is a bizarre outlier, I’ve never heard of anyone else’s choice of gear, apparel or yard signs being made into an issue after a DGU.

        • The prosecutor succeeded in railroading him primarily because the “lawn order” types (who are always eager to destroy another of our rights to “give police another tool”) sneaked a change into state law changing self-defense from a natural right to an “affirmative defense” to homicide. That meant Fish had to first plead guilty to homicide, at which point the burden of proof was on him to prove that he should not be penalized, which we should all recognize as backwards, and the primary reason the prosecutor needed no evidence. Angry gun owners got the law reverted the very next year, but it didn’t help Fish, because the “lawn order” types ruled it couldn’t be used retroactively… so we pushed once more for another change in the law that said it could, and got Fish sprung.

        • The notion of “have to plead guilty” as a formality isn’t really the issue.

          In most criminal cases the defendant’s lawyer chooses between either of 2 theories of the case:

          – TODDI – THAT Other Dude Did It; or,
          – SODDI – SOME Other Dude Did It even though we don’t know who it is.

          In a case of self-defense, NEITHER of these theories of the case is available. There is just about no way out of the fact that the defendant self-defender is found with the smoking gun.

          Under these circumstances the defendant self-defender’s theory-of-the-case is:

          Yes, I shot him.
          Any reasonable man under the circumstances would have shot him.
          Accordingly, I had a RIGHT to shoot him!

          There remains a question of whether the prosecutor or the defense has the burden of disproof or proof, respectively. And, what the standard of proof is.

          It is to the defendant’s disadvantage if the defendant has the burden of proof to a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the right to shoot. It is to the defendant’s advantage if it is the prosecutor’s duty to prove to the reasonable doubt standard that the defendant had no right.

          I believe that it is USUAL for the defendant to have a burden of proof of the preponderance of evidence that he had a right to shoot. That’s a pretty modest burden provided that the defendant did everything right and the perpetrator was guilty.

        • Affirmative defense is essentially like a not guilty plea; the prosecution must prove the self-defense was not IAW extant law. A successful rendering of the affirmative defense effectively makes the homicide moot. HOWEVER, the defendant has a gun-related arrest on his record, the same as if the defendant were acquitted of murder outright. Try buy a gun after a gun-related arrest ! The exonerated defendant must seek further legal action to have his/her record expunged of the arrest; and success at that is iffy.

          And then there is the civil charge/trial. In some jurisdictions, there is a means to become immune to a civil trial, but the prosecutor’s office has complete discretion as to whether to file the appropriate paperwork.

        • Affirmative defense is essentially like a not guilty plea; the prosecution must prove the self-defense was not IAW extant law. A successful rendering of the affirmative defense effectively makes the homicide moot. HOWEVER, the defendant has a gun-related arrest on his record, the same as if the defendant were acquitted of murder outright. Try buy a gun after a gun-related arrest ! The exonerated defendant must seek further legal action to have his/her record expunged of the arrest; and success at that is iffy.

          And then there is the civil charge/trial. In some jurisdictions, there is a means to become immune to a civil trial, but the prosecutor’s office has complete discretion as to whether to file the appropriate paperwork.

      • It’s oversimplified and naive bordering on recklessness to believe that just because you haven’t violated the law, that you won’t be prosecuted. The simple fact that there exist jury trial acquittals bears that out: you’re found not guilty, yet you were fully prosecuted. Need I mention people wrongfully convicted and subsequently released from prison?

        You don’t know what tidbit will stick in jurors’ minds and tip the scale to guilty.

        Appearances, perceptions and prejudices do matter. It’s why defense attorneys try to trash rape victims’ reputations. It’s why prosecutors dress their scum-of-the-earth plea bargain witnesses in their Sunday best before testilying against their former partners in crime. Everyone wants to shape images to their advantage. Does it work? Who knows, but it’s standard practice.

        Aside from the specific legal ramifications, there’s also the media spin. Despite acting lawfully (Prudently? That’s another story.), Mr. Zimmerman got dragged through the mud and his character destroyed to the point of being a national punchline, all on points unrelated to the alleged crime. Would you like to get Zimmermanned on the national stage over irrelevant signs and decals? You see how hysterical people are over images of a flag which hasn’t meant anything in 150 years.

        From Texas Law Shield, one of their attorneys, a former prosecutor, has a video up recomending that you take these cutesy signs down. In a close case, you never know what stray piece of information might make the difference.

        • Reckless. I don’t think you know what that word means. Also, the jury. Correct. A prosecutor can wine and cry all day long. But good luck getting a jury to convict based upon signage, apparell, or tattoos. It doesn’t happen. If you want to live in such fear, I suggest you wear a suit everywhere, slap an Obama Biden sticker on your car, and don’t even think about carrying a gun. Because God forbid you end up having to defend yourself you may be prosecuted based on any one of those things. If such asinine nit picking in minute details of your life because of the hypothetical prosecutor tickles your pickle, then by all means. Might as well be a democrat.

        • So basically, you’re butt hurt because your points have been discredited and nobody’s cheerleading your Internet tough talk act? Got it.

          Prosecutors can indeed whine (not wine), but expect their tantrum to consume one to three years of your life and a chunk of your life savings. Ignoring material risks just to enjoy a moment’s chuckle over hackneyed one liners is reckless. Go look it up before you lecture others. You might want to go actually accomplish something, too, before bragging about yourself and dismissing others.

          Anyway, as always, I’ve made my case abundantly. Not only is it irrefutable, but it’s served its purpose. Pssst……….it’s not about you. You’re just a prop in my presentation before interested, reasonable others.

          Now that you’ve degenerated into hands-over-ears, “la la la la la la……I can’t hear you!” mode, I’m done. I will allow you to have the last word, which I’ve no doubt will be yet another fact-free and tired personal attack. For that, and the schooling I just laid down on you, you’re welcome.

      • Read what the experts have to say about this question; e.g., Massad Ayoob. Anything that you do to which the prosecutor might present as evidence of your predisposition to use lethal force WILL be used against you.

        The entire question of whether you get prosecuted or not is in the hands of the prosecutor and his individual personality/agenda. The regular prosecutor in Zimmerman’s case didn’t want to prosecute. Angela Corey had an agenda and she prosecuted zealously. You have no control over who your prosecutor will be and how determined she is to crucify you.

        I’m inclined to send the message with a sign, t-shirt, etc. such as an NRA membership badge, or an “I support the Second Amendment”. If the criminal is smart enough to take notice of a sign he ought to get the message. If not, what your sign says won’t matter.

        • NRA sign in at your home may say I own firearms and to a thief it may say , watch for homeowner to leave and break in to try and find guns . Just saying . That’s why I never advertise in any manner at my home that I own any thing . I prefer a thief to think I’m penniless and have nothing of value for them to take . If I saw a sign that says NRA or ammo is expensive I don’t fire a warning shot , I would think , I bet this dude has a gun or two . God bless brother . P.S every bullet inside of a body has a lawyer with it . ( old saying )

      • you reall y need to study up on self defense law. read everything by massad ayoob. Andrew branca as well. you may want to check out the armed citizen’s legal defense network as well as their journal is free to read. and if you don’t think that the sign wil be used against you you are dead wrong. just as everything you post online is discoverable evidence. And yes, there are court cases that seriously hurt the defense bc of things said, worn, sign’s posted by the defendent. read masaad ayoobs latest book “deadly force: understanding your rigth to self defense” as he list case example after case example.

    • The lawsuit is going to vary dependent upon your local laws and region. A state with castle doctrine for example you’re fine, but in a liberal state like MN, you have to be in a situation where you can prove you were defending yourself to save your own life. of which, in a liberal state it’d be advise to not have said sign. But if you have castle doctrine, well put up whatever you want.

      • actually no. you better read the fine print. (better yet read “law of self defense” by andrew brana and “gun laws of the 50 states” by mitch vilos) you will find that the legal definition of castle doctrine and the required elements to meet them varies greatly from state to state. also, so does states with civil immunity laws, need to read the fine print there as well.

      • MN does have the Castle Doctrine. Breaking and entering is a felony, and you can use lethal force inside your dwelling if a felony has been committed.

        But then if you leave your door unlocked, it isn’t quite a felony. They entered without breaking, and it’s just trespassing.

        • Hell man, as far as AllAmerican is concerned, leaving the door open is fair baiting and trapping 101! hell, if a man can’t hunt vermin in his own home!

          /sarcasm off… sort of…

        • False. I just took the class not that long ago which helped brush up on the awkward laws of Minnesota. Minnesota allows you to protect yourself from a felony in the instance that it threatens your existence. If someone breaks in you can’t immediately blast them and claim B&E felony.

    • A good lawyer could argue that the sign was intended to scare criminals away in an effort to avoid having to shoot someone.

      • A good lawyer can get O Jay Simpson off the hook . Don’t worry about all this stuff folks , if you have to shoot someone it should be because you are defending yours or someone’s life and just deal with the outcome as best you can . Lock your doors and windows and don’t advertise yourself to be a victim . Be cautious and walk with God . I wish everyone the best .

        • The point of urging caution against acting like GI Joe is that too many prosecutors and jurors are looking for anything that can take a gun owner off the street. Don’t ever think you will be judged by 12 of your peers. And some cop houses will take any invitation to charge you with a gun crime.

          On top of which, POG here should already know “surprise” is a critical element when disaster kicks in the door.

  2. Seems to me it’s asking for trouble. A prosecutor could say that you were looking for a chance to shoot somebody. For the same reason, I would not use “R.I.P.” ammo for self-defense, or “Zombie” ammo either–the latter opens you up to the charge that you took lethal force to be a joke.

    • I’d meet that zombie ammo charge head on. What’s wrong with agreeing that I think the likelihood of needing to shoot someone in self-defense is so unlikely that my choice in ammo reflects a greater personal association with recreational shooting than with shooting a person in my home?

      Hornady makes zombie ammo, and I personally consider them to be a quality manufacturer. If their zombie ammo load also happens to be suitable for self-defense (not sure–never looked into it personally), I’d use it for self-defense, especially if that’s what I had on hand.

      I do agree with folks on the sign, though. I personally would not have something like that posted. I’m not sure if having it used against me to register my intent and desire to shoot a home invader is a real, relevant point of law, but I prefer not to advertise the presence of guns in my home as street level for those times that I’m not at home.

    • The “zombie” ammo argument is easily defeated as it is the exact same Hornady FTX or SST projectiles with an attractive green tip. As for the R.I.P ammo bless anyone that may ever have to use it for self defense as multiple tests have shown it very lacking. I think it all depends on your location. My local LEOs would most likely only ask me why I shot them only 4 instead or 5 or 6 times. Lol

  3. I don’t agree with the idea on a couple levels. One I think it’s telling them you have guns they can steal. Second if you every do have to shoot somebody a DA could use the sign as proof that you wanted to shoot and kill someone.

    • “Second if you every do have to shoot somebody a DA could use the sign as proof that you wanted to shoot and kill someone.”

      Possession of a gun for self-defense already meets that criteria if a DA chooses to show you that you are a serf not a citizen. WE all carry a gun for the chance encounter with an evil man intent upon causing you harm, and that gun is to stop the threat efficiently.

    • Yeah, I’d say it’s the equivalent of having a sign that says “Gun in this house, come steal them when we’re out.”

      • Or, “be extra prepared before you come in,” which is worse. I carry, but I certainly don’t want any indicators hovering around me that say “shoot me first.” We all saw how that works in those phony “demonstrations” of how school carry “doesn’t help” (the mock shooter was always fully aware of who the carrier was, and so shot him first thing through the door).

  4. Also consider that you would then be marking your house as a possible higher ranked robbery target if they can confirm no one is home. “That house might have guns we can steal!” would be the line of thought. Is the same reason I don’t put NRA and other gun related stickers on my car.

  5. Forget about a future prosecutor. Does a sign like that make, let’s call it “tactical”, sense? That is the real question here. It is rarely advantageous to say what you are going to do before actually doing it. That is true in a president’s rhetoric before war, a parent’s strategy of discipline, or a person protecting their home. Carry your gun in the house (or make sure it is extremely handy) and then draw and fire when necessary. Saying (with words or a sign) “if you, a bad guy, do x or y, then my response will be to shoot you,” tells the bad guy that you a) have a gun that has a potential of being stolen or, even worse b) that you may be a man of words rather than a man of action.

    • And on this subject… when I saw the headline of this article, I thought it would be a discussion of whether you tell an assailant “stop, or I’ll shoot” or the equivalent, before you actually shoot. My own thought is that unless lethal force were already justifiable, you wouldn’t be aiming a gun at them or threatening to shoot, and there doesn’t seem to be any tactical upside to the warning. Yeah, there’s a humanitarian upside (you may be able to end the encounter without violence), but you’re taking the chance of just displacing the violence onto the next victim this guy targets.

      • “. . . you’re taking the chance of just displacing the violence onto the next victim this guy targets.”

        This thought has crossed my mind as well.

        I think, on balance, I favor “Open Carry” or “signs” as a broad-cast prophylactic. Imagine a world where everyone wore a Glock on his hip and had a sign on his door. Plenty of criminals would consider a different craft. I leave for a debate elsewhere about the “tactical” considerations,

        Your issue – displacing the violence – applies at the point of actual violence.

        OK, I’ve got the drop on this guy and I can shoot him or let him escape. That’s the general context. There are lots of other considerations.

        II’m in a restaurant and the BG is threatening the cashier then I have to consider whether the BG is really going to shoot the cashier and whether a gun-fight will end with collateral damage.

        If someone broke into my house and has turned to leave I could shoot him safely; but, I’m at risk of being prosecuted for shooting after the threat had ended.

        Still, in the absence of compelling contradictory circumstances, I have to weigh-off:
        – shooting a clear-cut BG when I have a clear-cut right to do so; or,
        – giving such a BG the opportunity to retreat and victimize someone else.

        I really don’t have a satisfactory answer for myself. My inclination is to let him victimize someone else rather than take a chance of having to defend my decision to shoot. This is the sense of the matter our society and its criminal justice system has put us; so, I live with that. The Good Samaritan in me tells me that this is the less moral decision.

  6. I suspect that a very large and expensive study would have to be conducted to determine what the magnitude of the advantages and disadvantages are. In other words, it’s probably hard to tell for sure.

    • Seems like an opportunity for one of those “gun violence policy” organizations to spend their money on a useful study. I’m not holding my breath.

  7. I have large windows in the front room of my house and floor to ceiling book shelfs. So I just leave a NRA cap in a prominent position on the book shelf between books on firearms and books on War.

  8. How about LOCKING THE FREAKING DOOR ? I would consider that a condition white situation. So don’t be blaming anyone else, or any signage, other than yourselves. You and the wife are at some point going to have to answer to Colonel Cooper.

    • Why should a person have to lock their doors? Answer to Colonel Cooper? Who the fu** is he that I, or anyone, should give a shit what he thinks? Oh, right: both you and Colonel Cooper think burglaries/home invasions only happen when doors are unlocked. Gotchya. Gee, that was hard to figure out.

      • “Why should a person have to lock their doors? ”

        In fantasy, rainbow, unicorn fart land, no one should. But, in the real world, everyone should because, you know, bad things. It won’t stop the professionals, but it might stop the amateurs.

      • Think of it this way – you may choose or not to choose to mount a fire extinguisher in your shop. You are also free to pile oily rags in the corner, and even mount your grinder so it shoots sparks over in that direction. Totally your choice – but it’s about prevention. Fire happens, and you do what you can to keep it from happening.

        Sure – in an ideal world, you shouldn’t have to lock doors, etc. Where I live, I have a lot of doors that are in various stages of locked or unlocked during the day, while I’m home. I also home carry. My choice again.

        I think it’s a little harsh to blame the victim of a burglary or robbery because they didn’t lock their doors – it is, after all, the criminal that chooses to do the crime. However, if a little prevention can keep a crime from happening, why wouldn’t you?

    • “Authorities say Custis kicked in a locked back door.”

      For those who haven’t seen this video before (and even for those who have):
      This is what a home invasion can really look like:
      You won’t have a lot of time to react.
      This woman had her doors locked.
      This was in a prosperous and supposedly ‘safe’ suburb.
      Most residential doors swing inward, have wooden frames, and won’t withstand a really strong kick.

      http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2013/06/millburn_home_invasion_video_nanny_cam.html

      http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2013/07/man_charged_in_millburn_attack_committed_identical_offense_20_years_ago.html

      This is the sort of criminal who the ‘justice’ system releases back into normal society:

      “The Delran burglary, archived in the yellowing pages of a police report, provides a sinister preview of a life of crime to come. Custis pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Since then, he has committed at least 12 felonies around the state and serve four separate prison terms, according to court records.

      In 2006, he escaped from a Department of Corrections halfway house in Clinton and was charged with more than 20 residential burglaries in the Hamilton and Trenton areas, according to an article published in The Times of Trenton. He was on the lam for about a month until police picked him up wearing shoes he had stolen from an earlier burglary, according to the article.

      Custis, whose last known address was on Irvine Turner Boulevard in Newark, was most recently jailed in connection with another string of burglaries across New Jersey in March 2011. He was sentenced to three years in prison and served 10 months at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Cumberland County, according to court records. He was released in December.

      Prosecutors refused to comment when asked at the press conference whether Custis should have been released so soon, given his criminal history.”

      http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2013/07/man_charged_in_millburn_attack_committed_identical_offense_20_years_ago.html

      No word from the authorities, or his mother, on whether he was ‘just turning his life around’.

  9. There’s a certain macho feel-goodness to the signs, and I always smile when I see them hanging around gun stores, range shops, etc. But widely advertising yourself as a gun owner in today’s culture is generally not a good idea, for all the reasons listed above. Plus, they’re going to make legitimate but less gun-loving guests uncomfortable. If the guy wasn’t deterred by broad daylight from walking up to a house, not much is going to deter him. Guns are not a deterrent, they are a last-ditch lifesaver.

  10. “Or is that asking for trouble/liability later on down the road if another intruder attempts to break in, and is shot while I or my wife protect our family?”

    It is disgusting that you have to fear being made a victim by the state, that is funded by your tax money. Tyranny by legislation at its finest and WE are cowards so WE absolutely deserve the option of a life sentence, for defending our lives.

    Advertising that you own a gun does let thieves know there is a gun in your house for them to steal and for them to get shot with. On a vehicle don’t advertise because not many things in life are as fun as seeing a road rage attacker back into traffic after his rage is dampened, with the barrel of a .45acp.

  11. First things first, home carry.

    Second- home carry.

    Third-, keep you doors locked.

    Fourth- have an alarm system that tells you if someone opens a door or window, whether by a dog or an electronic alarm system.

    Fifth – have a sign out in your front yard showing you have an alarm system, whether by a dog and/or an electronic system .

    Sixth- don’t have a sign saying you have a gun on your front lawn or on your door.

    Seventh- home carry.

    • Nah. All my doors are glass, locking them is futile. Instead, home carry. A home security system blasting every time one of my kids or grandkids came in at 2 AM would get the security system shot pretty quick. A better idea would be to home carry. Advertising a home security system may be a good plan, but in case someone ignores it, I would also home carry.

  12. If I were a criminal intent on robbing homes, I would simply wait until voting season and see who has red and who has blue signs. That would make home selection easier, depending on if you’re looking not to get shot, or looking to score some guns. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs….

    • “I would simply wait until voting season and see who has red and who has blue signs.”

      Dangerous assumption. Red and Blue both have guns, just members in both don’t want us serfs to be able to shoot back.

  13. Security door, not screen door, alarm on ALWAYS, remote on key fob in pocket with panic button, two signs in the yard about the alarm system and a neighborhood watch sign in the front window. Passes the “Reasonable man” test, if you can find one anywhere these days.

    The security door works well on the off chance a police officer ever shows up and wants to come in, if you open the door, they’re coming in, with the security door you can politely refuse, not much they can do unless they have probably cause to escalate.

  14. Nobody know nothin’…no NRA stickers(I just got one in the mail), no anything. I do remember my dad had a NRA sticker on the front door growing up but that was 50 and 60 years ago(long ago and far away) in Kankakee,IL. They also had a rifle team in his high school in the 1920’s and he walked around with his gun…I sure miss my Ozzie and Harriet childhood…

  15. Anytime I see a truck driving around with a Browning or Duck Commander sticker on the back window, I think “That’s the vehicle I would follow to it’s home if I wanted to steal a gun.”

    • I think the same thing about gun racks in trucks. Yeah, it’s great to see an AR in the back window of your truck, but I’m not a criminal and even I think about taking a brick to your window and claiming my prize when I see it in the parking lot of a restaurant. It’s a giant “free gun” sign to criminals.

      • “Yeah, it’s great to see an AR in the back window of your truck, but I’m not a criminal and even I think about taking a brick to your window and claiming my prize when I see it in the parking lot of a restaurant”

        Wow…

    • This is why I tossed the NRA sticker I got with my membership rather than affixing it to my car. I don’t like to advertize the fact that I have several expensive, valuable targets for thieves lying around.

      That, and I don’t like putting stickers on my car.

      • Should have placed it on your gun safe instead. That’s what I do. It’s not like a criminal isn’t going to come across it and wonder what’s in it.

  16. You would be asking for legal trouble if you did shoot an invader. In addition, you would be advertising that there are guns available to steal. And for the determined sort of criminal, you would be letting them know to come armed with their weapons ready.

  17. I prefer a sign that says “ACHTUNG! MINEN!”

    Forget all the babble about leftist prosecutors, vengeful family members etc. The real important takeaways are (i) your business is your business and nobody else’s, so don’t advertise, (ii) preserve the element of surprise, (iii) know your state’s laws on homeowner protection, such as the limits of your state’s Castle Doctrine (if it has one) and (iv) lock your damn doors. ‘Cause Mayberry has gone bye-bye.

    • You’ve said the most sensible thing so far. Don’t advertise, keep the advantage yours. Some one knows you’ve got weapons in the house, rather than be frightened off, for example, you might be attracting the more hardened types who know there could be a good haul of guns to rob you for. Lets say they even wait until they know you’re gone, now they just rob you, looking for guns, and you get to contribute to the inner city crime statistics that the left is always using to take guns away from people like you.

  18. They are fun for laughs and if you really wanna buy one, hang it in your man-cave/finished basement/whatever, where it is probably out of plain view. But don’t advertise in public for the reasons elaborated on above.

    • Exactly. Those kinds of signs are things we like to show ourselves and people like us. However, just as the security sign in the front yard didn’t discourage Mr. Hoodie, neither will a sign like this. Much more effective is a hardened structure. If your home’s esthetics allow, burglar bar doors and windows tell a potential thief that this house is going to require some effort to get into to. Most house breaking criminals operate with a fixed window of opportunity. If your house looks like getting in will move beyond that window, the crook will probably look for an easier target down the street. While I’m generally an advocate for stealth in all things, visible fortifications are a definite deterrent, especially in an urban area. A security system, discretely fortified doors and windows, and visible burglar bars make for a formidable passive defense.

  19. i am amazed at how many people dont get that this is already decided for you. what ever you claim your intent is, it doesn’t matter. Intent follows the bullet, law of transferred intent. now the wording would lead you to believe it only applies to criminals, that is not the case. if you shoot someone in self defense but you missed and hit someone else than the attacker, you COULD be charged. this is extremely rare, but it CAN happen.

  20. Get one of those yappy little dogs to alert the sleep brute of a dog laying on the couch. If you have to shoot the intruder feed him to the two dogs and put the bones around the rose bushes. Roses like calcium.

    • Which is why I have the Shetland Fox Hound to alert the Collie Shepherd, and Labrador Coon Dogs to guard the house.

  21. My younger brother once had a sillohette target properly perforated taped to the inside of his front window beside the front door clearly visible from the street. He never even had so much as a salesman come knocking! He has been a FW police officer now for 18 years and still has no problem with such signs. It is a deterrent, not an invitation. In court, it adds credance that you forewarned an intruder and he entered anyway much like posting a property. If not posted then the trespasser can argue he did not know whereas posting clearly gives notice not to proceed. It is a defense to prosecution that you warned an intruder before escalating to the use of deadly force if you were justified to begin with. I would defend it before a jury without reservation. On the other hand, I would not post, “trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!” That one and similar ones paint a completely different picture!

  22. It used to be the case that a residence with an NRA sticker (or Marine Corps, or Police Association) was far less likely to be robbed. It’s still the case, but it deters the opportunistic thieves, not the ones who know what they want to steal and plan ahead; to them, it just says “Guns available here”. Depending on where you live, that can be a bad idea — I’d guess it is in any urban area.

    But such stickers don’t declare any intent; the sign in question here can be interpreted as intent to inflict major bodily harm or death.

    Maybe a sign that says, “An attempt to enter these premises without permission establishes agreement that the legitimate residents may respond as they see fit”? That takes the standard internet ploy of “Entering this website means we can send you crap” and applies it to the real world.

  23. I would not count on a criminal to read your sign, but I would count on his lawyer to do so.

    The current political climate in this country is one that downplays criminal activity with excuses of institutional racism and entitlement, all while using the “everything but the kitchen sink” prosecution strategy against otherwise law abiding citizens (see: going to the terror of the public charge against a soldier recently.)

    That sign will get you a longer sentence than the criminal who breaks into your house to harm your family and steal your stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal, it doesn’t matter if shooting is legal, you WILL go to jail for it these days.

  24. Advertise? No. That moment when the scum is lying in a pool of his own blood will come as a complete surprise.

  25. I run a gadsden flag. I find it sums up my thoughts on the matter quite nicely. Another pro to flying the gadsden is that your neighbors know where you stand and if they are like minded it should make things easier should something pop up an threaten the neneighborhood. Nothing like knowing someone has your back next door.

  26. “Hi! I have thousands of dollars worth of easily hockable hardware here an am dumb enough to announce it! Wait until I’m not home and come get it, okay?!”

    No, thank you.

  27. Very happy to see this brought up. I really like the “If you can read this sign, you’re in range” version and almost bought/posted one in my side yard (that would only be seen if accessing the back yard). Glad I thought that threw. Didn’t buy it for many of the reasons already stated here and some outstanding new ones (to me) that are great food for thought.

    Carry on Ballistic Brain Trust… Thank you, my Gods graces be upon you….

  28. PD ‘crime prevention’ speaker at neighborhood meeting recommended BEWARE OF DOG sign. Burglars avoid dogs and homes with visible security camera. We were told that the common technique is ring the bell to confirm if no one’s home, then break-in if no answer. Residential summer burglary rate is higher – most are teens and usually occur between 10A-3PM in the South Bay / San Jose area.

    Amazon and others sell a gadget that emits an angry dog sound when triggered (noise & doorbell). Dummy security cameras are under $20. At least one model has a battery operated flashing light to attract notice. Have sign, but my dogs are too friendly to be of any actual security value.

  29. I prefer not to make it widely known to criminal elements that there are multiple high-value items in my house that will either A: offer a high price on the black market or B: allow him to commit more crimes more easily. I keep my guns accessible to me but hidden out of sight.

    • Thank you Bill… Here’s another security screen that passes HOA muster.

      Google >>> CRL Guarda Slimline Security Screen Door.

  30. Those signs are kind of trashy. Like hanging a plastic molding of cow balls from a tail hitch. Or a mullet.

    Lock your doors, maybe get an alarm system or a dog, and home carry.

    • So you’re saying the cows in your area are trans-gendered? Awesome. I’ve seen bull balls, but never cow balls! He he he.

  31. I have a 100 pound Anatolian Shepherd. The “head the size of a basketball” looking out the window beats a sign any day.

  32. I don’t advertise that I have guns in the house. I don’t want my house to be a target for a break-in when nobody is home.

    Plus those things are just ugly.

  33. Nope, don’t advertise anything, you’re asking for trouble from cops and criminals. Advantage; say nothing.

  34. Read anything and everything written by Massad Ayoob, who most assuredly does not have these kinds of signs at his house. it’s a bad idea, per an individual who has testified in court a hundred times, and seen the outcome

  35. The less someone knows about you the better off you are. That is why I carry concealed, and not openly! The only sign I have on my property is “BEWARE OF DOG” Nothing to indicate I have guns! The sign that reads ” Because of ammo shortages, we don’t fire a warning shot” is real cute, but it may bring you more trouble than you care to have.

  36. I’m not the expert when it comes to legal and civil suit issues, but I personally wouldn’t advertise that I have a firearm (whether I’m telling the truth or bluffing). Guns are something that burglars value, so a sign like that is more likely to make your house a target. The theoretical deterrent effect is probably more likely to work it potential burglars aren’t certain. If you really want something that’ll probably deter a burglar more significantly than the Second Amendment alone, I think you should go with a dog (not just a sign, but an actual dog so that they’ll hear something barking, preferably something big), perhaps two, and a monitored security system. If you can’t afford that, a sign might be enough. Something that actually works is obviously better than a mere feint, just in case they decide to try their luck, but sometimes you just have to make do with what you have.

  37. I think a sign of a big german shepherd would be more effective. Along with a big, dumb chocolate lab that sounds like a german shepherd.

  38. I find it somewhat odd people lock their doors when they’re away to protect I guess some easy to grab objects that are inside , but when their family is inside they leave them unlocked.

    • When I’m home, I can protect what’s mine with other methods besides locks (one of those methods does rhyme with “lock” and starts with a G). I’ll be damned if I’m going to lock the door all the time. I have a back deck, a back yard and a detached garage. My wife and I like to enjoy our property and we’re in and out a lot. There’s a difference between being prepared and living in fear.

    • We lock our doors when we’re home too. Of course, I don’t live in a fantastic neighborhood, and only a few blocks from the really crime-infested areas. OPSEC is always at the forefront of my mind.

  39. The ?? is, will the sign deter criminals?
    The answer is no.
    1) many can’t read and care less if they can
    2) they are intent on getting money not worrying about problems, until they arise.
    3) usually only two things cause hesitation by these types: big dogs and big guns.

  40. Personally, I’ll push the public snark as far as putting out a “Come Back With A Warrant” door mat. Beyond that, is beyond that.

  41. I prefer a sign that says “If you are found here tonight, you will be found here in the morning.”

    It COULD mean a Citizen’s Arrest…

  42. No signs what so ever.
    I don’t even open carry where it’s legal in my state.

    Such signs make you are target for Gun Thieves to steel your guns or
    Anti-gunners who might SWAT you or falsely say, “he hd a gun and pointed at me”.

    Why ask for trouble?

    Do not have any Gun Bumperstickers on your vehicle while you are
    parked at a Building with a sign that says “No Guns allowed”.
    You have just put a target on your car for Gun thieves.

    Do you carry a firearm at the Post Office or even store it in your vehicle while in a Post Office parking lot while you go in to handle your mail?

    Errr.
    I’m not saying.

  43. of course that kind of sign is silly and ridiculous. Of course you’re going to call 911 after a defensive gun use. Not doing so is a good way to add decades to the prison sentence.

  44. Post the following signs on your property. Of course look up your states laws….This only applies to the state of Georgia.
    *********************************************************************************
    Warning Absolutely No Trespassing

    Individuals who ignore above notice are unlawfully entering property.
    Individuals unlawfully entering property are reasonably believed to be intent on committing a deadly felony.
    O.C.G.A. § 16-3-23
    O.C.G.A. § 16-3-23.1
    O.C.G.A. § 16-3-24
    *********************************************************************************

    It’s like the signs posted around government installations. It gives clear warning not to trespass, it gives clear warning that if you trespass you will be considered hostile, and gives the specific codes of law that give them the right to shoot you if you attempt to trespass.

  45. For those of you who think a jury won’t take a sign into account:

    I’m an engineer who works for lawyers who sue people. Neither the defendant nor injured party want to go to trial. They cannot predict how a jury will react. Once I was testifying in a weak case. the insurance agency’s lawyer interrupted my 17 times. The lawyer I worked for asked the jurors afterwards why they found for the plaintiff. . . . they got pissed at all the interruptions.

    Think of all the people wrongly executed. Think of the guys in Milwaukee railroaded by the ATF. Think of Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse players. Think Twana Brawley and Al Sharpton.

    Signage like that makes no sense in todays world, get her a firearm and have her home carry. Problem solved and no one knows.

    Read up on the grey man approach, it’s a good one.

  46. Years ago a friend gave me a T-shirt with a logo showing a firing Glock and the words, “I don’t dial 911.” I gave that shirt away immediately after my state got concealed carry and I took the CCW class. Should I ever, may God forbid, ever be forced to shoot to defend myself, I want nothing that might indicate to a prosecutor or member of a jury that I was “blood thirsty” or “looking for a chance to shoot someone.”

    The only warning I might give is the one that I gave the intruder who came into my home last summer. I told him that if he took one more step and crossed the room threshold the decision to shoot had already been made. I was not bluffing, the decision of where/when to shoot had been made, and he was wise enough not to push it but rather to sit down and wait for the cops to arrive.

    As for the attitude of law enforcement here, well, when I told the deputy that I was just glad I hadn’t had to shoot the guy, the deputy’s response was, “You know, you’d have been perfectly within your legal rights if you had shot him.” Still, there’s no need to wear clothing or post signs that might be construed as WANTING to shoot someone. Laws and thousands of years of property rights and customs should be all the warning any home invader needs or deserves.

  47. In many cases though you would like to be caring toward the other party after an auto accident what you say can and may be used against you.

    I will respond as I wish in an auto accident situation. Yet I know anything that seems to admit fault gives the lawyers whose job it is to limit how much the insurance company pays out extra pardon the phrase, ammunition. 🙂

  48. ok, let’s break this down into bite-size pieces:

    1. your security system yard sign is probably written in only one language – english
    2. your almost-intruder wasn’t impressed with your yard sign; not likely to be impressed with a second one
    3. you are depending on intruders to be able to read
    4. you are depending on intruders to be able to read english
    5. you are depending on intruders to comprehend what they read
    6. detailed warning signs of intent to do harm to someone with a firearm WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW !!

  49. The only signs i have posted is No Trespassing..I don’t want to advertise that i may have a gun in my house.Knowing my luck,someone would try to break in when i’m not there and steal them.

  50. So he walked past a security sign and you are hoping that another sign will help. Isn’t that the same logic that gun control groups use. “That law didn’t work so let’s try another one”. One top of that when he seen someone he took off which means he is not interested in a confrontation and your gun won’t fire unless you are home, if anything you just told him what he could gain if you are not home. If he got to the front door and the first indication was hearing the the screen door than you already lost.
    There is a reason he went to your house instead of the neighbors you mentioned, you are an easy target. Better doors, cameras, alarms(I have driveway alarm for driveway and hidden so anyone walking up my steps set it off), dogs, keeping stuff put up, locking doors and windows, reducing places to hide, extra lighting, being careful how you throw things away(not putting your new 65″ TV box out in the yard for everyone to see, take it to a recycle drop off), and making it impossible to look in windows are all ways to reduce you being a target. It is a risk vs reward business. I try to make the risk of being caught high and the reward so unknown that they it isn’t worth it.

  51. If you want to go down the “sign” road, consider getting your neighborhood watch group to go in on a few billboards that say “Not everyone calls 9-1-1”. You might be surprised how cheap a few billboard messages can be.

    I love the “Smile – Wait for Flash” engraved on the end of the barrel, but I won’t own one.

  52. Like AllAmerican pointed out, where is the precedent that such signage “WILL” be used against you in court? There’s a decent chance it will come up if you’re put on trial, but if it’s an open-and-shut self defense case you’re not likely to be charged in the first place.

    Like most sensible people have already said, not advertising that you have guns at home is a much more valid argument against posting these signs compared to fears that Psycho McProsecutor will lock you up for life if you post a cute sign or use green-tipped slugs. A zealous enough D.A. could treat the mere fact that you own a gun as proof of intent.

  53. Thanks, everyone for all the responses! I really do appreciate it and this provided a lot of good viewpoints and other ideas to do instead of the signs

  54. The downside to posting a sign outside is the criminals now know which house to steal a gun from when no one is home.

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