An infamous saying is that “a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” But are there more instances of defensive gun use than there are gun crimes?
Street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) generate some of the world’s highest homicide rates through confrontations with police, rivalries, score-settling and intimidation. They also steal and traffic guns.
Defending Against Guns and Gangs Charges
Taking their cue from the lawyers who have sued the tobacco industry, mayors in dozens of cities are launching lawsuits against the gun industry. They want to reform or, if necessary, bankrupt an industry that sells a legal product that millions of Americans rely on for their safety and freedom.
Urban street gangs have mutated from youth groups defending their neighbourhoods to large, hierarchical organizations that coerce and threaten their members, engage in sophisticated criminal activities and contribute to the world’s highest murder rates mostly for reasons involving police encounters, territorial disputes or score settling. The line between these gangs and other organized crime groups (OCGs) is not always clear.
A Guns and Gangs Defense lawyer may be able to challenge the government’s claim that a defendant is part of a street gang by showing that the defendant had little or no involvement with the gang, had a minimal or nominal connection with it, or had an inconsistent association with it.
Defending Against Project Cases
For many criminal defence lawyers, gun and gang cases are their bread and butter. They require a special skill set because they involve specialised police and Crown prosecutors who are well trained and experienced in these kinds of complex cases.
In the vast majority of these stories about defensive gun use, it did not seem that it would have been better for society if the defender had not used the gun. Likewise, in a lot of these stories about outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) and their turf wars, it did not appear that public safety was being promoted when the defender shot the perpetrator or someone else who was attacking them.
In the gang world, guns are seen as cultural objects that can bring respect and status recognition. They can also be used to intimidate, coerce and threaten others. The gangsters of the past were often seen as heroes by their victims, but today, these violent criminals are rarely treated that way.
Defending Against One Percenter Cases
One Percenters are clubs or groups that have a commitment to band together in a specific way, to abide by their organization’s rules enforced by violence and engage in activities that bring them into repeated and serious conflict with the law. They are generally charged with racketeering offenses and face significant time in prison.
Attorneys should be wary of prosecution efforts to rebut self-defense claims by using mutual combat or gang membership allegations. These arguments may be based on convoluted history of disagreements between the parties or their membership in amorphous youth groups that police do not recognize.
Compared to private surveys, news reports have the advantage of providing a verbal description of defensive gun use incidents (Hemenway 1997). In 418 incidents, the perpetrator was reported to be armed in 48% and in 90% of those, the defender fired their weapon. The perpetrator died in only 22 of the incidents (5%).
Defending Against Trafficking Cases
Defending against gang cases that involve human trafficking requires a sophisticated approach. Victim-survivors need comprehensive support systems to help them recover from their traumatic experiences. They also need protection against retaliation from their traffickers, and they must be encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement.
In the United States, gangs commit far more lethally violent crimes than other organized criminal groups (OCGs). Their homicide rates are among the world’s highest, mostly due to conflicts with police and rivalries for drug-dealing territory.
While firearms are commonly used by gang members, they do not have continuous access to large inventories of guns. Instead, they buy guns through theft, straw purchases, and modification or reactivation of legal weapons. They also rob and steal from the general public. In addition, many gangs use firearms in escalating arguments that lead to murders and other serious crimes. Police cannot distinguish between gangs and innocent civilians when they rely on gun sales data.