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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

East St. Louis clerk who killed robber not facing charges

As discussed Thursday, an East St. Louis convenience store clerk shot and killed one of a group of predatory thugs trying to rob the place. At the time, I expressed some concern that (this being Illinois) the clerk could find himself in legal jeopardy, simply for defending his life with a firearm.

This is, after all, East St. Louis, IL we're talking about, where the mayor tells us that the Second Amendment means nothing outside one's home.

Parks gave a reminder that Illinois does not allow concealed carrying of guns.

"You have the right to bear arms, but you have the right to bear them within your home, not on the streets, not in your cars, not inside stores," Parks said.
East St. Louis is located in St. Clair County, the board of which is fighting a years-long, expensive legal battle to close down a gun range, despite the range having never caused a problem.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise to me that the State's Attorney for St. Clair County apparently recognizes legitimate self-defense when he sees it.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida, whose office filed the charge, said in a prepared statement: "I commend the shop clerk for what is clearly a legal act of self-defense." He added, "This type of defensive action is allowed by law-abiding citizens when violent, unlawful acts are perpetrated against them."
Granted, I suspect Haida's reaction may have been somewhat different if the act of self-defense had happened on the street, with a firearm carried in contravention of Illinois law against self-defense in public, but he's doing the right thing here.

Incidentally, one of the surviving robbers is being charged with murder for the death of his accomplice. That's because in Illinois (along with several other states--I don't know how many), if someone--even one of the perpetrators--dies as the result of a felony, his/her accomplice(s) can be charged with murder.

I have mixed feelings about that. I certainly want the book thrown at perpetrators of crimes like armed robbery, but I'm not particularly comfortable with the idea of a murder charge, when there doesn't seem to be a murder victim. The deceased in this case made the choice to commit armed robbery, and ended up paying with his life for that bad decision. If he's a "victim" of anything, it's of his own bad decisions.

Still, the murder charge against one of the surviving thugs offends me far less than the fact that legal self-defense with a firearm in Illinois is restricted to such a narrow set of circumstances (in one's home or business, basically).


Top of the Chain said...

With the murder charge of the surviving suspect, I believe it is similiar to a son being guilty for the sins of his father.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Not a bad analogy, ToC.

straightarrow said...

Have to disagree. The accomplice and the dead guy both decided to rob someone. Someone died as a result of that decision. That death is a direct result of them taking action on that decision. While the clerk did not commit murder (unjustifiable homicide) because his actions were justified, the accomplice did commit a crime where someone died. From his perspective that death was unjustified homicide (murder) because of their actions of attempted felony. Absent their actions no one would have died, as he was a guilty player in that action someone did. I agree with the murder charge levied against the accomplice.

Unlike the analogy presented by TOC, the son is not guilty of the sins of the father if he did not participate, though some would immorally visit such upon the son, it is wrong. In this case the chargee was an active participant and was guilty of the same sins as his partner. Sins which caused death.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

SA, as always, you make a good case for your position. Let me run a hypothetical by you, though.

Let's say I'm carrying a loaded handgun as I go about town--a felony (aggravated unlawful use of a weapon) in Illinois. Let's say, furthermore, that I'm clumsy with my concealment, and the gun is seen. Let's then say that the police are called ("Man with a gun!"), and rush to the scene to save the day. Let's finally say that in their hurry to get this dangerous felon (me, in our hypothetical story), they run over a little old lady crossing the street, killing her.

It's my understanding (I might be wrong) that responsibility for an accident involving officers responding to a felony call is laid at the feet of the felon in question.

That would mean that, under this law, I'm on the hook for murder, despite doing nothing but carrying (albeit clumsily) a gun for self-defense. In fact, if the person hit by the police car had not been a little old lady, but a gangbanger running away from whatever misdeed he had just committed, I'd still be on the hook for murder.

Granted, that's a somewhat long string of hypotheticals, and quite unlikely, but it's where we can end up with such laws.