Odd but true, MA law.

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Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Dexion1619 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:19 am

So, I was looking up the differances in my current states gun laws (MA), and the state I'm moving too (WI)... And I came across something I never expected to find here in MA... We have a Castle Law?!?!

Chapter 278: Section 8A. Killing or injuring a person unlawfully in a dwelling; defense

Section 8A. In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.


I've been a firearms owner for 9 years and this is the complete opposite of what I've been told the entire time I have lived here.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by JTNieman » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:28 am

Make sure that law is not superseded by anything. Either consult local law enforcement and ask for citation, or a lawyer... if you're like me and DON'T have a lawyer on retainer, I'd ask the police. There may also be issues of city trumping county trumping state, or the other way around.

That's why you never take a person's WORD on what the LAW is, and always verify your sources.

This goes for law, politics, everything. The world is governed by rumors, half-truths, and hearsay. Don't contribute to that cruel truth.

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by charlie505 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:31 am

How does the local DA feel about that law? They have a habit of ignoring the law and doing what ever it takes to win a case that makes the people feel good and lets him keep his/her/its job

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Dexion1619 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:39 am

Oh yea, I know. Like I said, I was looking up WI laws (wanted to find out if I needed to apply for any special permits or re-register my firearms and what-not), and was compairing them with my local laws off the state web site. Thats when I stumbled onto that one. I think I'll stop by the Police station this afternoon and ask about it, my local cops know me (not for anything bad, its a small town lol).

charlie505: We actualy just had a case last year where a guy went into the wrong house, screaming, swearing, and acting violant... he got shot by the home owner. The home owner wasn't charged, I had actually forgotten all about it until you asked that. (If i can find the story I'll edit the post and link it)

Link to news story: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ ... um_sh.html

Edit: To add link and remove the word drunk
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by LowKey » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:21 am

JamesCannon wrote:Make sure that law is not superseded by anything. Either consult local law enforcement and ask for citation, or a lawyer... if you're like me and DON'T have a lawyer on retainer, I'd ask the police. There may also be issues of city trumping county trumping state, or the other way around.

That's why you never take a person's WORD on what the LAW is, and always verify your sources.

This goes for law, politics, everything. The world is governed by rumors, half-truths, and hearsay. Don't contribute to that cruel truth.
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An attorney is the only one you should consult on interpretation of a law. LEO's aren't admitted to the bar, and any explanation of the law they give you wont keep your ass out of a sling. If the cop (with the best of intentions) errs in his explanation of the law you will be up the creek without a paddle. If an attorney errs you'll still be up the creek, but with a paddle.
Asking a LEO about how they enforce the laws (in practice) is one thing, asking them to give a qualified legal opinion is something entirely different.

Go to an attorney who handles cases related to the law in question. A short office consultation shouldn't cost very much, and in the process you'll have become a paid client with his business card on hand so you can call him if you ever end up in a sticky legal situation (at his usual rate, of course).

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by JTNieman » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:33 am

LEO's don't always go by memory when enforcing laws. They have these computers, these days, in their vehicles that can quickly and efficiently look up statutes and laws before proceeding with the case. That's why I suggested the cop situation. They probably have more efficient tools for LOOKING UP the truth, and more willing than a lawyer to do it for free.

Additionally, gun laws are typically something so commonly asked about, that many offices put together brief literature to distribute to people.

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Hoppy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:45 am

We do have a Castle Law of sorts. unfortunately ours isnt as strongly worded as many other states. it simply says that it is an acceptable argument in court, and that you have no duty to retreat.you still have to prove you used reasonable means.

so if the guys drunk, walks into the wrong house and is standing there all confused, no you cant shoot him.
if the guys drunk, walks into the wrong house and freaks out and trys to attack you, then you have no duty to retreat ( as your home is the last line of retreat) and you can defend your self proportionately.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by TravisM.1 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:46 am

I don't care what it says. Just like any other law, they'll twist it around to suit their needs.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Hoppy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:58 am

Oh, Dexion. if you havent heard/read about Commonwealth V. Bolduc, check it out. it gives us some hope. its only a trial court decision but its a foot in the door and some hope for an actual change in the law. ofcourse its also about a member of the State Police. sooo. who knows how it would apply to us mere peasants.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=45163" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Dexion1619 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:00 pm

Yea, that's why after seeing the law, I remembered the incident in the news story I linked too... When I had first heard about it, my first thought had been "That guy is screwed, I feel for him." A few days latter, I heard at the range that no charges were being filed and he was in the clear; I was shocked too say the least.

Why is it that bad changes in law happen overnight, and good common sense ones take years?

I hadn't seen that case Hoppy, thanks for pointing it out.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Sig_Ocelot » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:04 pm

Dexion1619 wrote:So, I was looking up the differances in my current states gun laws (MA), and the state I'm moving too (WI)... And I came across something I never expected to find here in MA... We have a Castle Law?!?!

Chapter 278: Section 8A. Killing or injuring a person unlawfully in a dwelling; defense

Section 8A. In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.


I've been a firearms owner for 9 years and this is the complete opposite of what I've been told the entire time I have lived here.
The DA will say that poor old Tyrone and Cletus were in your house just stealing your TV. Even though they have 5 past convictions for battery, they were good kids. And you willingly loaded your non-hunting shotgun with LETHAL ammunition, walked out of your bed room, and shot both of them dead. You willingly murdered them over a TV. Sham on you, you're going to prison.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by raptor » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:22 pm

I have to agree that you should consult an attorney regarding the usefulness and validity of any law on the books in the US. It is entirely possible that a court case invalidated the law or other wise interpret it differently.

My opinion of the verbiage (no I am not an attorney nor is this legal advice) is that there is no duty to retreat if you are inside your home and if attacked inside you home you have the right to defend yourself. That is not exactly a castle law.

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Dexion1619 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:31 pm

Nah, My situation would be pretty much the same as what happened in the link I posted... If someone is robbing the first floor I'll let the police handle it (TV isn't worth the time, hassle and emotional trauma of shooting someone IMO); If they are dumb enough too come up the stairs after I've yelled "I have called the police and am armed with a shotgun"... Well, Darwin takes over from there...

Edit: I guess you have to live here to understand how surprising it is for even that law (even worded as it is) too be on the books. I wasn't posting it as a "woohoo we're almost like Texas", more like "Holy crap! Thats more coverage then I would have expected in this state!"
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Hoppy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:59 pm

for many many reasons i wouldnt want to be like texas. In this context il point to the lack of "3006" or like signage laws in MA, no laws about carrying where alcohol is sold ( you can carry in a bar/restaurant but cannot consume alcohol), as far as i can tell no obligation to inform LEO if they dont ask ( but you should anyways because they WILL make your day a lot worse if you dont and they find out) you can carry in a hospital, church or other public places.

once you bust your balls, jump through the hoops and get the Class A LTC you can carry most anywhere except the same restricted places as most states ( schools, colleges, and gov offices)
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by herbalpagan » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:13 pm

When I took the class for my class A LTC, we went over that in great detail. Though there is a Castle Law (and to my knowledge it hasn't been superseeded by any other), the great state of Mass would prefer it if you just died rather than protect yourself. :roll: There are so many rules and regs that it's not funny. I'm in the boonies in western Mass where it's not so bad.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by BullOnParade » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:19 pm

Dexion1619 wrote:So, I was looking up the differances in my current states gun laws (MA), and the state I'm moving too (WI)... And I came across something I never expected to find here in MA... We have a Castle Law?!?!

Chapter 278: Section 8A. Killing or injuring a person unlawfully in a dwelling; defense

Section 8A. In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.


I've been a firearms owner for 9 years and this is the complete opposite of what I've been told the entire time I have lived here.
Those two words there make me think you ought to be very careful with this one. Here in Canada, "reasonable" is a word used often in our defense laws. If someone punches you, and you pull a knife to defend yourself, you're in the wrong. I know America is different, especially with gun laws ... But MA is probably the closest to us.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by misanthropist » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:46 pm

Although if you are, on reasonable grounds, in fear for your life, in Canada, you are completely within your rights to shoot.

But you must believe on reasonable grounds that you or your family or others are in mortal peril.

Honestly our courts haven't been too bad about applying this law, either.

We have a similar form of castle doctrine here. Obviously it's up to the courts to interpret but we actually do pretty well on self defense, despite what a lot of people think.
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Suuko » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:49 am

"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"
Exodus 22:2
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by rube79 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:35 am

Do not get on my properti hur in Missssisssippi, but seriously dont. If your on my property and your a threat = game over. No more of this, "drag them in the house" BS. They passed these new laws and crime goes down..... So weird, why the hell would crime go down :?

My house is too small for an intruder, sorry fellas hes not going to make it.

My Father was one of those .22 pistol guys about 10 years ago, before the new law for this area. He thought someone was breaking into a neighbor's home, so he walked to the alley by the MAIN road. 3 large black gentlemen w/ bags of goodies were there and surprised as hell. He pulled his pistol, 2 ran and the other was FAST. As the black gentlemen was beating the shit out of my father, he was shot 3 times w/ that .22lr pistol. Ankle, collar area and a graze on his arm. The man was beating my father w/ a stolen Teck9 and couldn't cock it for the life of him. The guy mounts my dad and my dad is pushing the guy off him with the pistol in his chest... The guy finally notices the pistol and see the blood.... Instantly goes into shock over seeing his own blood. Come to find out that some of the police were mad as hell that he discharged a firearm in the city.... Thank God, that he shot the ring leader to the gang that was on a crime spree. The sheriff and detectives gave him a pat on the back! NO charges, but took his .22lr and the 9mm beratta that was behind his back... for like WEEKS... Good news was that he had more toys at home, but the Robbers were taken care of by the Gang that they stole from...

My Father was lucky... He tried to think, instead of act and almost got him killed. The robber lived, but even after the rape, assault and robbery charges he was out of prison w/in 2-3 years. He moved about 2 blocks from the incident and is now selling Drugs. I love our legal system :roll:

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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by Sig_Ocelot » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:36 am

Suuko wrote:"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"
Exodus 22:2
Might fly in Saudi Arabia... :|
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by bigmattdaddywack » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:45 am

Sig_Ocelot wrote:
Suuko wrote:"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"
Exodus 22:2
Might fly in Saudi Arabia... :|
Works in Texas. :lol:
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Re: Odd but true, MA law.

Post by LowKey » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:51 am

bigmattdaddywack wrote:
Sig_Ocelot wrote:
Suuko wrote:"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"
Exodus 22:2
Might fly in Saudi Arabia... :|
Works in Texas. :lol:
Seems to be pretty simple and straight forward.
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