Can your home library cause a legal problem [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Ffolkes
07-12-2010, 23:50
In the legal aftermath of a self defense action, can the contents of my home library be used against me?

For instance, after a shooting, would it be a problem if it turns out I have a few books or magazines on shooting, a dozen books, a hundred? At some point can a lawyer say I had more than an interest in shooting, but instead "was clearly learning to be a killer shot"? Does a complete Field and Stream collection show a healthy interest in sport, while all the issues of Soldier of Fortune should stay in the closet?

On the other hand, can I use what's in my books to my legal advantage to justify why I acted as I did? For instance, I did what I did because I have this book on Self Defense by Ayoob that said I should?

Thanks, Mas.

Mas Ayoob
07-13-2010, 07:49
The single most common self-defense shooting scene for armed citizens is defense against home invaders, which means the home has become a crime scene and investigators can gather up anything they think is relevant evidence. If your library looks to them as if you're obsessed with violence, they may well try to use it as evidence.

In one case I did in Texas, the shooting scene was a law office and the prosecutor made a big deal out of a woodcut on the office wall that depicted a cowboy holding a smoking Peacemaker. In another case I did in Missouri, the prosecution made a huge deal out of an officer having some gun periodicals in his patrol car, after he had to kill a violent man pursuant to a traffic stop. We were able to prevail over both and keep both defendants out of jail. But, you're right...that sort of thing can happen.

Defense team can neutralize that sort of thing, explaining to the jury that as a gun collector you have gun books, just as a stamp collector would have a library of stamp books. There may indeed be things in those books that can help you in court, so on the whole, I wouldn't worry about it. Just don't have stuff like "The Turner Diaries" that can be seen as racist hate literature, and that sort of thing.

best,
Mas