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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a thread on the MGB P80 forum about vanity slide backplates, the issue was raised about legal liability being affected (increased) by decorative images and messages on a gun, should it be used defensively (and end up in court).

My first P80:


My 2nd build (under way):


Some other examples I pulled from the MGB P80 forum:





Font Rectangle Symbol Logo Fashion accessory



I've seen this speculated many times in many gun forums. I challenged a member on the MGB forum to find a single case where it was a factor. Then I challenged myself to the same.

I did a little research on GlockTalk, since I knew that noted authority Mas Ayoob has a Self-Defense sub-forum there. He is of the opinion that defensive weapons decorated with potentially offensive images or text CAN be a problem legally. It just doesn't look good, if nothing else. It may not hurt, but it definitely won't help. And, there was a case where it was a factor (but did not cause a conviction). I'm quoting from Mas Ayoob on the GT forum:

The most recent,high profile case is Arizona v. Phillip Brailsford, the officer who shot a man with a privately owned/department approved AR15, to which he had fitted a dust cover reading "You're f----d." The prosecution made a huge deal out of it as "indicia of malice." Brailsford's attorney, Michael Piccarreta, was able to keep that bit of evidence out through a pre-trial motion in limine, but it is widely believed to have been part of the prosecution's decision to bring a charge of murder, and though the officer was acquitted, the controversial dust cover was cited by the police department as one reason they fired the officer.

Of course, whether something is "offensive" can be subjective. Some may be rather obvious, like "Make my day" or "You're f***ed." And, even the "Punisher" logo. None of those are my style, mind you.

However, "Shall not be infringed?" Or, "We the People?" Or even, "Molon Labe?"

Would I carry a gun that says "Go ahead. Make my day" on it? Nope. First, it's just not my style. I do like historical references such as the 2A or the Gadsden flag and such. And, I would like to think they are not problematic. But, IANAL.

What about this?
Camera accessory Gadget Font Rectangle Electronic device

Or this?
Head Smile Mammal Happy Rectangle


What about just an American Flag emblem?
Rectangle Font Gas Toy Electric blue


There are people today that STRONGLY believe our Flag is a symbol of "oppression." Go figure.

I don't know. I guess we each have to decide whether our vanity ranks higher than our paranoia.

Me? I'm keeping my decorative / political stuff to my range toys and showpieces. My defensive weapons have been, and will remain, Plain Jane utilitarian tools without decoration.

OK, you guys... GO! 😁
 

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I do not know the rules of evidence or the likelihood of admissibility of "offensive" decorations on a weapon, but why provide possibly predudicial information.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I show you the weapon used in the shooting.

Oh my, the side of the rifle says 'make my day'.
 

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I'll be interested to see what Shark's opinion is. My own opinion is that most of them would probably not come into play. The one that said "Murder Hornet"... Yeah, I can see that being an issue.
 

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Just put a """SUPPORT YOUR B.L.M. """ on your gun and they will just throw the case out of court if you shoot someone.
Ronnie
 

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My guess would be it might be a factor if the aim of the prosecutor was to paint you as some sort of extremist or loose cannon sort of guy. If the nature of the case was going to hinge on something like shooting when it wasn't legally justified, I wouldn't think it would be of much value. Thing is, you never know what's in the mind of jurors, and it's possible one or more of them might pick up on that detail and form conclusions in their own mind about the meaning of them.

My own choice is to not put anything like that on a firearm. There's plenty of other ways to doll up a shooting iron without words that might be misconstrued. Also, if one feels a need to telegraph those kinds of messages, you could put it on a tee shirt or a range bag,
 

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I wouldn't do it. Then again, I wouldn't put bumper stickers or "personalized" plates on my car (when I had one), either. I'd want it to be the most nondescript thing they ever saw. Put them right to sleep so I just might slip by them.
I saw a rear bumper sticker the other day that read, 'Go ahead, get closer. I'll activate your air bags'. Cute, but not a smart message IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This raises another question in my mind... Again, IANAL....

If you were so unfortunate to be charged and in court, could they bring up such messaging that you have ELSEWHERE within your belongings? Let's say your defensive weapon is clean of such messaging. However, your range bag or your competition rifle has such messaging. Or a bumper sticker on your car? Something you posted on social media?

And, that brings to mind... Free Speech. Do you have to watch everything you say or said for fear of it being misconstrued or blow up in your face? If we extend this notion logically, one could argue that simply flying the American flag in your front yard is an example of "extremism." It's not that far-fetched. Today there are MANY people who believe the American flag is a symbol of oppression.

At some point, those of us who not only espouse Freedom, but live it... have to draw a line, eh?
 

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Do you have to watch everything you say or said for fear of it being misconstrued or blow up in your face?
I'd say it depends on how much you're willing to lose if your assumptions are wrong. Like it or not there are people out there who believe the whole package about America being nothing but an oppressive state from 1620 to 2022. No matter what you might say to them in order to convince them otherwise, they hold strong to their beliefs. We've said many times that facts don't matter to folks like that, it's all a matter of feelings and intentions that count. Importantly, it's a matter of what they think your intentions are that will count to them, not the intentions you actually express.

Once you've been placed in a bin of category, there is no getting out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If it doesn't improve the performance of my gun, I don't need it. What others do with or to their guns isn't my concern.
I'm very much of the same mindset... until I BUILT a gun. Bearing in mind that my intent for building a gun was purely as a "range toy"... I figured I might as well have FUN with it and make it a "showpiece," too.

My carry piece:
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Everyday carry


My fun range toy / showpiece, because why not? It's for FUN!

Trigger Air gun Gun barrel Gas Gun accessory

Trigger Air gun Gun barrel Gun accessory Machine gun


Product Automotive tire Automotive lighting Wheel Gas
 

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It's simple for me:
My carry guns are 100% totally stock (Glock 26, and a Glock-19).
They use the same 9mm hollow-point rounds designed to reach correct velocity out of the shorter G-26, and therefore also the longer G-19.
The holsters are both IWB Kydex with no embellishments.

I take a few more liberties with the morale patches on the side of my range bag, but the range bag will unlikely figure into any self-defense shooting given that it mostly lives in my safe.

As far as social media: Shoot to kill baby!! (kidding, of course).
Shoot to eliminate the threat. Then stop once the threat is no longer present.

My non-carry guns on the other hand don't "need" overly-deadly looking (or sounding) embellishments! :)
One look at my RPR in .338 Lapua Magnum gets the point across just fine.
Ditto for the Tavor X95, and the IWI-TS12 15-round semi-auto shotgun!
 

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A bube has for decades warned about using stock triggers and not reducing their trigger pull as an aggressive DA could make the case you didn't mean to shoot the person, the gun had a hair trigger and you were negligent in discharging the firearm [ guilty of negligence which resulted in grave bodily harm or death too.

There's so many cases of this happening across the US in those decades, I'd be remiss to have a nice trigger job done on any of my carry pieces
























NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I'd say it depends on how much you're willing to lose if your assumptions are wrong. Like it or not there are people out there who believe the whole package about America being nothing but an oppressive state from 1620 to 2022. No matter what you might say to them in order to convince them otherwise, they hold strong to their beliefs. We've said many times that facts don't matter to folks like that, it's all a matter of feelings and intentions that count. Importantly, it's a matter of what they think your intentions are that will count to them, not the intentions you actually express.

Once you've been placed in a bin of category, there is no getting out.
Not derail this but on your one point of America being an oppressive country in many ways it has been and somewhat still is. From its creation where we had white men saying ‘all men were created equal’ and owning slaves at the same time because they were considered property then and not men up till current times. We’ve made tremendous improvements and still have a ways to go. But oppression has been with us from the start. I don’t see anything wrong with saying that. Still better than anywhere else on earth but there’s room to go.

On the Op I don’t believe in doing much mods to a carry gun. Certainly not anything that could be misconstrued.
I still remember the prosecutor shaking the ziploc bag with the hollow points my brother had in his 1911. ‘He was using these!! It’s indicative of one who sat around and fantasized about shooting somebody!!’ He said. Bros atty turned it around in saying they were exact same ammo our local PD used and designed for SD nothing more. This was at the height of the Black Talon days and it’s good he didn’t have those in there. Might not have gone the same.
 

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A bube has for decades warned about using stock triggers and not reducing their trigger pull as an aggressive DA could make the case you didn't mean to shoot the person, the gun had a hair trigger and you were negligent in discharging the firearm [ guilty of negligence which resulted in grave bodily harm or death too.

There's so many cases of this happening across the US in those decades, I'd be remiss to have a nice trigger job done on any of my carry pieces
He has certainly made the Alvarez case the rack upon which his hat hangs for those decades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A bube has for decades warned about using stock triggers and not reducing their trigger pull as an aggressive DA could make the case you didn't mean to shoot the person, the gun had a hair trigger and you were negligent in discharging the firearm [ guilty of negligence which resulted in grave bodily harm or death too.

There's so many cases of this happening across the US in those decades, I'd be remiss to have a nice trigger job done on any of my carry pieces
























NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would agree on that. All my defensive firearms are bone stock, save an adhesive grip or different sights.
 
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