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If someone breaks into your house...?
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If someone breaks into your house...?

If a burglar breaks into your one-story house at night (and, assuming you own a handgun), is it an overall smarter idea to try to sneak around in the dark and shoot him (assuming you're tactical), or to try to sneak out of your house through a window/door?


Our legal system considers sneaking around with the intent to kill for any reason illegal. It doesn't matter if the intruder is in your house, it is not self defense unless you or someone else in the house is in immediate danger.

If you are the only one at home and have a possible method of escape, according to our legal system, you must take it in order to be protected by our laws. As soon as you bypass a chance to get out without violence then you are breaking the law and "hunting" someone as if they were an animal.

Furthermore, if you do end up shooting at someone, you will be in more trouble if you injure them to where they can't move as opposed to killing them. If you simply injure them so that they can't move then our legal system will see it as torture and see it as proof that you were not in a situation where self defense was necessary due to the fact that you were able to show so much self restraint. Killing the person would show that it was self defense with no other option. Also, if you leave them alive then they will sue you later and more than likely win.

Basically, don't take anything but escape and contacting the police into your own hands. Our legal system doesn't protect vigilante justice. Escape and call the police if you are home alone or expect to be guilty of several crimes. If someone else is at home, you will be pardoned if you shoot the intruder while trying to secure the safety of the other person, but only if you happen to encounter the intruder while trying to do so.

That's our legal system for you. It would be smarter to run away and contact the police.

It isn't murder in my state. In my state, you break into my home and create a threat, and you get shot. That tends to eliminate the problem quickly, and they don't keep coming back like they would if you just take off and let them get away with it. You forfeited your rights the minute you invaded my home, and I certainly am not going to "sneak out" of my own place.

It's smarter not to move at all. You'd just be exposing yourself to greater risk. Keep your pistol ready, dial 911 and wait. If the goblin goes away, fine. If it approaches you and you have to shoot it, well, it should have picked a safer line of work.

Shoot that SOB. Don't Tread On Me. You break my thresh-hold, infringe on my freedoms, frankly- you are giving up yours. I'll shoot the intruder dead. End of story.

Crazy Dave
Chances are I know my house better than the intruder. He would be dead. In Texas we have the right to shoot and kill any person that breaks into our homes/cars illegally! Its called the Castle law. I Doubt that anyone would ever try though since we have a Pit bull, Rottweiler, and a Pointer.

They give up their rights as soon as they enter my house illegally! I will not run from my own home! I will defend it to the death! That is my right as an American! I will not roll over and let someone victimize me period!

They have decided that in Texas you do not have to wait to find out what the intruders intent is! If you wait for that then it could be too late! It is not murder it is justifiable homicide A.K.A self defense!

Personally, I'd do my damnest to stall until the Police arrived. Yell that you are armed and have called 911 and cops are on the way. If I was armed, Id be damned if I'd leave my home or sneak away. I would stay in the bedroom unless there are kids in other rooms, If my kids were in other rooms in the house, Anything Goes Baby and someone's going DOWN.

El Scott
It would depend on the situation (i.e. layout of the house, last known location of the bad guy in relation to you, if the bad guy is known to have a weapon and the type of weapon, etc.). Since you are in your house you are not required to retreat, it's called castle doctrine. Because the courts don't require you to retreat inside your house you have a easier time in court if you do wind up shooting the intruder.

Personally, I would do one of two things. I would either wait for the bad guy to enter the room I'm in and deal with him or, I would go after him and deal with him. It would depend if my wife and kid were home. Where they were in the house and if I knew where the bad guy might be. I would also place a 911 call and advice them to send the Police and an Ambulance. I certainly would not leave my house.

My house is two stories and only has one way in or out, the ground floor. The windows are too high to jump from safely. So even escaping would mean a confrontation in my case. So, there is only one choice in my case: Since confrontation is unavoidable, best to defend yourself by any and all means at your disposal.

Bounty Hunter
what ever idiot said that's murder will be the next one on the evening news dead from a botched robbery cuz they didn't defend themselves. You see if you have a weapon use it if need be, now what you should do first is try and make your presence known, if he don't stop than he can meet the business end of ur pistol. One good thing to do is get a bright tactical flashlight like cops carry, they carry them for a reason.. And knowing some local 5-0 I have seen them and they blind you! so that way you could hold him at gun point, until they come there. Now if the perp is armed or like I said comes at you, than yeah light him up. It ain't murder, it's called self defense. AND IT IS LEGAL. I read a story on here recently where a man had to use his 45 to protect himself and his wife when a break in occurred last spring and need less to say that burglar will never walk again. So don't listen to anybody who tells you, that you shouldn't defend your self.

BobJr's Final return
you have right to shoot anyone that breaks on your property and feel that your life is threaten, that being said the moment you shoot him he is not on your property it does not apply and can get you into legal trouble so remeber shoot and dont let him make it off your property. Also remeber you need a gun permit in the first place to have gun...

The way I look at it is that my gun is here for one purpose, and that's to keep me and my loved ones alive. Short of that, I plan to do anything I can to avoid having to shoot someone. If the burglar gets to me(us) and makes me choose between him and one of us though...well then it's him, hands down. If he makes me choose between him and my television, he can have the television.

Sneaking around looking for him isn't a good idea. Granted, you usually have the home-field advantage in your house, but you just don't know who he is, what he's got, and what he knows. He could simply be better than you.

** gunplumber, I love the way you said that. Hahaha. Thumb up. **

Sneak out. Even if you're a good shot and you see him before he sees you, you will still end up going through the legal system for having killed or injured someone in self-defense. The best idea is always to avoid a situation where violence is possible.

There are people here who would invoke some form of Castle Law. This is not recognized in half the states. And while it might protect you from criminal prosecution, it will not protect you from civil lawsuits - if the intruder turns out to be unarmed, things could get really messy for you.

Yes, the idea of defending our home strikes a chord for all of us. But if you lose years of your life to court appearances, law suits, and a polarization of your friends (those who see you as a murderer vs those who see you as a freedom fighter), and you could have avoided it by calling the cops and walking away...

.Tha QueeN.
I would shoot him. Its fight or flight and I choose to fight.

Its always best to take the safe way out get out of the house and call the professionals to get him aka the police

Kyle J
if you shoot him, im pretty sure you'd have to kill him or he could sue.(really stupid i know)

CA penal code 198.5:

Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

You should sneak out and call the cops.
It is legal to take necessary action to defend yourself if you are in immediate danger; however, it isn't so legal to shoot the burglar first.

To try to sneak out of your house through a door or window, trying to shoot someone in the dark is a bad idea a number of things could go wrong.. it's smarter to try and escape and call the police.

Lethal force is a last resort and can't be used to protect property only your life.


I would sneak out the window as you will get involved into court proceeding etc.etc.

i would sneek out as quitly as possible...
get an alarm sysem..lol

Smarter? Hrmn... THat's hard to decide.
You'll probably get a lot less grief if you just sneak on out the house.
Society however will still have to deal with this miscreant when you could have easily spared them the problem though.

Man... Just sneak out the house. If what's "best" or "smarter" is what's best for you and your family... Screw society. Let them have the thief. At least you're the victim and not the cold-blooded murderer that the news will make you out to be if you shot him.

compromised 94
sneak out side. it will reduce the chance of casualty to yourself.

Sean H
UHHHHHHH............ i have no idea, i would probably not shoot the dude(assuming its a guy) because no matter what the guilt from that will be rolling around the back of your head... And plus, most burglars arent entering with an intent to "kill" so killing him might get you in toruble, but thats just my guess

I wouldn't go after him, he could be holding a hand-gun as well.
I would probably grab my cell and hop out the window.

Maxine H
I don't think that I would want to shoot anyone either, but neither do you want them coming in your house to steal your stuff. I think I would let them know that they were seen and either walk them out of the door and/or call the police. If you were seen coming out of your door or window, then you may be taken for the thieves.

FrostedSilhouette <3
Bring your gun just in case, and sneak out then go to the neighbors or something and call the cops. If you shoot around and shoot him/her I'd love to see the trouble you'd get into.
interesting question by the way..

Sneak out. What if it was someone you knew.

Don't shoot him obviously. That's murder.
Sneak out and get to a neighbor's house and call 911 with their phone.

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