Readers weigh in on the Make My Day law

"Armed and Ready," Alan

Prendergast, July 18

Let the Buyer Beware

The logical, and essential, premise of "Make My Day" laws (an extension of common law or statutory principles governing trespass or breaking and entering) is that only a limited number of people, such as family members or police armed with a warrant, may lawfully enter someone's home without express permission.

The obvious problem with extending the "Make My Day" defense to businesses is that the public is not only welcome, but actively encouraged, to enter most businesses. As "business invitees," their entry into and presence in the business is completely lawful. It therefore becomes much more difficult to distinguish between those who are "fair game" (such as those who attempt to rob a store or bank with a weapon) and those whose actions, even if unlawful, do not justify the use of deadly force. It would therefore seem that current law, which already, in accordance with traditional "self-defense" standards, permits business owners to use deadly force to defend themselves against an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death (especially with the benefit of surveillance video) sufficiently protects businesses.

(Of course, my perspective is undoubtedly influenced by the fact I do not operate a medical-marijuana or liquor store.)

Moreover, there can be no denying that extending "Make My Day" laws to retail businesses might significantly stem the horrendous plague of shoplifting to which retailers are subject, and thereby reduce the "tax" they in turn must impose on law-abiding citizens to cover their "shrinkage."

Against this benefit, one must weigh the dangers of a crazed "Soup Nazi," or chef enraged by a complaint about his sole meunière, getting the drop on a hapless diner.

Mark Brennan

I have a particular interest in the expansion of the Make My Day law to businesses. I am a delivery driver (the fifth-most-dangerous job in the country), and am a CCW permit-holder. I carry at work, but must keep this secret to keep my job (and that of my boss).

Outside the home, even the most righteous shoot is still vulnerable to civil lawsuits. No matter how much of a thug the perp was, the surviving family will sue. I support the expansion of Make My Day to ensure that if the police investigation supports a righteous shoot, no lawsuits can go forward. This way I might be able to carry freely, since my employer would no longer be between a rock and a hard place regarding lawsuits.

As to DA Mitch Morrissey's comment on kids stealing candy bars, please remember that the threshold for all shootings outside the home is very likely to remain "death or serious bodily injury." What an expansion of Make My Day would give us is protection from bogus civil lawsuits.

Delivery Driver

I still don't understand where people come up with the idea that it is somehow a morally superior point of view to be a victim of a violent crime. Rape, theft, larceny are all against the law. Citizens who abide by the laws have the right to own their own wealth and be secure on their property, or in their dwellings. The police are not charged with, or capable of, being present at every law-breaking event in the area (city, county, block — pick a place).

An armed society is a polite society! I guess it goes back to child rearing. Discipline, fear of reprisals and consequences appear to be a thing of the past. In a world where everyone is a winner, it makes sense that no one else has the right to privacy, or to be successful!

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Even a police officer responding to a burglary wouldn't be allowed to shoot a man without visual confirmation that his life is in danger. Why are we elevating ordinary citizens — or, in the case of far too many "Make My Day" shooters, former deviants themselves — above the law? Why are we allowing half-wit pot farmers to determine the capacity for violence of an unarmed intruder?

Petty theft is not a capital offense, nor is it a stepping stone toward committing rape or murder. At what point did Americans lose the ability to just kick someone's ass? When did our society turn into a bunch of ninnies with guns?

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Editor's note: For many, many more comments on Alan Prendergast's cover story on the Make My Day law, see the online version at

"Too Many Mornings," Alan Prendergast, January 3

No Justice for Kimmyan

A year ago, Kimmyan Franklin's spirit left her body. Nobody knows what she really went through. Her family and friends are left wondering. There is no closure. Why? There has been no justice in this case. It is a wrongful death.

If she had been with people at that moment who really cared about her, she would have received the treatment that she desperately needed and would still be alive today. But if she was left unattended before she was taken to the hospital, there could have been a lawsuit and possibly some people losing their jobs. If people had been brought to justice in this wrongful death, there could be some kind of closure. If she was a child, whoever was her caretaker at that moment would have been charged with neglect resulting in death. Different situation? No! Every human being should be allowed the dignity of treatment and care for the benefit of their lives.

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