A Right to Bear Firearms but Not to Use Them? Defensive Force Rules and the Increasing Effectiveness of Non-Lethal Weapons

14 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2008 Last revised: 5 May 2009

Paul H. Robinson

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Abstract

Under existing American law, advances in non-lethal weapons increasingly make the use of firearms for defense unlawful and the Second Amendment of little practical significance. As the effectiveness and availability of less lethal weapons increase, the choice of a lethal firearm for protection is a choice to use more force than is necessary, in violation of existing self-defense law. At the same time, a shift to non-lethal weapons increases the frequency of situations in which a person's use of force is authorized because defenders with non-lethal weapons are freed from the special proportionality requirements that limit the use of deadly force.

Keywords: self-defense, non-lethal weapons, criminal law

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Paul H., A Right to Bear Firearms but Not to Use Them? Defensive Force Rules and the Increasing Effectiveness of Non-Lethal Weapons. Boston University Law Review, Vol. 89, pp. 251, 2009; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1154698 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1154698

Paul H. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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