States’ Differing Attitudes On 2nd Amendment Yield Two Self-Defense Stories With Very Different Results


In Alabama, an Average Joe likely won’t face charges for standing his ground after killing an intruder this week in self-defense.

But a millionaire businessman in New York City could spend three years in jail simply for pointing an unlicensed gun at a man who broke into his home in January.

Police in Albertville, a small North Alabama town, said a local homeowner probably won’t face charges for shooting and killing an intruder who picked the wrong time to break into one of the shooter’s vacant rental properties Tuesday.

The Sand Mountain Reporter said the unnamed homeowner killed the (also unnamed) intruder after the intruder allegedly broke into the house while its owner and a friend were inside checking on the property. The homeowner himself called 911 immediately after he shot the burglar.

Albertville Assistant Police Chief Jamie Smith told WHNT that, since a person was killed, police investigators must automatically review the case before a grand jury — although he expects there won’t be an indictment.

“We are in the early stages of the investigation, but right now we’re treating it as a burglary and the homeowner defending his property,” Smith said. “I’m sure at the time he felt he was in danger, so he took what action he thought he needed to take at the time to protect himself…You can back away from anything, but home is as far backwards as you can go. At what point do you leave your house to let them have it? If that’s even a question, and in my mind, it wouldn’t be.”

Meanwhile, George Bardwil, a 60-year-old New York man who heads a century-old family business, had to plead not guilty Wednesday to illegal gun possession after aiming a .40 caliber pistol at a man who broke into his Manhattan apartment.

Pointing the gun, which was registered to Bardwil’s bodyguard and kept safe in a secured box at the apartment, produced the desired effect: The intruder fled.

Like the Alabama homeowner, Bardwil immediately called 911 when the incident was over; but that didn’t quite produce the desired effect. The police came. Bardwil, who likely thought he was fortunate to be in a position to afford a security system, played back the entire incident for the cops from footage his cameras had captured.

They arrested him on suspicion of possessing an illegal gun.

In addition to having gun control laws farther afoul of Constitutional intent than almost any other State, New York is one of six States also considered to have weak self-defense laws.

Alabama and more than 20 other States have “stand your ground” laws intended to guarantee citizens they won’t face prosecution if circumstances require they use lethal force against an attacker — no matter where the attack occurs. Several other States have weaker, so-called “castle” laws, which apply to residents inside a home who use force to fend off invaders.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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