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Irish self defence

I’ve had a busy day, so do not have time for much Samizdata-ing, but I think that most of us will be agreeing that this is quite good news:

Irish homeowners can now legally use guns to defend themselves if their homes are attacked under new legislation.

Yes it’s not good when your home gets “attacked under new legislation”. Sorry. Carry on.

The new home defense bill has moved the balance of rights back to the house owner if his home is broken into “where it should always have been”, say top Irish police.

The police association of superintendents and inspectors, the AGSI, stated that “the current situation, which legally demands a house owner retreat from an intruder, was intolerable”.

I know, I know, it probably doesn’t go far enough, but it is a step in the right direction. I particularly like what “AGSI” said. Wish we had something like AGSI here. Our policemen have the default position which just goes: leave everything to us sir. As in: leave everything to us and if you dare to do anything except surrender, just because we only got there a day late, we’ll arrest you.

Thank you Guido, where this piece is currently number two on his list of “Seen Elsewhere” stuff.

24 comments to Irish self defence

  • Sunfish

    You do have something like AGSI. It’s called ACPO.

    Over here we call it IACP or NACP, and it’s the biggest collection of office politicians and related scum ever seen.

    Very much a step in the right direction, the Irish bill is.

    From the article:

    The Irish Council for Civil Liberties however, stated it would inspect the bill to establish that it was “human-rights compliant”.

    Protecting a right to armed self-protection inside one’s own home seems to me to be very much human-rights compliant. I don’t know why they need to insert themselves into the discussion here.

  • Nuke Gray

    If this was a Dave-Allen skit, the punchline would be, “If all goes well, home-owners will be allowed to buy and keep bullets next year!”

  • paul

    As an American, it does seem strange that you are not expected to fight back against an intruder, although there are many states where guns are banned. What does the Irish council for civil liberties mean when they say they are going to inspect the new law for civil rights compliance? Do they mean for the burglar? I just don’t get it.

    We have so many laws on the books now for entirely victimless crimes, or for boorish behavior, that I’m astonished people can’t look at REAL crime in the face and want it punished–and defended against. Burglary is SERIOUS.

    If a burglar breaks into your house, who knows what he is doing there? It is just to steal (which is bad enough)? Or something worse? Is he armed? You don’t know. You can’t just call the police and wait for them to arrive if he has violence in mind. You must have a gun.

    I know in California, you can have a gun in your house, but you are not allowed to just shoot an intruder who isn’t attacking you. This should not be the case. If someone breaks into your house, the law should view it as an attack on your person.

    If you have ever had someone break in, you must know it is terrifying. It is dark, it is 3 in the morning, and someone is IN THE HOUSE. If you don’t have a gun, best you can do is call the police and shout and hope he runs away. But if he doesn’t run, well then excessive respect for the law turned out to be an anti-survival trait, and Darwin claims his price.

  • paul

    Re-reading my comments there, I should say there are many states and localities where there are restrictions on guns, not outright bans. The recent supreme court decision seems to be opening it up a bit. Chicago is going to have to modify its law.

    But each state also has its own laws for handling shootings in the home. Some, like Texas and Colorado, give wide protection to people who shoot an intruder in the home, whereas in others it is considered murder.

    Obviously, you can’t just shoot a guest or a trespasser on your lawn. The distinction revolves around whether or not you can shoot a burglar regardless of his being armed or attacking you.

  • jsallison

    I would be doing less than my duty as a husband and grandfather if I did not cause an intruder to assume ambient temperature. He will have created fear, uncertainty and doubt in my own house. I don’t like fear, uncertainty and doubt in my own house. He will pay for it. I’ll see his lawyers in court, if need be, but he will be out of the picture.

  • jsallison

    Oh yeah, the unstated message in the last post… Don’t be an intruder in my house. You’ve been warned.

  • Laird

    The Irish Council for Civil Liberties however, stated it would inspect the bill to establish that it was “human-rights compliant”.

    Sounds like the Irish Council for Civil Liberties falls into the “stupid but well-mannered” category from the thread above.

  • Well either that or they fall into a category of “cunning and evil bastards”.

  • Do they mean for the burglar? I just don’t get it.

    You do get, and yes, they mean the burglar.

  • I guess that what we could do here in practice depends on tow things:

    (1) the probability of the defender being caught, one day in the future,

    (2) that of the intruder surviving sufficiently long to be able to communicate with accomplices and his related thugs, so that he could report his last position….as in a torpedoed ship.

    If he was simply “taken down” instantly, then he could be disposed of securely at a convenient time.

    The slow, gradual and total disappearance of individual thugs, over the months and years, from their habitual associative circles and into what “The Final Solution” dubbed “Nicht und Nebel” might “send a strong message” to said circles. Intrusions into households will slowly diminish, like the smell of dead animals forgotten behind ancient wood-panelling.

    You’d have of course to factor in this worrying possibility: that they had previously discussed with some associates what dwelling they were going to “look at” that day.

    Which brings me to the practice of “Garden-Hopping” which I had recently explained to me by some teens. You get plastered, then you climb over people’s back walls, and see how many gardens you can romp through without getting reported to “teh fuzz”. With hindsight it happened to us a year ago one night, and explains the mystery of our totally-wrecked pea-stick-rows, carrying an almost full load of flowers that would have given us a record weight of peas. A solution to this might be to lay small mines just inside vulnerable unauthorised entry-points – sufficient to injure badly enough to put the buggers off of life as they land, but perhaps not to quite remove a foot.

  • John K

    This might make some sense if you were able to own a gun in Ireland, but their “gun control” is as bad, if not worse, than the UK’s. It’s odd really, because their state was born out of armed rebellion, but unlike in the USA, the founding fathers in Ireland decided that guns belonged not in the hands of the people, but only in the hands of the state. And they, of course, were the state. Welcome to the new boss…

  • Jerry

    Paul, you are correct, there are MANY and VARIED restrictions at the local level but outright bans are VERY RARE ( Chicago and NYC for handguns are the only 2 I can think of at the moment !! )
    I have to do research before traveling to see where I can and can’t go legally – until recently National Parks banned firearms despite the dangers, both 4 and 2 legged, that exist in them !! I do NOT travel without firearms. If you’ve ever had a car stop 30 miles from nowhere at 2Am on a 2 lane road and then see a set of headlights approaching and pull over behind your car, the feeling you get if you are unarmed is why I no longer travel that way.
    Secondly, if you come into my home uninvited, I don’t care what time it may be or your reasons, you left your rights outside !
    The whole idea of determining the motives of the burglar before taking action is ludicrous. I’ll lay odds that he ( or she ) is NOT there for milk and cookies and if you wait until you are attacked – IT’S TOO LATE !!
    Third. At least in this country.
    I have 2 videos, one from a law professor and another from a police officer talking to the same class and BOTH saying ‘NEVER, EVER, FOR ANY REASON, TALK TO THE POLICE.
    The situation and reason for your arrest is irrelevant.
    State your name, in the case of a shooting, that you were in fear for your life, and you want a lawyer and then SHUT THE HELL UP !!
    Sounds like the Irish are at least moving back in the right direction.
    Outlawing firearms accomplishes nothing. The outlaws don’t care if guns are illegal and those laws then provide them a target rich environment of defenseless

  • John K


    You may be thinking of DC, not NYC. Handguns are not banned in NYC, and indeed, if you have the juice, you (or your bodyguard) can even get a concealed carry permit. Of course, if you are little people, you can kiss off and die.

  • Sunfish

    The only absolute HANDGUN bans in the US were at the local/municipal level and the only ones I can actually name were suburbs of Chicago (Morton Grove being the first, ever, in the US). Chicago itself had a requirement of requiring that a given handgun be registered to a given owner in 1982 and continuously since, no new registrations accepted after 1982 and no reregistrations allowed after a lapse. Exceptions granted only for the duty firearms of CPD and CCSPD officers.[1]

    As for what was involved in a concealed-weapons permit from the City, County, and State of Denver before we went shall-issue in 2002, the less said, the better.

    [1] One alderman, father of the wife of the former governor now standing trial for trying to sell a senate seat that came open in 2008 after its occupant found new government housing[2], brought up a bill in the city council to allow reregistration after lapse- but only re-registration applications submitted during a three month window that ended before the bill was introduced. It was because Aldercreature Mell had let his own registrations lapse. Oops.

    [2] It’s the Chicago Way. The place is like a Sicilian Zimbabwe.

  • I understand the Bill also permits home owners to use narwhal tusks to repel intruders, or to scorch them with burning (authentiic, not copy!) Vermeer or Rembrandt paintings.

  • Paul Marks

    Ireland has always had its violent side – yes even before 1170, indeed there has NEVER BEEN a “united independent Ireland” (one might as well talk about Fairyland), “High Kings” of Ireland had no authority over many places in Ireland.

    But this has its good side as well as its bad side.

    The sort of slavish attitude that has led the people on this island to give up their firearms (and firearms were common before 1914) does not exist among the people who live on the main island in the British Isles.

    The Irish have starved many times (not just in the 1840s), but widespread serfdom and slavery is not their way – not even the Vikings could make that stick.

    Some “gun control” exists certainly – but nothing like here.

    One might as well try and stop Irish people riding to hounds.

  • Paul Marks

    On “gun control” one must note not just the state of the laws – but the Irish habit (indeed tradition) of disobeying any law they consider unjust.

    A bad thing in many ways – but not in all ways.

  • Laird

    “A bad thing in many ways”

    I beg to differ. It’s a good thing, in nearly every way. Indeed, I’d posit that it’s the first duty of a citizen.

  • Paul Marks

    Laird – many Irish “Tinkers” (and othes) regard the law against theft as unjust (at least theft from people not in their kin group).

    And many Irish people in history (going back as far as one cares to look) regard the law against murder as unjust (whole organizations are set up on this principle – and songs are sung about them).

    Nor are we just talking about adult men – killing off women and children of an opposing group has been common practice (sometimes in a confused state of mind – for example the 1798 revolt was led by a Protestant , but down south they did not “get the memo” and still put hundreds of Protestant women and children into barnes and burned then alive, because that is what one did when in revolt).

    There is a reason why Ireland starves every so often (not just in the 1840’s) it is because PROPERTY RIGHTS have historically been so insecure there.

    “That is because various British government kept confiscating land” – yes, but that is not the only reason. As property rights were insecure (and violently contested) even before 1170.

    When visitors (from France or whereever) arrived in Ireland (no matter in what century) they were always shocked by how little development there was in Irish farming – not everywhere (some parts of Ireland had very good farming) but in most of Ireland.

    Peasant plots where no one would plant a tree or build a wall (or do much of anything) – that was the common perception (and partly a fair one).

    Murry Rothbard used to praise the contempt for state laws in Ireland – but “Brehon Law” was not actually very good, and the “law” of the various secret societies (Protestant and Catholic) in Irish history has been just glorified “burn their houses, burn their crops – kill them, before they kill us”.

    Ireland was mostly NOT in chaos – but there was a strong chaotic element.

    And chaos is NOT libertarianism.

    Having said all the above……….

    For all its bad side (the de facto driving out of almost all nonCatholics for example) the “Free State” and the Irish Republic have achieved something that has never been seen in Irish history before.

    One can now go to Ireland to a farm and ask “who does this farm belong to?”

    And EVERYONE WILL AGREE in telling you who it belongs to.

    There is no more of such things as one man saying “well this land belongs to me – I live in that house on the hill” and another man telling you “no it does not belong to him – his forefathers were given the land by that son of whore Cromwell, we are going to burn that house on the hill this very night”.

    And so on and so on.

    Real progress is rather difficult when most people do not firmly agree on who owns what. And (I repeat there was blood soaked confusion even before 1170).

  • Paul Marks

    Sunfish – “Sicilian Zimbabwe”.

    Errr it was not the Italians or the blacks who built up the corrupt and brutal City Hall “machines” in most large American cities (not just Chicago).

    Ask Mayor Daley what ethnic group orginally created this form of rule (many decades ago) – but, of course, ask him from a safe distance. Of course they are mostly not in charge now – but history is what it is.

    Vote early and vote often – and make sure the dead vote. And break the head of anyone who presents a serious problem. That has always been the way (and it comes from Ireland).

    Before anyone accuses me of anti Irish bias – I should point out that my mother’s name was Power.

    That is another achievement of the Republic by the way.

    In Ulster the strength of Sein Fein is often attributed to its vote rigging (which makes it unchallengeable in the “Nationalist Community” – and gives it control of more and more mixed towns, whilst the British government looks the other way).

    In the Republic Sein Fein tries much the same line of policy – but does not get into a position of power (at least not yet).

    Should S.F. ever get into a position of power it will be a return to the bad days for Ireland – for the IRA people have no real respect for property rights (whether the property is owned by Protestants, Catholics or whoever – the only property right a Sein Fein man cares about is his own, or that of a personal friend or close kin).

    For anyone else – they can always find a reason to “justify” stealing it. Their Marxism (downplayed these days) is basically a way of justify their criminality.

  • Sunfish

    Errr it was not the Italians or the blacks who built up the corrupt and brutal City Hall “machines” in most large American cities (not just Chicago).

    Not my point. My point is that it’s a deeply-corrupt mobbed-up third-world country currently suffering from a slow-burning civil war, masquerading as a large midwestern city.

  • interloper

    At the risk of contradicting your post, the new legislation does not empower people to shoot intruders.
    It just codifies the common law approach which was that a home owner is entitled to use reasonable force in the defense of themselves and their home.
    They key word here is reasonable.
    The courts in Ireland and Britain,(not sure what the position is in the US) usually won’t consider lethal force as reasonable unless there is a threat to life.
    That AGSI quote is rubbish; it has never been the position in Ireland that a homeowner or anyone else was compelled to retreat, advised to retreat maybe but never was it considered compulsory.
    Rather in such a situation your expected to act reasonably (retreating usually is the rational action to a housebreaker)
    Incidentally Irish courts use a broad interpretation as to what constitutes reasonable or rational in such high pressure situations. Google the case of Pádraig Nally for an example.
    The new statute was just a vote gathering scheme by our Minister for Justice who seems to be positioning himself for a leadership bid. It will not materially affect the current law to any great extent.
    You will still be expected to account for your actions and may still be charged if the force used was considered excessive (as shooting in all but the most serious cases would be).
    So any day dreams you had of moving here and golf clubbing a burglar to death after a few pints of Guinness should be put right out of your mind.

    Also the British Coppers’ discouragement towards prospective have a go heroes is perfectlly sensible.
    The best thing to do if someone breaks into your house is and always has been to try and avoid them.
    Protect yourself and your family by all means but nothing else in your house is worth risking your life for.

  • I have to disagree with several points there Interloper…

    retreating usually is the rational action to a housebreaker…

    Really? Why? How is it a priori rational, rather than trying to actively defend what is yours, unless you are clearly outmatched?

    The best thing to do if someone breaks into your house is and always has been to try and avoid them.
    Protect yourself and your family by all means but nothing else in your house is worth risking your life for.

    I see it very differently. In fact just about everything in my house is not worth a housebreaker risking *their* life for, because if someone invades my house, they are indeed putting their life at risk and unless I find myself at a very significant disadvantage I think it is most definitely worth using every means at my disposal to defend what is mine.

    To put it bluntly, people need to have courage and refuse to back away from bastards who think they can violate your home and take what they want. Unless they have a weapon and you cannot avail yourself of one as well, damn well visit upon them the consequences of their actions. There is nothing irrational about that.