One Supreme Court Justice mentioned this issue in his dissenting opinion:
More than half firearm deaths are suicides
ATLANTA, Georgia, (AP) -- The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.
Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There was nothing unique about that year -- gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.........
The high court's majority opinion made no mention of suicide. But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer used the word 14 times in voicing concern about the impact of striking down the handgun ban.
"If a resident has a handgun in the home that he can use for self-defense, then he has a handgun in the home that he can use to commit suicide or engage in acts of domestic violence," Breyer wrote.
CNN is running this story today ( I am home in Vancouver now:
Major provisions of Texas' Castle Law which they altered this year to take out the requirement of the home owner to retreat if possible. This made the law consistent with the reality that no Grand Jury would indict shooters like the one featured in this CNN story today:
Neighbor fights back
One Texas case in particular has attracted national attention, in part because of the circumstances: It was a neighbor, not the homeowner, confronting and killing a pair of burglars Nov. 14. I just heard the tape on 911 and he shot these two guys in the back - shot 3 times. He was not indicted by the Texas Grand Jury today.
And the neighbor mentioned in a 911 call that a new law gave him the right to protect himself if he confronted the burglars.
The 61-year-old Pasadena man, Joe Horn, told the police operator: "The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it."
"You're going to get yourself shot," the operator warned.
"You want to make a bet?" Mr. Horn said. "I'll kill them. They're getting away!"
"That's OK. Property's not worth killing someone over, OK?" the operator said. "Don't go out of the house. Don't be shooting nobody."
The burglars emerged from the house, carrying "a bag of loot," Mr. Horn said.
"Which way are they going?" the operator asked.
"I can't ... I'm going outside, then I'll find out," Mr. Horn said.
"No, I don't want you going outside," the operator said.
"Well, here it goes, buddy," Mr. Horn replied.
Seconds later, Mr. Horn can be heard saying, "Move, you're dead," followed by two shots and then a third.
"I had no choice," Mr. Horn said in a second 911 call. "They came in the front yard with me, man."
Was the castle law designed to cover those circumstances?
No, said the law's author, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.
"You're supposed to be able to defend your own home, your own family, in your house, your place of business or your motor vehicle," he said – but not your neighbor's.
But Mr. Edmonds said other property laws could provide a defense for Mr. Horn, whose case is under investigation.
"The laws governing the use of force to defend property instead of a person are very broad and very favorable to someone who wants to use that force," Mr. Edmonds said.
• Presumes you are reasonable in using force if someone – illegally and with force – enters or is attempting to enter your occupied home, car or workplace. You are not given this presumption if you provoked the person or are engaged in a crime.
• Removes your obligation to retreat if possible before using deadly force if you are anywhere you have a right to be. The previous law obliged you to retreat if a "reasonable person" would have, except in a situation where someone unlawfully entered your home.
• Gives you added protection from lawsuits by injured attackers or their families. Previous law granted this protection if someone illegally entered your home, but not in other situations.
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research
The article also states that if this sort of thing happens in north east USA urban areas, the shooters will get indicted.
The reality in the USA is that there is no national criminal code. States makes their own laws governing criminal behaviour and of course the Supreme Court is the final court to ensure laws are constitutional.
The other reality is that the USA for all the good things it does has managed to hang on to the simple belief that you need to be armed in this world for safety. It is so engrained in some parts of the USA, that it inarguable with many people. It is about rights versus things like drivers licences which are not a right.