It's a big day for guns in the news: new Georgia laws go into effect allowing residents to carry concealed weapons into parks, restaurants, and onto public transportation, and in Florida, employees and customers will now be able to conceal firearms on private property if locked in a car. Then there's this story: Joe Horn, a 62-year-old Texan has been cleared by a grand jury yesterday after he fatally shot two men he suspected of burglarizing his next-door neighbor's home.
Horn's case has sparked controversy between those who think he acted illegally and recklessly, and those who praise his swift action. Horn's attorney says, "he wasn't acting like a vigilante. He didn't want to do it," and that he's not a "wild cowboy" who shot unprovoked after he saw the two suspected burglars carrying bags out of windows of his vacationing neighbor's home. His lawyer says Horn was a scared man who was trying to defend his neighbor's home when the burglars came onto his property and threatened him, "He was scared. He was in fear of his life."
The details of the night are recorded in a 911 call, where a dispatcher urges Horn, "Don't go outside the house. You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think." Horn responded, "You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them." Both suspects were shot in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun. After the incident, he called back saying, "I had no choice. They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."
The case illuminates part of the complicated relationship between guns and crime — in this instance, was the jury correct in letting him go? Was Horn acting in self-defense?