Gun owners rights' to protect property

Gun owners rights' to protect property

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The right to keep and bear arms -- guaranteed by the constitution and heralded by gun owners. But once you have a gun, when and how can you use it for protection?

Every state is different. In Tennessee, the law says you can use deadly force if someone is in your home, but only reasonable force to protect your property and only if there's an immediate threat against it.

"Typically, under our system of justice, it's not reasonable to kill someone over a gallon of gas or a radiator or something else," says Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs.

Isaacs says the victim can easily become the criminal.

"Often, in a split second, you make a decision and you bring out a firearm and you don't have all the facts," Isaacs says. "You don't know if the prowler is a prowler or the person stealing something actually stole it. It could be a neighbor, it could be a kid. Once you pull the trigger, there's no way to take it back."

Instead of pulling out a gun, Isaacs says the best thing to do is pick up the phone, call 9-1-1 and let law enforcement take over.

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