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  1. #1

    Question Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Oregon and/or Washington
    (other states would also be helpful if information is limited as this is a hypothetical topic)

    Hello, I am a student writing a proposal that advocates man traps, specifically non-lethal varieties that emphasize repelling intruders rather than actually trapping/maiming/killing.

    I am aware of Katko v. Briney, Supreme Court of Iowa 1971, but the ruling doesn't really cover non-lethal devices(pepper spray, modified taser guns, signal flare spring guns etc...), as these are not likely to cause serious injury or death to the intruder.

    If any of you know of any specific law that the homeowner would be breaking or any rulings that are related, that would be of great help.

    Even a referral to any resource where this kind of information might be found would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    If a landowner caught a trespasser, the landowner could perform a citizen's arrest on the trespasser for criminal trespassing (assuming that's what state law allows), then hold/transport the trespasser to the police.

    If you cause a trap to confine an alleged trespasser, you would be confining or imprisoning the trespasser without any legal authority. That is a crime called false confinement or false imprisonment. It would be particularly bad for you if the alleged trespasser was actually a police officer entering the property under authority of a search warrant.

    And suppose a blizzard or grizzley bear strikes, killing the trespasser. That is manslaughter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    This seems a lot like homework.

    The item you seem to be looking for is called a "burglar alarm".

    You can check state statutes, local ordinances, and discuss with your insurance agent about legality and practicality of any device you imagine adding to the basic alarm system. The level of assumption required here might make for great debate material, but it's incompatible with getting a firm legal answer.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    Ahh thanks very much.

    I recently found this company, that currently manufactures exactly what I am proposing.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    Ah, yeah.

    Good luck with that.

    Your potential liabilities are huge.

    But a MKIA said, that's up for you to check yourself. Do your homework. Check your local statutes.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Laws Against Non-Lethal, Non-Kidnapping Man Traps

    OP - your alarm cannot use a higher level of force that you yourself are legally allowed to use in the same scenario if you are present. Is pepper spray reasonable to defend you from a home invasion? Almost certainly. Is it reasonable to defend from a burglary when you're not home? That's a tougher question. If I were you I'd discuss your concerns with the manufacturer and consult a personal injury attorney.

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