Does A License To Carry Include The Right To Kill?

Mass. General Hospital has called Paul Langone a hero, and yet – procedure or not – the D.A. will have some questions.

Specifically, was it OK to shoot? Did a “license to carry” also carry the right or responsibility to protect the doctor who was being stabbed by her patient.

Paul Langone had seconds to decide what investigators will have weeks to decide. Shoot or not to shoot. “I think this is an act of selflessness and possibly heroism,” said former Boston police officer and current Boston University criminal justice professor Tom Nolan.

He says Langone’s status as a special officer means nothing here. It was all about his license to carry.

He is trained with a gun and even though it’s not written in black and white, the license allows you to use your judgment. “It authorizes you in situations where you need to intervene to protect someone’s life or property to do so,” explains Nolan.

And yet, the threat of danger, in this case Jay Carciero allegedly holding a knife, has to hold up to hindsight.

Former prosecutor Jennifer Roman says that’s where things get tricky. It is not as clear cut. “Having a license to carry never means you have a license to kill.”

And so, the DA investigates.

Roman says if Tuesday’s events went down as police think they did, Langone should be free and clear. “Some of the factors the district attorney is going to look into is what was the exact mindset of the man that did the shooting,” explains Roman. “Did he actually see a knife? Did he see blood? Did he have cause for concern that a crime actually happened?”

The experts who spoke with WBZ agree that the only way Paul Langone would be free of this line of questioning is if he, despite seeing the blood and knife, had done absolutely nothing.

And that may say a lot about our society, our legal system, or perhaps both.

© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  1. safety first says:

    I have a friend who has a license to carry. She’s had many threats on her life by her ex and his associates. Yet she’s been warned by the police that if she fires her weapon – in self defense – at her ex, even if he enters her residence unlawfully, she will probably be charged. How is that right?

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