Warning shot?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Thomasss, Nov 4, 2021.

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  1. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    What is the legal problem of firing a warning shot? And Why?

    After all it was recommended by the president, before he became president and look at how great a job he is doing. Did he ever do anything right or beneficial? (sorry, but had to insert my frustration of the federal bureaucracy.)
     
  2. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    A warning shot inserts you into the situation(if not already in it), gives away your location, reduces your ammo on hand and can be taken as a threat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  3. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    Doesn't matter that you "missed" you just fired a weapon at a person, it is considered deadly force. So if you are not legally justified in using deadly force you just committed assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, brandishing, and maybe more depending on your local laws.
     
  4. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I'd say, simply put, you're just trying to scare someone without having eminent threat of death or great bodily harm against you.

    Brandishing, threatening, intimidation with firearm come to mind at the least.
     
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  5. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Good list.

    I would add, OP just launched another bullet, was there any attempt at knowing the backstop and where it would finally come to rest? Warning shots are as lethal as any other.

    Case in point, and this wasn't warning shots per se, a homeless man armed with a knife was being apprehended by NYC police and 23 shots were fired by the large number of cops responding to the call. IIRC two bystanders were hit and required medical care. And as we have read, small children are hit by gunfire in random driveby's, in their house playing in the front room. DRT.

    Every bullet is lethal, where do they go?

    The entire concept of firing a warning shot is really intimidation, if the aggressor refuses to control their behavior, so be it. That shot should be to stop. You told them you would, then do it. Goes to, if you draw your weapon, then the shoot no shoot decision should already be made. No point in waving it around and then escalating a fight with gunfire. If lethal force is necessary, then delay is not working in your favor either.

    Keep in mind any responding officer appearing at the scene at that moment sees YOU as the shooter. Good luck with that. We all are subject to that.
     
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  6. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    Let's not forget that while you were firing that warning shot, and making the determination to do so; it can be argued you also could have been using that time and distance to escape the situation, entirely.
     
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  7. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The primary "why" is addressed above.
    If you have time to fire a "warning shot" (presumably in a safe direction), you generally are not in "immediate threat of life and limb." Which is a generally required predicate for use of deadly force.

    From the flip side, a hoodlum who is no present threat, who fires a "warning shot" at you has just demonstrated the ability to use deadly force against you. So, you would be, generally, able to respond in turn.
     
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  8. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    Warning shots are generally regarded as a poor idea, for all of the reasons discussed in earlier posts.

    But no rule is absolute. The agency that I retired from originally had a policy that warning shots were prohibited. The one day a deputy (who had previously been a range firearms instructor) encountered a suspect who appeared to be deranged at a fast food restaurant in the middle of the desert. As the contact started to go poorly, it became apparent that deadly force would likely be needed. The deputy assessed that a warning shot may produce compliance (by communicating a sincerity of intent that the suspect didn't appear to understand) and he fired a warning shot in violation of the policy. The post-shooting Command Review found that the decision to fire the warning shot was tactically sound and was supported by the events. The policy was then changed to permit warning shots based on the situation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
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  9. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

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    If you were in court, because of firing a warning shot, the judge is probably going to ask you, what would a reasonable person do in your position before you fired the shot? That's exactly what you should be asking yourself before you fire a warning shot.
     
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  10. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    Sure, i have on wild 4 legged creatures that need to be hold to stay away. It worked most of the time.

    But for 2 legged creatures, no, no way i would.
     
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  11. armedwalleye

    armedwalleye Member

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    I'm no expert, so YMMV, but it would appear to me the warning shot, as pointed out by numerous posters above, likely all smarter than me, has it's own inherent risks with little possibility of reward. If the situation is truly bad enough where you need to draw a weapon and send fire, don't waste time chewing bubblegum. In consideration of you returning fire, someone else's intent is already clearly established. Respond accordingly.
     
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  12. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    There may be two different laws in play.

    A prohibition against firing a gun in an urban area, and the law of self defense.

    If the shot is in self defense, then it is justified.

    But if the shot was a warning shot, then it's not self defense but an attempt at communication which is not legally justifiable and may amount to a violation of the prohibition against firing a gun in urban areas.
     
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  13. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    If you're firing a warning shot then you're probably doing it because:
    1) the threat to life or great bodily harm is not imminent.
    2) you are in doubt as to the other's intent to deal you death or great bodily harm.
    3) the other's means to deliver death or great bodily harm may not be present or may not be discernable.
    4) you have an opportunity to disengage or retreat without using lethal force against the threat.
    5) you're concerned about a threat to your property but not to your life.
    If any one of the above five can be applied, then law enforcement has probable cause to arrest you for unlawful discharge of a firearm.
    Warning shots aren't a good idea for other reasons:
    1) know your target and what's beyond your target.
    2) don't fire unless you intend to destroy your target.
    A warning shot can cause unintended collateral damage to another's property, life or limb, for which you will be held criminally responsible.
     
  14. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Please tell me that's a lot of sarcasm I'm reading in this...
     
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  15. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    Chief,

    That's a lot of sarcasm that you're reading in that.

    Now, have I done as instructed?

    Seriously, I can't see anyone making the statement for real. We all have a pretty good understanding of Mr. Biden's ability to speak meaningfully.
     
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  16. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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  17. flightsimmer

    flightsimmer Member

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    As has been said before, "Due to the cost of ammunition, no warning shots shall be given".
     
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  18. Mousegun

    Mousegun Member

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    But what if death or sever bodily harm WAS immanent, as someone charging you with a knife or any scenario like that.
    If it was a draw and a miss (things get pretty intense under those situations) and it stopped the threat, was it a "warning shot?" A heck of a lot better than having to shoot the person isn't it?
     
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  19. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    No, that is not a warning shot, as they drew and MISSED the target out while under stress. a Warning shot would be firing away from said target and not meaning to hit them.
     
  20. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    I can't suppress this same scenario.

    I just don't want to kill anyone unless I'm out of options, and it just seems a warning shot - into the ground - is an option.
     
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  21. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    A warning shot can be justified under circumstances where use of a lethal weapon would be justified: a "reasonable person" would perceive an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm if you did not fire. (The "reasonable person" may be a responding police officer, investigating detective, prosecuting attorney, grand jury, trial jury or judge, or (rarely) appellate court.)

    Greeting unintentional trespassers (say someone lost or looking for help with their broke down car) with a blast in the air from a 12 gauge double barrel could possibly not be perceived as a warning but as an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to them.

    Very limited circumstances where a warning shot can be justified. And as the first shot in what can turn out to be a gun fight, a warning shot can be a bad move when it happens and after.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  22. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    No, it was an application of deadly force. Whether you hit the attacker or not is a moot point.

    That the attack stopped was fortuitous. And, of course, when the threat of imminent danger is no longer present, then the application of deadly force is no longer called for.
     
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  23. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    "A prohibition against firing a gun in an urban area ..."

    In different sections of the city code there is general ban on discharging firearms within city limits, a ban on any sort of projectile crossing property lines, and penalties for projectiles crossing a city street.
     
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  24. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    "Deadly force is that amount of force which I know, or should know, will cause serious bodily harm or death, to be used as a last resort when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed."

    That's the definition of deadly force I learned in the Navy at my first command, way back in the late 80s, and by and large that's pretty much what the definition of deadly force is within civil statutes, though it may be worded differently.

    Deadly force is not to be wielded lightly, and our jurisdictional statutes make that quite clear by its definition and circumscribed limitations in it's use.

    That one does not wish to kill another person is laudable, but the presentation and use of deadly force is a tacit acknowledgement of an imminent existential threat to oneself. If the threat ceases when when one presents the weapon, great. But one has STILL presented deadly force in the eyes of the law. Same as for firing the weapon, whether one actually hits the attacker or not, deliberately or otherwise.

    "You pays your money and you takes your chances." Ultimately, what you do is YOUR responsibility. Just don't deceive yourself into believing that the laws look lightly on "warning shots" as some kind of "get out of jail free card" with respect to deadly force.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  25. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    My state agency prohibited warning shots, with the idea that the only time you fired your weapon was to stop a threat that required deadly physical force.

    If that wasn't necessary, then they saw no reason to fire your weapon. A court could see it the same way.

    This was in NYC, any shot fired could have deadly consequences in an urban environment, we were also prohibited from using our weapon to put down animals for the same reason.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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