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Discharge of firearms challenged

In Lancaster, someone fired a warning shot. They were charged with, among other things, discharging a firearm in the city. Now, they’re challenging the law. There should be a self-defense exception to such charges or, basically, self-defense with a firearm is always a crime. Interesting case.

6 Responses to “Discharge of firearms challenged”

  1. HardCorps Says:

    There are NO warning shots guys! Drawing = use of deadly force…

  2. Phelps Says:

    If the situation is bad enough to warrant a warning shot, it is bad enough for deadly force. If it isn’t bad enough for deadly force, it isn’t bad enough for a warning shot.

    Either shoot to stop them, or don’t shoot at all. Never fire a “warning shot”.

  3. existingthing Says:

    The idea is, if you intentionally fired a warning shot, it was because you weren’t truly in fear for your life. If you discharge a firearm without being in fear of your life or the life of another in city limits, it’s illegal.

  4. Jake Says:

    As I said over at SIH, this is one of the very few situations I can think of where a warning shot might be the right thing. From the story:

    “Swinton said his cousin was being attacked and beaten by a group of assailants and that he fired a warning shot to disperse them.”

    A group of attackers in a fistfight against only one person can get very tightly packed, and you don’t want to get within arms reach trying to break it up.

    If they ignored verbal warnings, and he was afraid that he’d hit his cousin if he shot at the attackers (either through overpenetration or a miss) then a warning shot would get their attention and hopefully scare them off – which appears to be what happened.

    Yes, he would have been justified in shooting one or more of the attackers, but there may have been a serious Rule 4 concern had he tried.

  5. straightarrow Says:

    Oops, didn’t realize the link is off limits to me. Please apologize to Sebastian if my going there scared him. I did leave immediately upon realizing the boo-boo.

    Otherwise,if Jake’s rendition of actual events is accurate (it’s all I got, didn’t stay on site) then he makes a good case in this instant for firing a warning shot.

  6. Jake Says:

    Here’s a direct link:
    http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/233569

    If what Swinton is saying about why he shot is true, I think a warning shot was justified, and the charge for illegal discharge of a firearm should be dropped.

    However, I do think the reckless endangerment charge should stay – he fired into the air. A warning shot should go into the ground (grass or dirt), never into the air. Where did that bullet end up?