Warning Shots Are Not Advised

marissa_alexander_ap_img

Marissa Alexander used warning shots to keep her abusive estranged husband at bay in self-defense. Now she faces up to 60 years in prison for those warning shots.

Second Call Defense discusses the reasons why warning shots are bad. They quote Ken Hanson’s book The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws, Fourth Edition, pages 76-77. Even though this is for Ohio, it is good information and look into your home state’s laws to see if it applies.

Prosecutors have another term for warning shots: attempted felonious assault, improper discharge of a firearm etc. Shooting someone in the leg rather than center mass is similarly misguided and will not evade serious felony charges. Similarly, pulling out a gun just to “defuse the situation” is a legal non-starter. Do not be tempted to do this. If the gun comes out of the holster, the gun owner had better be justified in immediately employing it fully. There is no such thing as a warning shot or shooting to wound. This will be construed as a miss, bad marksmanship and perhaps even attempted murder.

This author understands the theory that the presence of a firearm might eliminate a confrontation. However, the opposite is equally true. For illustration purposes, assume the following: Someone was rudely and dangerously cutoff on a street, the horn blast that logically followed developed into the “cutter” getting out of the car to go yell at the “cuttee.” The “cutter” does not display anything other than bare hands. Unfortunately, “cuttee” then displayed his handgun in the honest belief that it would avert/end the confrontation. Bad move.

First, no threat of imminent serious physical harm or death had been made, thus the person who took out the handgun did not have any legal justification for using lethal force. Second, the “cuttee” has escalated the situation: Within his own car, without any threat of serious physical harm or death, he removed a handgun from a holster. This action clearly, in this circumstance, could be construed as a threat. Would the “cutter” now be justified in drawing a handgun of their own and shooting the “cuttee,” assuming it wouldn’t violate a duty to retreat? This scenario will always present more questions than answers, and the gun owner is going to be playing against long odds if he brandishes a firearm in a non-lethal situation.

Removing a handgun from a holster, or even possibly just uncovering and indicating the presence of a handgun, can be considered a hostile act and will be considered a criminal act. As the old saying goes, an armed society is a polite society, and people do not need to be waving guns around to accomplish this. IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE YOUR HANDGUN OUT OF A HOLSTER, YOU HAD BETTER BE LEGALLY JUSTIFIED IN USING IT IMMEDIATELY.

Readers, students and the general public never like this answer, but I assure you it is an accurate answer under Ohio law and has withstood the test of time and appellate cases. Any deliberate action on your part that introduces lethal force into the encounter in a manner that makes the other person aware of the lethal force, IS THE USE OF LETHAL FORCE. If you make reference to lethal force, show lethal force, hold lethal force in your hand etc., those actions are simply an alternative use of lethal force, short of pulling the trigger. If you are in a non-lethal encounter, and have used lethal force, even in this round-about, alternate way, you have escalated the encounter and will have difficulties proving your self-defense case.

 

It is important to understand the legal ramifications of utilizing a weapon to stop a threat. If you choose to use a weapon for self defense then it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice. Research the use of a firearm. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be.

Related

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick has been only been shooting for the past 3 years but found his passion through competitive shooting. USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.


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  • dan citizen

    It is sad that a warning shot, used at a time where lethal force would be justified, is considered wrong.

    On the other hand I have used a warning shot twice in my life (when young and stupid), in both cases it failed miserably and did not produce any deterrent effect.

    You know what does work? Lasers. When a ner-do-well sees that dot on their chest they comply YMMV

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Dan, can you tell us why you thought a warning shot was needed, and what effect it had?

      • dan citizen

        I thought warning shot’s were in order because I was young and stupid,

        incident one: live in bodyguard for an old drunk who lived on a boat. Local crazy guy we all knew came aboard without permission and refused to leave. I got my ego wrapped up and drew my weapon. He mocked me openly and accurately. I fired a warning shot between his feet (houseboats are full of foam) and he just continued mocking me and talking crazy. I finally untied his skiff and gave it a nudge, he hopped in it and rowed away.

        incident two: Was giving an old acquaintance a ride he began insulting my wife and pawing at her, I stopped the car and dragged him out. We were miles from anywhere and he argued that we should drop him at a main road. I refused and he attempted to climb back in the car. I fired a shot into the ground nearby. He became terrified and bolted into the car, crying and assuming we intended to shoot him out there, It took both my wife and I to drag him out again and we finally managed to drive off.

        As is apparent now neither situation warranted a warning shot or a drawn weapon. It only served to escalate the situations and did not yield the desired result.

        In my defense, I was an idiot.

        • iksnilol

          The “I was an idiot” defense is the best one, right after “I was peeling bananas and he slipped on the peel and fell on the knifee”.

          I agree with your thoughts on lasers, good to train with (you can see flinches and stuff like that) and good to scare away people instead of shooting them.

          • dan citizen

            Sometimes it’s just best to admit when you were wrong.

        • davethegreat

          Kudos for manning up and admitting it was wrong.

    • Gallan

      Lasers work in movies, don’t know of any case where it worked in real life. Sounds like it would work though.

      • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

        Lasers do indeed take the fight out of people. There is something very deflating to someone knowing that continuing their actions could ultimately end their life. Crimson trace has some research on this actually, although not sure if they have publicly released it or not. But there is a modicum of truth to it.

        • dan citizen

          A co worker and I confronted with a methed out skinhead could not get him to cooperate, when we drew our sidearms he just took off his shirt and continued advancing screaming profanities and brandishing a small pocket knife (think swiss army).

          Two armed and armored men did not slow him a bit.

          When I activated my laser and placed the dot on his chest he dropped to the ground spread eagle and started screaming he was sorry.

          • iksnilol

            Yup, most people think when you point a gat at them that you will miss or aren’t “really” pointing it at their chest.

            Lasers show that you really are pointing it at their chest.

          • gunslinger

            i was going to say, methed out kid…no real thoughtprocess going on there.

  • sianmink

    “Marissa Alexander used warning shots to keep her abusive estranged husband at bay in
    self-defense. Now she faces up to 60 years in prison for those warning shots.”

    http://legalinsurrection.com/tag/marissa-alexander/ The preponderance of evidence in her case has suggested otherwise.

    • bbmg

      Of all cases to use as an example, this was most definitely the wrong one. Come on TFB, a bit more research before publishing.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        The point of this post was are warning shots a bad idea or not. The specific case is secondary.
        What are your feelings on the use of warning shots? Effective or not, should they be legal or not.

        • Gallan

          Depends, do you want to kill people or not? In Europe cops use warning shots cause they don’t want to kill the criminal, in the U.S cops shoot criminals at the slightest threat to their life. I think it’s due to the strong religiousness in the U.S which makes cops feel justified in killing criminals or ‘sinners’. Judge jury and executioner, Judge Dredd is real.

          • 11b

            Nothing to do with religion, this is a stereotype. I have several friends who are police (county and state)- 1 is atheist, 2 are agnostic, and the third is a christian, but you’d never know it because he doesn’t proselytize.

          • davethegreat

            Cops in the USA are trained to shoot center mass simply to account for poor aim under stress. There is no other reason, they aren’t trained to shoot to kill and the vast majority of cops will never fire a shot anywhere but the training range.

            Center mass means that if you are six inches off, you still hit something. Warning shots mean an uncontrolled bullet traveling through open space and impacting in some random hopefully-unpopulated location. Warning shots are considered a risk and a liability by police in the USA.

            That’s all there is too it. Marksmanship and liability.

          • Nicks87

            That pretty much sums it up. No need to put innocent people in danger because you feel threatend. However, a warning shot may be justified in unpopulated areas in order to scare off dangerous animals. As long as those warning shots (preferably shot) is fired in a safe direction such as into the dirt at a safe distance.

          • Bp. David

            Plus–it leaves fewer witnesses, which CAN be GOOD thing!

          • Hyok Kim

            “Cops in the USA are trained to shoot center mass simply to account for poor aim under stress. There is no other reason, they aren’t trained to shoot to kill ”

            So being trained to shoot center mass is not being trained to shoot to kill?

          • davethegreat

            No, it’s not. It’s being trained to shoot center mass. There is at least a large philosophical difference.

            The phrase used is “shoot to stop,” in other words, “shoot the threat until it stops being a threat.” This can obviously mean the threat dies, or it can mean the threat drops the gun, or falls over, or runs away. If the training was truly “shoot to kill,” the police would be trained to keep shooting in all those conditions, or shoot people in the back of the head, execution-style, or other such things.

            They aren’t. They are trained to aim for the middle of the thickest part of something that is threatening, and shoot it until it stops being threatening. Nothing more, nothing less.

            Center mass does most likely mean death, but death is not the goal (except for state-sanctioned firing squads used as part of the death penalty, but let’s skip that particular issue for now as it’s not a standard thing). The goal is merely to end the threat with the least chance of missing (both because a miss means the shot didn’t achieve the goal of stopping the threat, and because the missed bullet is now flying through the air with an uncertain landing point that could be an innocent bystander or fellow cop).

            Besides, think about it mathematically. Look at the outline of a human being. Pretend the arms are waving and the legs are moving and the head is bounding around screaming. The odds of hitting an arm or a leg or a head intentionally are way lower than the odds of hitting a chest. Massive size difference, massive speed difference. Those movies where cops shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand or plug ‘em right between the eyes are pure fiction.

            Heads and limbs are small and move fast, the center mass is large and moves slow. Most cops get a few weeks at the range in the academy and them maybe a yearly requalification for the next 30 or so years. That’s not enough training to be sharpshooters.

            Which is fine, because most cops, even in this country, never actually shoot anyone in their entire careers. There are so many more likely things to train them on; marksmanship is generally a waste of resources.

          • Hyok Kim

            Thanks for your articulated response.

          • davethegreat

            My pleasure. You are quite welcome.

          • Aaron E

            Your comments on liability are right on, but the center mass comments miss the mark. Yes, center mass provides a larger target, but the point of aiming and shooting there gives the officer the greatest chance of hitting vital organs (heart/lungs) that will stop the threat.

          • Aaron E

            Davethegreat – just saw your post to Hyok Kim, and I think we’re on the same page. That response was much more to the point.

          • davethegreat

            First off, kudos on the phrase ” center mass comments miss the mark.” I wish I had thought of that :)

            Your reply isn’t wrong, but it may be either a bit dated or a bit service-specific. I went through the academy in the early 2000s, and US Army basic training in the early 1990s. Between these two eras and two drastically different armed occupations, I noticed the shift from organ-focused to generally-hit-something-solid-focused.

            I asked the training deputy about this, and his answer had a few parts.
            1) police gunfights stop generally when one guy gives up (as opposed to a few hundred guys giving up), which can happen at a much lower individual pain threshold than soldiers in a war who may be more likely to continue fighting through wounds.
            1B) As he was fond of pointing out, hitting someone in the shoulder or hip isn’t likely to kill them, but it is likely to stop them from chasing you with a knife. Thus, the police goal is achieved.
            2) police gunfights typically use a very small number of bullets (something like 3-5, but this was years ago so I may be off a bit there) whereas military combat often uses thousands of bullets to achieve a casualty (thus, the military doesn’t care quite as much about hitting something every time whereas a cop has to make every bullet count. Police have no concept of “suppressive fire,” for instance), and
            3) police ammo is almost always hollow-point or soft-tip, while military ammo is required to be non-expanding in nature to satisfy the Hague Conventions (thus, military ammo HAS to cut something vita open for it to work, while cop ammo has a few other mechanical ways to stop a gunfight).
            4) Cops, as a broad general rule, carry pistols and don’t train for combat outside of the academy and rare trips to the range, are very unlikely to ever get in a gunfight and gunfights are generally very unexpected occurrences. Soldiers, again broadly, carry rifles and do nothing but train for combat and enter war with the expectation of regular and ongoing combat The assumption is that an out-of-practice cop, surprised to be in a fight and fumbling for an unfamiliar pistol, is not as likely to hit anything as a regular soldier who is aiming down the length of a rifle during an ambush that he has spent weeks preparing for.

            The Army taught me to shot center mass too, but in that case it WAS training to “shoot to kill” and their philosophy was that they wanted my shots to poke holes in various organs, spinal cords or arteries. The military is actually supposed to do things like shoot people in the back and ambush them and be intentionally lethal. It’s their job.

            I was told that the police academies used to teach similar philosophies (“shoot for the heart” was a common one, the old-timers told me, which is not technically center mass but more up and to the right from the shooter’s perspective), but the many differences in mission, equipment, deployment and goals caused them to shift to the modern “shoot to stop, center mass is so you don’t miss” training style.

            It’s still largely an issue of philosophy.

            My point is, organ penetration is a valid reason for center mass shooting, but more for either old cops or any soldier, rather than modern cops or self-defense. Lots of people, including pros, still teach the old ways, but they are the old ways.

          • uisconfruzed

            That’s a bunch of Barbera Streisand!

          • Hyok Kim

            If the ‘warning shots’ are allowed, then people including cops could always behind ‘warning shots’. that had gone ‘astray’.

            “I only intended as a warning shot, but I tripped and the gun ended up shooting at a direction I had not intended.”

          • Aaron E

            Gallan you’re out of touch with reality. You obviously carry a bitter political agenda and have no real clue about American law enforcement.

          • davethegreat

            If that were true, then police shootings would be common. While they are certainly way, way, way more common here than many other countries, the fact is that almost all USA cops will never shoot any one (or even AT anyone, miss or hit) over the course of a career that can easily span 30-40 years.

            There is no shortage of situations where a cop who felt some sort of sick religious justification in killing could do exactly that, several times a month. But the fact is, they don’t.

        • Giolli Joker

          I’m from Italy.
          There warning shots or wounding shots can help you in court to prove that you were willing only to defend your life, not to kill another person (anyway whenever you shoot to save your life, you’re in legal trouble… but, as we say, better a bad trial than a good funeral).
          Needless to say, non-written advice that a friendly cop would give you is: “shoot the criminal and save your life, THEN shoot a bullet to the ceiling/floor/wherever it can be found… that will be called the warning shot that you offered before using lethal force…”

          • Nicks87

            I was stationed in Italy when I was in the Air Force and our status of forces agreement required us to fire warning shots before using deadly force.

          • Bp. David

            If you REALLY have justification for defending yourself against a scumbag-Obummer-voter, shoot them where he or she won’t be able to reproduce, in case dey gits away fum da POL’eece!

          • Iv88

            If you have to clarify whether or not your comment is racist, it is most likely racist.

          • derp

            You’re making the rest of us here look bad, and are providing the other side with the stereotypical gun owner rants that they expect, and which can always be found.

          • Hyok Kim

            How does that apply in U.S.?

          • Nicks87

            It doesnt, but my point was that warning shots are considered justified/prefered by many of our fellow human beings thoughout the world.

          • Hyok Kim

            Yes, they are, and I still think it is a stupid idea. I’m not implying it’s a stupid idea because they are considered justified/prefered by non-Americans.

            Because warning shots have a lot more con’s than pro’s.

            Btw. At least, in South Korea, warning shots are considered stupid even more than U.S.

          • Geodkyt

            Giuolli –

            See, it’s pretty much exactly the opposite in the US. Lethal force is only permissable when lethal force is the reasonable way to protect yourself from IMMINENT danger.

            By wasting time and ammunition firing so you WOULDN’T hit the assailant, well, you oibviously weren’t THAT scared of imminent danger, were you? You had time to choose to miss intentionally, after all.

            That’s what an aggressive prosecutor will (and they do) argue.

          • Giolli Joker

            Yep, it’s all in the logic applied by the judge…
            There’s to say that Italian approach is more geared towards a home invasion scenario or, for military bases as Nicks87 said, trespassing, so it might make more sense to show that you mean business and the assailant has to leave. Lethal force, for civilians defending their life/home, is accepted only if the assailant is clearly meaning to harm you.
            Personal defense scenario on the street is less likely to happen (very few people are allowed to CCW) and maybe treated slightly differently (still not particularly lenient towards the defender).
            BOTTOM LINE: judge and jury are evaluating the shooting in the comfortable environment of the courtroom, not under the pressure faced by the one who shot to save himself…

          • Hyok Kim

            “BOTTOM LINE: judge and jury are evaluating the shooting in the comfortable environment of the courtroom, not under the pressure faced by the one who shot to save himself..”

            They do take it into consideration.

          • Hyok Kim

            Needless to say, non-written advice that a friendly cop would give you is: “shoot the criminal and save your life, THEN shoot a bullet to the ceiling/floor/wherever it can be found… that will be called the warning shot that you offered before using lethal force…”

            That is called ‘Obstruction of Justice’. If one had to shoot because one felt one’s life was in danger, then (within reason), it’s a justified self-defense.

            By committing ‘obstruction of justice’, one could turn a justified self defense case into murder one.

        • 2wongsmake1light

          well, in my country too (somewhere in SE Asia), cops are required to give warning shots in almost every situation (and expected by public to shoot to wound first if possible ). I guess other countries that are not as exposed/experienced to the gun threat aspect (don’t know how to really word it) compared to the US, thus seeing that warning shots are part of proper procedure.
          The civilians of course, doesn’t own guns except for privileged few.

          • ATman

            In Canada I have been told by numerous local PD and RCMP that they shoot to kill if they wish to immobilize or stun they use a CEW or a flash bang. My understanding from a Canadian legal perspective is that if you shoot another aggressor who is armed then there is more leniency if you fire warning shots the least you get is a reckless firearms charge or the most you get is life in prison. But from a police perspective here in Canada the only warning shots used are bear bangers in wildlife areas but everywhere else the presence of the PD is the warning,

          • davethegreat

            Worth mentioning; guns aren’t the only threat that cops would use guns to counter. In the USA, about 14% of severe assaults on police use weapons such as knives, rocks, swords, axes and so on.

            It’s considered entirely acceptable to shoot someone who is trying to cut your head off with an ax, and axes aren’t part of the gun threat.

            My guess is that the requirement to give warning shots in your country is largely due to the population’s unfamiliarity with guns. If people mostly only see movies and such, warning shots make sense. If they actually deal with guns personally, the flaws become apparent.

        • bbmg

          If someone is not sufficiently dissuaded by the presence of a firearm, I don’t think discharging it with the intention to miss them is going to have much further effect. If anything, it reinforces the impression that the shooter is unwilling to cause harm. If your life is threatened, issue an ultimatum, if that line is crossed, shoot to kill.

          In the case mentioned:

          “Alexander had been required to physically pass by Gray to enter the
          garage, where she retrieved a pistol and returned to the confrontation.
          As the trial court wrote in its rejecting of Alexander’s claim of
          self-defense immunity, “this is inconsistent with a person who is in
          genuine fear for his or her life.””

          It is clear that the example most people would disagree that she was right to be even holding a gun in the first place, let alone discharge it.

        • Sulaco

          For the last 30 plus years (in my dept.) drawing your weapon was up to the individual deputy and “covering” someone who was a threat was OK. In fact my partner and I did just that (with a .12ga) for over an hour one cold day where a nut case was carrying a bolt rifle and pointing it at random cars on a very back road till he was captured. If he had been in a more populated area we would have most likely shot him. He was not impressed by looking down the barrels of a Mossberg .12 and a .45 though. We got commendations for not shooting him and (justified) criticism for not shooting. Just recently the rules in the dept. changed and rule have been imposed just for drawing a gun from a holster. Warning shots are “not authorized” and never have been in the last 50 years and doing so makes you subject to disciplinary action (being fired).

        • Hyok Kim

          ‘Warning shots’ is a stupid idea. I’ll explain why.

          This would encourage more irresponsible shootings, especially by those local losers who suck at life, looking for an excuse to play a ‘hero’.

          Talk about a ‘rent-a-hero’

          What if both parties ended up firing ‘warning shots’? People here are assuming only one side has the gun, not the other side.

        • valorius

          Warning shots are a waste of perfectly good ammo.

    • Fruitbat44

      Thanks for the link sianmink. “Now she faces up to 60 years in prison for those warning shots.” More like now she faces up to sixty years in prison for getting pissed with her ex-hubby and firing a gun in his general direction (and his two sons) after having specifically driven over to his house to confront him (thereby violating a restraining order.)
      I think that while a debate about the merits or otherwise of warning shots is useful, Marissa Alexander is a poor choice to illustrate it.
      Though the excerpt from ‘The Ohio Guide to Firearm’s Law’ is interesting and is in a way appropriate. Marissa Alexander is looking at jail time not because she fired a “warning shot”, but because she fired when she no legitimate reason for deploying lethal force.
      And having your ex-hubby question his paternity of your baby is not a legitimate reason.

      • gunslinger

        funny, when the facts come out

        • Bp. David

          Sorta like the case with the Lacrosse team’s supposed rape. Any chance her ex is White or Latino? No, on second thought–Rev. Jesse hasn’t stepped in it yet, so it couldn’t be a racial thang!

  • http://www.jabarihunt.com/ Jabari Hunt

    There is WAY more to this story, I’ve been following it since it broke…

    Among many other things, she left the inside on the house to retrieve the firearm from a vehicle, then returned to the house and began shooting. Leaving and coming back in NOT self-defense, it’s revenge…

    • Gregory Markle

      Don’t forget that her very presence in the home was a violation of her parole from a previous incident also.

  • Mystick

    So, Biden has put himself into an actionable position due to his “advice” on the use of firearms, then?

    • Aaron E

      Nice try … no Judge or Jury would ever hold Biden mentally capable of forming a thought!

  • Risky

    Most ROE’s, also considered EOF procedures (escalation of force) in Iraq and Afghanistan called for warning shots when defending a check point or vehicle from hostile advances from another vehicle. Warning shots were never advised to pedestrians. Usually it went each of the following at some set of distance in order as they progressively failed at deterring: waving arms or flags, flares at the vehicle, warning shots (tracers) in front of the vehicle, disabling shots to the engine of the vehicle, lastly kill shots to the driver’s area.

    Nothing ever goes according to plan, though. One incident I was told second hand at a check point involved the Marine firing a pop-up flare toward an oncoming vehicle. The flare somehow glanced off the windshield at a sharp angle and managed to hit an old man in the head who was riding a bicycle nearby, killing him. Probably one of the reasons the pen flares became more widespread. Complete freak accident, act of God, whatever you want to call it but something that couldn’t have been anticipated or replicated in a million tries. Always be sure every action you take (even ‘less’-lethal ones) are necessary and appropriate.

    • uisconfruzed

      A friend in the service had two individuals approaching him & his partner, after much yelling and hand gestures to stop, they continued to advance.His partner fired a smoke grenade towards them, it ricocheted off the ground an lodged in one of the guy’s cranium, DRT.
      That warning shot didn’t go as planned.

    • Yellow Devil

      ROE and EOF were different depending on circumstances and the unit you were with. One convoy I was in, we had a gunner fling a water bottle at a car who was just being careless and was tailgating us. The gunner said he could see the driver wasn’t paying attention to his driving and he didn’t feel it warranted a warning shot. The bottle shattering water all over his windshield got the driver’s attention. It was the best scenario for everyone that time, but other units seem to frown on tossing water bottles at tailgating civilians for various reasons.

    • Geodkyt

      And military ROEs in a combat zone are VERY different from LEO EOF plans in the United States in normal times.

      • davethegreat

        Having been both a cop and a soldier: I concur heartily. Truly an apples/oranges comparison, despite the outward similarities between the two.

        And on top of that, you have the strange mixes that are peacekeeping actions. Not war, not law enforcement, not a garrison assignment.

        We (and a dozen other countries) have had troops standing between Egypt and Israel since the early 1980s to prevent war. Both nations we stood between were our allies, so it wasn’t like we had a war zone. But we weren’t keeping any peace that didn’t involve preventing tanks rolling through or our own basic facility and personnel security, so we weren’t exactly police. Our ROEs were thus this highly strange mish-mash of concepts that (holy cow, now that I think about it, I had forgotten until this very moment) may have included warning shots at some level.

        We carried laminated cards in our shirt pocket with the ROE on them, as well as handy Arabic phrases for us to try but fail to pronounce. I was there about 16 years after it started, and to the best of my knowledge there had never been a warning shot fired up to that point. We had to count every bullet on an absurdly routine basis, so it would have been a nightmare of bureaucracy if any of us actually tried to scare off some Bedouins with a couple of shots into the wadis (tall hills made of prehistoric coral and sand).

        The unit is called the Multinational Forces and Observers, and has two battalions of American troops as well as a lot of other troops and civilians from the participating nations (it’s not a UN thing for political reasons). Still there as far as I know.

  • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

    I just cannot agree with warning shots. If you introduce lethal force, you have done so in order to stop a lethal threat, key word being stop. No matter if you shoot someone and ultimately kill them, or just wound them, as soon as their action ceases you need to stop and reassess the situation and respond accordingly. Shooting for center mass is a two fold idea actually. One, it is the largest part of the human body and under stress where people will typically aim. The second is that it is where all the vital organs are, allowing the shooter to rapidly incapacitate the attacker.

    Firing warning shots is a good way to hurt someone else. You are responsible for every bullet that leaves your weapon, so even if you point it in the air, bullets come down and have the ability to hurt someone. If you are somewhere with people around, you run the risk of hurting or killing someone else.

    • Mark N.

      So, what if I fire the warning shot into the ground instead of aiming at the perp? The facts are that the vast majority of defensive gun uses are merely a display of a firearm, and that even if shots are fired, most do not result in injury. Most sensible criminals or would be attackers will stop if facing a gun, others need some persuasion such as a warning shot, and others still need to be shot, sometimes multiple times, before they will break off an attack. Why is it sensible to prosecute someone for “illegal use of force” for electing to NOT shoot someone even when faced with an immediate risk of serious injury or death? Even though this is a good thing, one must claim that one fired and missed to avoid criminal prosecution, and that is nonsense.

      • gunslinger

        lawyers gotta eat. and pay the mortgage.

      • Geodkyt

        Mark — the fact that you felt safe enough to take the time and ammunition to INTENTIONALLY miss is considered prima facie evidence you were NOT, and actuality, in reasonable fear of imminent danger, therefor the introduction of lethal force wasn’t justified.

        Plus, have you ever been on a military range when they were firing tracers (especially a night fire)? if so, do you remember all those crazy glowing traces going every which way? Bouncing, spiraling, etc., all unpredicatbly random? Yeah, those were shots shots that were fired into the ground. . . including some of the shots into a near vertical berm of “well chewed” dirt that should be IDEAL for stopping bullets.

        “I shot an arrow in the air, and where it lands I do not care,” is NOT an acceptable response to how the two year old in the next block ate a 115gr JHP in her bed from your gun.

        • DCHsr

          some people just are not prepared to kill another individual and would prefer to shoot a warning shot. is that so hard to understand?

      • Gallan

        No warning shot = License to Kill

  • iksnilol

    “So when you hear shots just know it’s not a warnin’”

    -Qadir

  • ConLima

    Didn’t Vice President Biden advise her to do this?

  • Havok

    Has anyone here actually read the new law? Or is everyone just spouting off what the news media has said and taking it for fact. I’ve read the law and nowhere in it does it allow for the discharge of a firearm as a deterrent. The law now allows for the display of a firearm as a way to stop an attack or forcible felony. Before in the State of Florida, our only option was to shoot, and in most cases, that resulted in the death of the attacker. Now there is an option to not pull the trigger.

  • John

    Remember folks in certain states airsoft and toy guns count as firearms too, so no airsoft warning shots either.

  • Fruitbat44

    Warning shots; this is my two pennyworth. (I am these days an armchair gunslinger, but I have carried weapons in past and received training in ROE and such like.)
    Firstly always be aware of your rights, responsibilities and duties under the law at that particular time and particular location.
    Secondly, assuming we’re not soldiers on the battlefield, the use of weapons is limited to self-defence and/or to protect innocents. i.e. we don’t necessarily want to kill someone, but we do want to stop them from killing us or our loved ones. If a warning shot dissuades an attacker or potential attacker from a course of action, then job done.
    Thirdly, if you’ve avoided being carried by six by firing a warning shot you may now be being judged by twelve. You must be able to justify firing the shot e.g. a wild looking man was running towards me waving a machete, I shouted “Stop or I fire!” at twenty yards, he didn’t, so at ten yards I fired a warning shot. If he had continued I believed that he would have closed the distance to me and killed me, so my next action would then have been to shoot him in his centre of mass. But when I fired the warning shot he threw down the machete, which turned out to be a plastic toy, and he explained that he thought I was an NPC in a Zombie survival game. Okay, it’s a far -fetched and deliberated devised scenario, but one intended to illustrate a point.
    Practical considerations: if you fire a warning shot where will it end up? Even a .22LR can travel a mile. If you put it into the ground, will it ricochet? Into a wall, will it over penetrate? Will firing a warning shot actually escalate a situation? Law enforcement or neighbours hearing a shot and thinking that someone is shooting at them. You have expended a round, if you’re armed with a Glock 19 this probably doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re armed with a Chiefs Special that’s 20% of your ammunition gone.
    So my two-pennyworth? While warning shots may not always be appropriate or feasible, in some circumstances they can be a life-saver.

    • davethegreat

      What I love about far-fetched situations is how they allow us to work through hypotheticals without getting bogged down in personal bias and pragmatic reality. Outlandish ideas that push boundaries at least force us to admit that things aren’t a black-and-white scenario all the time.

      Your NPC zombie scenario? Highly unlikely and thus a really good way to take a look at this issue from an unusual angle. You made a good point.

      Kudos.

  • Nicks87

    I was kind of surprised to see this article on TFB. I know we always make jokes about “firearms not politics” and in this case I feel that that statement holds true as well. Personally I do not want TFB to turn into a political website or something like thetruthaboutguns.com. I agree that to some extent guns and politics go hand and hand but this article is more about the legality/justification of warning shots. It really has nothing to do with the technical aspect of firearms which is what I thought TFB was all about. Just my opinion but I hope this isnt the direction TFB is going.

    • davethegreat

      Yeah, we have plenty of options for political blogs if we want them. As someone with politics that usually fall outside the mainstream of firearm culture, I love this blog’s dedication to a nonpolitical stance (they sometimes aren’t always successful, but they are still really, really good at staying out of the fray).

      In this case though, I think they are doing more of a “firearm-related news” thing than a straight-up political thing. Kind of like the various articles about the ATF (which we all have to know about if we are American shooters, as they are the regulatory agency that governs our sport/hobby/rights/whatever).

  • DetroitMan

    The problem with this article is that all the examples are flawed. Marissa Alexander violated numerous laws by instigating the confrontation and introducing lethal force into the situation. In the traffic incident scenario, the CCW holder violates the law by presenting a threat of lethal force when none has been presented to him/her. A better examination of the issue would begin with “A CCW holder is confronted by a person with a knife who begins advancing on them.” Here, there is a clear threat of lethal force. What are the legal ramifications of displaying the gun, presenting the gun, or firing warning shots, as opposed to just shooting the attacker with the intention to kill or incapacitate them?

  • gunslinger

    IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE YOUR HANDGUN OUT OF A HOLSTER, YOU HAD BETTER BE LEGALLY JUSTIFIED IN USING IT IMMEDIATELY. this was drilled into our heads in my South Carolina CWP class. also, if you do shoot, don’t shoot to scare away, shoot to eliminate the threat.

    however, didn’t Florida? pass an amendement to SYG that warning shots are oK?

    • TEEBONICUS

      The “warning shot” law doesn’t mitigate that requirement.

      If you pop one off under circumstances where another reasonable person would NOT perceive their lives or physical integrity to be in grave danger. you still will be arrested.

      I frankly don’t see your argument making any sense.

      • gunslinger

        Whay argument?

    • VicDog

      I’m responsible for every bullet I discharge from my firearm so I wouldn’t
      shoot a warning shot in some random direction and HOPE it doesn’t hit
      an innocent bystander. If I pull the trigger it’s going to go into the bad guys chest.

  • DCHsr

    So when a police officer draws their gun it is only to kill? This needs to be challenged using this basis of honorable and justifiable defense and determent.

    • Geodkyt

      Nope — when they FIRE the gun, it is only to STOP the imminent risk to innocent life. Whether the Bad Guy lives or dies is irrelevant, so long as he stops.

      If the risk is truly imminent, then BY DEFINITION, there is no time to choose to miss.

      The same standard applies to lawfully armed citizens — shoot to stop, not to wound or scare.

      • TEEBONICUS

        Don’t know if you realize this, but if you calculate that blasting one past the perp’s head just MIGHT stop him without you going to jail until the PTB determine if you should be charged for homicide or not, you have still met the imperative to STOP.

        If it doesn’t work, then fire again.

        Need I remind you that ballisitcally, “one-shot-stops” are largely mythical…..?

      • VicDog

        My thoughts exactly. If you have time for a warning shot then you’re
        not in a life or death situation yet. If I un-holster my pistol and the criminal
        turns around and starts running away I wouldn’t take a shot at him. But I would call 911 immediately and tell them why you needed to pull your pistol.
        If the perp calls first and says there’s a crazy bastard with a gun chasing me.
        Then you’re subject to a felony stop until they get the full account.

    • Geodkyt

      There is no “Bullshido” code that every drawn pistol MUST be fired, BTW. But every shot that is fired must be justified, ALMOST ALWAYS (there are some exceptions) in terms of “to stop an imminent threat to innocent life”.

      • DCHsr

        You missed the point.

        • davethegreat

          Honestly, I missed the point too. I blame it being late here, and I’m exhausted, but I would like to get it if you would be willing to clarify.

          Drawing guns is common. It can be an almost-daily thing, when you factor in felony arrests (daily event in urban areas, usually involving half a dozen cops at once), checking open doors (as in, you drive by a house and the door is suspiciously ajar. A very common incident that is usually checked out with a pistol in-hand in rural areas), being lethal cover for a less-lethal weapon deployment (Tasers and so on are supposed to be deployed while another cop with a drawn gun is nearby, in case it backfires horribly and the Tasering cop doesn’t have time to drop the zapper and draw his gun).

          Heck, I did a year serving warrants, which probably involved a dozen draws a day (never, ever, shot anyone though). And these days, some (I’ll go ahead and say “unsafe and unprofessional”) cops use the flashlight on their guns as a … flashlight. Which means drawing it whenever they want to see something in the dark (really, there is no excuse for this. Buy a *&@#$!! flashlight for any illumination needs that fall short of actual risk or … werewolves).

          SHOOTING guns is rare. But merely taking them out of the holster for something other than routine cleaning or storage is common.

          • DCHsr

            Sorry guys…I thought this was a simple statement. I guess not. I had read the article above and it said the basis for a civilian drawing a gun was with the caveat of you better be ready to use it, or actually shoot someone. I think that is challengeable in the court because we see officers pull their guns routinely for any slight provocation, like a woman who doesnt hear well or a black sargent in another police force that doesnt obey a racist unrighteous authority. For example, I was driving and I had a testosterone junkie swerve at me because I did not see him when I put my blinker on to “dare I say” cut in front of him. I saw my error and waved to say I was sorry. He pulled out a knife. I pulled out my gun. He backed down and we both when down the highway. It was my judgement that had he saw me cower, he would had escalated the situation. I unchambered my gun and put it back between my seat.How may times do we hear a noise in the house and draw out our gun in our home at 2 in the morning. For me over the last 30 years of being a home owner?…at least three times. Should I be put in jail?

  • tb

    Alexander’s other transgressions notwithstanding, warning shots are now legally allowed/protected under FL’s Stand Your Ground laws (same requirements apply). http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-extends-stand-ground-include-warning-shots/story?id=24244906

  • RKflorida

    This is why Florida just passes a “warning shot” bill.
    BTW, the message I get from this is don’t warn, shoot.

  • smartacus

    Florida’s Governor Scott legitimized Joe “Warning Shot” Biden by signing it into law last week.

  • windexsunday

    I am really disappointed in thefirearmblog.com. If you are going to use a current case such Alexander’s to prove a point, you really owe it to your readers to do a little research first and understand what is going on.

    If you continue to post misleading information your viewers will move on.

    • Hyok Kim

      What do you disagree with thefirearmsblog on Alexander case?

  • Blake

    Question for the TFB community:

    What is the consensus on loading a blank as the first round in your CCW?

    • Risky

      A blank round isn’t going to reliably cycle the action in a semi-auto pistol, pretty much a guaranteed jam. However, lets imagine that it could or that you’re using a revolver. Said blank round might deter an attacker in lieu of lethal force… it might. Situations which lend themselves to a warning shot is only one of many possible self defense scenarios you could encounter. For the others, especially armed and bent-on-killing-you attackers there’s a good chance that first round fired needs to be lethal in order to save your life… which is, lets remember, the whole point of carrying for self defense. Focus on saving your life… not the threat’s.

      • Blake

        Very good points, thanks.

        Another intellectually challenging question:

        Does a shotgun loaded with pepperball, bean bags, etc. legally constitute “lethal force” as per the opinion in the article?

        • gunslinger

          i doubt it, as those are often touted as “less lethal” options.

        • davethegreat

          I knew a lot of farmers back in the day that loaded shotgun shells with rock salt as sort of a “teach those darn kids to stay off my lawn by shootin’ ‘em in the ass” kind of thing. There are a lot of things wrong with that (not the least being the fact that rock salt would probably shatter to dust when shot, so it probably wouldn’t actually hit anyone).

          But just to kick the idea around a bit: assuming that someone eliminated the chance of accidentally mixing up the buckshot with the foamshot (or whatever less-lethal stuff we are talking about), and assuming that the less-lethal properties don’t malfunction (like, the foam doesn’t somehow crystalize? Fossilize? I’m just working with the concept here), and assuming that it’s not point-blank range (which essentially negates any safety aspect. Blanks can kill, after all) and lastly assuming that the shooter is justified in using SOME force, just not LETHAL force at this point (say, the same level of justification required to punch a person) …

          It’s still pointing a gun at someone, which can be PERCEIVED as lethal force, and thus the person on the band end of the gun is justified in using lethal force in defense.

          So, let’s say Person A is doing something illegal but not deadly illegal (shoplifting, or vandalism), and Person B shoots at him with a shotgun loaded with kitten fur. Person B now legitimately fears for his life because he doesn’t know that Person A only has kitten fur shotshells, and could wind up taking lethal action in self-defense.

          And, of course, the thing can still malfunction. Beanbags can fail to unfold, paintballs can freeze, there could be some freak accident of aim where the pepperball hit them in the mouth and lodges in their throat, there could be another helpful person that is unknown to the person with the foamgun (Person C could be standing behind a car or something), who sees the shooting and begins shooting their own (real) gun (it’s called “sympathetic fire”) because they think Person A is in danger and shooting in self-defense, and so on and on and on.

          My two cents: it’s a bad idea to use a gun as anything but a gun. If someone really wants a less lethal means of using force, buy pepperspray or a stun gun or something.

          I recommend abandoning this entire line of thought (other than as a fun conversational exercise).

          Same goes for blanks: there is not enough of an upside to justify the risks. If someone can’t/won’t/shouldn’t shoot, they shouldn’t shoot anything.

          • Blake

            Thanks for the excellent response, Dave.

            “My two cents: it’s a bad idea to use a gun as anything but a gun. If someone really wants a less lethal means of using force, buy pepperspray or a stun gun or something.”

            This is exactly the point I wanted to bring up by asking this question. While the person armed with “less-lethal” rounds in a normal firearm *might* be within their legal rights to use such weapons in a situation that doesn’t justify using lethal force, everyone else in the situation is going to think that person is using a full-blown firearm & act accordingly.

            BTW I love the “shotgun loaded with kitten fur” analogy &ltgrin&gt

        • VicDog

          I think it would vary by state. This how MN State law reads.

          609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.
          The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section
          609.06,
          except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.

      • gunslinger

        i concur. out of semi auto blanks may not fire reliability.

      • TEEBONICUS

        It would give a whole new perspective to the “double tap”, wot?

      • Sulaco

        Or as is possible may convince an attacker that they have no reason NOT to attempt to kill you because you just ‘shot at me”. Just as likely to escalate the situation as stop it. I know what my reaction would be in a confrontation and somebody “shot at me”….

    • VicDog

      Worst idea ever.

  • 1nameme

    “Marissa Alexander used warning shots to keep her abusive estranged husband at bay in self-defense.”

    There are a couple of serious problems with this statement. First, there was evidence that she never intended a warning shot and really did just miss. Second, the reason why she lost the first trial was because the jury didn’t buy that she was acting in self-defense, and a lot of the evidence indicates that she wasn’t.

    None of that changes the legitimacy of what the excerpt says about the inadvisability of firing warning shots or brandishing a firearm, but Marissa Alexander is not the poster girl for warning shots that she makes herself out to be.

  • TEEBONICUS

    This is why the law should be changed.

    You don’t have the right to punch me in the nose. If you try, I should be able to SHOOT you to stop you.

    The whole legal limitation of meeting force with equal force is flawed.

    You don’t have a right to punch me in the nose, PERIOD.

    If you attack me, I shouldn’t have to risk injury by jumping through the legal hoops of a theoretical force matrix.

    I should be able to stop you, RIGHT NOW.

    Period.

    If the law read like that, and everyone knew that the law reads like that, the incidents of road rage (and other asinine less-than-lethal attacks) would plummet.

    • gunslinger

      You sound like you just want to kill. If you throw your lawn clippings on my yard cand I bomb your house and yard to stop you? Sounds crazy.

      Even bible eye for eye. Not life for eye. It was recognized as equal response.

      • TEEBONICUS

        Nope. I just want to be LEFT ALONE.

        Which is my right.

        If you knew that swinging at my face could result in your legally being shot, would you swing?

        Most probably not.

        And, THAT’s the point.

        Just an extension of Heinlein’s “An armed society is a POLITE society.”

        • gunslinger

          Still sounds like you just want to kill a man.

          Whats next a flamethrower because I looked at you?

          • TEEBONICUS

            No, dude. Your eyes belong to you, and you can look anywhere you want.

            A flame thrower (or an atomic bomb) if you try to PUNCH me.

            Because my nose belongs to ME.

            See the difference…?

            The point is – YOU CAN’T PUNCH ME, MAN.

            End of story.

          • Sulaco

            No not even close to end of story in the real world. The legal standard is what a “reasonable person” would have done in that situation with the information they had at the time. A reasonable person is not allowed to shot someone for a punch in the nose, period. Escalation of force can be an eye blink in real time but it will be required to be justified after the fact by the trier of fact. You shoot someone for taking a swing at you and you go bye bye for a long time.

          • Slim934

            I understand that this is the law, and therefore this is what we have to work with. That being said though, the standard itself is pretty stupid.

            It seems to me that the standard basically implies that the performance of the act itself is the issue here, not the reasoning/context/motive behind the act. Lets take the example of somebody punching you in the face. Let us also assume that we all agree that shooting as a response is excessive. What is NOT excessive here? Am I limited solely to punching him an equal number of times in the face?

            My perspective is that proportionality of force is stupid because it basically treats the attacker and victim under the same standard. Why should that be? Afterall, the victim was attacked first. He did not initiate the violent act.

            Everybody intuitively understands the underlying logic of this: how many times as a kid did somebody see a parent break-up a fight and immediately ask “Who started it?”

            It seems to me that in that case, the victim should be allowed to use a greater level of force to neutralize his attacker. If somebody punches me in the face, why shouldn’t I be allowed to respond with a steel kobuton for example? Why should I have to be limited to the same level of force if I did nothing to provoke the attack? I see no reason why the defender should be held to the same level of proportionality as the attacker. If the attacker did not want to be hit with a greater amount of force than he was using, he should not have initiated the attack to begin with.

          • gunslinger

            it all depends with the various jurisdictions. however the point i think is there is a level of proportional response. you get attacked, you can respond. it doesn’t need to be equal. but it can’t be excessive either. i.e. guy punches you, you drop an nuke on his head (extreme, yes) so he punches you, you can punch back, you can defend with a kobuton, if it stops the threat. but you can’t then go and bash his skull in. so it’s not really an “equal” response. it’s proportional. while yes, you didn’t deserve to be punched in the first place, the attacker (if he doesn’t continue to fight” doesn’t deserve to become a victim either. once you stop him from attacking you, but you continue to assault him, you become the attacker and he, the victim. you have the right to defend yourself, but once that defense is achieved, you can’t go on the attack for retribution or w/e.

            if the guy continues to come at you, then yes you can continue to pummel him. if he pulls a knife out nkow, you can up your game. i don’t think anyone would disagree that a defender can and should have the upperhand, as they were the unsuspecting victim (remember random punch, not the result of words in the bar or cutting a guy off on the highway) so it’s not like you get punched once, you can only hit back one time. it’s more of you can use enough force to stop the threat.

            but if a guy punches you and then pulls out the knife and comes to you, yeah, you should be able to shoot him. our system is based on the law dispensing justice, not the victim.

            make sense?

          • gunslinger

            You make it sound like you want the old wild west where you can kill at the drop of a hat.

            But just because I punch you doesn’t mean you can kill me either. While yes punching yiu I give up some things, I dont give up them all. If im a scrawny 100 lb guy and you are a 300 lb buff dude yiu will have a hard time justifying I was a life threatening attacker. And therefore the use of lethal force being justified.

            Im not saying you cant defend yourself either. There is a proportional response that is justified. A bullet for a punch usually isnt a jusyified response.

            Of course if the 300 buff guy was attacking the 100 lb. Yes because thats not an equal fight

          • Sulaco

            Not to say the slightly different look that female vs male violence gets in the courts. Woman in general claiming self defense can use a higher level of violence against a male attacker then a male in the same situation could get away with. Think large male attacking 98 lb female and said lady uses a pistol…but as to “reasonable man” standard its pretty much a global standard at least on paper. Course if you are in one of the tribal areas of the world like say; France (snark) then it goes out the window first thing. The situational amount of force used to defend one’s self and the outcome are what count. He punch you in nose and ends up dead. Not a good outcome for you. He punch you in nose and gets broken nose and arm, probably OK. As long as you can “reasonably” justify it. He end up dead by accident then you had better be able to prove to a jury that it was an accidental by product of your “reasonable” self defense and not a considered outcome. Even then the “system” may decide that a manslaughter conviction is the right outcome…

          • Hyok Kim

            Farting loud is not very good at hiding a small dick.

          • Hyok Kim

            “No, dude. Your eyes belong to you, and you can look anywhere you want.

            A flame thrower (or an atomic bomb) if you try to PUNCH me.

            Because my nose belongs to ME.

            See the difference…?

            The point is – YOU CAN’T PUNCH ME, MAN.

            End of story.”

            Have we just finished that giant pitch of beer at the local watering hole on a payday weekend?

        • Hyok Kim

          “An armed society is a POLITE society.”

          Afghanistan, Yemen?

    • Ripley

      Where I’m from getting punched in the nose is something you’ll have to earn. If you often feel you are in the risk of getting punched – it might be the gun you carry that inflates your ego. Try leaving it at home for a day and you’ll get more humble. Yes an unarmed society can also be polite. It’s not about the guns at all.

  • Silverbullet

    Unfortunately, the law is simply someone’s opinion. Not yours or mine but someone else’s. So, what are we to do here. Obey the law. Even doing that you can get into a situation. Not obeying the law guarantees you of getting into a situation. Ive never really understood the ‘showing’ of lethal force penalties. Because you could be open carrying in the first place. How would that be different from pulling back your coat tail? If common sense prevailed in the courtroom it would take into consideration the human factor, which it does not. Each person confronted with a similar situation could react in a completely different fashion. If you feel threatened, take a hike.

  • Mike the Limey

    Alexander’s actions were aggressive, rather than defensive & she isn’t the innocent she’s being made out to be.
    She deserves what she got.

  • sunsense

    This is a ridiculous example, and the people who wrote the article know it.

    First, its a mandatory 20-year sentence, not 60-years.

    She wasn’t even supposed to be in the house without a police escort to ‘pick up some of her things’.

    She left the house to retrieve the weapon and then came back into the situation.

    The only reason she isn’t on murder charges on her husband or two sons is that she aimed and missed.

  • Colt1911com

    Ohio’s law is bullshit!!!… How can you charge someone with lethal force if they are just prepared ?? I mean this women is probably guilty but I am talking about the law it says in general if you remove your weapon from its holster that in itself is lethal force…how dumb!..So people in Ohio have to wait until the last minute, or learn how to read minds or tell future????…I live in Kalifornia, If someone gets out of there car to approach mine because he is angry about something that I may or may have not done you better damm well know I will be ready for anything!!!

    • gunslinger

      i guess it depends on the state statue. because if the guy is walking up to your car, you may not be justified in that he’s not really a threat. but if he’s screaming he’ll kill you, running to your car, etc…then it’s easier to say he was coming to attack me. he was verbally threatening, and gesturing to a gun or knife (etc) then there’s the fear of harm.

      situational awareness.

  • valorius

    She faces 60 years because the details of her case are damning.

  • mtr

    Under current law, in my state and others, and the application of said laws, the concept of firing your gun and the threat not dying leaves the victim at a legal disadvantage, post shoot. Even if it was a good shoot. Which often causes people to say: “shoot until they are dead”. Which is a problem, as selfdefense should be: “shoot until the threat is gone”. However laws are not going to protect 100% if the bad guy can testify against you or sue you after they attacked you.

    In that scenario, I want to say, we need Warning Shot Laws.
    However, once you open that door, it will get abused, and it will blur the line between what the intent behind selfdefense is and how warning-shots will get twisted in the courtroom.

    I don’t have an answer here but if we allowed more sentencing leeway for judges, to consider self-defense, without granting a legal status to warning shots, it may be a less dangerous approach.

  • derp

    She is a liar, and this case has nothing to do with “warning shots”. She came to the house after being gone for a month (few months?) and gave her husband her phone so he could see pictures of their newborn.

    While looking at her phone, the husband found texts revealing an affair with her ex-husband. Upon seeing this, he asked her if the newborn was actually his.

    After this, Marissa Alexander went downstairs, out to the garage, then came back into the house, where the husband was sitting on the couch, next to his two sons. Alexander fired a shot at his head, missing him, then left.

  • Chris Ethan

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