Fire a Warning Shot and Go to Prison? | New Jersey

Hi. Evan Nappen here, Independent Program Attorney from New Jersey for U.S. LawShield. Today, I want to talk about warning shots.

Are warning shots ever advisable? Let me say this: I would advise against warning shots for a number of reasons. Any time you fire a gun you are responsible for that projectile, and if it hits a bystander, goes through a wall, or ricochets and causes a problem or injury. So even in a practical sense, a warning shot is not a good idea.

Must be justified

In the legal sense, it is not a good idea because when you fire a gun, by the very definition of firing a firearm, you’re using deadly force. Deadly force is something that you should not use unless you are justified. You must be justified in the use of deadly force. If you’re firing a warning shot, then you are undercutting your own argument as to the threat that was imminent of serious bodily injury or death, because you had time to fire a warning shot. Not a good idea.

Your Bullets, Your Responsibility

When you fire a gun, you’re using deadly force. Do not fire a warning shot because that immediately places you in the use of deadly force and you will have to be able to justify your use of deadly force. Keep in mind what the Vice President said about firing two blasts of a shotgun out your back door: not a good idea. Don’t do that. You own those rounds, and you’re in the process then of using deadly force, so you want to make sure that you’re justified under the law.

If you have any further questions about warning shots or any other legal questions, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.

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