That case isaclear example of why the idea of “shoot to wound” ora”warning shot” is legally dangerous (despite the fact that the Vice President of the US and an attorney at law publicly stated that he advises his wife to fireashotgun at no target asa”Warning”, when in fact, such an act puts you on the wrong side of the law). It means that you may not have been in reasonable fear for your life and were attempting to useadeadly weapon inaless than deadly manner.
Alawyer can, will (and in that case, did) tear apart someone who said “I just wanted to scare him” or “I was just trying to wound him, not kill him”.Afirearm isadeadly weapon. It is not the way to “gain the upper hand in an argument orafight”. The ONLY time an individual can (or should) resort to the drawing, pointing and use ofadeadly weapon is when they are in reasonable mortal fear for their life or limb and the ONLY use can be to “stop that threat”. If the person with the firearm has the ability and makes the decision to “shoot to warn” or “shoot to wound” then they are demonstrating that they are NOT in such danger. They are attempting to usealethal weapon ina”less-than-lethal means”. The law does not allow for that. In fact, since the person is not reasonably in fear for their life (proven by their intention to “scare or wound” that makes THEM the aggressor, the one who has escalated matters, and who has now put the other party in reasonable fear for their own life. By usingadeadly weapon inanon-lethal way, they are declaring that “I’m fearful, butIam not so fearful as to legally use lethal force at this moment”. You can not presentaweapon to “gain the upper hand”. The only time any individual is protected by the law for drawingadeadly weapon is if they are in the situation where they have no alternative. If drawing the weapon stops the attack, then they are not protected by the law if they fire. It’saVERY fine line, it happens in split seconds. I’ve been in suchasituation, and have drawn my sidearm and the momentIdid, the threat (thankfully) ceased to beathreat andIwas obligated (by the law, my training and my personal ethics) to not fire. IfIam ever (god and whatever angels there may be forbid) forced to fire,Iam not firing to wound, to warn, or even to kill.Iwill fire to stop. Stop the clear and present threat. That is the only wayIcould ever live with myself ifIhad to. And that, my friends is the subtle, fine and precise difference in those two cases, in the law, and why the outcomes are different.
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