Warning Shots in Self Defense: Considerations and Consequences

A Great Article written by Ben Findley -March 29, 2021

Do Warning Shots Have An Advantage?

Firing a warning shot across the bow of a ship to determine its nationality colors was a common occurrence for protection during the 18th century, especially because of piracy. Today, a ship, boat, or even an aircraft may fire a warning shot to signal another vessel or craft to stop action for protection or stay out of a territory. Most remember the piracy incidences in Somalia in 2019 and 2018. Two fishing vessels were attacked 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. A Yemen fishing vessel was seized, and warning shots from personnel on board repelled an attempt to board a bulk carrier 340 nautical miles of Mogadishu. U.S. warships have fired warning shots toward Iranian ships and Somalia pirates. South Korea has fired warning shots at North Korean ships. U.S. F-22s have fired warning shots at Russian Su-25 aircraft that entered U.S. coalition airspace over Syria.

Opinion: A Warning Shot Puts You In Much Jeopardy, Even If Someone Is Not Killed Or Injured.

The Answer to “Is a Warning Shot Treated as the Use of Deadly Force?”

Most states legally treat a warning shot as a use of deadly force. This applies even if you did not injure or kill anyone. Your law will evaluate your actions using the same legal standards, rules, and penalties as would be used if you actually shot and/or killed someone. Do not take the chance by firing a warning shot. Clearly, recognize that there are always legal considerations and consequences each and every time you use your firearm, even in a self-defense situation. Very precisely follow the exact, applicable law anytime you use your firearm because your actions will be carefully scrutinized. Assumptions may even be made by witnesses, friends, juries, and judges, which are incorrect, your behavior second-guessed, and opinions expressed against you from those that are strangers to you and do not know your excellent, fair-minded reputation and well-intentioned priorities and actions. When you fire a warning shot, you have a high probability of being in serious legal problems, much jeopardy, and high costs, both financial and personal, like jail time. Is it worth it to fire a warning shot? Again if you are armed, know the law in your jurisdiction and remember that ignorance of the law is never a defense. Do not rely on even a well-intentioned best friend or what an experienced, fellow concealed carrier tells you. Get help from a professional attorney specializing in firearm laws in your state.

Some Examples of Warning Shot Laws and Perspectives

To answer the question about firing a warning shot, sadly, it is not so simple. You need to know the details about what the law says in your state and specific facts about the situation, and what they allow you to legally do. Keep in mind that I am not an attorney and am not giving legal opinions or advice.

In my home state of Florida, for example, Florida Statute 776.012, Subsection 1, allows a person to:

“use or threaten to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent the person reasonably believes such force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.”

To see Ben’s full Article – see this link provided by USACarry.com here or here: https://www.usacarry.com/warning-shots-self-defense

*USA Carry.com has no affiliation with #OAW.com

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