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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've read many posts regarding "When can I shoot...". Most of the replies are reasonable and attempt to identify when it is appropriate to use a weapon in self-defense.

I still wonder about when do you cross the line and distinguish between "Brandishing" and "self-defense"? I have read not to fire warning shots and that guns can thwart off potential criminals. Seems to me there may be times warning shots could be a good idea.

I have also read read where it is allowable to provide equivalent defense to an attacker. But I also read where some draw a gun, present it with the intention of scaring off a criminal.

A couple examples that come to mind:

A potential criminal tells a guy in a convenient store is told to hand over money from a cash register (assume the criminal does not have a weapon). The clerk presents a gun from under the counter. Is that Brandishing or self-defense?

The guy that was sitting in his vehicle and another guy opened the passenger door and climbed into his car. The owner/driver pulled his gun and said "Sure you want to do this?". I don't totally recall but don't think the potential criminal had a weapon.

I think I know what I would do in most situations but never absolutely certain. If two people have guns there is a possibility only 1 may use it. When do you shoot first?

There are many similar situations and I think lots of members would love to hear some suggestions and other situations for comparison. No two situations will ever be exactly the same so it is all just information to consider.
 

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I'm from the school, if your pulling it you best be prepared to pull the trigger. Never count on a bluff.
 

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"The Real Deal"
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I'm from the school, if your pulling it you best be prepared to pull the trigger. Never count on a bluff.
Same, if I have to pull it, I will fear of bodily harm, or death, and I will use it. I look at it as I am reacting to a threat, I would think brandishing would be proactive, which you displayed your firearm first with out a viable threat. Just my opinion.
 

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Well said, Tacky.
 

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The legal consequence is going to vary in every state depending on their laws. In general don't pull a gun unless you need to pull the trigger.
 

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. . . . . . If two people have guns there is a possibility only 1 may use it. When do you shoot first? . . . .
Absolutely, positively, unequivocally, always, FIRST! :D :D

Just funnin' with you wittmeba. I know your comments and desire to generate some discussion are serious but I couldn't resist. Look, I have to go out for a few hours now. But you've begun a good thread, so tomorrow morning I will give my serious comments and thoughts. Meanwhile, I'm sure you'll get lots of serious comments and opinions from many others. :)
 

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I don't carry, for reasons best described as redheaded and female. But there have been a few times when I've retrieved my gun from the safe to "check out" a situation at home. And I've always kept the gun hidden while outside the house. With the exception of the "Walmart Walk". :)

My feelings echo those above. If my gun is in hand, it's ready to be used. I would much rather take aim and watch the assailant run for his life than pull the trigger, but if I do have it out, it will be ready for use.. So, I don't think it's ever ok to "brandish".
 

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I'm from the school, if your pulling it you best be prepared to pull the trigger. Never count on a bluff.
Yup...pretty much if I need it out...I need it, period! In Indiana, we don't necessarily have a 'brandishing' law...but we do have 'threatening' and 'intimidation' laws that have to be considered!

I consider myself to have/carry my weapon for 'self-defense' purposes...meaning, the only time I need it is if my life/well-being and/or a loved one's life/well-being is under imminent threat of serious bodily harm and/or death!

I don't want anyone to know I have it 'cause it's really none of their concern so I carry concealed 99% of the time!
 

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Most laws and court decisions are based upon what a "reasonable" person would think or do in a given situation. If a reasonable person could articulate why they were in fear of serious bodily harm or death it should be reasonable to pull OR fire your weapon.

Displaying your weapon to "scare off" a possible assailant or firing warning shots would rarely be a good idea IMO however, no two situations are ever the same so never say never I guess.
 

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Yup...pretty much if I need it out...I need it, period!

In Indiana, we don't necessarily have a 'brandishing' law...but we do have 'threatening' and 'intimidation' laws that have to be considered!

I consider myself to have/carry my weapon for 'self-defense' purposes...meaning, the only time I need it is if my life/well-being and/or a loved one's life/well-being is under imminent threat of serious bodily harm and/or death!

I don't want anyone to know I have it 'cause it's really none of their concern so I carry concealed 99% of the time!
Indiana does have a criminal charge statute called "Pointing A Firearm" it is a felony if the gun is loaded, misdemeanor if not. Of course the charge SHOULD not apply if it was reasonable to point the weapon for protection purposes.
 

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When do you shoot first?
When you feel the threat of bodily harm is present.
BTW, you need to check the laws in your state. Warning shots, in many states, are illegal.
 

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I was hitch hiking from Camp Lejeune to Baltimore...the driver mislead me into believing he was headed for I-95 then proceeded to another route and was headed for Raleigh, NC. I asked him to let me out so I could get back on track and he refused saying I was going to Raleigh with him. I pulled my pistol out of my AWOL bag and pulled the hammer back and told him to pull over and let me out now. He wanted to argue with me but I convinced him it was in his best interest to let me go. I never attempted to hitch hike again.
You don't always have to shoot someone; sometimes the sight of a gun will make a person reconsider.
 

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Indiana does have a criminal charge statute called "Pointing A Firearm" it is a felony if the gun is loaded, misdemeanor if not. Of course the charge SHOULD not apply if it was reasonable to point the weapon for protection purposes.
Great point...but only in a 'threatening' or 'intimidation' situation does this law apply. In a 'self-defense situation' the application of the statute is supposed to be mute!
 

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Depending on the situation, option C would be to have your hand on it ready to pull, and at the same time yell at the bad guy to back off, that you have a gun and that you will use it. Then your not yet brandishing.

If he keeps coming, brandish away and shoot if you are forced to.

I don't agree with warning shots. Your responsible for where they go.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quiet 1 - I appreciate your humor and comment.

Just looking for comments regarding those that have pulled their gun and scared off a possible perp. We all know it happens and I have never heard a negative outcome from such actions. I hope there aren't some who would love to shoot someone - as that scares me too.

If you shoot and the criminal runs away they should no longer be considered an immediate threat. Sure they may come back but for now ... I don't think perps like the sounds of the business end of a gun so it would seem they would run away.

But what about the times when there is no weapons exposed? Does it just come down to how serious the encounter becomes?

About warning shots - yes, they are illegal in some states. Have not checked Va yet but how do you distinguish from a warning and a miss?
 

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. . . . I still wonder about when do you cross the line and distinguish between "Brandishing" and "self-defense"? I have read not to fire warning shots and that guns can thwart off potential criminals. Seems to me there may be times warning shots could be a good idea. . . . . .

In Florida a bill allowing "warning shots" was very recently passed. It was introduced after 2 instances when an individual fired a warning shot. Both had a CCW and both claimed the "Stand you ground" defense. But both were prosecuted under a 1999 law called "10-20-life" in which mandatory sentences are imposed for using a gun in certain cases. If a gun is fired, it's an automatic 20 years under that law. Shoot and wound someone and the mandatory sentence is 25 years to life. The new warning shot law was vigoursly supported by the NRA.

A potential criminal tells a guy in a convenient store is told to hand over money from a cash register (assume the criminal does not have a weapon). The clerk presents a gun from under the counter. Is that Brandishing or self-defense? Presenting the gun to prevent the felony is not a problem. However, if the robber turns and runs and the clerk shoots him he's probably, depending on the jurisdiction, in a world of trouble. But, if the robber displays a weapon or even physically attacks the clerk, he would be justified in shooting in self defense.

The guy that was sitting in his vehicle and another guy opened the passenger door and climbed into his car. The owner/driver pulled his gun and said "Sure you want to do this?". I don't totally recall but don't think the potential criminal had a weapon.That is clearly a case of legally presenting your gun to prevent a felony. And, if the carjacker is armed one would be perfectly within his rights IN MOST BUT NOT ALL STATES to shoot the guy.

I think I know what I would do in most situations but never absolutely certain. If two people have guns there is a possibility only 1 may use it. When do you shoot first?
ALWAYS!!!! ALWAYS!!! ALWAYS!!! (And this time my answer is without a smiley face)

I understand, wittmeba from seeing some of your posts in other threads that you are seriously trying to learn and understand the immense responsibility of concealed carry. I applaud you for that. So, I urge you to study carefully the laws of the state in which you reside. Be honest with yourself about your mental willingness to shoot someone. If you have ANY hesitation about your willingness to do that you should rethink carrying. Trust your "Common sense." Remember the basic principals that the District Attorney's office will apply. Was a fear for your life or serious bodily injury to you or someone else a reasonable fear. [/QUOTE}
 

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Quiet 1 - I appreciate your humor and comment.

Just looking for comments regarding those that have pulled their gun and scared off a possible perp. We all know it happens and I have never heard a negative outcome from such actions. I hope there aren't some who would love to shoot someone - as that scares me too.

If you shoot and the criminal runs away they should no longer be considered an immediate threat. Sure they may come back but for now ... I don't think perps like the sounds of the business end of a gun so it would seem they would run away.

But what about the times when there is no weapons exposed? Does it just come down to how serious the encounter becomes?

About warning shots - yes, they are illegal in some states. Have not checked Va yet but how do you distinguish from a warning and a miss?

Most states (it might be all states, but I haven't checked them all), even if they don't have a law specifically about "brandishing", will have a law prohibiting "menacing", which is generally defined as putting somebody in reasonable fear of imminent death or serious injury by actions or words. However, if you are already in "reasonable fear of imminent death or serious injury", most (if not all) states allow you to use deadly force. In that case, you cannot (reasonably) be accused of "menacing", "brandishing" or "pointing a pistol", since the use of deadly force implies that you will do all of those things prior to actually sending a round downrange.

Being justified in the use of deadly force does not require that you fire - you can stop at any point in the process. Thus, once you have established that you are "in reasonable fear of imminent death or serious injury", you can do nothing, you can say "I have a gun!", you can display said gun, draw the gun, point the gun and even fire the gun.

As for "warning shots" - not a good idea under most circumstances, for the following reasons:

  • What if your gun mis-fires?
  • What if your gun jams after the first (warning) shot?
  • What if you hit an innocent person? (aim under self-defense conditions is rarely as good as at the range)
  • Least significant: what if your state has a law against warning shots?
If you feel a need to fire a warning shot, then don't tell the police that you fired and missed. Not too many people are consistent enough in their ability to lie (politicians excepted) and an inconsistent piece in your testimony can put the whole story in question. Stick to the truth, it's easier to remember.



Jim
 
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