Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

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Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby alieske » Mon 01 Sep 2008 5:50 am

Question of inquiry...I refer to the recent encounter a Providence, Utah homeowner had with a tresspasser last week as he held the individual(I) at gunpoint while awaiting for the police to arrive. The homeowner(HO) was not able to visually identify if the (I) was armed with a weapon of sort by his outward appearance. He ordered the (I) to lie face down with his palms up on the ground. The (I) complied with (HO)'s command. Mouments later, the (I) got up and came toward the (HO) of which the (HO) shot a "warning shot" into the air. The (I) was commanded by the (HO) to get back down on the ground. The (I) immediately complied with the (HO)'s command. My question of inquiry is, was the (HO)'s "warning shot" legal under Utah, county, and city statutes and ordinances? What might have happened if the (HO) would have fired in the direction of the (I) ten feet short?
Last edited by alieske on Mon 01 Sep 2008 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby apollosmith » Mon 01 Sep 2008 8:48 am

It is illegal in most cities to shoot in city limits. But it's also illegal to shoot people. I don't think there's any law specifically against firing warning shots. If you are justified to shoot someone in self defense (as was the case here - he could have shot him in the head and been justified), you can probably legally fire a warning shot. The problem is that you cannot know for sure where that bullet is going to land. You'd clearly be held liable for any damage that bullet might cause. Tactically it just is not a very good idea. From a legal standpoint, I don't think you'd be charged for it as long as the outcome is positive.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby scott.pete06 » Mon 01 Sep 2008 9:26 am

apollosmith wrote:It is illegal in most cities to shoot in city limits. But it's also illegal to shoot people. I don't think there's any law specifically against firing warning shots. If you are justified to shoot someone in self defense (as was the case here - he could have shot him in the head and been justified), you can probably legally fire a warning shot. The problem is that you cannot know for sure where that bullet is going to land. You'd clearly be held liable for any damage that bullet might cause. Tactically it just is not a very good idea. From a legal standpoint, I don't think you'd be charged for it as long as the outcome is positive.

:agree:
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby bane » Mon 01 Sep 2008 9:51 am

Not that this directly addresses the LEGALITY of your question, as I think Smith answered that as best as can be answered.
I was always taught that a warning shot is a bad idea, however. If you are justified to shoot at all, you are justified to shoot center-of-mass; so just do it. If you are unwilling to shoot center-of-mass, you are pretty likely *NOT* justified in shooting at all. If you *ARE* justified but merely unwilling, you shouldn't even be in possession of a firearm. Using a firearm requires growing a brain and a pair. Without both, you are a danger.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby Shaolin » Mon 01 Sep 2008 2:00 pm

I would agree with apollosmith, the shot would have been better used on the BG.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby HERMIT » Mon 01 Sep 2008 2:51 pm

The (I) complied with (HO)'s command. Mouments later, the (I) got up and came toward the (HO)
_ It seems to me that the intruder (I) should have been shot at this moment. The fact that the home owner is still alive is just a matter of luck. It worked out for him this time, next time he might not be so lucky.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby Ishpeck » Wed 03 Sep 2008 11:44 am

"Warning shot" is a euphemism for "lousy marksmanship."
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby GW45ACP » Wed 03 Sep 2008 3:11 pm

A warning shot would still be considered the use or threat of deadly force as already mentioned. Glad no one was hurt. Shooting in the air is just plain stupid and a violation of safety rule #4.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby scott.pete06 » Wed 03 Sep 2008 4:13 pm

Ishpeck wrote:"Warning shot" is a euphemism for "lousy marksmanship."

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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby Thomas » Wed 03 Sep 2008 4:28 pm

I would agree with bane. If I had someone at gun point and they complied and then had the stupidity to get up and come closer to me I would have placed a couple of shots into his center of mass. This man is lucky that the homeowner was not comfortable doing that.
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Re: Is a "warning shot" legal under Utah statutes?

Postby ThinkFast » Wed 03 Sep 2008 6:17 pm

If a perp is on the ground in front of you, then your weapon should be pointed at a perp on the ground, NOT in the air.

This encourages said perp not to try his luck. Brow beating the perp and reminding him of your intention to shoot at the slightest movement is good policy in my opinion. You are now pointing at the ground (perp), you know your background should you ever have to fire, and know where your shot is going to go. A warning shot is then simply a missed shot at the perp, etc. I believe in controlling the situation, not warning shots. I feel the perp felt weakness in the situation enough that he could try his luck. If a perp is running at you, the ground between you and him is very critical, they can cover several yards quite quickly. If they had decided to run away, well your screwed, ya can't shoot em in the back, but running right at you ? If you pull the trigger then I also suggest what scott does and that you put 2 shots center mass.
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