Is it ever acceptable for a Texas CHL to fire a “warning shot?”


Unlike many topics of discussion in the world of laws surrounding the use of force and deadly force, the answer to the question of a warning shot is straightforward: It is not acceptable to fire a warning shot.

In 2014, the state of Florida is working on legislation that would make legal allowance for a warning shot.  However, to the best of my knowledge, no other state currently makes any such consideration.

If a person deems that they can fire a warning shot rather than firing with the intent to stop an aggressor, then one can reasonably conclude that the actor did not feel their life was in sufficient, immediate danger as to require the use of deadly force.

Firing a “warning shot” states fairly clearly that you did not feel you were in immediate danger. It is quite possible that firing a warning shot could result in a charge or deadly conduct or reckless endangerment or something similar. Furthermore, sending a shot down range always runs the risk of hitting an unintended target.

Lets play out that scenario in a virtual courtroom.

“So, Mr. X – did you feel that your life was in danger and that you had to defend yourself?”
“Yes”
“But yet you fired a shot not intending to strike Mr. Y. Is that correct?”
“Yes”
“So then clearly you were aware that you weren’t in immediate danger.”

Clearly that scenario might not end very well for you.

Remember, if you have time to take other action, it is most likely prudent to do so.  Leave the scene if you can. Call 911 and wait for help if you are able to do so. Apply less than deadly force such as pepper spray if you can do so safely.  If you determine the only reasonable option necessary for your immediate safety is to employ deadly force, do so with the intention of stopping the aggressors attack. The objective must be to stop an immediate threat to personal safety.

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