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Old January 9, 2012, 01:02 PM   #26
kinggabby
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The point is that warning shots are a calculated risk. Sometimes they work...sometimes they dont. The person who is holding the gun has to decide if the risk is worth it. I am betting that warning shots aren't likely to turn up snake eyes.
Then why would you even want to take the risk.
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Old January 9, 2012, 01:10 PM   #27
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And are warning shots ever a good idea?
I asked a cop about that once.
He said the warning shot is a warning another one is on it's way.

Sounds like a decent enough answer to me
A great many cops are ignorant of key points of law. This is one of them.

Firing a gun is using lethal force. Firing a warning shot is using lethal force when you do not believe lethal force is warranted.

The example of the three 13 year old knife wielding girls is a good one. "Fire a round into the asphalt." Of course that round will magically stop there... When it does not and hits something YOU are liable. That could be a car in that lot, one of the aggressors or anyone else. You chose to use lethal force when you admittedly did not believe it justified. Even if it hits the knife weilding kid you are guilty of the unjustified use of lethal force because you didn't believe it was justified.

The only time I can see a warning shot in a normal, non-military scenario is with wild animals. This is particularly true with something you doubt your weapon's ability to stop or a pack (which would be better suited by killing the closest one). Humans know what guns do. Demonstrations are not needed and only add greater danger.

For the cop who supposedly advocated a warning shot; ask him how he would file the paperwork for such a shot in 21st century America?
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Old January 9, 2012, 01:24 PM   #28
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Then why would you even want to take the risk.
Because, warranted under the best of circumstances, killing another human being is one of the worst things you will have to live with. IMO, it is an level above presenting a firearm and below shooting to kill. Again, not saying I would fire one or wouldn't, but given the right circumstances, I could see someone doing so. Admittedly, at this point, I can't give an example but that may be because outside of the military, I have not come across a situation where I felt it was needed.
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Old January 9, 2012, 01:41 PM   #29
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Warning shots are a bad idea

I'll add another vote against warning shots.

For all the reasons already presented.
  • Possibility of injuring a bystander, perhaps even one you don't see
  • Legal ramifications of using what will be considered deadly force
  • Demonstrating an unwillingness to actually shoot
  • Plain 'ol wasting ammo

I'm sure there are a few more good reasons not to fire warning shots. Those are enough for me not to fire them.

Also, I don't think anyone will be able to find a reputable firearms self defense trainer/expert who recommends warning shots.
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Old January 9, 2012, 02:06 PM   #30
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Verbal warning is all they get and I will even mention that I have a gun and that I've called the cops.
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Old January 9, 2012, 04:32 PM   #31
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The other problem with warning shots is that as far as I'm aware, no schools have any training wrapped around it.

There are so many variables and so many downsides to it, I think it would be almost impossible to train for it.

For instance - suppose you're on the second floor of an apartment... where is a safe place to fire off that warning shot?

Attackers are 6 to 8 feet from you, you point your gun down at the ground... are you going to be able to get that weapon back up on target before the attacker leaps and grapples you?

This brings up an another issue - the issue of no time to think (theres a thread here somewhere called No Time to Think...), the whole complex decision making process that gets introduced with warning shot / no warning shot, just seems in itself deliterious to succesfully defending yourself. And who provides usefull training on it if there are any agreed upon effective priciples ?
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Old January 9, 2012, 05:05 PM   #32
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I don't really think a warning shot indicates an unwillingness to kill in every situation. I will if I feel I have to, but too many scenarios to run through to say definitively a warning shot indicates such a feeling.
From the perspective of a bad guy, if the good guy fires a warning shot, what do you think that means?

Firing a warning shot certainly does not indicate a willingness to shoot another person, otherwise the person would have been shot.
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Old January 9, 2012, 05:25 PM   #33
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From the perspective of a bad guy, if the good guy fires a warning shot, what do you think that means?
"Wow, that guy's a really bad shot! Look how much he missed me by! Oh, and now he's hesitating. Now's my chance. Imma steal all his Chia pets!"
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Old January 9, 2012, 05:33 PM   #34
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Firing a warning shot certainly does not indicate a willingness to shoot another person, otherwise the person would have been shot.
I disagree. To me it most definitely indicates a willingness to shot someone, but a warning shot also indicates that I am offering a discreet and fleeting but final "out" to the offender. A warning shot can certainly have more impact than the spoken word.
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Old January 9, 2012, 05:43 PM   #35
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Friend of mine (and older than me by about 10 years) learned somewhere that the targeting sequence for self-defense shooting in California (long ago) went-

chest
chest
eye socket
eye socket
warning shot (ceiling)


In that sequence you can truthfully say you DID fire a warning shot....
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Old January 9, 2012, 05:48 PM   #36
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And for the guys who love a 5 shot J-frame as their sole weapon, a warning shot means a 20% reduction in ammo capacity...
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Old January 9, 2012, 06:30 PM   #37
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Total agreement with Skadoosh. I can't think of a person who would charge another after being given a warning shot. Again, not saying I would in any situation. Besides, if a warning shot was issued, it is highly unlikely that shot was given 180 degrees from the object, giving the recipient any more appreciable time than had he not been given the warning. I would see one given as an escalation of force.
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Old January 9, 2012, 06:34 PM   #38
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Warning shots might have their place, but bear in mind, that round is going somewhere, and you are responsible for it.

Also bear in mind, that in some jurisdictions, there is no allowance made for a warning shot. You have just used deadly force, in those places, and legally are no better off than if you had shot the person - in which case, use of deadly force had better have been justified, or you are in the hurt locker.

As always, know your local laws.

Edit: As I thought about it, I suddenly remembered the guy a couple weeks back in Atlanta... You may recall the thread and related news reports. Guy caught a probable burglar trying to steal a lawn mower from his home-based repair shop; confronted him with an M1A, but was naked (jumped out of bed, I guess...)

Guy made up a story; homeowner told him to leave. Guy kept on with story, and according to homeowner seemed like he would still try to take lawnmower. Homeowner fires warning shot. Guy does not take it seriously enough. Homeowner ends up firing warning shots 2, 3, and 4, from his balcony, with his M1A.

Police officers are in neighborhood, with a camera crew, shooting some reality police program. They come running when they hear the shots. Homeowner is seen on balcony with rifle. Challenge to drop weapon and first shots by cops are reportedly (on audio recording that I have not heard) right on top of each other. Homeowner loses a kidney, gets arrested, is eventually released without charges, only to find his property stolen and shop burnt down.

Two morals here: 1) Warning shots don't always work, even when fired by a naked dude with an M1A; 2) Police may respond unfavorably to man with gun, when they respond to shots fired; consider how you might mitigate their reaction.

Last edited by MLeake; January 9, 2012 at 06:45 PM.
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Old January 9, 2012, 06:55 PM   #39
Brian Pfleuger
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy View Post
From the perspective of a bad guy, if the good guy fires a warning shot, what do you think that means?

Firing a warning shot certainly does not indicate a willingness to shoot another person, otherwise the person would have been shot.
I think there are as many interpretations for what a warning shot might mean as there are people and scenarios to put them in.

I do think it's an unpredictable variable that is probably not worth the risk MOST of the time. However, Uncle Bucks scenario is one example where a warning shot seems like a good response.

I really think "the message" could be anywhere from "He ain't got the nads" to "Holy crap! This guy is serious!".
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:54 PM   #40
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In this particular case, the police, and I assume the procecutor seem to approve of the homeowner's actions.

But the interpretation of warning shots inhabit a legal limbo, and they come with a catch-22. There have been cases where people have fired warning shots and subsequently been charged with unlawful/improper discharge of a firearm or similar.

In October, of 2010 retired police Lt. Harry Thomas fired what he said was a warning shot at a dog that was attacking him. Lt. Thomas was charged with firing a gun in the city limits. He was told that because, by his own admission, he had not fired at the dog, he obviously was not in any danger and not acting in self-defense.

Besides all of the other reasons that warning shots are a bad idea - they can put you in a legal trick-bag with the wrong prosecutor.
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:34 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by MLeake
Also bear in mind, that in some jurisdictions, there is no allowance made for a warning shot. You have just used deadly force, in those places, and legally are no better off than if you had shot the person - in which case, use of deadly force had better have been justified, or you are in the hurt locker.
Heck, in most states simply drawing your firearm, and possibly just putting your hand on the butt while the gun remains holstered, is legally the exact same use of deadly force as actually shooting the assailant. So, if you're going to use it ... use it wisely and effectively.
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:47 PM   #42
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I really think "the message" could be anywhere from "He ain't got the nads" to "Holy crap! This guy is serious!".
Oh, absolutely. The problem is that the people making the warning shot think that they are doing things like demonstrating power, a willingness to shoot, and/or a willingness to kill, but the message is quite ambiguous and subject to interpretation. The message being encoded isn't necessarily the message being decoded. In other words, the warning shot may not be the best way to get the message across...and you are down one round.

Like I said above, I can't argue with the fact that they have been shown to work in many circumstances. This appears to be one. He did 4 shots and apparently dissuaded a group of people from overrunning his home (or that was the claim) and he didn't have to shoot any of them. Then he got busted.
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/09/...me-with-ak-47/

I don't have information on when it has failed to work.

Quote:
"Wow, that guy's a really bad shot! Look how much he missed me by! Oh, and now he's hesitating. Now's my chance. Imma steal all his Chia pets!"
That's not funny. I have Chia Pets. They are very special.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:51 PM   #43
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Agreed.

----

Chia pets. You guys are something else.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:14 PM   #44
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Warning shot ... NO! If you feel your life or someone else's life in jeopardy ... don't "warn" ... shoot to stop the threat. If that means the attacker dies ... it is NOT something I will have sleep problems over. The attacker made the call ... I simply responded to his/her aggression.

I also don't buy all the angst about killing another human being. If I just walked down the street and popped a person for no reason at all ... THAT would be sick and I should have emotional problems with that. Killing someone who wants to injure or kill me ... no emotional problems at all. I would view that no differently from my time in ground combat. A thug breaking into my house at 3AM or an NVA soldier emerging from cover ... not a human being ... just another target. Sorry if that makes some of you uncomfortable, but that's how it's been for me since 1968.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:20 PM   #45
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I also would hate to think of the collateral damage of a warning shot.

I know that we trained over when and when not to use warning shots as a matter of our ROE, but that was in the big Sandbox where not every dude with a weapon is hostile.

However, if someone is in my home, I feel that the necessity of a warning shot has been over ridden.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:24 PM   #46
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That's not funny. I have Chia Pets. They are very special
I will defend mine in the gravest extreme. Don't judge me.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:26 PM   #47
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Forgive me....

So it would be pretty bad if a warning shot struck said Chia pet?
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:34 PM   #48
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Oh Lawd, now I can't get that jingle out of my head.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

Do you also have the tree, to keep your pets company?
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Old January 11, 2012, 07:04 AM   #49
icedog88
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Thanks. Now I can't!
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Old January 11, 2012, 07:40 AM   #50
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not a human being ... just another target
That's how I was trained to deal with the situation in a "peace time Army".
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