Should I Fire A Warning Shot When In Danger?

Over the years of doing private security and my short time educating students in firearms, I often hear about people talking about “warning shots”. A lot of people believe it is the best policy to shoot a warning shot(s) to scare off a threat before using deadly force. They also believe this is a lot more humane before seriously injuring someone or taking someones life. The military will use warning shots while in the theater, but that is per their rules of engagement. That is the only time I have ever seen them used.

In the civilian world, we don’t have “rules of engagement” but rather Local, State and Federal laws we have to follow. Here are the reasons you NEVER fire warning shots.

  1. No where in any local, state or federal laws, allows you to fire warning shots. You actually might get charged with reckless endangerment or more if you do so.
  2. It is extremely dangerous to fire warning shots. Either if its in the air, close by the threat or in the ground, you have no idea where those bullets are going to land.
  3. If you feel your life or a third parties is that much in danger of serious bodily injury or death, you should be shooting at the subject in order to stop the threat.
  4. If you fire warning shots and if it ever goes to court, this action will be used against you. Either the prosecutor or defense attorney are going to argue that this action proves that either you or the third party were ever in imminent danger. If you were in that much danger, you would be shooting at the subject in order to stop the threat. They are going to argue how reckless this act was and how you put the public in danger.
  5. Firing warning shots will also prove just how under trained you are in firearms and how you lack knowledge in local, state and federal laws. This proving you shouldn’t be a gun owner.

Below I am going to link to news articles of citizens getting in trouble with the law for firing warning shots or shooting recklessly in the air.

Marrisa Alexander fired warning shot during altercation with husband.  

Austin man arrested for firing  gun into the air to scare neighbors. 

Man arrested for firing warning shots into the air to scare thieves.

How a warning shot got a man 20 years in prison.

There are many more cases or news articles that I could link to. I could almost spend all night doing this. There is this misconception in society that it is okay to fire a warning shot(s). I don’t know if this comes from watching too many shows, movies, news or listening to your “Uncle Mike” who claims to be a gun expert. Overall do NOT fire warning shots. You might face severe consequences if you choose to do so.

(Disclaimer:) This article is only an opinion of a firearms instructor and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or questions, please contact your local 2nd Amendment attorney.