DAVENPORT, IOWA — One early morning, an occupant of a home heard his back door getting kicked in by several intruders. He grabbed his shotgun and went out to confront them. Once the burglars saw he was armed, they fled. He let off a shotgun blast as they were leaving and another as they got into their vehicle.
According to KWQC News, Davenport police are now charging that man with discharging a firearm within city limits.
Plus ten points awarded to Gryffindor for defending his home in the wee early morning hours from House Slytherin… Minus a thousand points for breaking the law while doing it.
No one is saying you can’t shoot an intruder — but it’s against the law to fire off ‘warning shots’. We’ve said it again and again and yet it still happens. The reason why ‘warning shots’ are a no-go is because there’s still the potential to hurt or harm another person — especially when you’re located around adjacent buildings or in an apartment complex.
Think about it. Even if a gun owner thinks he’s pointing a shotgun in a safe direction and wants to shoot off a round of buckshot to scare the bad guys, he can’t guarantee that he won’t cause needless damage or injury to those around him. That’s why cities have ordinances about discharging firearms within their limits. It’s not (always) because cities have a bone to pick with gun owners. It’s usually because of safety concerns.
It’s also a poor interpretation of basic gun safety — namely, don’t aim at anything you don’t intend to shoot and know what is in front and directly behind your target.
Additionally, the bad guys are fleeing. They messed up. They know they messed up. They’re not trying to fight. That doesn’t suddenly make them less bad but it does mean there’s no justification to shoot them. If police nabbed them up at the street the very next second, they would be charged with maybe trespassing and breaking and entering. There was no assault at this point. No threat of serious injury was imminent.
Firing off indiscriminate blasts from a shotgun, though, is dangerous when the person doing so is in close proximity to others. If the homeowner is lucky, he’ll get off with some fines or maybe a misdemeanor charge.
The idea of intimidating one’s enemy is foolhardy. Either a person has the capacity to defend his own life and his property or he does not. Either a bad guy demonstrates intent to inflict serious bodily harm on a citizen or he doesn’t. This middle ground BS is straight Hollywood mumbo-jumbo.
If a citizen shoots a burglar center mass because the burglar was too dumb to back off when he saw the occupant was armed, that’s on the burglar. If a citizen shoots a burglar in the back as he’s trying to flee, he’s a criminal. And if a citizen shoots indiscriminately as a burglar is trying to flee, he’s an idiot and in violation of city ordinances.
Law-abiding gun owners generally have earned what they have. There’s no sense in shredding it up needlessly to show off for some bad guys that are already half-way to their getaway vehicle. Work smarter, not harder.