Knowing how to effectively use your firearm is only one aspect of home and personal defense. Knowing when it's legal to draw and fire your weapon is an entirely separate matter. Being unclear about the law is a potentially life-changing error, and it is the responsibility of every gun owner (and especially every concealed carrier) to be aware of all legal factors affecting the decisions
Case in point: A Colorado resident is facing possible criminal charges after firing his gun Sunday night at a man who had been standing outside his teenage daughter's window. As he exited the door in his back yard, he fired a single shot, missing.
The story was first reported by Denver's KDVR. (You can see a local news video at the link.) The article reads in part:
The wife of the man who fired the gun did not share her last name, but Sharon said her husband feared the creeper in her back yard had a weapon.
"The person turned and he had something in his hand and that's what scared (her husband). He didn't see what it was. He just saw something in his hand," she said.
The father fired his gun, but did not hit the suspect.
"He didn't fire random shots. He fired one shot and that was it," Sharon said.
However, that one shot could spell a whole lot of trouble.
"He could be charged for firing a weapon," Longmont police Cmdr. Joel Post said.
Many neighbors on Denver Avenue believe their neighbor overreacted.
"I'm one of those who does believe we have the right to carry, but I think we have to use caution," Mary McNinch said.
Colorado has a "Make My Day" law that is similar to "Castle Doctrine" in other states. The law gives gun owners the right to shoot and kill an intruder in self-defense if they believe the person intends to commit a crime and use physical force. However, back yards and porches are not covered by the law.
The home owner may end up being charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, but if he had killed whoever was in his back yard that night, it could be even worse.
Do you know the laws in West Virginia? Would you know the legal limitations on self defense? Have you been trained?
Our concealed carry class has an entire 50-minute section on the legal aspects of force-on-force defense with firearms and non-lethal defense. Do not go unprepared!
Sign up for our concealed carry class today!