Thursday, September 01, 2016

No, There is Still No Such Thing As A Warning Shot In Michigan

Had a call from a fellow requesting representation in launching a civil case that I turned down for the reason that there was no way his case would turn out well.

You see, he had already been criminally convicted for his conduct in the underlying action that he wanted to sue for and I explained that doing a civil suit would not improve things for him.

So the fellow is at home, out in the country, minding his own business apparently during a legal hunting season.

He spots a fellow at dusk entering his land with a shotgun at least 100 yards away from the house and never coming any closer. Apparently he then exits his house and yells at the person to leave but gets no response. He also sees a vehicle approaching from the road near the person.

So what did he do? Does he call the police to report a trespasser? Does he return to his house for cover and you know, call the police?

Why no, he "cranks off" a round, as a warning shot, not "aimed" at the person but at the ground.

The person does indeed leave at that point. Turns out he was lost and didn't know he had entered on the fellow's land while trying to track a deer.

Does our fellow call the police then?

Nope, instead he gets a nice knock on the door from the Sheriff asking what is going on and before you can say dumbass, he's made incriminating statements on top of his bad conduct and been tried and convicted for a misdemeanor of reckless discharge of a firearm.

Forget about suing civilly for trespass on those facts. He wants to sue for trespass for which he would receive nominal damages, and I point out he would be found civilly liable for assault and he'd likely lose big so it's probably best not to give the victim of his warning shot any ideas about suing him.


1. There are no such things as warning shots in Michigan.

2. There is no use of deadly force to defend your land from a trespasser or indeed to defend any other property.

3. "Cranking off" a round is the use of deadly force.

4. Call the police instead of confronting someone who is not an immediate threat to you.

5. Get to cover, or if you're in a place of cover do not leave the cover and aggressively sally forth to engage someone.

6. Someone walking on your land during hunting season, even armed, but not making any kind of threatening act towards you does not give you the right to use deadly force. Again, call the police if you're concerned about a trespasser who is not posing an immediate threat to you.

7. Even if you used deadly force justifiably, which did not occur in this situation, or even just displayed your firearm for the reason of protecting yourself, call the police and report the attack upon you.

These are not particularly hard things to live by but some people keep making these stupid mistakes. This guy again was all about how he knew his rights and had been around guns all his life. Well he certianly didn't know his rights and that, along with a plethora of bad decisions is what got him into trouble.


Old NFO said...

If you have to shoot, you shoot to stop the threat!!! Sigh

ProudHillbilly said...

Um, yeah. Only shoot when physical threat. And if it's reached that point the only "warning shot" should be because you missed the first time.

ProudHillbilly said...

Um, yeah. Only shoot when physical threat. And if it's reached that point the only "warning shot" should be because you missed the first time.