One of the most important things I try and teach people is when you’re justified in using a gun against another person. In my classes I get all types of questions such as “Can I shoot them in the foot, just to wound them?” Or “Can I pull out the gun and threaten them even if I don’t actually plan to use it?”
The answer to both is absolutely not. The only time the gun should leave your holster or your safe in your bedroom is when you’re in immediate fear for your life or of serious bodily injury. Pulling or using the gun at any other time will likely get you sent to jail, like the fellow I’m about to tell you about:
David Flemming is a 61-year-old grandfather who lives inNew Hampshire. Last week, Mr. Flemming came home to find that someone had burglarized his house. While in his house he noticed that the burglar was climbing out of his neighbor’s window.
Mr. Flemming ran outside with a gun and told the burglar to freeze and then fired a bullet into the ground in front of him. The burglar did indeed freeze and was held at gunpoint until the police arrived.
However, when the police arrived they not only arrested the 27-year-old burglar, they also arrested Mr. Flemming, who now faces close to 7 years in jail. So what did he do wrong here? Hopefully you already know.
If you are firing a gun into the ground that obviously means you’re not in fear for your life or of serious bodily injury. After all, if someone is running at me with a knife to kill me, I’m going to try and shoot them in the chest, not at the ground. And if someone is trying to rape a woman, I hope she’ll shoot the rapist and not the ground.
Don’t get me wrong…
I realize that seeing someone who just burglarized your house crawl out of a window probably makes you pretty angry. However, unless that burglar is threatening your life at that moment, you can’t run outside and shoot him or shoot the ground. Even worse was what Mr. Flemming told Fox News in an interview. Here it is: “I didn’t think I could handle this guy physically, so I fired into the ground.”
Remember, I am not a lawyer and don’t like most lawyers. But my lawyer’s advice to me is to never talk to the police or anyone until it’s all sorted out. So the fact that this guy is making those comments before he goes to trial is not a good idea either.
I do hope Mr. Flemming gets off and that he doesn’t have to face jail. And I hope this is a reminder that before you buy a gun or before you pick up a gun, you better know when you’re allowed to use it. As those evil lawyers like to say: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”