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Could you face weapons charges for firing a warning shot?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2021 | Violent Crimes |

You have the legal right to protect yourself and your property with possibly lethal force in Colorado. If someone poses an imminent threat of harm to you or someone else, you can defend yourself using violence and, in some cases, even lethal force. 

Asserting your legal right to own a firearm could help you protect yourself and your loved ones. Even if you have a firearm, you may not want to actually shoot someone to stop a crime in progress. Some people might hope that simply exposing or brandishing a firearm would be enough to deter a criminal, but that is not always the case. 

Can you fire a warning shot during a physical altercation or a home invasion without risking criminal charges?

Colorado law does not protect those who fire a warning shot

When someone threatens your life or the safety of other people and you have a gun, state law may allow you to use that gun even if the person threatening you suffers severe injuries or dies as a result. In your own home, you have no duty to retreat when threatened by someone else. 

However, you do not have the right to unsafely discharge a weapon either. Firing a warning shot could mean that you endanger other people nearby. When you call the police to report the incident, you could find yourself arrested because you fired a weapon in an unsafe manner according to the police officers responding to your call. 

Understanding when you could be at risk of gun charges can help you make better decisions as a firearm owner.

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