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Should I Shoot a Warning Shot?

As a firearms owner, you may sometimes wonder about warning shots. What is considered a warning? Is it legal? What are the ramifications and consequences of such a shot?

Attorney Tom Grieve of Grieve Law will discuss this popular self-defense and gun ownership topic in this week’s “Ask an Attorney” video.

Should I Shoot a Warning Shot?

As a responsibly armed citizen, you must remember that you are responsible for every round that leaves your firearm. And don’t forget: “What goes up must come down.” Just because you weren’t intending to hurt someone or damage something doesn’t mean you won’t.

In many places (check your local laws), a warning shot may be considered a use of deadly force. Even though you probably intend to fire a “warning,” you could potentially hurt or even kill someone with that shot. Therefore, the act of taking that shot could be viewed by the justice system as deadly force.

Also, if you are in a situation in which deadly force is necessary for self-defense, such as firing your gun, it may not be a good idea to waste precious seconds and ammo on a warning shot. It’s not likely to stop the threat. If you’ve been “trained” to take warning shots, it may be time to find a new trainer.


About Tom Grieve, Grieve Law

Tom Grieve is one of the most respected criminal defense lawyers in Wisconsin. A highly awarded former prosecutor, he started Grieve Law, LLC, which is one of the top criminal defense firms in the state. He has developed a nuanced knowledge of Wisconsin firearms law. Tom has also received his certification as a firearms instructor and participates as a speaker and panelist with the USCCA for live broadcasts, national expos and training videos. He is even serving as a speaker and analyst on numerous TV and radio stations as well as on college and law school campuses.


The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer for a specific case.


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