• Displaying or Pointing a Firearm to Thwart an Attack

    According to the National Rifle Association, more than 2 million assaults are prevented each year by making a potential attacker aware that the would-be victim is carrying a firearm.

    If you believe a threat will soon turn into physical violence, you may take the following actions to preempt an attack (least aggressive to most aggressive):

    • Expose your firearm but leave the gun in the holster, keeping your hand on the guns grip so the gun can be quickly pulled and put into action
    • Pull your gun from its holster and keep the gun at your side or at a low ready position (pointed toward the ground at approximately a 45 degree angle)
    • Pull your gun from its holster and point your gun at the attacker (see notes below)

    Anytime a firearm is used defensively, regardless of whether or not a shot is fired, it is important to notify the police as soon as it is safe to do so. The reason for this is the fact that the would-be criminal might decide to call 911 to report that someone (you) just pulled a gun on him. Generally, the first person to call 911 is the victim.

    Keep in mind that if you point your gun at someone and you are not able to articulate your legal justification for doing so, you run the risk of criminal prosecution for second degree assault which can be up to 7 years in prison. In theory, it would be fair to say that to be justified in pointing your firearm at someone, the situation would have to be so grave that you would also be justified in shooting the attacker but at the last moment, the attack was prevented upon the presentation of your firearm without the need to fire.

    Never, under any circumstance, fire warning shots, either into the air or into the ground. Firing a warning shot is dangerous and primarily a product of television and Hollywood. Many police departments have policies against this type of action. Innocent people have been killed by firing warning shots and you are responsible for the bullets that leave your barrel.