First Time Pointing A Gun At Someone

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COEngineer

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This, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. But remember this was not part of the OP original post. He edited it after the fact and went and put it in.

The line is crossed when you point your rifle at anyone. You NEVER point your weapon at anything you do not intend to kill. A accidental/ negligent discharge is not a capital offense.

Somebody shooting at you and missing (from any distance) is a lot different than someone accidentally shooting near you. I'd hardly say the camp was under assault. I understand the OPs fear and reaction, but let's not pretend it was something more than it was. A very dangerous incident to be sure, but he's not a victim of assault because someone was unsafe near him. That's not what assault means.
What you two seem to be completely missing is the fact that I didn't KNOW it was a negligent discharge and the guy didn't say anything before being confronted. What would you have done? Walked out in the open with a flashlight pointed at your face with one hand and a cup of coffee in the other?
 

David658

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You fail to mention that in Canada OP would be sitting in jail with ALL his firearms seized for pointing his rifle at someone, regardless of the situation. They would be at the very least charged with careless use of a firearm and unsafe storage of a firearm. They would be in an endless court battle, which they could win, but which would last years, it would take even longer to get their firearms back, IF they won, and they would most likely be returned in poor shape with items missing.

In contrast, the guy who had a negligent discharge would most likely only receive a wildlife act related fine for discharging a firearm past hunting hours.
Partly why I would not live in Canada.

Thankfully nobody was hurt. The very thought of a situation like this puckers me up. Having grown up in a clannish, rural, hill-folk region, there would have been two gunshots - you NEVER went to someone's camp or home in the dark, and to discharge a round...... So glad for the OP that all worked out ok.

As to hunting with a round in the chamber - I used to do that (I guess I still do when I hunt with my ML). But I realized that there is no reason to do so, and now always hunt with no round in the chamber of my rifle. Makes me think about my hunting with one in the tube when bird hunting... I used my wife's rifle this past weekend (mine is having issues), and although plastic, I did like being able to drop the magazine and open the bolt, able to see the ground thru the action to ensure it was empty. That ND would not have happened, and there would have only been words, had the negligent party not had a gun with one in the tube.
 

MTGomer

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Most people go their entire lives without a negligent discharge. Having one, at 3 AM, moments after pulling up to someone’s camp, sure seems like an unlikely time to have such an unlikely event.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t believe the stranger’s story, but I totally understand your skepticism.

There is zero reason the person should have a round in the chamber of a hunting rifle inside of a vehicle, or outside of a vehicle while it is dark outside.
 
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Jason73

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I know if I was you the last officer I'd want coming to interview me would be the guy busting your balls on this thread. If my daughter was with me I would have done exactly the same. Don't let these people bother you. You protected your kid and that's all that matters.
 

Pmacc60

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Somebody shooting at you and missing (from any distance) is a lot different than someone accidentally shooting near you. I'd hardly say the camp was under assault. I understand the OPs fear and reaction, but let's not pretend it was something more than it was. A very dangerous incident to be sure, but he's not a victim of assault because someone was unsafe near him. That's not what assault means.
At 3am ?
 

JLS

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My last post, albeit anemic, on this subject. I’m not doing this for my benefit. I’m doing it because this is an issue with potentially huge consequences and ramifications if one is wrong.

The OP thinks I’m trolling him. I’m not. If you can’t ask yourself or be asked hard questions about how you worked through a potentially lethal force encounter, you’re not mature enough to be engaging in one and and sooner or later you’ll come out on the wrong side of the 8 ball.

@Addicting is 100% correct in that you don’t ever point your firearm at someone until you have made the conscious decision to shoot. Plain and simple. I posted two research studies that directly support why this concept is so important. Having a firearm at the ready, cocked locked and ready to rock is perfectly fine. Putting your crosshairs on someone is not.

There is a lot of speculation on why the guy was there. In the end, speculation doesn’t matter when it comes to the other guy. It’s articulable facts and observations, what he was doing, what he said, etc. Fear of death or serious bodily harm is a PERCEPTION that must be supported by FACTS. Plain and simple. Changing slight variables in the circumstance can greatly alter the context of the encounter. Nuance is critical, and so is understanding YOUR role in how things transpired.

Keep in mind, YOUR actions and how they are perceived may very well justify him shooting at you. What are your grounds for detaining someone and/or ordering him around? He doesn’t know you. Maybe it really was an ND. Maybe the guy is disoriented from it and acts strangely. These are all things to consider.

What do you do if the guy says “F you, I’m going hunting” and starts hiking up the trail? Can you stop him? Can you shoot him? Can your shoot him if he says “you’re crazy” and starts to get back in his vehicle? What if he asks you what grounds you have to give him orders or detain him? What if he says “show me a badge or go screw yourselves?” Shoot him? What if he looks at you and then completely ignores you after that? Shoot him?

There are a million different ways to analyze this, and no you cannot answer every question one could come up with. But to say “no one got hurt, ergo the situation was handled perfectly is absolute bullshit. Folks handle things 100% wrong all the time and come out lucky. That doesn’t mean they were right or did things remotely correct.

If anyone disagrees with what I wrote, feel free. I’m not going to post my CV and credentials to justify it. I’m not concerned about my freedom. I am concerned when I read some of the stuff here and the mindset some folks operate under.

Based on the level of maturity shown in a PM exchange, I shudder to think how the OP would handle cross examination in a courtroom. If you engage in a lethal encounter, you can guarantee you’ll end up in civil court and possibly criminal court. If you can’t engage in mature conversation on the internet, how will you handle this? It matters, and it matters to your family and friends.
 
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David658

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A bit over a year ago we were all Constitutional Law experts. Starting in 1/2020, we marched on to become experts in virology. We are currently demonstrating the same abject lack of real understanding as we act as Lawyers in critiquing this thread. I haven't yet noticed anyone speak of legal credentials in this conversation. What the OP experienced was terrifying, and clearly he was still rattled when he made his original post. It would be one thing for a hunting buddy to have a ND in camp (he would immediately become a former hunting buddy) at 0300, but to have a stranger drive in and do that changes the equation. How did OP know that the shot was not directed at his camp-mate in the trailer, maybe who had stepped out for a leak? Pitch dark, headlights, gunshot - messy. Thankfully we are in the US (not the State of Canada) and the OP is allowed to take reasonable measures to defend his child without ending up under the jail. Small, fine points might be discussed, but in the end we should be glad all worked out well for the OP, rather than sitting on a high horse (or chair) and providing armchair or lockerroom quality critique.
 

Addicting

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What you two seem to be completely missing is the fact that I didn't KNOW it was a negligent discharge and the guy didn't say anything before being confronted. What would you have done? Walked out in the open with a flashlight pointed at your face with one hand and a cup of coffee in the other?
I sure as hell wouldn’t of pointed my gun at him, posted about it on the internet, changed the story after I was called out, and then still try to justify my mistake.
 

3855WIN

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Somebody shooting at you and missing (from any distance) is a lot different than someone accidentally shooting near you. I'd hardly say the camp was under assault. I understand the OPs fear and reaction, but let's not pretend it was something more than it was. A very dangerous incident to be sure, but he's not a victim of assault because someone was unsafe near him. That's not what assault means.
Roll into my camp at 3 am shooting and I will assume my camp is under assault until proven otherwise.
 

BucksnDucks

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For all of you who want to so quickly denounce me, if I’m so wrong in this why did the OP feel he had to go and edit his original post?

If he was perfectly justified then there was no reason for him to alter his story…. Think about that for a while. Then go back and look at the time stamps.
This has been an interesting thread that obviously struck a cord with you. I don't believe the OPs actions were perfect. I do however absolutely feel the actions were no where near a criminal act, the felonious assault you mentioned numerous times. It's not a personal attack on you to point out the actions taken as described do not meet the elements of a felony or an assault. We can agree or disagree with the actions taken but we can't change the law to prove our point. Well, unless you're a politician I suppose.
 
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Nameless Range

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Randomness from a thread reader:

Earlier in the thread I used the term morally formless to describe this situation. To be clear, I see this as separate from something being legally formless. These types of instances are fascinating, where people who seem very reasonable and whose opinions and perspective I value as much if not more than my own, can vehemently disagree on something. It also speaks not only to personal expertise, but personal experience, and how that can shape a viewpoint.

It's not a fair comparison, but something I often think about is streaking. You ever seen a naked guy/gal run across the field at a sporting event? I have. One could laugh at the drunk fool and tell their friends about it with a giggle, and another could perceive it as a criminal offense so lewd that they are glad the disgusting human being is now considered a sexual offender by society, and registered as one and depending on the state , either may be right - even simultaneously. What disparity in right and wrong.

I think of what Lemony Snicket wrote in his book, "The Slippery Slope", “It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier.” I think a case could be made the wrong things were done, but the options for what would have been right, particularly under duress, seem quite as rife with problems of their own. And I don't think I am above them myself, and I don't think I am a bad person.

We are taught that right and wrong are immutable though they are not. The law certainly acts as if that's true, and one could say that our social contract supercedes what is right or wrong in a philosophical discussion, for as many on this thread have pointed out, what you perceived to be the case is pretty irrelevant, and that the consequences of a civil suit much less the fact that you could end up locked in a cage over your actions, is what matters most in the end. I don't think they're wrong either.

Dozens of posts on this thread, and I have learned something, and I do believe the input of some on here would influence my future behavior if put in an analogous situation. It is fair to point out that this thread didn't exist before the story in question. Whether one thinks the sharing of this story was wise, I think a strong case could be made that it has provided value to many. I know it has to me.

For what it's worth.
 
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Jason73

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I sure as hell wouldn’t of pointed my gun at him, posted about it on the internet, changed the story after I was called out, and then still try to justify my mistake.
He asked what would you have done? You spout of all these positions you have held that should give you Supreme knowledge on this matter but instead of engaging in a respectful manner you come out flinging shit.
 

BucksnDucks

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You NEVER point your weapon at anything you do not intend to kill
In the field, range, hunter ed, Yes. In the real world, no. I would recommend everyone that relies on a firearm for defense take some type of concealed carry/defensive firearm course that discusses the current laws and responsibilities. You will not hear the above phrase mentioned as an absolute other than general gun safety. The use of force continuum will be discussed, pros cons of drawing and pointing firearms.
There is a time and place to put someone at gun point, it happens often. It's a worthy discussion how the firearm was used in this incident, but the above statement as an absolute does not apply.
To say NEVER is just not a reality and as mentioned above not a crime.
 

Huntkook

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So are we all now accomplices, since we haven't reported the O.P. to the authorities?
 

ccc23454

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Obvious he works in his truck and just had a desk pop moment. Who are you to point a gun at a man hard at work... download.jpeg
 

YoungGun

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I would be intrigued to know how many of the critics draw down on a bear rummaging through the same camp at 3am. Probably wouldn't be a lot of people pointing out that "the bear may have just been looking for a snack", "he didn't mean any harm", "how do you know he had bad intent?". Instead, there'd probably even be some bluster about shooting first and letting USFWS figure it out.

Different scenario, but I just find it humorous that some jump to conclusions that the guy NDing at 3am is in the right in some way. In Montana, he'd be liable to be charged with Negligent Endangerment- for those of you that think you can't be charged with an ND, think again. As a Police Officer, I've written it numerous times when there's an ND- apartment complexes, businesses, even residential neighborhoods. A campground would be no different. If the guy didn't ND, but decided that target shooting in an occupied campground was the activity of the morning, he could be looking at Criminal Endangerment. To flip this on the OP I think is disingenuous. There were (at least) 2 guns involved by (at least) 2 people in the described situation. To make the 3am visitor out to be the responsible handler of their firearm is laughable.

The point being, it's easy to keyboard critique others. Everyone is an expert when they aren't involved. Lots of black and white statements being tossed around in here, without a "reasonableness" thought being given. It's clear some of you think the OPs actions unreasonable. 3am with your kids in camp, and a gunshot from an unknown person opens up a wide range of actions that would be viewed as reasonable under these circumstances by most states' courts, let alone federally.
 

BucksnDucks

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What real world are you referring to, and have you visited this place personally?
Yes, I have. I'm speaking of the real world where defensive uses of firearms occur daily by law enforcement and citizens. The real world where circumstances vary and there are not absolutes like mentioned above.
I have a great deal of experience and training in this matter.
I'm not telling people to go out and start pointing guns at whoever they feel like. What I'm trying to convey is the gun safety rule of never point a gun at something you don't intend on destroying does not always apply to this or similar situations. I disagree on the absolutes on both sides of the discussion and think it should be talked about.
I've been in some extremely intense situations and pointed a firearm at a human being. I have never pulled the trigger. I would be open to discuss alternatives in those cases, but in the majority putting the person at gun point was the correct and most reasonable thing to do.
 
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BucksnDucks

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The point being, it's easy to keyboard critique others. Everyone is an expert when they aren't involved. Lots of black and white statements being tossed around in here, without a "reasonableness" thought being given. It's clear some of you think the OPs actions unreasonable. 3am with your kids in camp, and a gunshot from an unknown person opens up a wide range of actions that would be viewed as reasonable under these circumstances by most states' courts, let alone federally.
In the end the totality of the circumstance is the criteria on which it would be judged.
 
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