Doug Richards for U.S. LawShield of Colorado. I want to speak today about firing warning shots. The quick advice on that is: don’t ever do it.

There is no law or authority in Colorado that justifies you firing a warning shot at another person. What ends up happening is you have a situation that’s heated where you are in fear for your life or somebody else’s life, and rather than actually shooting at this person you’re thinking, “Well, let me take it one step down and fire a warning shot.” And the law doesn’t allow you to do that.

There is no justification that gives you permission to fire a warning shot. It’s dangerous. Any time you fire your firearm it’s a dangerous event. The bullet has to land somewhere, either on some person or on some thing. So, you could run the risk of being charged with a negligent crime or even being sued civilly for causing damage to somebody else’s property.

But, returning to the situation, when you fire a warning shot, what you are really doing is escalating an already heated situation. What you should be doing in that case is trying to get the threat either off of your property or to stop making the threats that were leading you to drawing your weapon in the first place.

If that doesn’t work, you need to try to call the authorities. And finally, a last resort is using your firearm in self-defense against this other person. But again, that is a last resort and something you should really try to avoid doing. If you have any questions about this or anything else, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.