Author Topic: Negligent Discharge: Legal obligations  (Read 2471 times)

Halftime Oracle

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Negligent Discharge: Legal obligations
« on: September 26, 2017, 10:59:28 AM »
I'm not planning on being this stupid, but putting the magazine into a semi-automatic firearm and closing the slide loads the first round without the need to rack the slide (DA/SA pistol).   This is new to me, as I grew up on shotguns, and closing the chamber does not load the first shell from the magazine unless you have specifically racked the gun, so a semi-auto handgun is definitely different in that respect.   Moreover, loading an automatic firearm with the safety off leaves it in a cocked and ready position with a round loaded if the safety is off -- Note: I have a DA/SA Pistol -- so it will fire with very little trigger pressure in the "SA" mode at that point.   This got me to worrying about a couple of legal implications. 

In the event of a negligent discharge(ND)  (1) inside my own home, or (2) in my own car -- effectively an ND in which no one was injured as a result of that ND -- I have these questions:
(A) what obligations do I have to inform the police, and/or Texas Law Shield about the ND if there were no witnesses except family. 
(B) Does this obligation change if I have caused minor property damage to my own home or car (in my garage or driveway) with an ND, but no one in my family was injured.
(C) Does this obligation change if my car was damaged and the ND occurred when my car was not on my property, for example, I am removing my firearm from a lockbox in my car after going to a sporting event and reloading it before driving back home, and during that reload process I accidentally discharge a round into the floorboard (i.e., In this case there are possible witnesses outside my immediate family to the ND, and who were involved in the sense that they likely heard, and may have even seen, the ND into the floorboard, but who were not injured as a result)
(D) Since TLS is set up to defend what it's members believe to be "righteous" uses of a firearm, what coverage does TLS provide in the event of an ND, especially in the case of C above where I will likely be charged with a CRIMINAL offense for an ND because it occurred around others and in public, even though the discharge was completely accidental (e.g., Cops may charge disorderly conduct, deadly conduct, aggravated assault, or any number of other charges papered over an ND to get their pound of flesh for the negligence, even though cops have ND's all the time).

Thanks so much for considering and answering.


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Re: Negligent Discharge: Legal obligations
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 04:14:07 PM »
Halftime Oracle:

We always recommend proper training and safety in the use of your firearm. If you are concerned about the weight or distance of the trigger pull on your DA/SA while in single action you may consider carrying a different type of handgun. Also consider handguns with safeties—such as the grip safety on the Springfield Armory XD. These prevent discharge of the firearm unless is it is firmly grasped in the shooting hand.

Regarding Negligent Discharge:
(A)   Whether you choose to report the incident or not is a personal decision that is best made after weighing all possible outcomes. While there is no legal obligation to report yourself to law enforcement in cases of negligent discharge, there may be other factors (which we will address below) that might push you closer to one decision.  It is generally a good idea to inform Texas LawShield so your independent program attorneys can be aware of the situation and are prepared to help you in case any issue arises. At the end of the day, however, whether or not you choose to report the incident is a personal.
(B)   The legal obligation to report the incident does not change because of change of location or amount or nature of property damage.
(C)   The legal obligation does not change because of the presence of witnesses. However, it may be in your best interest to report the negligent discharge. If there is any reason to believe a witness would call the police we recommend you report the negligent discharge. In general, someone is likely to call the police if they hear a gun shot in a public place. Police tend to view non-reporting as a sign of guilt and are more likely to arrest/hassle/charge you if you did not report the negligent discharge yourself. Furthermore, you want the police to hear your side of the story first. Other witnesses can sometime twist the events in their head and might report the negligent discharge as “a maniac with a gun,” or claim “he threatened me with his gun.” So if you are in public and you have a negligent discharge, we recommend you call the police to explain what happened.
(D)   Coverage determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. As independent program attorneys, we do not make coverage determinations before an incident. Ordinarily, coverage includes accidental discharges. 


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Re: Negligent Discharge: Legal obligations
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 06:50:43 AM »
You might also consider a DA/SA model with a decocker which lets you safely lower the hammer after racking your first round.