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reckless discharge of a firearm

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reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby cyras21 » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 14:09:43

posing a question for a friend who was charged...

Scenario:
Skeet shooting and homeowner claims rounds were hitting their garage which is located about 300 yrds away.

Questions:
First off, I don't shoot shotguns but that range seems pretty damn far to me.

Second, would local LE be require to conduct ballistics test or something to actually prove this? One person present, who is the homeowner wasn't shooting and was charged as well just for being there.

If the county isn't seeking jail time are they still entitled to a jury trial?

Their attorney wants them to cop to a plea but I think he's just being lazy.

Any insight would be appreciated.


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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby OakRidgeStars » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 14:44:43

I'm not a lawyer, so my advice would be to talk to one with experience in laws related to firearms.

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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby zephyp » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 15:19:34

I'm not an expert with shotgun ballistics but my honest guess is at 300 yards it would be kinda like the neighbor kid throwing bbs from the street...I'd love to know if there was any pellets recovered from wood penetration in that garage...I suspect the neighbor is an anti gunner otherwise they would have probably picked up the phone and asked if they could shoot in another direction cause the pitter patter of bbs were interrupting the afternoon NASCAR race rather than phoning the cops...

Oh, IANAL either and would definitely pass on Jay's advice to have your friend talk to a gun friendly attorney...
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby Chasbo00 » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 15:57:16

Skeet shooting normally suggests shot sizes of 7 1/2 and below with velocities of 1200 feet per second or slower. Given these conditions, the shot won't travel 300 yards. However, larger shot sizes and/or faster velocities can result in increased ranges of 300 yards and beyond.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby Vahunter » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 16:28:20

The homeowner must be a real A-Hole. Iv'e had shot rain down on me while dove hunting and don't see what the problem is. When we lived in Mechanicsville we had shot hitting the roof from dove hunters across the road the only problem I had was I wasn't invited. :roll:


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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby Chasbo00 » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 16:37:13

Chasbo00 wrote:Skeet shooting normally suggests shot sizes of 7 1/2 and below with velocities of 1200 feet per second or slower.


Correction: meant to have said shot sizes of 7 1/2 and smaller in above.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby Jakeiscrazy » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 19:47:17

Chasbo00 wrote:Skeet shooting normally suggests shot sizes of 7 1/2 and below with velocities of 1200 feet per second or slower. Given these conditions, the shot won't travel 300 yards. However, larger shot sizes and/or faster velocities can result in increased ranges of 300 yards and beyond.


+1 I find it hard to believe. The question is what by law is a reckless discharge. It sounds like a grey area.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby grumpyMSG » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:36:52

I would think a decent investigation by the Police/ Sheriff's office would find whether the shot from the skeet shooting was hitting the garage. If they have the shot in hand from the garage that was being hit and they are similar to the shot from your friend's shotgun shells, they might have a case. As far as a jury trial or not, it doesn't matter whether they are seeking jail time or not, if there is the possibility of jail time then you should be entitled. Here are the sections of the Code of Virginia they might use to prosecute your friend:
§ 18.2-56.1. Reckless handling of firearms; reckless handling while hunting.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.


A Class 1 is up to 1 year in jail. I doubt that the shot would have enough force to break a window, if they made it that far, however the possibility of it being blamed for damaging the paint would be very possible.

Assuming that the shot is actually hitting the garage, if your friend ignores the neighbor's complaint and continues to shoot in that direction, knowing the shot is hitting the neighbor's house, this is what he could be charged with:

§ 18.2-279. Discharging firearms or missiles within or at building or dwelling house; penalty.

If any person maliciously discharges a firearm within any building when occupied by one or more persons in such a manner as to endanger the life or lives of such person or persons, or maliciously shoots at, or maliciously throws any missile at or against any dwelling house or other building when occupied by one or more persons, whereby the life or lives of any such person or persons may be put in peril, the person so offending is guilty of a Class 4 felony.



I am no genius, but I think your friend may need to find another direction to shoot. No matter what, he definitely needs to consult with an attorney.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby novaglock » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:37:22

I sometimes shoot trap at Bull Run Shooting Center. The deer stand downrange, certainly within 300 yards, and are totally unconcerned about the shot coming directly at them. My guess is if they were being hit at all, which I doubt, they must have thought it was rain!
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby moss20 » Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:52:48

A safe shotfall zone of slightly over 300 meters(330 yards) is needed for setup of a shotgun range. 4-H Shotgun manual

I heard about this earlier today at my sons shotgun practice.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby gunderwood » Mon, 14 Mar 2011 14:10:45

OakRidgeStars wrote:I'm not a lawyer, so my advice would be to talk to one with experience in laws related to firearms.

http://www.hkshooter.net/lawyers/

+1
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby gunderwood » Mon, 14 Mar 2011 14:15:41

cyras21 wrote:Scenario:
Skeet shooting and homeowner claims rounds were hitting their garage which is located about 300 yrds away.

How was this measured? I find many people grossly overestimate the size of their deer and ranges. 300 yard shots are far more likely 140 or something. If you don't regularly practice estimating range and then verifying it with a tool, you are likely no where near the actual range.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby dorminWS » Mon, 14 Mar 2011 14:52:24

well, 300 meters is 328 yards. And I'd say the 4H handbook folks practiced an excess of caution on that "a little over 300 meters" standard; and properly so. Extra caution is much less likely to get somebody's killin' done than not enough is.

Assuming the 300 yard number is accurate, then (if I were the lawyer and had to argue this) I'd argue there was no recklessness and no endangerment or threat to life and limb or of injury because skeet shot at 300 yards is harmless unless you scoop it up off the ground and eat it; in which case it will poisen if you you've eaten enough. [BY THE WAY, THIS AIN'T LEGAL ADVICE AND I AGREE THAT IS WHAT'S REQUIRED. THAT BOY THAT SOMETIMES POSTS HERE SEEMS TO HAVE HIS HEAD ON STRAIGHT, AND IF I WAS THE SHOOTER, I'D HIRE HIM.]

In my opinion, what the shooter was guilty of was being a stupid @ss who gives shooters a bad name and maybe trespass. The missing element of the shooting offenses, I would argue, is endangerment. We all know that who are bird hunters. But, having said that, I'd NEVER sprinkle a guy's house knowingly and intentionally, just because it ain't right and it causes resentment, sometimes unjustified fear of injury (which raises the possibility of an ASSAULT offense, come to think of it) and most importantly, causes folks to quit allowing even responsible people to hunt on their land. In addition to that, where I come from, a trick like that will more than likely cause a feller to have to carry home a good old-fashioned @ss-whuppin'. If it did, it would serve him right, too.

But the danger here is that the judge would be as big an idiot as the cop who charged the shooter; or is one of those who thinks the legislature appointed him God instead of Judge. Such a feller might find as a matter of fact that 7 1/2 shot at 300 yards was dangerous, and find the shooter guilty. If you did what you had to do to have a jury, you'd have a better than even chance these days of getting too many gun haters or just people who knew nothing about them and feared them irrationally - - even if you weren't in Northern used-to-be Virginia.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby gunderwood » Mon, 14 Mar 2011 15:48:02

Do we have any proof that the shot actually made it that distance or was it just the homeowner claiming it did? I could see an anti-gunner claiming the shot was going that far, but just basing that claim off of their perception that a firearm was being discharged in the general direction. Draw a straight line from any firing line and I guarantee that you will eventually find it intersects with something valuable...it might be 100 miles, but it will eventually. The ability of the firearm/load in question to reach that far would be a critical factor IMHO, but IANAL.
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Re: reckless discharge of a firearm

Postby user » Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:36:22

There is no presumption from the fact of pellets hitting the garage that the firearm was handled recklessly. "Recklessness" means without thought. More than "negligent", it's an outright failure to "reckon".

And what if the pellets hit the garage? Was there a risk of injury to man or animal, or any property damage as the result?

This is the kind of case in which a good investigation by the defense is necessary; and no, one should almost never take a plea bargain on this kind of case.
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