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Can you legally fire a warning shot in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Criminal Defense

You have a legal firearm either in your home or you carry it on your person with appropriate licensing, and you likely own it so that you can protect yourself or your loved ones from crime. 

When someone tries to rob you or assault you, your legal firearm gives you a way to defend yourself. Before you take aim at someone else, you may want to try to deter them from continuing the actions that you perceive as threatening. 

Can you fire a warning shot in New Jersey if your firearm is legal?

The law doesn’t explicitly prohibit warning shots fired by civilians

New Jersey has laws about armed professionals, like prison guards, firing warning shots. Specifically, it is not legal for these professionals to fire a warning shot. The average individual is not subject to a specific law against it, but you could face penalties for deciding to fire a warning shot. 

Whether you do it at your home or out in public, firing a warning shot could complicate your legal situation. Instead of just being a victim, you are at risk of others seeing you as an instigator. Firing a deadly weapon could lead to criminal charges, especially if someone innocent nearby gets hurt as a result. 

Additionally, your decision to discharge a firearm could escalate the situation and lead to violence or could make it easier for the perpetrator to claim that you were the one who initiated the confrontation. There are numerous different laws that influence what happens if you try to defend yourself against a possible criminal act. Learning about those laws can help you plan a way to defend yourself in court.