Be Informed, Not the Criminal Defendant
By any account, Indiana is unique in its identification with the right to keep and bear arms. For instance, hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers have a License to Carry Handgun. While the need for a license, and in some general sense understanding of the need for training on safe gun handling is widely accepted and understood, there are pervasive myths that attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon see routinely that cause gun owners to be criminally prosecuted.
The first is pointing a firearm due to a sense of fear or to scare someone off. Generally, unless the right to use deadly force exists, this is a criminal act. Deadly force is limited to narrow contexts in Indiana.
They are generally to avoid or stop a violent felony, avoid serious bodily injury, or to defend one’s home. Pointing to scare off someone is generally a crime that will be charged as misdemeanors (sometimes felonies), causing revocation of a License to Carry and, if a felony conviction occurs, make the person prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition (including a single round of ammunition) for life.
The second is shooting in the air or in a safe direction to scare someone off. This is like pointing a firearm, but generally a higher level crime if the three defenses (affirmative defenses) to use deadly force are not present. This has the same consequences for a License or right to possess firearms or ammunition, and again, a felony is likely a lifetime bar to firearms possession under federal law without certain relief after the fact to restore one’s core civil liberties, namely the right to sit on a jury, vote, hold public office, and keep and bear arms.
The third is exercising deadly force to stop a property crime, such as someone stealing a car. This is a property crime and not a violent felony, although it is a felony. This is widely misunderstood. Deadly force, generally, may only be exercised to stop a violent felony, avoid serious bodily injury or death or to defend one’s home.
We hope that you find this blog post helpful in educating you the general laws that gun owners must follow to avoid criminal charge in Indiana. This blog is not intended as a solicitation for services or specific legal advice. It is best thought of as advertising material. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle defense to gun charges across the State of Indiana and consult on firearms matters across the United States.