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Is clubbing someone with a gun deadly force?

1044 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  gsusnake
I got to wondering how the law and LE would view striking someone with the butt of a pistol or long gun. Granted, a gun is a deadly weapon, and you would be using that weapon to assault someone, but in this case, it it used and is no more deadly than a broomstick or pipe wrench. Does it make any difference that it is also a fire arm? Any difference if it's loaded or not?
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If you assault a person with a deadly weapon, illegally, it's aggravated assault. Agg. Assault is a 20-year felony. If you assault a person with your bare hands or a tool or instrument that is not a "deadly weapon," and you don't actually cause serious bodily injury to them, it's likely to be a misdemeanor charge.

Now, the question before us is this: Is a gun always a "deadly weapon" even if it's not used as a gun, but just as a club?

YES, if the victim reasonably feared being shot with it. It doesn't matter if the gun was factually unloaded or incapable of firing for any other reason, so long as the person being assaulted thought that he might get shot with that gun. See, e.g. Williams v. State, 208 Ga. App. 12; 430 S.E. 2d 157 (1993); Veal v. State, 191 Ga. App. 445, 382 S.E. 2d 131 (1989) (gun was loaded with blanks).

YES, if a JURY finds that it is. Generally, a firearm is a "per se" deadly weapon. All guns are deadly weapons, regardless of caliber, configuration, etc. But there is an exception for guns that are wielded and brandished only as clubs, such that the victim can only fear being struck a blow with one, not fired upon.
In such a case, the determination as to whether that gun is a "deadly weapon" will be for the jury to determine, based on either the physical characteristics of the tool itself, or the circumstances of how it was used and what injury, if any, did result. e.g. [/u]Chancey v. State, 258 Ga. App 319, 574 S.E. 2d 383 (2002) (length of chain can be deadly weapon).
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