Georgia Firearm Forums - Georgia Packing banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A guy I know smokes. Teenagers used to come up afterward and steal the cigarette butts from his private property.

One day, while they were doing it, from inside the house, out of view, he cocked a shotgun with the express intent as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. That is Virginia state law though (Virginia State Code § 18.2-282). This happened in Georgia. The kids obviously ran off.

I suggested that this was really going too far. Sure they are on private property, and sure they are stealing, but they are kids, and it is garbage, and he knows it. They clearly mean no harm. It is excessive force when he could just try talking to them first! It is not in self defense. It is brandishing (not that GA has brandishing laws). It is also threat with a deadly weapon to threaten them with a shot gun for such a trivial thing. Maybe assault? Possibly illegal.

It was on his private property and they were trespassing. (No trespass warning signs though, and it is a neighborhood.)
The counter argument was that he did not point it at them, so therefore, it is ok. Just let that sink in for a second... Upon asking, "So if someone breaks into your house, and you cock a shotgun from the next room so they will hear it, and leave, that doesn't count as threatening them with a shotgun?" The response: "Nope." This seems like trying to suggest that the earth isn't round to me.

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-102
http://www.georgiapacking.org/GaCode/?title=16&chapter=11&section=102


I can also point to this though:
Georgia Code - Crimes and Offenses - Title 16, Section 16-11-39

http://law.onecle.com/georgia/16/16-11-39.html

And this:
O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20

(a) A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:
(2) Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-5/article-2/16-5-20

The sound of a shotgun being cocked is quite possibly the most universally understood sound all the way around the entire world.

So my question is whether what the guy I know did is legal or not? I am not going to charge him myself. Quite the contrary. I am asking for his own sake. I would like to be able to site specific legal language that points out that what he is doing is going too far in the hopes that showing him such absolute proof, he will stop making reckless threats before he gets himself into trouble with the law! (I am relatively close with this guy.)

My main point that is being disagreed with is that cocking a shotgun with the express intent to scare someone counts as threatening them with a firearm. It seems inconceivable to me that it would be alright for people to go around cocking shotguns with the admitted express intent to scare other people into worrying about potentially being shot in Georgia.

The other person disagrees. They think that it does not count as threatening minors with a deadly weapon even though it was admittedly done expressly to put the fear of being shot into their minds because the shotgun was not shown or pointed at them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
huh? He was cleaning his shotgun and kids got scared because they were trespassing on his property and heard it?
Hehe. Right I agree, except that he admittedly did it expressly to scare them with the shotgun. Cat is out of the bag in this case.
 

·
Lawyer and Gun Activist
Joined
·
28,240 Posts
Answer

Two silly, worthless comments so far, and NO real answers.
Doesn't anyone want to stay on topic and address the damn question?
 

·
NRA Instructor
Joined
·
3,391 Posts
I do believe that is brandishing at minimum. At most it could be charged as aggravated assault. The same results could have been accomplished with yelling at them.
 

·
Junior Butt Warmer
Joined
·
46,427 Posts
psrumors said:
huh? He was cleaning his shotgun and kids got scared because they were trespassing on his property and heard it?
Right. The kids were in the yard thieving up the cigarette butts and while doing so happened to hear something from inside that scared them?

Heck, I say come outside and hand 'em a bag... either with or without casually holding the shotgun.

I don't know how there was any sort of "brandishing" involved. In GA such things would fall under Aggravated Assault (16-5-21).
http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-5/article-2/16-5-21

There was no (unjustified) threat directed specifically at the kids, was there? There may have been the anticipation that the kids believed to be in the vicinity would hear what he was doing, sure. But it's not like he walked out, planted his feet, raised the shotgun at their heads, worked the action and said "Better run, boys!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,895 Posts
Two silly, worthless comments so far, and NO real answers.
Doesn't anyone want to stay on topic and address the damn question?
Why should we #3?

Right. The kids were in the yard thieving up the cigarette butts and while doing so happened to hear something from inside that scared them?

Heck, I say come outside and hand 'em a bag... either with or without casually holding the shotgun.

I don't know how there was any sort of "brandishing" involved. In GA such things would fall under Aggravated Assault (16-5-21).
http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-5/article-2/16-5-21

There was no (unjustified) threat directed specifically at the kids, was there? There may have been the anticipation that the kids believed to be in the vicinity would hear what he was doing, sure. But it's not like he walked out, planted his feet, raised the shotgun at their heads, worked the action and said "Better run, boys!"
Mighty loud action to be heard outside :rifle:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,670 Posts
I do not see any problem with doing anything on your own property with a gun as long as you are not pointing it at anyone.

There would be no problem with walking outside with it and pulling any rifle charging handle or racking a shotgun slide, as long as you never point it at anyone.

It's your property, it's your gun. Would i not be able to go outside, start my truck and rev the engine because it may scare someone?

Can I not go outside on my own property and throw knives at a target set up?

Can I not sit on my front porch and disassemble any rifle or handgun to clean it and do so anywhere on my property?

You would have to prove that I was actively threatening someone even though I never pointed it at anyone.

Somone may not like it, even the police, but what laws am I breaking if I never pointed it at anyone?
 

·
NRA Instructor
Joined
·
3,391 Posts
Hehe. Right I agree, except that he admittedly did it expressly to scare them with the shotgun. Cat is out of the bag in this case.
There's the problem with some of the replies. The very minimum is brandishing because somehow the kids were made aware there was a shotgun involved and being used to threaten/scare them. Depending on the prosecutor it could be aggravated assault since a weapon was involved. Loaded/unloaded doesn't matter.
 

·
Lawyer and Gun Activist
Joined
·
28,240 Posts
There is no law called "brandishing" in Georgia.
Unless there is a city or county ordinance that applies.
I don't think cycling the action in a weapon, in your own home and OUT of SiGHT of the trespasser, who is still outside, rises to the level of "aggravated assault."
Not when there is no contact, no visual line of sight between the parties, and no verbal threats either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,412 Posts
There is no law called "brandishing" in Georgia.
Unless there is a city or county ordinance that applies.
I don't think cycling the action in a weapon, in your own home and OUT of SiGHT of the trespasser, who is still outside, rises to the level of "aggravated assault."
Not when there is no contact, no visual line of sight between the parties, and no verbal threats either.
Not to mention that there's no proof that what they heard was in fact a shotgun. No video, no eyewitness. He could have been watching a Terminator movie at high volume as far as anyone can prove.

It would be best to apologize to the man and tell your kids to avoid his property.

Az
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Not to mention that there's no proof that what they heard was in fact a shotgun. No video, no eyewitness. He could have been watching a Terminator movie at high volume as far as anyone can prove.

It would be best to apologize to the man and tell your kids to avoid his property.

Az
Not my kids. There are eyewitnesses, actually, other than myself. Again, not that I am trying to get him in trouble though. I would prefer to talk to him, so he can stay out of trouble.

Here is a hypothetical question though: "If some neighbor 13 year old kid comes into your yard, for any reason, even if it is simply passing through to get to the next neighbor's yard to go to their friend's house, in a normal American middle class neighborhood, can you walk out in plain sight with a shotgun, rack it in front of her, and stare at her in an intimidating way without saying anything and have that be legal in Georgia as long as you don't literally point the barrel at her?"

If this is not ok, then why is what he did ok? Where is the part where it crosses the line, I guess, is what I am asking? Perhaps it is the part that it is on his private property that makes it ok? Could he do the same in public? What part of the situation makes it ok? If it is ok for him to do, would it not also be perfectly legal for her to pull out a shotgun of her own and rack it right back? This seems ridiculous, but I think it is a valid question if we are going to suggests that intentionally racking a shotgun with express intent to intimidate others unnecessarily is not a violation of any law. Is this kind of stuff actually ok in Georgia? It might be for all I know. *shrugs*

Yes I know this is not the same as what happened, but if you say there is no proof of him, then technically there is no proof she was actually going to steal anything either because neither she nor her friend actually did it that time, and there is no proof they did it before that I am aware of other than the property owners testimony.

I am asking for clarity. I am wondering if it is ok for people to do things such as... oh I don't know... stare angrily at another person in public while open carrying, and pull back the hammer of a revolver as long as they don't literally point it at anyone in Georgia. That seems absurd to me, but... can you get away with it in this state? Again, the 2 laws I would site would be the 2 I pointed to in my original post. No brandishing laws, but those 2 seem to cover it as far as I can see. Are those not applicable? Seriously?

If someone did that to you, would you call for help? Call the police? Show them that you have a gun too? Draw your gun in defense of yourself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,485 Posts
What would the property owner's attorney advise?

If I live in a condo on the 12th and I crack the door and rack a 12-gauge for tweens for personal satisfaction that's a completely different thing from cycling the action on a ma duece in front of a 22-year-old doing burnout donuts on my lawn while firing into the air at the end of my 4-mile driveway.

In short, the OP is asking "can X use a gun to Y" without enough information given for the nameless Internet masses to offer (in)decent (il)legal advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,360 Posts
I am not going to charge him myself. Quite the contrary. I am asking for his own sake.
my advice, learn to mind your own @#$%ing business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,388 Posts
Suppose this man had a vicious dog that began growling at the kids once they stepped foot on his property?

Could they then complain that the dog put them in fear of their life and came at them in a violent and tumultuous manner? Let's never mind that the dog was restrained, either by a fence, or a chain.

In other words, this dog prevented them from engaging in their desired chosen action, which was theft by taking, while on another person's private property.

Do you think they would win in court if they shot the man's dog?

Suppose these tweens were crossing over onto this man's property, and they were walking their dog. Suppose the man's dog got into a fight with the tweens dog, and killed it. Should the man be held responsible for the tweens trespassing on his private property?
 

·
Man of Myth and Legend
Joined
·
14,463 Posts
Looking at the Va Code Section you cited--

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.
Note the Italicized (italics added) part. That is a good "out" for him. He was inside his house and afraid to go out and confront them for trespassing (among other things) for fear of getting attacked. So he stayed inside and just did what he did to scare them away and to try to keep them from coming back.

The argument could continue that he was inside his house, his own castle and he can do about anything he wants there. He was not visible from the outside, he did not point a gun at them and or place them in any danger whatsoever.

Further, he believed calling police would be worthless because of response time, it not being a major matter and such.

Depending on where he was, I would suspect he would have no issue. But there are parts there . . ..

To add to my interest to this, where was he at the time, city? County? In town or ? There is still a fair part of Va where a majority of the jury would think those kids needed hit with some rock salt.

Keep in mind this is theory and conjecture based on limited facts and circumstances presented. Any inferences you make are your own based on your assessment.

Nemo
 
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top