firearm firing

Pointing a Pistol at Another Person

Pointing a Pistol at Another Person

Is pointing a pistol at another person a crime? What if you’re protecting yourself or someone else? Will it be enough to keep you out of jail that you were acting in self-defense?

The fact is this: in Georgia, it is a crime to point a pistol at another person.

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he intentionally and without legal justification points or aims a gun or pistol at another, whether the gun or pistol is loaded or unloaded. O.C.G.A. § 16-11-102

Read this statute closely and certain words stand out. “Intentionally.” “Legal justification.”

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Criminal Act

The law criminalizes the act of pointing a firearm at another person “intentionally and without legal justification.” What if you were to unintentionally point a firearm at another person – say, if you dropped it – and in the process of recovering the gun, picked the pistol up and inadvertently pointed it at a friend (an action also known as “flagging” someone). The statute requires the specific intent that you must intentionally draw the pistol on someone; without proof of your intent, no crime has been committed.

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Statutory Defense In Georgia

Moreover, what if your act of pointing the pistol was justified by law? The defense of justification is a statutory defense in Georgia: that means the written law allows you to argue that what you did (i.e. pointing a firearm at another person) was necessary for some reason to protect yourself or another person, or your home, or your property. Because it was necessary to point the pistol, your actions were justified by the facts and, according to the law, no crime was committed. If your acts are justified, you cannot be held criminally responsible.

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Defense Of Justification

While the defense of justification is a statutory defense (meaning our state legislature, the General Assembly, drafted a bill the Governor then signed into law recognizing anyone may be justified in certain acts to protect themselves – including taking the life of another – when their own lives are threatened), the criminal statute for pointing a pistol at another itself qualifies actions taken with legal justification as non-criminal.

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We Can Help!

What, then, must be shown to prove your act in pointing a pistol at another was justified? Within that question lies the heart of the work lawyers like those at Kilgo Law tackle every day to protect their clients. The attorneys at Kilgo Law are experienced in dealing with issues of justification: what facts are necessary to show a client’s actions are justified, and how best to present those. If you have been charged with pointing a pistol at another person, call the lawyers at Kilgo Law, and let them assist you. They can help.

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