What do you think about this situation? A Missouri man was at his home when he caught two thieves stealing car tires from his yard. Trying to protect his home and his property, Dustin Wern shot a .45 caliber bullet from his firearm into the air to scare away the thieves. The police arrived at the residence, the man identified himself as the shooter, and laid down his firearm. He said,
“I believe I conducted myself appropriately as far as coming out like I did, and being honest yeah I took the shot, here’s my weapon.”
But what happened next? Wern was arrested for discharging a weapon within city limits. Evidently, city statutes say that a person may only shoot a gun in defense of himself or herself, a third person, or property. So then what would someone consider self-defense? Tom Beardslee is a firearms instructor. He explains what self-defense could include:
“It’s usually pretty well defined. If somebody pulls a gun on you or pulls a knife on you or hits you with a club or something that’s a deadly force issue.”
He also has to say,
“Firing it in the air or in the ground does exhibit a level of force beyond what you can do to protect premises or property.”
However, Wern said that despite the arrest, he wouldn’t have done anything differently. The thieves fled the scene and police are investigating the situation. He fired the shot to scare away the thieves, and it worked, right?
So do you think this would be considered self-defense? Should a person have the right to protect their home in a situation like this? What would you have done?