A case that recently made the news in Minneapolis involved a teen who pleaded guilty to recklessly discharging a firearm that injured his infant nephew. The incident came about when the teenager handled a loaded gun indoors, in spite of being warned about its dangers. When pleading guilty, he took prosecutors’ offer of a year and a day for sentencing.
One question the case raises is what constitutes reckless discharge of a firearm. Each case needs to be evaluated on an individual basis, but consider some of the following issues:
- The discharging of the gun wasn’t simply an accident, for instance as a result of the weapon malfunctioning. It didn’t occur accidentally in the course of some other intended action such as cleaning or loading the gun. A person’s intentions while handling a gun can of course be open to interpretation, and that’s one reason you need to carefully review what happened with a Minneapolis criminal attorney.
- The person firing the gun had to have been reasonably aware of the risks of the situation; the article, for example, mentions how the teenager was warned that handling the weapon around other people, including the infant who was wounded, would be dangerous. The teenager disregarded these warnings.
- Where the incident took place also matters. In the case discussed here, it occurred at a private home. The courts will treat it differently if it occurred in a public place such as a park or a school.
- Other factors, such as the extent of the injuries caused, the circumstances under which the gun was fired (e.g. an argument), and whether or not the weapon was possessed illegally will also play into the decisions of prosecutors on what to charge you with.
Always take care when handling your firearms, particularly when there are other people around, and be sure you’re well-versed in the state’s gun regulations. If you are in trouble with the law with regards to how you handled your firearm, contact us for advice and advocacy in the legal system.