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Understand: Why warning shots are illegal in Texas

Law protects homeowners who may use deadly force against offender, force has to be necessary

SAN ANTONIO – If you are protecting your land or property by the use of deadly force, you can be protected by the law in the state of Texas, but firing warning shots to scare off someone could result in severe consequences.

For example, one San Antonio homeowner who told police he saw a man outside his backdoor in the overnight hours said he fired three warning shots to scare him off. San Antonio police said one of those warning shots ricocheted off the ground and hit the man in his shin.

Though the homeowner claims he was protecting his home, the investigation has been left open.

According to Texas law, a person can use deadly force to protect his or her land or property in some cases. Those cases include protecting against arson, burglary or other crimes.

The law also states a person can use this force if he or she believes that the property can’t be protected or recovered by any means.

Firing warning shots as a way to protect your property is never advised in most states. It could be considered disorderly or deadly conduct.

You could also be breaking another Texas law by recklessly discharging a gun in a public place other than a shooting range. That also includes firing a gun on private or public property within cities that have a population of 100,000 or more.

The best thing to do if you encounter someone trespassing on your property is to call police. However, if you feel your life is in danger and you are acting in self-defense, you could be protected under Texas law.


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