Lawful gun ownership is a right enjoyed by many Michigan residents. Whether for personal protection, hunting, or other endeavors, gun ownership is permitted to individuals who are legally allowed to own them. When seeking to acquire a gun, a person must meet specific checks to ensure they will responsibly possess and use it.
Sometimes, though, individuals are accused of using their guns in wrongful or even illegal ways. Under Michigan law, a person can face a misdemeanor if they allegedly discharge their firearm in an unlawful way. This post will look at the language of this statute to provide clarity on just what constitutes an unlawful discharge under state law.
Recklessness and other qualifiers
In order for a gun discharge to be considered unlawful, it must have been “reckless or heedless or willfully or wantonly” discharged. These are a lot of words that mean a range of behaviors, from acting without regard for the consequences of one’s actions, to intending or deliberately performing a specific action. At the core of all these words, though, is the idea that the person discharging the gun either meant to perform the discharge or was indifferent to the outcome of the discharge when it happened.
Caution and circumspection
The second part of the statute discusses the effects the discharge may have on the “rights, safety or property of others”. If a person allegedly discharges a gun in a reckless, heedless, willful or wanton manner and without caution or circumspection to the rights, safety or property of others, the discharge may be considered unlawful. The second part of the statute focuses on the impact of the alleged discharge on others and not the mindset of the alleged gun shooter.
Misdemeanor charges are serious and can be met with a strong criminal defense plan. When facing claims of unlawful discharge in Michigan, it can help to have a trusted legal advocate on one’s side to help with case preparation and negotiation.