As you go out this summer, it’s important to remember that it can, at times, be a crime to point a gun at someone. At Wright Gray, we represent shooting victims all the time, and we’re intimately familiar with the gun laws of the state.
As the weather gets warmer and vaccinations continue to roll out around the country, there’s no doubt that people will be going out this summer for fun with their friends and a good time on the town. And there’s no better city to do this than New Orleans!
The downside of summer partying is that crimes and public fights tend to increase amid the celebrations. And in an open-carry state like Louisiana, that likely means that guns will be involved.
Read on for our breakdown of how and why pointing a gun can land a person in serious trouble with the law. Louisiana is an “open carry” state, which means a number of important things:
- It is legal to go out with a firearm on your person, as long as it is not concealed.
- You don’t have to get a permit to own or carry a firearm.
- As long as you are 17 years old, you can legally buy and carry a gun.
The only exception to this rule is on college campuses or any other places that ban weapons on their grounds, such as a school, hospital, or business.
When is it Illegal to Point a Gun at Someone?
So, in general, it is not illegal to carry your weapon on you, unless you are violating a business or institution’s rules. Pointing a gun at someone, however, is a different story. Louisiana law defines assault as “an attempt to commit a battery (the intentional infliction of violence or force), or the intentional placing of another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.”
What this means is that you do not actually have to commit an act of violence to be charged with assault. Threatening violence alone can be enough to constitute assault.
A person commits assault if they do all three of the following:
- Threaten to attack or injure the victim
- Appear to have the ability to carry out the threat
- Give the victim reason to believe they are in danger
Under this definition, pointing a gun at someone qualifies as assault. In fact, assault with a firearm tends to face stricter punishments and harsher sentences than other forms of assault.
As a result, if you carry a firearm with you, it’s imperative that you don’t draw it or point it at someone unless you are acting in self-defense. When firearms are involved, even a low-stakes situation can become very dangerous in an instant. At Wright Gray, we can tell you everything you need to know about the law, but we’re not experts at de-escalation or self-defense.
Check out this article for information about how to de-escalate a situation when someone points a gun at you.
After all is said and done, and you are out of harm’s way, Wright Gray can help you figure out what to do next. Here are three steps to take after someone threatens you with a firearm:
- Seek medical attention. Even if the gun was never fired, you may have suffered other injuries during the encounter. And even if you’re physically unharmed, it can be a good idea to consult a medical professional about the experience. You may benefit from counseling or a simple mental health checkup.
- File a report. Remember that assaulting someone with a firearm is a crime, and filing a police report will be an important step if you choose to file a lawsuit. It’s important to do this as soon as possible so that the details of the event are fresh in your mind.
- Consult a personal injury attorney. Again, even if you came out of the situation physically unharmed, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t suffered from the assault. A personal injury attorney will be able to discuss your situation with you and help you decide if you need to file a lawsuit against the person who threatened you.
The personal injury attorneys at Wright Gray have the experience and knowledge of the law to help you if you have been assaulted or injured by someone with a firearm. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.