Being a responsible gun owner involves a lot of care and the ability to make good decisions. Clearly, shooting your friend while they are wearing a bullet proof vest would not be an example of either of those behaviors. Despite that, two fifty-year old men in Arkansas found themselves facing criminal charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm in that exact situation. Here’s what happened:
Around April 2018, Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36 had a terrible idea (they were drunk, so they thought it was a GREAT idea….as you can tell from the headline, they were wrong). While intoxicated both men began to take turns with a .22 caliber rifle. Ferris was shot once in the chest and was left with a large red mark. Ferris then proceeded to unload a clip into Hicks’ back in retaliation.
The men arrived at the hospital after Ferris complained of chest pain. After learning that it was a result of a gunshot wound, the police were called to take a statement.
Reports explained that while this story is already bizarre, it gets much weirder. The two men came up with an elaborate story to try and cover up their drunken adventures, telling the police they were bodyguards that had been hired to protect a client. While it is unclear which of the two men said it, according to the police report one of them claimed to have followed ‘the client’ into a forest, and that the client was then shot at. According to their story, the shooting was what led to Ferris having six bruises in the back from gunshots.
Police actually believed the story at first, but then Ferris’ wife showed up to the hospital and told the authorities what actually happened.
After learning the truth about the requested shooting, the man admitted he had made the story up to protect his friend who had originally shot him.
Stories like this always have the potential to turn out much worse than they already do. There are a number of different factors that could have ended up taking one of the men’s lives or even worse, the lives of others around them that had nothing to do with the act of shooting your friend for fun.
All it takes for a situation like this to turn from minor injuries to a deadly consequence is a poor aim, a faulty bullet-proof vest, or a bystander walking by at the wrong time. These are a few of the reason’s laws are made to protect lives. Both of the men are responsible for their actions, as well of what their actions could have turned into had something gone terribly wrong.
1: Is an activity like this protected by the Second Amendment? Why or Why not?
2: Could the men be exercising their lawful gun rights but ALSO charged w/ some kind of charges about endangering the public? How, or why not?
3: If this happened in Nevada, how many years in jail, how much money fined, and what other consequences would these men face after an action like this?
4. Imagine one of the men had died as a result of this incident, then list 3 criminal charges they would face if the incident happened in Nevada. Then, list the maximum amount of penalties that defendant would be faced with if they were to face those charges. Finally, imagine instead of the bullet hitting one of the men as willing participants, imagine if the bullet hit a random passer-by. Explain if the charges faced by the shooter would be the same or different, and why that would be the case.
Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here: