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“According to police reports, a scrap was taking place outside the Ireneo Santiago National High School in General Santos City (Philippines) between two groups of students,” “Seeing that school security guard Jocelyn Ylanan needed some assistance quelling the scuffle, teacher, Ismael Garvida stepped in to help.” Garvida was not armed. But he was dangerous. “After unsuccessfully attempting to separate the students, Garvida grabbed [security guard] Ylanan’s .38 revolver, and in what was supposed to be a warning shot, the gun went off hitting Edil in the head, killing the boy.” HE DID WHAT?

Once again, I preface my remarks with a simple statement: if you’re holding a gun, you own it. It doesn’t matter if you’re picking it up at a gun store counter. It makes no nevermind if you’re buying the gun from a friend, or holding the weapon while a friend takes a piss (so to speak). It’s yours. You’re responsible for it.

So how many mistakes did Garvida make? There’s not enough info to decide whether or not he should have entered the fray in the first place. We can assume so—although it must be said that calling 911 is often a far better solution to a fight than trying to separate combatants. [NB: Philippines emergency numbers vary according to city or province.] If Garvida wasn’t a teacher, and the melee didn’t involve his students, would we still advise him to engage?

There is no question whatsoever that Garvida should not have touched the security guard’s weapon. If the security guard was attacking him, then maybe. If the guard was dead and some of the students were about to kill Garvida, then maybe. Otherwise, no.

That said, if the situation had escalated into life-threatening violence, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Any weapon, any strategy. Anything. But if you’re in that situation, you either have to brandish and issue a command or shoot to stop the threat. A warning shot? No friggin’ way.

I know TTAG commentator Don Curton believes a warning shot should be an option. I say no. Too much can go wrong. A responsible gun owner must always do whatever they can to avoid endangering innocent life. Warning shots are ipso facto irresponsible. Garvida will have the rest of his life to contemplate that mistake. You’ve just done it. So don’t do it. A gun is a warning.

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  1. This guy should go directly to jail because he not only endangered all the bystanders, he actually killed someone. I just don’t buy anyone’s excuse that the gun just went off, you have to be 100 percent responsible whenever you handle any gun, NO EXCUSES. I was at the Utah gun class last night and one of our video’s simulated a “SHOOT, DON’T SHOOT” scene and had a man on his back attempting to pull the shotgun away from a guy standing over him. The action was fast and furious, and the first student had only seconds to react. He quickly shot the man who was standing with the shotgun. We then reviewed the entire scene in slow motion to analysis if the student was justified in using deadly force. We were told by our instructor that the student had just shot the homeowner, (the guy who was standing) because the guy on the ground was the real badguy attempting to disarm the good guy.

  2. Warning shots are ipso facto irresponsible.

    I disagree with that. A warning shot fired in an unsafe direction is irresponsible, and in almost all situations it’s irresponsible. I think warning shots may play a valuable role in commanding the attention and obedience of a violent mob or armed home invasion with multiple assailants or looters.

    A responsible gun owner must always do whatever they can to avoid endangering innocent life.

    What about when multiple assailants are beating/raping/murdering a person and shooting them will endanger the victim’s life? Merely shouting “I have a gun” and holding the gun very well might not get their attention. Shooting a round in a safe direction might do that.

    As a rule I agree warning shots aren’t useful, but as with any rule there must be exceptions.

    But if you’re in that situation, you either have to brandish and issue a command or shoot to stop the threat.

    You should never brandish. You should use a show of force. A warning shot is a stronger show of force than merely displaying a firearm and a command. It’s a false dichotomy to say that it’s either A or C and that option B doesn’t exist.

    If you catch a rapist in the act and he can’t hear your commands over the screams of his victim, and you absolutely do not have a clear shot, then a warning shot might be just the ticket. There may be less need for warning shots than 75 round magazines, but there is a place in the world for them.

  3. A student was recently acquitted in a Philadelphia shooting case when the jury found that he shot in self-defense. The whole event was caught on tape. In the trial, the DA insisted that the shooter was guilty because he didn’t fire a warning shot. The jury saw through the BS.

    I don’t believe in taking a warning shot, but in the heat of battle people will do whatever they think will work. All of us need to train, but even more, we need to trust our instincts.

  4. Again, Robert, you pick a bad example and then use it to tar any argument against your position. I think all of us who’ve supported warning shots in the past have done so conditionally. The condition being that most of the time it’s not good, but there may be cases where it helps. This obviously wan’t one of them.

    The above is an example of a dipshit grabbing a gun from a security guard. The warning shot may or may not have been intended, it could just be his excuse. Grabbing the gun in the first place invalidates the rest of the scenario as being an example.

    • “Grabbing the gun in the first place invalidates the rest of the scenario as being an example.”

      How so? People do dumb crap all the time in these situations. Dumb things happen and warning shots are fired. Do we invalidate all those instances?

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