Veteran’s assault rifle confiscated — for firing a warning shot at an intruder wanted for felonies

posted at 8:01 pm on May 30, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Guns.com, red, red meat on a slow, slow news day. The dispute here in a nutshell: If a man’s in your backyard and attempting to leave after you warned him to scram, can you fire a warning shot at him anyway? Thompson, the vet, claims that Kinsella, the wanted man, was trying to break into his home by opening the back door. Kinsella claims that he was doing something slightly different:

The investigation revealed that Kinsella saw the officers on scene and ran knowing he had a warrant. He ran into the backyard of Thompson’s apartment and tried to climb a fence, but fell down causing a crash.

Thompson went to investigate with his AR-15 rifle. Thompson pointed the rifle at Kinsella and told him he was armed. Kinsella began walking away and Thompson fired one round in Kinsella’s direction. Kinsella ran and was encountered by officers shortly thereafter. No one was struck by the bullet.

The investigation revealed that Thompson was not justified in shooting at Kinsella.

Kinsella was jailed on four outstanding warrants, which include burglary and assault. Thompson’s now being booked on three charges himself: Unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment, and menacing(!). Why the local DA would invite the terrible PR involved in prosecuting a veteran for firing a harmless shot at a potentially dangerous criminal who was, apparently, behaving suspiciously on his property, I have no idea. You’d want to charge him if he had a history of firing unnecessarily at people; there’s nothing in any of the stories I’ve read to suggest that Thompson does. Oregon, man.

Exit question: Would Thompson have been charged if he’d taken Joe Biden’s advice and fired through the door with a shotgun instead of into the ground with one of those scary, icky AR-15s?


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“I don’t want my neighbor firing a warning shot that goes through the wall of my house and hits my dog (not to mention the Wife or Kid.)”

Why I use soft nose unjacketed .45 hollow point. It isn’t likely to have much energy left after penetrating a wall. Just be mindful of where that “warning shot” is going. Into the dirt is a good choice. But I wouldn’t recommend one. Aim the weapon and give a verbal warning. If a threatening move is made, shoot.

“Lesson here: Start moving out of blue states, as crime will rise as the guns are confiscated.”

Just the opposite, I think. Need to get more “red” votes into those areas. But more importantly, MOST people aren’t that political. They simply follow whichever way they think is most “popular” among their friends. If being Republican is perceived as being “uncool”, they won’t be Republican because they don’t want to be “uncool”.

In those areas the Republicans need to use a different campaign style. They need to use one that does not consist if running down a list of criticisms of their opponents or harp on social morality issues but instead approach it from the same angle Reagan did. Watch his 1981 first inaugural address to get a glimpse of that style. He never mentions liberal or conservative or Republican or Democrat. He DOES mention that his “heroes” are the average American in every station in life and of every political stripe.

In those areas Republicans need to come across with the message that the Democrat experiment hasn’t worked. Wherever it has been tried, things keep getting worse. Also, don’t use the word “liberal” when criticizing the Democrats and I will tell you why. If you rail on about how the “liberals” are screwing up the country, and old school Democrat ignores that because they say “I’m not a liberal, that isn’t aimed at me, just a few nuts in my party”. What we need to do is use the term that is on the ballot and is on the voter registration: DEMOCRAT. You don’t hear Democrats criticizing “conservatives” so much as they criticize “Republicans”. There’s a reason for that. Too many here stigmatize “liberals” for the mess we are in and allow “Democrats” to rationalize their way off the hook for that. Use the word DEMOCRATS when you mean Democrats.

crosspatch on May 31, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Seriously AP….that is NOT an “assault rifle” which has been pointed out several times now. Only morons call it that

Conservative4Ever on May 31, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Would have been much easier if he had shot the scumbag between the eyes and then claimed he was being attacked. More incredibly PC, idiot, police. Did the clip say Medford? Oregon?

ultracon on May 31, 2013 at 12:18 PM

and menacing(!)

Wasn’t scaring the guy off the whole point? If someone invades your back yard are you required to offer them cookies rather than try to scare them off?

Don’t let the deer, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, etc. know about this new rule. I’m “menacing” them all the time.

taznar on May 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM


Also, why warn someone that you’re armed, and then when they heed your warning and walk away, you then shoot at them?

verbaluce on May 31, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Where did you get that from? By all accounts he fired only one shot.

NotCoach on May 31, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Not suggesting or saying otherwise.

verbaluce on May 31, 2013 at 12:39 PM

That seems like a fairly large polling sample to me. Just about no polls have samples that large.

NotCoach on May 31, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Did you see the title,’Telegraph new law competition’there is no way of knowing who and were people were voting in this competition.
Also it’s about handguns for sports
http://firearmsuk.wordpress.com/

mags on May 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Sorry, AP, but while this might be a politically stupid thing to do, legally the DA is correct. You don’t get to shoot, or shoot at someone who’s running away and in no way a threat to you.

If the guy was running away with some prized possession, I’d have a lot more sympathy for the shooter. But this case? Not so much.

Greg Q on May 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The dispute here in a nutshell: If a man’s in your backyard and attempting to leave after you warned him to scram, can you fire a warning shot at him anyway?

No! If the person is leaving, you’ve lost your self-defense and property-defense arguments.

Mark Jaquith on May 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Fair enough. I wasn’t sure what you meant by shooting the person outright.

mrsknightley on May 31, 2013 at 11:07 AM

When they attempt to intrude upon one’s home… or invade it. He who hesitates is lost. Literally.

dogsoldier on May 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM

@dogsoldier – believe me, I like your way better than my state’s way, which includes neither a castle doctrine nor a stand your ground provision. We have to go hide in the damn closet and wait for the bad guy to come to us. Then and only then can we give him his come-to-Jesus moment.

mrsknightley on May 31, 2013 at 1:39 PM

The dispute here in a nutshell: If a man’s in your backyard and attempting to leave after you warned him to scram, can you fire a warning shot at him anyway?

Short answer: yes you can, but in most jurisdictions it is illegal.

Henry Bowman on May 31, 2013 at 2:53 PM

@dogsoldier – believe me, I like your way better than my state’s way, which includes neither a castle doctrine nor a stand your ground provision. We have to go hide in the damn closet and wait for the bad guy to come to us. Then and only then can we give him his come-to-Jesus moment.

mrsknightley on May 31, 2013 at 1:39 PM

That’s terrible! Move up heah to N’ Hampsha and get yourself an AR-15! Or a Glock…

dogsoldier on May 31, 2013 at 8:05 PM

We have to go hide in the damn closet and wait for the bad guy to come to us. Then and only then can we give him his come-to-Jesus moment.

mrsknightley on May 31, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Build a second door inside your first one, and put a big sign on it that says “CLOSET”. When you invite friends over, make sure you invite them to your “closet”. By definition you will have “retreated” to your “closet”. Plus, if it’s a typical closet door, you really can shoot your shotgun through it.

GWB on June 1, 2013 at 7:36 AM

I think the word is out that all Blue law enforcement and all Blue schools (are there any other kind?) go to wall with gun charges so that that is what sticks out in people’s and especially children’s minds. GUNS, BAD!!!

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Oregon statutes specifically provide that a person may use “physical force” in defense of himself or other persons, or in defense of property.

However, justification for the use of “deadly physical force” is more restricted.

The action in arresting Mr. Thompson by the Medford police and the local prosecutor seem to have been based on a strained reading of Oregon law. Apparently they concluded that the action of Thompson in firing a warning shot at the ground constituted the use of “deadly physical force,” and not just the use of “physical force” But by definition, it did not constitute deadly force.

If he had fired the gun at the perpetrator while he was outside the house and while retreating, then they would have had a better argument, because they could claim Thompson was employing deadly physical force outside the house, and not as a result of concluding that the perp was about to commit arson or some other felony by force and violence.

But as long as the perp was on the premises – not just breaking into the house – Thompson was entitled to use physical force to “terminate the commission or attempted commission” of criminal offenses thereupon. That was exactly what Thompson did.

Finally, it is a very common occurrence for a criminal to initially fail in the commission of an offense, and retreat temporarily, only to then quickly return to complete the crime.

Thompson had no reason to believe that the perp would not quickly return to break in the house, nor did he have any basis for knowing what weapon or weapons the perp had, or how dangerous the person was. He had an entirely legitimate reason to deter any further criminal acts by the perp by firing a warning shot at the ground.

The Medford police should be heralding what he did.

Trochilus on June 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

The dispute here in a nutshell: If a man’s in your backyard and attempting to leave after you warned him to scram, can you fire a warning shot at him anyway?

Short answer: yes you can, but in most jurisdictions it is illegal.

Henry Bowman on May 31, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Again, he did not fire a shot at the man — which under Oregon law would have constituted the use of “deadly physical force.” He fired the shot at the ground.

Trochilus on June 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Er, the FBI shot their unarmed interrogation subject six times and once in the back of the head….but if you’re the gang with the badges.

bluesdoc70 on June 1, 2013 at 11:01 PM

I am TOO lazy to read back through all these posts,

But isn’t this EXACTLY what the VPOTUS SAID to do!?!?!?!??!?!

Maybe he should have used a shotgun instead.

RealMc on June 2, 2013 at 10:57 AM

. . .

But isn’t this EXACTLY what the VPOTUS SAID to do!?!?!?!??!?!

Maybe he should have used a shotgun instead.

RealMc on June 2, 2013 at 10:57 AM

It was really not the same at all. What Joe Biden proposed was the explicit use of deadly force (firing a shotgun through a door) with the intention of killing whoever is on the other side, on the presumption that it is a presumed intruder.

What Thompson did was to intentionally avoid using deadly force. He deliberately shot into the ground as a deterrent — he did NOT shoot at the intruder. His clear intention was to warn the intruder and drive him away, thereby deterring the intruder from undertaking any possible further intrusion. That frequently occurs in cases involving criminal break-ins. Crazed, hopped up druggies will often keep trying, even if their first attempt at breaking in fails, and even when they know someone is there. But a warning shot is much more likely to scare them off.

So, Thompson did exactly the right thing — from both a practical and legal point of view. He employed the use of force — but not deadly force — to frighten the perp off the premises. If he had shot the perp, or even shot at him, the police and local prosecutor would have had a stronger case under Oregon law. They are misconstruing the self-defense statutes of Oregon.

What Biden stupidly recommended everyone doing, was to immediately employ the use of deadly force to intentionally kill someone, without having the benefit of knowing who might actually be at the door, possibly including an entirely innocent person that an intruder could be holding in front of him in order to shield himself from a gun blast through the door.

Trochilus on June 2, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Consequences? I had someone kick in my front door at 3 in the AM. I greeted him with a Glock, and he fled. The police caught him minutes later. There was no doubt that he was the perp.

The most serious charge against him was a felony drug possession. Kicking in my door and invading my home was only a misdemeanor. He had plenty of priors, but was given a suspended sentence and let loose.

claudius on June 3, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Oh, and the court ordered restitution for by door, which had to be replaced, but of course restitution was never paid. Court ordered restitution can be safely ignored, apparently.

claudius on June 3, 2013 at 9:15 AM

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