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Can you get a criminal charge for shooting blanks in public?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Firearm Charges |

Shooting blanks means firing a gun loaded with cartridges that don’t have bullets. People often shoot blanks for simulation or entertainment purposes, such as in movies or training. However, shooting blanks can still be dangerous. These could still severely injure someone if you fire them up close. Plus, they can scare people who don’t know you’re only shooting blanks.

In South Carolina, you could get in trouble with the law for shooting blanks, depending on the circumstances and the location of the shooting.

Shooting blanks in a public place

Shooting blanks can still be considered firing a weapon, as they can produce loud noise, flash, smoke and gas. If you’re discharging a firearm within city limits, you might violate the law of unlawful discharge of a weapon. This law prohibits firing any gun in certain areas or under specific circumstances, such as:

  • Firing at or from a moving vehicle
  • Firing across a public roadway or state highway
  • Firing into or at an occupied building

Other areas that laws generally consider off limits for firing a weapon include near school grounds, government buildings, large public gatherings and large venues.

Accidental discharge

Shooting blanks in a public place can lead to problems. Even though blanks don’t have bullets, firing a gun can scare people and cause a commotion, which might get you in trouble with the law. However, there could be some defenses. If you didn’t aim the gun at anyone or anything, and it went off by accident, you might be able to use this as a defense. Accidental discharge means you didn’t mean to fire the gun and it went off because of a mechanical problem or external force.

Also, having a valid permit or license to carry a gun might help your case. However, even with a permit, you must handle the firearm responsibly and follow all the local laws to avoid facing extreme consequences.