The Second Amendment gives all Americans the right to own and possess guns. And while using a gun in an act of unjustified violence is of course illegal and can send you to prison for many years, there are many ways in which using a gun without actually firing it can land you behind bars in Oklahoma just the same. One way is in simply pointing a gun at another person. Below we discuss Oklahoma’s criminal penalties for pointing a gun at another person, and defenses that an experienced criminal defender might argue on your behalf to avoid criminal conviction and jail time.
Oklahoma’s “Felony Pointing Firearms” Law
Under Section 1289.16 of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, it is a felony offense “to willfully or without lawful cause point a shotgun, rifle or pistol, or any deadly weapon, whether loaded or not, at any person or persons for the purpose of threatening or with the intention of discharging the firearm or with any malice or for any purpose of injuring, either through physical injury or mental or emotional intimidation or for purposes of whimsy, humor or prank, or in anger or otherwise.”
Oklahoma does protect the rights of people to brandish weapons in legitimate acts of self-defense (i.e. in defense of themselves or others, such as family members, against threats of deadly force) or when acting under the authority of law (i.e. police officers). But the above law does mean that the following types of acts, among others, of pointing a firearm at another person could bring a felony gun charge:
- using a gun to intimidate another person
- using a gun to scare another person
- using a gun to play a joke on another person
- using a gun to threaten another person into compliance
As the law says, it does not matter whether the gun is loaded or not. Special exceptions are made for situations in which a gun is used in a dramatic reenactment such as a play where all persons are aware of the use of the gun.
Defenses to Pointing a Firearm at Another in Oklahoma
If you have been arrested for pointing at a firearm at another person in Oklahoma, you are strongly advised to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in exploring potential defenses as a felony conviction can mean extensive jail time, loss of rights (including the ability to own or possess a gun), and damage to your career and reputation.
Potential defenses that your attorney can explore include:
- Proving self-defense
- Showing that you did not have the required intent of malice, intimidation, or other criminal intent
- Proving that the alleged event did not in fact occur
- Working towards a lesser charge
Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about potential defenses applicable to your specific circumstances.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Your Oklahoma Gun Charge
Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is a former Oklahoma district attorney who relies on his years of experience in prosecuting cases to provide the best possible defense for all defendants. If you are facing criminal charges and/or investigation for a felony or misdemeanor in Oklahoma, contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405-418-8888 to schedule a free consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.