Firing a Gun you Thought was Not Loaded

What happens if a gun you thought was not loaded goes off in real life?  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun that he thought had no live rounds—only to discover, to his horror, that whatever was in there killed one person on set and injured another.  Police are investigating, but it’s possible that it could lead to criminal charges because even though it doesn’t seem that anyone intended to kill anyone, simply being reckless—or even negligent—to the possibility of causing death could lead to charges.  It remains to be seen if the person who handed Baldwin the gun and told him it had no live rounds—or anyone with oversight over it—was reckless or negligent.

In real life, however, the police will assume that you know firearms are dangerous.  If you pick up a gun and you don’t know if it’s loaded and you fire it at someone, you can be found guilty.  Gun laws say that unless you’ve verified its safe status, you should assume it’s loaded because it will not matter to the victim if you thought you were just acting.

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