Guns are an effective way to defend your home and your property. In many states, you can justifiably open fire on someone who breaks into your home. But what about party crashers? Is it justifiable to use your gun against strangers trying to score some booze?
On Nov. 3, 29-year-old Donny Mendoza of Utah was throwing a party. Plenty of people came to the shindig – including a few who weren’t invited. Mendoza questioned the unwelcome visitors and asked them to leave, but the party crashers stuck around. That’s when Mendoza took matters into his own hands, according to local reports. “After numerous attempts to get these people to leave, Mendoza retrieved a pistol and fired multiple shots in the air as intimidation,” said Uintah County Sheriff’s Cpl. Dustin Cheshire. Nobody was injured during the incident.
As you might expect, a few of the partygoers phoned police. The cops arrived and slapped Mendoza in cuffs. He was taken to Uintah County Jail and was investigated for multiple weapons violations. Police believe that alcohol was a factor in the shooting.
This is kind of a tricky case. Did Mendoza take things a little bit too far? Probably. In retrospect, it would have been wiser and safer to just call the police and ask them to escort the party crashers away.
On the other side of the coin, though, these party crashers were trespassers. They had no business being there to begin with, and they definitely should have vacated the premises once they were asked to leave. Not only is that the polite thing to do, that’s the legal thing to do.
Still, Mendoza’s decision to fire a gun might have been an overreaction. They were technically trespassing, but there are a few details about this case that differentiate it from a home invasion self-defense shooting. First of all, time wasn’t really a factor. The party crashers were probably drinking Mendoza’s booze and munching on his chips, not stealing his TV. Mendoza could have called police and just waited for them to show up before taking such drastic measures.
The second major difference is that the party crashers were not threatening anybody. Shooting at a masked burglar is one thing, but firing warning shots at a party crasher is a bit excessive.
What do our readers think? At the end of the day, are homeowners justified in pulling out their firearms against any type of trespasser? Or is firing warning shots against a couple of party crashers a perfect example of irresponsible gun ownership?