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Jon Gosselin Fires 'Warning Shot' at Photographer: Is That Legal?

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By Betty Wang, JD on September 23, 2013 1:25 PM

Jon Gosselin has allegedly fired a warning shot at a female photographer. Last Friday, an unnamed photographer, in an attempt to snap photos of Gosselin, supposedly followed him to his cabin. Doing so caused her to trail off onto dirt roads from the main roads, which she had assumed was still public property, reports TMZ.

It turns out, Gosselin had a differing opinion about the land. In an effort to warn her for trespassing onto what he claimed was his property, Gosselin pulled a gun out and fired a shot.

"I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun, which I withdrew and used to fire a warning shot AWAY from the paparazza," Gosselin claimed, according to TMZ. "It is well within my rights under Pennsylvania law when someone is trespassing on private property." Is it, though?

Firearms in Pennsylvania

The Second Amendment generally protects the right of all citizens to keep and bear arms. But this right has its limits. Gun control laws generally regulate the possession and purchase of firearms. State-specific gun control laws will vary, of course.

In Pennsylvania, any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his home or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license, commits a felony of the third degree.

In this case, Gosselin claims he has a license, so this wouldn't apply to him.

Firearms on Private Property

What about what Gosselin says about his right to fire his gun when someone is trespassing on his private property?

Pennsylvania law supports a common law doctrine called the "Castle Doctrine," where a person's home is basically considered his or her castle.

Gosselin may have legal right to fire a warning shot under this doctrine. Pennsylvania law states that citizens are allowed to protect themselves from intruders and attackers on their home, without fearing prosecution or civil action for acting in defense. While this is fairly generally worded, it could very likely apply to firing a warning shot at a supposed intruder or trespasser of one's home.

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