Discharge of Firearms



Art. 254. Discharge of firearms. — Any person who shall shoot at another with any firearm shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, unless the facts of the case are such that the act can be held to constitute frustrated or attempted parricide, murder, homicide or any other crime for which a higher penalty is prescribed by any of the articles of this Code.

ELEMENTS:

1.  The offender discharges a firearm against or at another person;
2.  The offender has no intention to kill that person.

DISCHARGES A FIREARM

The act constituting the offense is shooting at another with any firearm, without intent to kill. 

AGAINST OR AT A PERSON

•  If the firearm is not discharged at a person, there is no crime of discharge of firearm. 

•  Discharge towards the house of victim is NOT illegal discharge of firearm. It is essential for prosecution to prove in a positive way that the discharged was directed precisely against the offended party. Firing a gun against the house at random, not knowing in what part of the house where the people were is only alarm under Article 115. They were intended to cause alarm in the place where shots were fired, producing danger to the persons in the house.

•  The crime is discharge of firearm, even if the gun was not pointed at the offended party when it fires, as long as it was initially aimed by the accused at or against the offended party.

THERE MUST NO INTENTION TO KILL

•  There should be no intent to kill; otherwise, the crime would be frustrated or attempted parricide, murder, and homicide

•  If there was no intent to kill and the person shot at was hit, the crime would be a complex crime of illegal discharge of firearm with serious physical injuries, or with less serious physical injuries UNLESS the penalty for the physical injuries was higher, in which case the crime will only be for the latter and not complexed, for the article states that "unless...the act can be held to constitute...any other crime for which a higher penalty is prescribed..."

•  If the injury was slight, two crimes are committed, illegal discharge of firearm and slight physical injuries. There is no complex crime because such physical injuries constitute a light felony. 

•  In this article, the purpose of the offender is only to intimidate or frighten the offended party.

 •  Intent to kill is negatived by distance of 200 yards between the victim and the offender.

ILLEGAL DISCHARGE OF FIREARM 

•  Accused aimed the gun at, and was about to shoot the offended party, a third person tapped it down so that, when it fired, the bullet hit the floor.

•  B, with intention to knock A with the butt of the gun, approached A but the latter met B and tried to snatch the gun away from B. In the course of the struggle, the gun fired by B at a couple of meters in front of A.

References: 

Leonor D. Boado, Notes and Cases on the Revised Penal Code, 2004 ed.
Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book II, 2001 ed. 

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