Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Concealed Carry: When To Draw

I am not a lawyer. I do not give out legal advice. Never think that I know all about gun laws, especially your gun laws. Be responsible and find out the gun laws where you live and abide by them. Don’t do stupid things with guns! Disclaimers are pretty boring huh?
In January 2012 in South Carolina Two young men, identified in the report as Dante Williams and Jawan Craig, attempted to rob a Waffle House restaurant. The report states that the two threatened patrons. A surveillance camera captured Williams approaching one of the restaurant’s diners, specifically, a man named Justin Harrison, who happens to be a concealed carry permit holder. He said that, after witnessing the two guys threatening and scaring the other patrons, he decided he didn’t want to become a victim. As Williams approached him, gun drawn (apparently verified by the security cam footage), Harrison drew his concealed carry pistol and fired on Williams several times. Williams didn’t survive the encounter. Allegedly, Williams’ accomplice, Craig, then tried to get Harrison’s gun, unsuccessfully. Eventually, Craig extricated himself from the scuffle, and ran away. Since the crime, Harrison’s lethal actions against Williams have been deemed justifiable, while Craig has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the crime.
The 10 commandments of concealed carry by Massad Ayoob.
Always, Everywhere. Carry legally always, and everywhere.
Don’t carry if you aren’t prepared to use it.
Don’t Let A Gun Make You Reckless. Don’t do stupid things because you’re armed now.
Get A License. I’m not interested in your views about gun carry, we all have opinions, follow your local and state laws! I have not always done this, but I try to be legal always.
Know What You’re Doing. There is nothing more dangerous than a person with a gun, who shoots once every 3 months, but thinks they are competent because they have been shooting guns (every 3 months) since they were a kid. It’s not enough guys, trust me. I barely survive with once a week. If I miss a week, I can tell. Not only that, get trained. Then get trained again. Then again. I was a trained, and qualified small arms instructor in the military. We got extensive training every year. I have trained 100’s of military non comms and officers on pistols, revolvers, assault rifles (the real kind), and M60 machine guns. I still need training. Shooting is a perishable skill. Get good training and practice. Also, learn, and keep up, on all laws where you live. That’s a responsibility of carrying.
Concealed Means Concealed. This is one you must be aware of. Some people out there are really afraid of guns. Some of them freak out when they know someone is carrying. I think it’s getting better out there, but some places are not used to seeing someone with a gun. Laws are also catching up with the many people who have started to legally carry. It used to be that if anyone even saw your weapon it was called brandishing. Many states have changed to a more reasonable law. But you are ultimately responsible. Keep it concealed. Buy quality holsters and belts to retain your gun. You may have to change your wardrobe a little. A few days ago we had some really good friends come from another town to visit. He is a retired Customs agent and carries everywhere. I noticed right off that he was wearing a sweater vest and it was 80 degrees out. But his gun was concealed. Sometimes you have to be creative.
Maximize your Firearm Familiarity. Know your weapon inside and out. Know its limitations and know its workings. Don’t get caught trying to figure out where the safety is, or where the magazine release is, know your gun.
Understand the Fine Points. Laws change frequently, and it’s your responsibility to keep up with them as a person who carries a firearm. Also understand and familiarize yourself with the laws of states you are planning to visit – or even drive through. One thing that’s legal in your state could land you in jail in the state next door. A great resource for firearm laws is www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-laws.aspx. Check it often and make sure you’re caught up.
Carry an Adequate Firearm. Find yourself a firearm that covers all the bases. Make sure it’s a caliber you can efficiently handle and provides a reasonable amount of ammunition. Carrying an extra magazine isn’t a bad idea either. Consider a backup weapon. If the primary goes down, you lose hold of the gun, or it runs out of ammo, a backup can save the day. The best magazine change is to another gun.
Use Common Sense. As has been said before, owning/carrying a gun is a serious responsibility. Keep your head on straight. Don’t drink and carry. Maybe you shouldn’t put that gun on the floor in the bathroom stall. If you have anger issues, maybe you shouldn’t carry. Use good judgement and common sense with not only firearms, but everything you do in life. Your responsibility level is elevated once you strap on a firearm. Be smart about it. Be safe about it.
Drawing your gun should mean only two things: your, or someone else’s, lives are in danger, and you need to use lethal force to stop that threat. That’s it. You’re not going to fire a warning shot. You’re not trying to scare anyone. You’re defending life from a threat to that life. There is no other reason. If you think there is another reason, maybe you should not carry a gun.
Be especially alert and attentive when you carry. This should be always. Many confrontations can be avoided if attention is paid to what’s going on around you. Making the choice to pull out that gun is a heavy responsibility. It’s one that should never be taken lightly. Be sure all your ducks are in a row and that you are safe with everyone, including the would be attacker. Yes, we want to stop the threat, but I’d just as soon it never comes to that. Be careful choosing a side in someone else’s fight. Defending others can be tricky so be as sure as you would be if you were being attacked. Remember also that you are in charge of each and every one of those bullets you shoot. Make sure they hit their intended target and keep others safe. Remember what the author Robert A. Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
Semper Paratus
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