Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shoot to Wound or Shoot to Kill

The greatest question of responsibility a CCW holder must consider before deciding what gun to carry is: Are you able to cause of the death of someone else?  Those who carry for personal-protection must be mentally prepared for a moment of violent crime, which arrives at the choosing of the bad guy.  Before carrying a gun, I encourage everyone to seriously consider the legal, financial, mental, and spiritual aspects of this weighty responsibility.  This area probably is the least explored and least understood by most CCW holders.  You must consult a lawyer who has expertise in this particular area!  This is NOT legal advice. These are things you need to consider.

What constitutes serious threat? The attackers’ size, numbers, proximity, and weapons, including fists, all constitute a potentially dangerous threat.  This is called Disparity of Force.  There are some great articles out there.  Here is just one to give you a good idea:  Disparity of Force, by K.L. Jamison, Esq.

Remember you can only shoot as long as the threat is still present.  AS SOON as the threat ceases to be a threat, or turns to leave (fleeing), you cannot use deadly force anymore!
A good GENERAL definition of Deadly Force is explained in Armed Response' RESPONSIBLE USE OF LETHAL FORCE DVD:  "Citizens may use deadly force in self-defense only when they actually and reasonably believe that doing so is necessary to prevent an imminent, unlawful and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to an innocent person."  The source of that was taken from Andrew Branca’s book The Law of Self Defense. This out-of-print reference is expected to be back in print soon. Each one of these words has a precise legal meaning, and they must be understood in their legal context.

Remember, as a private citizen we do NOT have the same authority as LEOs!  Many things you see or hear are not applicable to the private citizen.

Hollywood has created a myth that if you have a gun, just waving it around will probably make the bad guy stop. This can cause an unstable person to become more violent.  In most states the action is illegal, and you could be charged with brandishing a firearm. The movies tell us if brandishing doesn’t work, then maybe a warning shot above his head will do the trick.  Or perhaps just wound him by shooting him in the arm or leg. Again, these are dangerous misconceptions. In either case, a prosecutor WILL make the case that you must not have been in serious fear for your life if you felt there was time to scare or simply wound your assailant.  The notion that shooting a small, fast moving limb is going to be easier than hitting center of mass is just a bad idea.  In the stress of the moment, the best strategy is to hit a large target to quickly eliminate the threat. The attacker’s center of mass is that target. Also remember wounds in extremities may not stop the assailant, especially when the attacker is large, violent or drugged up.

Remember, you are personally liable for every round you fire and where it ends up, including strays, misses, and ricochets. You are also responsible for the safety of any bystanders that are between you and the bad guy… as well as those rounds that hit their intended target!  Shooting to wound shows a malicious intent to injure. Shooting to defend oneself is a matter of resorting to a serious method because one had no other choice.  If you are using your firearm, you should be taking this action because deadly force was the ONLY thing that could stop the bad guy.  You must be able to articulate this in court; this is not just “I felt scared!”  When you draw your gun, you must be ready to use it, to the point of deadly force, to insure your safety and escape from a violent situation.
Required viewing:

Judicious Use of Deadly Force DVD by Massad F. Ayoob (Warning: Crude language and taking the Lord's Name in vain.)

Armed Response Responsible Use of Lethal Force

Stay safe and God bless,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Are Suddenly a Different Person

All responsible CCW holders know that every encounter is an armed encounter. Not everyone is going to be pleased with this, even some friends!

I was at a married couple's home for dinner along with several other couples, including fellow CCW holders. Being that I was at a friend’s house I took my jacket off, as I got warm. Later in the evening I got up to refresh my non-alcoholic drink (I do not drink alcohol when I am armed or driving.) At this point another couple saw my gun. Their reaction to it was so loud, obnoxious, and vehement, it almost made me think that there was an intruder!

Moments before that I was a friend of a few years, yet upon seeing my gun for the first time, I became enemy number 1! As liberal New Yorkers those guests thought all guns were going to magically kill the next innocent person it found! Moreover, anyone who owned a gun was a raving lunatic that needed to be put away. That's what they seriously thought about me. Before seeing my gun I was a good friend, after seeing it I was basically avoided and given the cold shoulder. I was told not to wear my gun to their home if I visited them in the future.

Later the hosts told me that couple felt you just cannot trust gun owners. They did not know that the hosts were CCW holders as well! Other CCW holders have told me of people remarking that they will now have to be careful not to make them mad, once that they find out they carry a gun for personal protection. People who are CCW holders do not lose their minds, their self-control, their patience or their sense of right and wrong when they carry a weapon. If anything, these good qualities are accentuated – one is MORE patient, has MORE self-control.

I did nothing wrong and I have no obligation to notify my hosts, or anyone else around me when I rightfully carry my gun. Who I am has not changed, I simply claim my right to stay safe should an unforeseen circumstance arise.

Care should always be taken to keep your carry-status private. Too many people knowing, or wondering if you are, can lead to comments drawing attention to your gun – whether you are carrying now or not. You are the person to decide who knows or not. (And if a friend lets you in on their status, don’t share it with others…that is HIS choice to make.)

Stay safe and God bless,


Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Can Carry It Everywhere

A common misconception is that because you have a CCW permit you can carry your gun anywhere you want.  Every concealed carrier knows that's not true.  But for the uninitiated or the uneducated this can be a real surprise.

As a responsible CCW holder I need to be aware of where it is ok to carry as well as know the law as to where I may carry a gun.

I recommend The Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States.  I carry a current copy in my car at all times. I also use several iPhone apps to make sure of gun laws while traveling: CCW - Concealed Carry 50 Sates Guide, Legal Heat - 50 State Guide to Firearms Law, Gun Concealed Lite.

In VA one regulation that has been streamlined is concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.  You can conceal carry in a restaurant, but cannot consume ANY alcohol.  From the VA State Police:

Where Unlawful to Carry
§18.2-308 (J.3.): No person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in § 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia; may consume an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. A person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of such a restaurant or club and consumes alcoholic beverages is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, nothing in this subsection shall apply to a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer.  (http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_ResidentConcealed.shtm)

Another area that surprises the uninformed is the complexity surrounding legal concealed carry on VA college campuses.  The best short explanation is this:

Virginia: State Colleges Do Not Have the Authority to Ban Concealed Carry on Campus According to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli  
In response to a question posed by state Senator Emmett Hanger (R- Mount Solon), Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recently issued an opinion stating that state universities and colleges - such as the University of Virginia - do not have the legal authority to prohibit permit holders from carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense. With his opinion found here, the Attorney General explains that where permit holders are lawfully allowed to carry may only be prohibited by law, not school policy. AG Cuccinelli did however state that bans on open carrying may still be enforced based on trespassing laws. 
Consistent with his recent opinion stating that self-defense is a valid reason for permit holders to carry in church, this most recent action enforces the fact that state agencies, such as public universities, do not have the authority to establish “policy” in direct violation of state law. Virginia does not expressly prohibit permit holders from carrying concealed for self-defense on university or college campuses. 
While this opinion is good news for permit holders, the university or college still has authority over students and staff and actions could be taken to expel students or fire staff, should they violate the school’s policy. Should the school want to make their policy law, they would then be forced to go through the complete administrative process to have an official regulation added to the Virginia Administrative Code. (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x434132)

As of this date there are 6 VA Commonwealth Schools that prohibit by regulation (thus force of law) concealed carry on campuses: Radford University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, George Mason University, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth College.

This information (as well as ALL laws) are the responsibility of the CCW holder to know. Ignorance is no excuse!  I am not a lawyer, never have been, won’t be!  Please consult your own lawyer to make sure your understanding of the law is correct.

Stay safe and God bless,


Friday, November 2, 2012

Firearm and Self-Defense Misconceptions

As a responsible gun owner, I find myself at times having to defend this freedom that our Founding Fathers recognized.  There is a certain amount of education of those around us that needs to take place. Recently I was with a group of people, most of whom were either gun friendly or gun neutral, but there were also some anti-gun folks listening in.

Helping educate all those around us about guns is important.  Why? Because we help dispel the media induced misconceptions that exist about guns and gun owners.  The wide range of topics covered in that recent discussion was staggering!  In a few posts we will look at some of these topics.


Our Law Enforcement Officers deserve a great amount of respect.  They do incredible work in tough conditions. In my area of discipline words matter.  In this regard, I write Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for a very precise reason.  These individuals ENFORCE LAWS.  They are not your friends.  Remember, if you use your legally owned gun in a lawful incident, you will be arrested by these individuals.  At your trial, it’s going to be the Commonwealth of VA (and the BAD guy) verses YOU.  Anything you say to the police in the initial aftermath will be used AGAINST you.  They will not testify on your behalf.

Their responsibility is not like we see on TV.  It is a falsehood/myth/lie often touted by the anti-gun crowd that Law Enforcement is there to protect us.  We're told “Just call the police, and they will be there in minutes…” The average LEO response time is 4 minutes and the average violent crime event is over in 90 seconds.


In the book Dial 911 and Die by Richard W. Stevens says,
In its landmark decision of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not impose a duty on the state and local governments to protect the citizens from criminal harm.  Focusing on the phrase referring to “due process” in the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court wrote that nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors.  The Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State’s power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security.  It forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law,” but its language cannot fairly be extended to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means (page 21).  
There are many references online that point this critical fact out.  Yet the lamestream media continues to lie about it.  Many good CCW holders are left clueless.


Our own personal security is our OWN!  CCW holders are NOT replacement LEOs.  Concealed weapon carriers do recognize that protecting oneself is first and foremost our own duty.


Dial 911 and Die

Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection

Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone

Police Have No Duty To Protect Individuals

The Police: No Duty To Protect Individuals 

The police 'protect and serve' the state, not you

* Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Can Carry It Everywhere
Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Are Suddenly a Different Person
* Shoot to Wound or Shoot to Kill

Stay safe and God bless,