Don’t pull out your gun unless you use it - By Joe Forbes

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I get a lot of questions concerning when a concealed weapon carrier should reveal that they have a weapon during a hostile encounter. In this issue, I’ll try to answer that question by using a couple of true stories.

I was in court in Pasquotank County a few years ago, and saw a case tried that involved a mild-mannered computer repairman from out of town. He was about 45 years old, with no criminal record, and a concealed carry permit. He was driving out on the 17 bypass when he passed a carload of young locals. The locals took offense, either real or imagined, to the way he was driving, and began riding alongside him, shouting profanity and making threatening gestures. He became frightened. Not wanting trouble, and hoping to scare them off, the man held up his pistol so that
they could see it. That was exactly the wrong thing to do. Both cars called 911. The man took the exit by WalMart, and turned into the road where the Honda dealership is now. The other car blocked him in. When the police arrived, the locals took out warrants against the man for Assault By Pointing A Gun.

The poor repairman was mortified. He didn’t know these people, and had no reason to assault them. Yet, he was on trial for a violent crime. Because he had shown them the gun, the troublemakers knew that it was a silver-colored semi-automatic. Of course, the gun seized by the cops was a silver semi-auto. The troublemakers argued that they had to be telling the truth, or else they would not have known what kind of gun he had. It was a very tense trial, right to the very end. Thanks to him having a good lawyer, and drawing a judge with some common sense, he was found Not Guilty. But it could have ended much differently.

Contrast that story with what happened to a friend just recently. He was walking to his car from a grocery store when he noticed a man he did not know following him. He stopped and asked the man what he wanted, and the man kept coming at him, finally mumbling something about needing a ride. He said he couldn’t help him, but the man kept coming. The man’s demeanor and aggressive motions made my friend uncomfortable, so he reached in his pocket and put his hand on his pistol, but did not draw it. He said in a loud voice, “Stop. Don’t come any closer. I don’t want to talk to you. If you come any closer, I’ll take it as a threat. Just leave me alone.”
The man took the hint and walked away.

Never draw or display a weapon until you are ready to use it to defend yourself or someone else from imminent bodily harm. Even if you don’t point it at the threat, you may be breaking the law by merely displaying it. Virginia has such a law against “brandishing” a firearm. There are people out there who have nothing better to do than abuse the court system to create trouble for others. I’ve seen it many times over the years. The repairman ran into just such people.
Don’t give them information they can use against you in court.
Instead, follow my friend’s example. If you feel threatened, make preparations to defend yourself without displaying the weapon. Attract attention. Tell the threat in loud, clear, unmistakable terms to stop and leave you alone.

Hopefully, a passerby will hear you and be able to testify for you in the event that you do have to shoot. Use gestures when you warn the threat. Security cameras are everywhere these days. Holding up the palm of your hand means “Stop” in any language, and video showing you tried to warn the threat would be valuable in your defense. Go to where there are lots of people, like back in the store, if you can. Call 911 and stay on the phone with them until the threat has passed. You need a record that you did everything you could to avoid using the weapon.

Don’t pull out your gun unless you use it - By Joe Forbes Don’t pull out your gun unless you use it - By Joe Forbes Reviewed by kensunm on 11:30:00 AM Rating: 5

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