Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

“I just don’t see how people can grab a shotgun and rack it and stand on their front porch…”

Those words came from a New Jersey Police Chief who was appalled that, as his officers acted in a way that made a family believe their house was being broken into during a search of the surrounding property, a man grabbed his shotgun and went to check things out to make sure he and his parents weren’t in danger. Even though he never shot anyone, and he appears to have handled the situation reasonably when he believed the safety of his family was in danger, the police arrested him and wanted to put him away for 10 years.

Fortunately, a New Jersey jury acquitted him of the charges.

When someone linked this on Facebook, another person noted that this man was following the first few steps of our Vice President’s advice. He said you should grab your shotgun, load it, and go up to the door. The difference is that this man knew better to actually identify a threat rather than just shooting randomly, as the Vice President encourages people to do.

Virginia Governor’s “Screw You” to Gun Owners

The first veto from Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe was on a gun bill that sought to clarify wording on transport by gun owners without concealed carry permits. Even the media notes that this veto is meant to signal to gun control advocates that he’s taking a hardcore anti-gun line rather than addressing some legitimate concern on gun possession.

Glocks and Drawstrings

Tam links to a story about an Indiana Police chief that had his firearm discharge when a drawstring lock from his garment got lodged in the trigger guard of his Glock when he holstered it. She goes over all the other poor gun handling witnessed in the video. Safety is a habit.

Full disclosure, I used to wear a pullover as a cover garment when carrying that had a drawstring with lock. I had an entanglement of this sort happen to me once, but because I followed #6 of Tam’s lessons learned (don’t force the gun into the holster if something feels wrong), I didn’t have to shoot myself to learn #7 (that strings and triggers don’t mix). I’m also pretty religious about not unholstering the gun at all unless there’s a need to, and my holster is such I can remove it without unholstering the gun.

Open Carry: A Prescription for California?

Professor Adam Winkler has an article advocating that California pass an open carry law to keep down the number of guns on California streets:

But if the state allowed open carry, concealed carry could be banned entirely. In the 2008 case, the Supreme Court noted approvingly that courts have consistently upheld such bans, so long as people could carry openly.

I would argue that passing such a law, with the expressed purpose of keeping the number of people exercising their rights as low as possible, would actually be unconstitutional, despite what older rulings might say about concealed carry. I think that would properly constitute evasion.

The courts that allowed restrictions on concealed carry were operating in an environment where concealed carry was strongly stigmatized, and viewed as sneaky and underhanded, while open carry was widely accepted as the socially preferable method of carry. Today, the situation is arguably reversed. That the state may regulate the manner of carry is hardly contested, but the regulation must serve a compelling state interest, and “minimize the number of guns on California’s streets,” as Prof. Winkler mentions, is not among those compelling and legitimate interests.

At the University of Tennessee Symposium on the Second Amendment, this very issue was discussed in the second half of the program about 41 minutes in, by Prof. Brannon Denning. “Anti-Evasion Doctrines and the Second Amendment.” I would encourage everyone to watch the whole thing, but that segment in particular.

I doubt California will go the route Prof. Winkler recommends, but if it does, I agree with Glenn Reynolds that they might discover open carry is not as unpopular as he thinks, when it’s the only option the state allows. And if it does follow the recommendation, I look forward to his LA Times article being cited as an example of such a move being an unconstitutional evasion.

Seen on the Interwebs

I thought this was pretty amusing:


Women Defends Her Home With 9mm Hi-Point Carbine

I have one of the firearms this woman used to defend herself. I bought it years back during the federal assault weapons ban before I knew any better. I figured it was a few hundred bucks so what the hell. It’s surprisingly reliable, and was reliable enough for this woman to use to defend her home, even though she pretty clearly didn’t take good care of it. It is among the types of firearms made illegal by New York under the SAFE Act, because clearly we can’t have moms in bad neighborhoods having inexpensive firearms to protect themselves. I’d also note that there were three home invaders in this case, one of them had a gun, and she only has ten rounds in the magazine in that hi-point. She had already used what sounds like three of those rounds on warning shots. I’m sure the gun control advocates, none of whom have any experience with firearms, will opine just how easy it is to take down all three with the 7 remaining rounds, if they hadn’t decided that discretion is the better part of valor and run off.

Don’t Call Your Friends, Call the Cops

Not making any commentary on OC v. CC, I think in this specific situation it was pretty much guaranteed to lead to trouble. Unrelated to the method of carry, the trouble started here:

Simonsmeier; Danny Price, 32; Shannon Wheeler, 25; and Amanda Zastrow, 26, were arrested at a Turner Street home after they were called to help with a dispute between roommates, said Capt. Greg Hagenbucher of the Wausau Police Department. The incident began when a woman living in the home asked a man, also living in the home, to leave, Hagenbucher said. When he refused, the woman called friends to help.

If a friend called me needing this kind of “help,” I’m going to tell her to call the cops. As armed citizens, we ought to be nobody’s “muscle.” If you have a domestic dispute, that’s a job for the guys who come, as Tam likes to say, dripping with qualified immunity. I mean, you can take guns out of this situation entirely and it’s still just a bad idea. Guns just make things more likely to go from misdemeanor to felony in a hurry.

Though, I will say, I’m not sure that the shotgun was among the equipment OC’d, but anyone showing up to my door wielding a shotgun I’m going to assume is a deadly threat and act accordingly. Just saying.

Self-Defense Calibers

Exurban Kevin notices that what’s considered to be a good self-defense caliber has been getting ever smaller. When I first started carrying, back in 2002 or so, .380 was considered where self-defense rounds started, but 9mm was the generally popular self-defense caliber. Then everyone said it had to start with a .4 or it wasn’t good enough. The .40S&W became pretty popular, especially among law enforcement. Now we’re back to the smaller calibers being popular again. My guess is because more people are carrying, and it’s just much much easier to carry and conceal smaller firearms. I tend to think anything is better than harsh language. The best caliber is the one you’ll carry. A pocket .380 you have is better than the .40S&W left at home.

Not too Excited About the R51?

Tam notes that the beer goggles are wearing off when it comes to some folks and the R-51. I agree with Tam on this one: I plan to get one just because of the novelty, and because the price is right. I have no plans to carry an R-51 and didn’t think “what an awesome carry gun” when I first saw it.

I’m generally not a big fan of single stacks for carry, because if I’m dressed for being able to conceal something the size of an R51, I’m dressed for being able to conceal a Glock 19, and all things being equal, I’d rather have 16 rounds than 7. The next step down for me is a pocket pistol, for those situations where I can’t dress to conceal a Glock 19, and where it’d be nice to have some option above pepper spray and harsh language.

OC Tactical Soundness

Robb asks: “I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend the argument against Open Carry that states ‘I prefer the element of surprise’. Not against it being legal, mind you, just the argument about the act of openly carrying.”

For me I’m not sure it’s so much about the surprise part, so much as carrying the sidearm concealed increases my options. Surprise might be one of those options, but it’s just one. As long as the firearm is concealed, I get to choose whether, when and where it comes into the confrontation. If it’s openly carried, the attacker gets to choose that. Most people are offering up the example of the local Stop and Rob, and that’s certainly one possible scenario, but I can think of others. I may not want to introduce deadly force into a confrontation only involving physical force, but that suddenly changes if that person goes for a grab. I don’t really want to be in a situation, before a jury, arguing with a witness or survivor who disputes my claim that he was going for the gun, which is why, ladies and gentleman of the jury, I shot an unarmed man over a potential fist fight. I also generally don’t want to have to worry about a retention situation in a crowd, in line at the store, or any number of other scenarios that can be imagined.

I tend to think anecdotes are of limited value in debates like this. The fact is that most of us are in demographics that are incredibly unlikely to ever need to use a firearm in a self-defense situation, so the sample sets aren’t very representative. Most people who OC will probably do so their whole lives without a problem, and the same goes for people who conceal carry. But for me, I consider the tactical advantages to keeping the firearm concealed to outweigh the advantages of carrying it openly. I think he primary tactical advantage of OC is visual deterrence, but I’ve never wanted to risk the possibility of encountering the type of criminal who is not impressed by the display of a firearm.

UPDATE: More here. Robb notes, “There’s also the great advantage that, should the bodily waste impact the air moving device, you have options to engage / not engage that might not be there with OC (a rare, rare, rare, rare thing, but definitely in the realm of possibility).” I’m not sure that’s so rare. The most likely scenario I think most folks are likely to encounter is an unruly drunk, or some other tough guy, who might decide to start a confrontation before noticing your pistol. I don’t want to be in the situation of having to hope for good judgement on his part as to where the whole thing escalates from there. I’m not sure most confrontations start out as such clear deadly force situations. There’s usually an escalation to deadly force, and I tend to think it’s better to have options at each stage, without necessarily revealing the trump card unless the situation has gotten to that point.

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