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Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

Don’t Bring an Airsoft Gun to a Real Gun Fight

Looks like our local armed robbers showed up with Airsoft pistols. Fortunately, the customer showed up with a real one. The customer will not be charged, despite having an expired License to Carry. There is a six month grace period in Pennsylvania if your license is expired. No word on whether he fell into that period. Sheriffs are supposed to notify licensees of impending expiration, but not all do.

Carry Your Guns, Folks: Robbery in My ‘Hood

I live about six miles north of Philadelphia, in a quiet suburban community made up of a mix of tradesmen, business owners, and professionals (i.e. pretty much the demographic that tends to have a relatively high level of gun ownership and who tend also tend to get LTCs). Crime is relatively rare around here. Last night Bitter  heard helicopters hovering loudly around the house. I started falling asleep in my chair around 9:30 last night, so I headed up to bed and missed all the fun. Helicopter noise isn’t that unusual to us, because we’re right near I-95. A good pileup on the highway will bring them out. But this time it was not a pileup:

A customer inside Porfirio’s II Pizza in the Skyline Shopping Center in Levittown shot two alleged robbers Tuesday night.

I’ve gotten pizza from that place! And the gas station across the street is my preferred fill-up. The Wawa behind that shop is my Wawa! All this went down in walking distance from my front doorstep:

“The two male robbers apparently told the employees and the customer to get on the ground. They began pistol-whipping the customer. At that point, the customer produced a handgun and shot both of the robbers,” Bartorilla told reporters just before midnight Tuesday.

Good on him. He didn’t let them take control of his person.

The deceased robber was shot in the chest and the seriously injured robber was shot in the shoulder and the neck, the chief said.

Not bad shooting. He landed a clean center-of-mass hit on one and did hit the other. I’m wondering if he was aiming for the other guy’s gourd and the shot went a little low.

This is not the first time we’ve had an armed robbery around these parts. This robbery was right up the street from me and happened right after I moved here. Only a few months ago, two New Jersey residents found out the hard way that robbing mom and pop pharmacies on this side of the Delaware entails a bit more risk than they are used to on their side.

I’m not kidding, this really is a quiet suburb, but shit can go down anywhere, so carry your guns, folks. I’m glad this guy, whoever he is, did. I’d much rather hear about the meat wagon getting called out to cart off a dead robber than dead customers and employees.

Dress Around the Gun

I’m glad to see other people speaking out against “Dress around the Gun.” Most of the time in the summer I’m pocket carrying a Ruger LCP with a Mitch Rosen Pocket Softy. Not because I think it’s ideal, but because the alternative would be not carrying a firearm. I don’t have the option of dressing like a hobo a lot of times.

I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a newer generation pocket pistol, like S&W’s Bodyguard, but I’ve been chronically short on disposable (well, really disposable) income for several years now. I’m happy to see Ruger fixed a lot of the problems with the LCP, such that it’s not just a P-3AT with better fit and finish. Competition is a wondrous thing.

In Hawaii, I shed the gun (not legal to carry in HI), spray, knife (legal in HI, but illegal in carry-ons), and bagged my flashlight instead of carrying it in my pocket. It was amazing how well my pants stayed up!

Charges Dismissed: Podcaster Paul Lathrop Tells His Story

I had mentioned a while ago the Podcaster Paul Lathrop was in some legal trouble as a result of a false accusation. Mosey on over to the Handgun World Podcast to hear Paul Lathrop tell his story of being charged with a gun felony. Recently the charges have all been dismissed because the gas station the incident occurred at had video that disproved the accusers tall tale.

There are lessons to be learned here, so I think it’s worthwhile to listen. For those who just want a summary, my takeaway from it is:

  • Paul’s student driver gets under the skin of another truck driver for some perceived offense, and the other driver deliberately blocks them in.
  • Paul’s student driver flips the bird to the other driver, who then becomes enraged, gets out of his truck, and starts climbing up to the cab of Paul’s truck, at which point he informs the other driver that he’s armed. The other driver backs off. At no point was the gun brought out.
  • Both eventually depart the scene, but apparently the other driver called 911 with a tall tale about Paul getting out of his truck waving a big revolver around threatening to kill him.
  • Paul gets pulled over on the road and confronted by the Nebraska Patrol, who after taking him to the other driver to be identified arrest him. The gun he carries is a Glock 22, not a revolver. Prosecutor decides to charge terroristic threats, and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  • Paul’s attorney obtains surveillance video from the scene that shows the other driver’s story to be false. The other driver won’t appear in court and perjure himself, and the prosecutor drops the charges.

From my point of view, the lessons are this:

  • If you get into a confrontation with someone where a gun is introduced into the situation either physically or as a warning, the first person to call 911 is presumed to be the victim, and that person should be you. If you are threatened enough to inform someone you’re armed, in the hopes that the fellow backs off, you’re definitely in “call the police” territory as well. If you don’t feel that threatened, you shouldn’t be introducing a gun into the situation in any manner.
  • I’ve written a lot about carrying defensive spray if you carry a gun, because the legal system tends to frown upon shooting people, or threatening to shoot people, for being belligerent assholes. It’s very useful to have force options that you can employ early on in a confrontation that do not have the legal implications of deadly force. In the situation described by Paul, he was in reasonable fear that the person climbing up his cab intended to use unlawful force against him or his student, in which case it would be justified to employ spray, not just threaten to use it. The standard for using force (but not deadly force) is “the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.” (Nebraska 28-1409). Most states are going to be very similar. That’s a far lower standard than what is required for deadly force.

I’m surprised that the authorities didn’t become suspicious when the accuser said Paul was waving around a big revolver and the cops recovered a Glock 22. But the jurisdiction and prosecutor were apparently not gun friendly.

I’m glad he got the charges dismissed. Being falsely accused like that is a nightmare. Be careful out there folks, and if you end up in a confrontation with some jerk, be sure to cover your own ass by calling 911 and making sure the authorities know who the victim is.

Careful Out There

Tam relays a story about a homeowner shot by police, and draws a few lessons, the first of which is if you called the cops, don’t then go running around outside your house with a gun. Seems sensible enough. The second one is the money quote though:

If you are on the playing field when they show up and you hear “Drop the gun!” then you need to drop the gun. Seriously. Like it just turned white-hot. (This is a good reason to carry drop-safe pistols, BTW. I realize that carrying that 1904 Ruritanian army surplus Schnellblitzenselbstlader in 8.3mm semi-rimmed is really cool, but aren’t you going to feel funny getting shot twice when you drop it: Once in the junk by your own gun when it hits the ground ass-end first, and again in the gut by the responding officer because he’s startled by the gunshot?)

RTWT, as always, with apologizes to those who love their Schnellblitzenselbstladers.

Prof. Joe Olsen Expressed Concern About St. Anthony Police

This was prior to the Castile shooting:

Instead, the stop was so troubling that he later went to the then-St. Anthony police chief to tell him he may have a serious problem with how the department conducts traffic stops. But the chief, Olson said, dismissed his concern.

“I told him that if you don’t fix this, you’re going to have an even bigger problem,” Olson said. “And that’s apparently what happened.”

Read the whole thing. Joe Olsen is one of the academics responsible for the Heller and McDonald decisions, and has been a RKBA activist for a long time. Longer than I’ve been alive.

Superior Court Rules No Weapons on School Property

Some unfortunate news from Pennsylvania Superior Court. I believe Superior Courts mean this is now law in the entire state, so currently, it is now illegal to carry weapons on school property. The law states:

§ 912. Possession of weapon on school property.

(a) Definition.–Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime),”weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c) Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

The Superior Court ruled that “other lawful purpose” needed to have a sanction from the school. In other words, the lunch ladies can have knives in the school, because their purpose is to cook lunch for the kiddies. The janitor can have a screwdriver, but not a student.

Statutes that are vague or unclear are supposed to be interpreted in a light most favorable to the defendant, but this very clear language, which exempts lawful purposes, was read to favor the state. The law already carved out an exception for the lunch ladies when it said “It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course,” but then it went on to create a separate defense, the “other lawful purposes” defense, for the chef dropping his kid off at school on the way to the restaurant with the knives he just got sharpened.

As Josh Prince notes in his article, this appeal was pursued by a pro-se defendant, meaning a guy representing himself. That’s usually an invitation to disaster, as it was here. Nonetheless, the law is clear here, but there is no rule of law. They offer us the illusion, and not even a very good illusion, that there is rule of law, all the while ruling however they damned please.

Man Bites Dog: New York Times Comes Out Against Gravity Knife Ban

This is honestly something I’d never thought I’d see:

But the modern knives sold in countless stores bear little resemblance to the knives that were the original subjects of the ban. Many people, including carpenters, construction workers and stagehands, have no idea that their knives can be made to open with a flick of a wrist — a skill many New York police officers have developed. Most don’t know that simply possessing such a knife breaks the law.

The article goes on to note that a law office that handles such cases for defendents charged under this law says of the 254 of its clients, only four were charged with intent to use it unlawfully. How much do you want to bet of those four, they were arguable self-defense cases?

If even the New York Times agrees, it’s time for this stupid law to go. This is a good time to remind folks that Knife Rights is doing good work, and succeeding even in places no one would have argued success was achievable. But the fact is that gun rights today have far greater protections than those who choose to carry knives even for reasons unrelated to self-defense.

Encouraging the Hatpin Menace

As we planned our route through various states on the way to Louisville based on their carry laws, I was just thinking about how many laws I could break if I decided to wear more hats.

I didn’t have time to see if the states we’ll be traveling through still have hatpin restrictions on the books, but I was just thinking about this while digging out my American flag pin and admiring my great grandmother’s (1890-1986) hatpin that my mother gave me that resides in the same holder.

As you can see, this one isn’t very stabby anymore, so it may be fine under some ordinances. However, some of the bans were written based on how far the pins protruded from the hat (not the brim) rather than how sharp the ends might have been.

AllthePinPhotos

This one got its first test with me during a memorial service last month, and I’m happy to report that it was stabby enough to get through my hat and my hair. If I needed to, I’m sure it could have been sufficiently stabby enough to get through an attacker’s hand with some force. (Maybe. I’m not about to risk the heirloom pin to find out how much force it can take.)

It’s very tempting to see if any future cities for NRA conventions still have highly restrictive hatpin laws on the books that were specifically passed to keep women from defending themselves and find some lovely new hats that warrant wearing pins to secure them in place. A little civil disobedience can be fun. I checked, and I don’t see any newspaper accounts or Google hits for anti-pin ordinances in Louisville. Being the home of the Kentucky Derby, I would imagine that a ban would be more fiercely fought there than other places.

So whether your self-defense tool of choice is a handgun or hatpin, women are well protected in Louisville.

Why Carrying Pepper Spray is a Good Idea

I’ve been an advocate of carrying defensive spray for a while now, because there are plenty of situations where you’re justified in using spray, but are not even close to a deadly force situation. Such a case recently occurred at a Donald Trump rally:

The link above has more video from different angles, including one where she admits she had it coming. She got sprayed as soon as she threw a punch. If one punches a hippie in the face and cause serious injury, the cops might feel they have to do something, even if it’s just questioning to sort out who did what. You’ll notice the cops escorted her out, but didn’t make any arrest. I’m not honestly sure who employed the spray. Defensive spray is a very low level of force, and far less likely to cause long term consequences for either party in an altercation. If you’re in a situation like this where both parties are alleging assault, you’re far less likely to end up in real trouble with spray as you would if you used a higher level of force.

UPDATE: Looks like it wasn’t the guy who was punched who responded with the spray after all. I’ve watched the video from a few angles, and I don’t see where she was justified in throwing the punch, but with the other guy doing it, it’s not as clear cut a case of self-defense. It’s going to be a case of he said she said.

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