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  • A discussion a work today.

    We had a discussion today at work. Here is the scenario: You are a concealed pistol permit holder (or whatever it is called in your state) or out of your jurisdiction and carrying under LEOSA. You get accosted by a panhandler and tell him no. EDIT: This individual is much larger and appears to be able to cause great bodily harm and/or loss of life without using a weapon. He begins to make aggressive movement towards you, fists clenched, fighting stance, etc. He says "You're gonna give me some money" or something to that effect. However, he makes no direct verbal threat to your safety.

    Would you be justified in drawing your concealed weapon and ordering him to stop?

    Ok now let's say you didn't draw your weapon and the guy begins to assault you.

    Would you be justified in using your firearm to stop this person from assaulting you?

    I say that I would probably draw my weapon before he had a chance to begin any assault and if he proceed towards me with my weapon drawn I would fire if needed.

    Some of my co-workers think that he would either have to make either a direct threat of wanting to end your life or actually begin assaulting you.
    Last edited by KJB; 04-09-2010, 11:59 PM.

  • #2
    With no overt threat of death or serios bodily harm pulling your weapon would be a no-no, IMO. erely being acosted by someone is not justification to resort to deadly force or even the threat of it.
    Of course there are other concerns--size diferences, location, condition of the individual (i.e. drunk) but as you presented it--sorry, you're wrong.......


    • #3
      Sorry, but each person has to decide for themselves what line would need to be crossed before you would be willing to take another's life. Me, I don't think I am willing to face a jury for homicide because a person wanted to have a fist fight with me or attacked me with his fists. One, I am a pretty muscular person and two I can retreat or run away. I also believe that most people are victims because they put themselves in bad positions (not that that is a valid reason for some body to victimize another).

      Of course a good source of information on this would be to consult the laws of your state on what is considered "justifiable homicide." In Michigan there is a statute or explanation on when deadly force may be used and it is different for each person. Example, if you weight 300lb and are 6-0 tall and you are being assaulted by a 5-8, 150lb, 65 year old that is blind, and is in the last stages of "I haven't gotten lucky in so long" then you are probably going to have a hard time selling it that you were justified in capping the old goat. Reverse the roles and he owns your ***.

      By the way, as a cop, do you shoot someone every time you show up to a fight? Not that it is a bad way to resolve the situation, but I think common sense pretty much would rule on this.
      Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"


      • #4
        Oh crap I left that out, kind of a big part of the scenario we had. (We were discussing a guy my size, 6' 2" and 250 accosting a guy 5' 6" and 160) the individual is considerably larger and appears capable of causing serious harm to you with only his fists.
        Last edited by KJB; 04-10-2010, 12:02 AM.


        • #5
          In Texas the threat of deadly force is not deadly force, just force. I'm not sure what I would do, but I also don't think I would fault someone in that situation for drawing their (assuming) only defensive weapon.


          • #6
            I'll defer to the master.

            Massad Ayoob on judicious use of deadly force part 1.

            The rest are linked in sequentially. The answer is; it depends. Does the aggressor have buddies? Is he substantially larger and more powerful than you? Is it a man assaulting a woman? Watch the video, it's quite good.
            **Not a LEO**


            • #7
              Let's consider a couple of basic rules for cops.

              First, you don't draw you weapon unless you are prepared to use it,

              Next, the laws of most states on the use deadly force are fairly universal. In most instances, you may use it when resisting an attempt to murder someone, or inflict great bodily injury.

              But what many folks forget is there is another caveat. Most states also stipulate that a bare fear alone that a suspect is about to commit murder or inflict great bodily injury is not sufficient to warrant the use of deadly force. Instead, the circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person, that the crime would actually be carried out if deadly force was not used to prevent it.

              So, simply saying the suspect is considerably larger and appears capable of causing serious harm or death to you with only his fists may not be sufficient. Instead, you will have to be able to articulate why you believe you would have been killed or suffered great bodily injury if you did not act, that the use of deadly force was a last resort and that no other reasonable alternatives were available to you within that brief window of time.

              This will bring up questions regarding your training and experience as a peace officer. It will include things like defensive tactics, (when is the use of firearms justified against mere hands and fists?) It will also focus on your training in tactics (When do you retreat to a better position of tactical advantage rather than be forced into a confrontation by an advancing suspect?) So, using deadly force under these limited circumstances you have described may not be as cut and dry as you might think.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


              • #8
                Retreat is the only answer. To be placed in such a situation as someone who is 5-6 at 150 (which I am) I'm not going to wait around and engage in a fight and end up losing control of the firearm because I failed to draw when there was an opening to do so rather than on the ground losing control of the situation.

                Best option. Have a second firearm, let him make a grab for the first gun, then shoot him in the head with the BUG.

                Be sure the first firemarm is loaded with a squib round so you can articulate you believed it was loaded. In the event you lose control of it the gun will malfunction when he pulls the trigger, but you can articulate pulling your trigger, and can articulate by the grace of god that first round turned out to be a squib. I've made squibs plenty of times, and already ruined one barrel with such.

                My response of course is silly, and crude.

                Retreat. Deadly force has not been presented, but no where is it a law one has to allow being beaten and at the mercy of another for them not to knock you out and kill you with your own gun.

                If they pursue then it would be easier to articulate deadly force. Maybe even yell for witnesses to hear "I HAVE A GUN", that way when attacked you can articulate the perp was informed of your weapon, and you can articulate a higher level of threat of the perp attacking knowing you had a firearm. You can assume he had equal or more deadly capabilities after being given such a warning.

                Sort of like I was trained to yell commands while striking a resistant perp with a baton. That way witnesses can say they heard me telling to the perp to stop resisting while he's being struck. If he keeps resisting in the face of the commands I can articulate use of force, verses me just striking him for the heck of it.

                Like everyone said. It depends. In such situations analysis of the law should not be at the forefront of your thoughts. Distance, and placing barriers between you and the threat should be. If contact is made, and distance is closed and the threat pulls out a knife when face to face with you it was fool hardy to not have drawn when there was an opening wasn't it?

                Also, if one can carry a firearm why not also cary OC spray. That would solve this problem and the given threat. Then it is WAY easier to articulate a deadly threat that keeps advancing under the impact of OC spray. It also allows you to retreat successfully.

                As Joe Public you have to retreat. If you don't try that option first your going to get into trouble.

                Here's how I like to think of it. In the event you didn't have a firearm what would you do when faced with a non weapon threat? I of course would retreat.
                Last edited by SCV-Sop; 04-10-2010, 03:06 AM.
                "Corruptisima republica plurimae leges."

                "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."
                - Cornelius Tacitus


                • #9
                  I have been in a similar situation, except, I was in the city which I work and this "pan-handler" who I call a attempt robbery suspect, approached and asked me for my change outside a store while I was walking in. As I came out he was blocking my path to my vehicle and said "Give me your change." As I began to walk around him he reached into his pocket and said "I said give me some F*ckin money."

                  Glock came out and my bag of groceries hit the ground. His eyes popped out of his head and he ran away, due to being off duty and having no direct line of communication aside from a cell phone I didn't bother to chase him. On duty officers responded and looked for him with negative results.

                  Now I know my situation adds a few different variables than of that in the OP, but in my case in my mind I very much felt he was demanding money and was going to use force to get it, a robbery, I also felt that when he demanded the money and reached directly for his pocket he was attempting to retrieve a weapon.

                  My depts draw and exhibit policy for on or off duty actions with a firearm is that the officer is involved in a situation that may lead to the use of deadly force. With him being a robbery suspect and that I can articulate that robbery suspects usually carry some type of weapon used in the commission of the crime I could justify my drawing and exhibiting my weapon.

                  I feel very certain that if he had advanced toward me instead of fleeing when I drew my weapon I would have shot him in the face and been fully justified in doing so.
                  Originally Posted by VegasMetro
                  maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????


                  • #10
                    There is also the consideration of "totality of circumstances" which is simply another consideration in the excellent replies you've recieved. In short though, in the circumstances you've cited, the use of a firearm/deadly force ,would not be justified.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TimK View Post
                      I'll defer to the master.
                      Massad Ayoob is a writer of articles in gun magazines. What has he actually mastered?
                      Use of force is going to be an individual decision. The individual using force will have to convincingly articulate the actions that prompted his/her level of force. As another posted replied, it is the totality of the circumstances.
                      Last edited by slamdunc; 04-10-2010, 05:52 AM.
                      “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

                      Miyamoto Musashi

                      “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

                      George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)


                      • #12

                        We often hear about a "duty to retreat" - but even that is changing nowadays. In many places, there are Castle Doctrine or 'Stand Your Ground' laws in place. Why should a "good guy" have to flee from attack all of the time? Definitely an interesting question.

                        A tough call, no doubt; with many different answers which may not always be right or wrong. Running this scenario in my head, my instinct would be a 'tactical retreat' to put space between myself and the "panhandler" who appears to be threatening me with bodily harm/deadly force in order to obtain money or property (sounds a lot like armed robbery).

                        If the guy continues to chase the would-be victim, then all bets are off; especially if he is much larger or escalates the attack. If I were on a jury, that would be a primary consideration - versus an armed good guy who simply just shot first and asked questions later because he merely felt "scared."

                        BTW, is there time to run him through VCIN or NCIC before taking action? LOL!

                        Maybe the old adage about being "tried by twelve rather than carried by six" might apply here. I suspect this will be a long thread, however, with many opinions. Let's make some popcorn!

                        "I don't favor recidivist criminals. I favor dead bad guys." -- Ted Nugent
                        Last edited by VA Dutch; 04-10-2010, 10:31 AM.

                        The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

                        The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.


                        "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."


                        • #13
                          I don't think size should even be a factor. A small guy, especially one amped up on God knows what, could end up poking your eye out in a scuffle. In my mind the aggressor is in the wrong, crossing the line and assuming the risks. A least that would be my attitude on a jury.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JasperST View Post
                            I don't think size should even be a factor. A small guy, especially one amped up on God knows what, could end up poking your eye out in a scuffle. In my mind the aggressor is in the wrong, crossing the line and assuming the risks. A least that would be my attitude on a jury.
                            Size is always a factor. What my female partner could get away with shooting a bad guy guy, I would be hung by the people if I did the same. Size is a very big thing when it comes to using force. If you got Hulk Hogan beating up on Bridget the Midget, you better believe she could shoot him without thinking twice and a jury would understand her fears. If he shot her, it would be totally different in that he is 4X bigger than her and should have been able to handle himself.


                            • #15
                              I don't know where some of you are coming from. I'm pulling my weapon. I'm giving orders in clear, concise and LOUD tones. I'm moving back away from the threat. If he keeps coming. I'm shooting him.

                              I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


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