This morning, 2 November 2015, Fox News reported that a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) license holder shot and killed a man attempting to rob a store in Chicago. You can read the article here. As of the posting of the news article, there have been no charges filed against the CHP holder. Understanding that I am not an attorney, I suspect that in Colorado the CHP holder would fall under the “self-defense and defense of another” law. With this story taking place in Chicago, I will be interested to see how the local authorities handle it.
Also discussed in the article is a story about a woman in Michigan (a CHP holder) who shot at shoplifters running from a Detroit-area Home Depot. She also shot out the shoplifters’ tires. The shoplifters were arrested a couple of days later. However, the important part of this story is that the woman CHP holder was arrested and now is looking at 90 days in jail for reckless discharge of a firearm. This is the issue I want to address.
For those responsibly armed CHP holders, why do we pull our guns and shoot? Is it to stop a crime? No! The only legitimate reason to pull a gun and shoot is to stop the threat. While the lady in Detroit may have had the best of intentions, fleeing shoplifters do not constitute a threat to anyone but the bottom line of the Home Depot store and they are covered by insurance.
As that esteemed scholar and attorney, Ric Morgan, has told countless Basic Pistol classes at Falcon Personal Security, in a defensive shooting, any response to a threat must be measured and equal to the threat presented. In other words, if someone comes at you with a Popsicle stick, you cannot pull out your thermonuclear transmogrifier and blow them into the next dimension. There is a balance that has to be maintained. Fleeing shoplifters do not constitute a personal threat. For that matter, if someone is running away from you, no matter what they have done, they are not a threat.
So, if you don’t shoot a fleeing criminal, what are you supposed to do? As a responsible citizen, you are to be aware of everything that is going on and be prepared to provide the police with as much accurate information as possible. That doesn’t mean tell the police what you think the bad guys were doing; only what you actually saw. That includes as complete description of the perpetrator/s, height, weight, hair color, skin color, description of clothing, and any distinguishable features such as scars, etc. Also helpful is automobile description, color, make, model, license number, any distinguishing features such as dints, rust, etc. What you do not want to tell the police is that you were tempted to pull out your gun to stop the crime. This would not be looked upon favorably.
Remember, being a responsibly armed citizen does not mean that the gun on your hip is the center of attraction. The most important part of this discussion is to be a responsible citizen.
As always, your discussion of this or any topic is welcome.
Stay aware, stay safe,