Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 44 Should I Shoot? The Car Accident and the Driver with the Pistol
- Ep. 45 Should I Shoot? Date Night Goes Wrong
- Ep. 46 Should I Shoot? The Assailant and the Attendant
- Ep. 47 Should I Shoot? Late Night Banging at Your Door
- Ep. 48 Should I Shoot? Elevated Awareness on the Train
You and your friends carry concealed just about everywhere you legally can. But you’re not a bunch of vigilantes out looking for trouble. You’re not a bunch of tough guys out to prove a point. You’re a group of friends who shares a common bond in that you do what you can to preserve life, to protect others and to be prepared. As such, you and your friends often share advice and tips on concealed carry — everything from the latest guns and gear to the best tactics for safety and protection of life. And, when you’re out together, you make it a point to be aware while you responsibly enjoy yourselves. Because you never know when trouble might spring up.
Thankfully, all that has sprung up lately is you and your friends noticing when other people are carrying concealed. You’ve picked up on some of the cues — a person constantly fidgeting with covering garments, sometimes directly adjusting a gun/holster rig, and more. While it’s somewhat comforting to know the popularity of concealed carry is growing exponentially, at times, you wish more people would read the myriad resources available to them to help them carry concealed really well. After all, concealed is supposed to be concealed.
Your state not only allows concealed carry but also open carry. While you’re grateful for these rights and glad they can be exercised, you prefer concealed carry to open carry. You want the element of surprise if you have to deal with an attacker, and you don’t want anyone seeing you with a gun and possibly targeting you for the theft of it. It would be foolish for someone to try it, yes, but you’re all about minimizing opportunities for trouble. For the most part, people who are open carrying don’t cause any trouble and they don’t create much concern for you either. Every now and then, however, you find someone carrying a gun who seems to be caught somewhere in the middle. To put it another way, that person thinks he is carrying concealed, but something has happened to his covering garment so that his gun is not concealed but on display for all to see.
So, as you and your friends are enjoying conversation over coffee at the local coffeehouse, you notice one other customer — a stocky guy in jeans and a red sweatshirt — engaged in the concealed carry fidget. Clearly this person has a duty-sized pistol on his hip and he is doing his best to keep his shirt from riding up too high and revealing anything. He pulls at his sweatshirt when he’s standing and he pulls at his sweatshirt when he’s sitting. You discreetly nod in his direction and your group nods to one another in understanding — you all know what’s going on. He doesn’t seem to be a threat, but he’s certainly worth watching.
And then, into the coffeehouse walks a gentleman wearing khaki pants, a golf shirt and a light tan jacket, zipped about halfway up. He also has a baseball cap. As he walks through the door, the wind blows in just a bit and the closing door creates a draft behind him that almost blows his hat off. The man reaches up, catching his hat on his head just in time, but in doing so, the draft billows his jacket, causing it to rise and then settle behind the stocks of the black pistol it was hiding just one second ago.
It’s a typical black polymer-framed pistol and he’s carrying it in an outside-the-waistband paddle holster — also black plastic. With the jacket caught behind the pistol’s stocks, the rig is on display as the man walks through the coffeehouse, oblivious that he has gone from concealed carry to open carry in a unique turn of events.
You and your buddies watch all this unfold but act nonchalant. After all, while the man might be no threat at all, you don’t know this for sure. For all you know, he’s here to rob the place. So you watch in a heightened state of alert. Hardly any of the other customers even notice the man, let alone the gun. But it’s just a matter of time before they do.
The man in the light tan jacket heads to the counter. As he does, you and your friends notice the man in the red sweatshirt has risen from his seat with his eyes locked on the man in the light tan jacket. Red sweatshirt makes his way through the coffeehouse toward light tan jacket.
Should I Shoot?
Scenario 1. The man in the red sweatshirt comes up behind the man in the light tan jacket and taps him on the shoulder. The man in the light tan jacket turns around, a puzzled look on his face. You watch these two have a brief conversation and see the man in the light tan jacket look down at his gun and then quickly pull his jacket over it to conceal it. By the expression on his face and his general demeanor, you can see the man is clearly embarrassed. He looks around the coffeehouse to see if anyone else noticed. A few have, but they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. The man in the red sweatshirt walks toward the front of the coffeehouse, scowling and shaking his head.
Scenario 2. The man in the light tan jacket places an order at the counter and waits for it to be served up. He looks around nervously, obviously wondering who else spotted his gun and how they might react. He looks at his watch. He looks toward the front of the restaurant, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man in the red sweatshirt, but he’s nowhere in sight. Finally, his order is delivered to him at the counter and he gathers it all up quickly. While he does, his jacket rides up again, revealing the muzzle of the gun on his right hip.
Scenario 3. The man in the light tan jacket turns around to head for the exit at the front of the coffeehouse but stops and stares. You and your friends see why: Two uniformed police officers have entered the coffeehouse, followed by the man in the red sweatshirt, who is pointing directly at the man in the light tan jacket. One police officer walks toward the man in the light tan jacket while the other one stays with the man in the red sweatshirt. The man in the light tan jacket calmly explains what happened to the officer, the same signs of embarrassment showing on his face, while the officer runs the man’s ID.
Meanwhile, the man in the red sweatshirt has grown agitated as the other officer questions him and asks for his ID. All the coffeehouse customers are now enraptured in these two confrontations but more so the one involving the man in the red sweatshirt. At one point, the officer dealing with him tells him to walk outside and gestures accordingly with his arms. The man in the red sweatshirt doesn’t take too kindly to the officer’s request but starts moving toward the door. But not without using his arm to push away the officer’s arm in an act of defiance. And that’s when the officer, in a deft move, grabs the man’s arm, twisting it and pushing the man face down to the ground.
Red sweatshirt unleashes a stream of profanity, but the takedown affords the officer the opportunity to spot the man’s concealed gun. Keeping the man’s arm in a vice-like grip with one hand and keeping him pinned to the floor with his knee, the officer pulls the man’s gun, drops the magazine and racks the slide on his boot, ejecting a live round from the chamber. At this point, the other officer comes over to help and the situation is soon over. The man in the red sweatshirt is arrested, the man in the light tan jacket is warned and you and your friends have a lot to discuss.
At what point in Scenario 1, 2, or 3 would you have been justified in drawing and firing your pistol? Would you have interacted with the man in the light tan jacket? What about with the man in the red sweatshirt? Would you have offered any information to the police as they were handling the situation?
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.