Jason Falconer is a part-time police officer, but he didn’t have to carry a concealed firearm to Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, Minn., on Saturday. He wasn’t on duty when a knife-wielding man went on a rampage. He was—like the thousands of concealed carry permit holders across the country—an American citizen exercising his constitutional rights. But his decision to do so saved dozens of lives, and his quick thinking and good training kept the situation from getting much worse.
Falconer was shopping when Dahir Adan entered the mall and began stabbing shoppers (reportedly after asking whether or not they were Muslim). Adan managed to wound nine people before Falconer arrived, gun in hand, and put a quick end to the terrorist’s plot. According to police, surveillance video shows Adan falling and getting back up three times before the fatal shot.
“He was put in unfortunate circumstances. I believe there was divine intervention,” Corey Nellis, the police chief in the neighboring city of Avon, said at a news conference Monday. “I think he was the person that needed to be there to prevent it from being worse than it was.”
Most mainstream media accounts (except perhaps this piece by the LA Times) lead readers to believe that Falconer’s position as an off-duty police officer is enough to explain his possession of a firearm. It doesn’t. Falconer has maintained a low profile since the incident, but it’s clear that his decision to carry a firearm on Saturday was an exercise of the Second Amendment rights shared by all Americans.
The Second Amendment gave Falconer the right to carry a firearm, and his training gave him the skills to use it. Falconer is the former police chief of Albany, Minn., and current owner and president of Tactical Advantage LLC, a shooting range and tactical training facility, according to the LA Times. He’s also active in three-gun competitions and is an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
In short, he takes seriously his job as an officer and his right to carry a deadly weapon.
“If I was going to ask anybody to fire live rounds in a crowded mall, I would trust his abilities next to anybody’s,” Nellis told reporters.
While first responders and mall patrons are no doubt grateful for Falconer’s actions, the mall’s gun-free-zone could have kept anyone from stopping Adan until police arrived. Crossroads Center Mall prohibits firearms on its premises. Independent Journal Review notes that police officers whose training is in good standing may carry firearms in the mall, but that rule doesn’t appear in the mall’s Code of Conduct.
Whatever the case—whether Falconer ignored the mall’s policy or was permitted to carry a firearm—his decision to bear arms stopped yet another terrorist plot on American soil. If an armed citizen like Falconer had been present in Charleston or San Bernardino, those horrific incidents could have ended much differently.