Welcome back to TFB’s Concealed Carry Corner. Most people have heard various statistics about people being killed with their own gun, of which I don’t really pay attention to, since the typical sources are coming from known anti-gunners. However, I won’t deny that people have been killed with their own firearms, which could stem from a number of factors during a lethal force encounter. Today, we’ll be focusing on one factor in particular; the mindset of being unwilling to pull the trigger, and the dangers of that unwillingness to take a human life, to save yourself or others.
QUESTIONING WHETHER YOU COULD TAKE A HUMAN LIFE
During my decades as a firearms enthusiast, advocate, and unofficial instructor, I’ve been approached by numerous people that ask about carrying a firearm for protection. One of the first questions I ask is whether or not that person can be at peace with taking the life of another to protect themselves, a loved one, or even a stranger. Most people have already thought this through and answer “yes,” however, several people have hesitated to answer, and some have finally come to the conclusion that “no, I could not take a human life”. My answer to those that decide they could not take a human life is that they should not carry a gun until they change that mindset. I gently explain that presenting a gun to an assailant in the hopes that they will become frightened and run away could lead to their own demise with their own gun. People sometimes forget that the other side of the “run away” coin is to fight, and that assailant may decide that he can fight for the newly introduced weapon if the reluctant good guy hesitates, or puts too much faith in simply having a firearm.
I’ll certainly leave room for people carrying with this wrong mindset to change their opposition to death-dealing if the situation were bad enough. Each situation is also different, so those that carry a firearm knowing they won’t pull the trigger, may actually skate by in situations where pulling the trigger wasn’t necessary. However, that kind of mentality won’t hold up in every situation, and introducing a deadly weapon that you’re not willing to actually use is a recipe for disaster. A Texas pastor was sadly killed with his own weapon when he discovered a violent fugitive hiding in the church bathroom. The pastor brandished his weapon and asked the fugitive to leave, the cornered fugitive chose to “fight” rather than “flight.” The fugitive was shot in the hand during the encounter, but I can’t say whether it was during the struggle or just beforehand, so I can’t say without a doubt that the pastor was completely opposed to using deadly force, but it at least has that appearance on the surface.
Another example from 2020 left a man shot with his own gun after he introduced it into a fight where he was punched in the face. To be fair, not everyone that is shot with their own weapon may not be wholly opposed to using it, but rather have resorted to presenting their gun at the wrong time, and realize they aren’t justified to use it yet, and thus hesitate. Because self-defense incidents happen so quickly, it’s hard to pinpoint the good guy’s mentality throughout each encounter, but the fact that people who are decidedly unable (or unwilling) to use deadly force to save themselves are still seriously considering buying a gun, specifically for self-defense, shows us that there are such people out there right now.
Do you know anyone that is considering getting a gun for self-defense, or already has one, yet you know they can’t or won’t take a human life to save themselves or a loved one? As mentioned above, whenever this comes up in conversations I’m having, I try to gently explain the real-world problems like we explored above, because the ultimate decision to carry a firearm is up to each individual themselves. I also don’t want to alienate someone so that the line of communication can remain open in case they have more questions later. Since we also represent gun ownership as a whole, not just for self-defense, keeping things polite and calm is key.
Have you had such discussions with people that thought simply brandishing a firearm would solve a deadly force situation? What about the classic “why not just aim for their legs” argument? Were you able to open anyone’s eyes as to the dangers of these mindsets? If you’re aware of more examples of people getting shot or killed with their own weapon, feel free to post up the links in the comment section.