General Question

funkdaddy's avatar

For those who carry firearms, do you feel any obligation to use them if there is a need?

Asked by funkdaddy (12528 points ) December 18th, 2013

Inspired by @josie’s question – Assuming your state allows it, do you have a Concealed Carry Permit. If so why? If not why not?

If you have a weapon with you and you’re caught in a situation where someone may be hurt, do you feel obligated to intervene because you may be the best prepared to?

If you’ve thought it through beforehand, what situations would you intervene and which have you decided wouldn’t be worth getting involved?

If you’ve ever needed to make that decision, and are willing to share, how did that go?

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14 Answers

1TubeGuru's avatar

i do not carry a firearm on the street.i feel a obligation to protect the lives of myself my daughters and my grandson while they are in my home. if a hostile intruder entered my home i would not hesitate to use deadly force in that type of situation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think it’s always a better option to let law enforcement handle a situation that arises when possible. Plus, you never know about people, they may be packing heat, too, and a better shot than me, so I’d rather not be put in that position.

Frankly I think a lot of people carry that shouldn’t based on personal experience.

If I wanted to intervene, I’d intervene weapon or not, if I thought it would help.

Like @1TubeGuru, if you mess with family or my home, it wouldn’t be fun for you.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I do not carry firearms, but I do sometimes carry other weapons. I also have a significant amount of martial arts training. And yes, I have intervened in situations with the intention to use force if necessary. This is not something I have thought about in advance, though. I assess each situation on its own. Indeed, my instructors have counseled against deciding in advance which situations require what sort of intervention.

Thankfully, I have never had to actually resort to violence since starting my training. I would even say that the lessons in avoiding and defusing self-defense situations are the most important and useful part of the instruction I have received. My stories of intervention, then, are not the stuff of action movies. They are instances in which I was able—with greater and lesser degrees of success—to end a situation without escalating it.

rojo's avatar

@SavoirFaire When I was in high school I had a friend who had worked very hard at his martial arts training and by the time he was a junior had achieved his black belt. During his senior year he was jumped by three guys in a parking lot. He had just gotten off his motorcycle when they surrounded him. He walked away leaving two of them on the ground and the third bloodied and running away. He was always embarrassed about this because after all the years of martial arts training, he ended up beating the crap out of them with his motorcycle helmet. He did credit his training for allowing him to remain calm and do it in a very methodical manner however.

RocketGuy's avatar

So the argument that armed citizens will take out armed bad guys is not going to work?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@RocketGuy In the wild west of old, the bad guys often won, so probably not.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@rojo Sounds about right. There are plenty of techniques that I’d never use unless precisely the right situation came up (assuming I recognized it as such in time). In fact, I’ve always been told that the real value of learning so many different techniques is that you come to understand the mechanics of self-defense, which allows you to extrapolate when it comes time for real action. Distance, timing, degree of force: these are the things we’re really practicing in class. The techniques are just tools for learning these more basic skills.

And if I had a motorcycle helmet in my hand, I’d use it instead of my fists as well. It’s more easily replaced than my knuckles!

josie's avatar

I have a CCW permit, I own and am expert using several firearms and I have combat experience. But I only carry if I am riding my bike alone, or out in the boonies in pursuit of the Great American Photograph. In that case, it would just be me defending me, and not me defending the public. When I do, I carry an M9 in a little case on my bike, or under the seat in my car.

But I thought about your very question when that crazy guy shot up the movie theatre in Colorado. I decided to give it some real thought and establish rules for myself just in case it ever came up that I was armed and somebody started shooting.

And I realized that my own rules about it would probably prevent me from doing much in most public places. I would have to be in position and close enough that I could get off at least three rounds to disable or kill (I would hate to miss, or piss off, a lunatic with an automatic rifle). As a civilian who has sort of lost the edge, that would have to be pretty close with my M9 and I think that would be a stretch anyway considering he would not be standing still, my heart rate would be about 300 etc. Plus, I would have to be metaphysically certain that I would not hit somebody else. In a public place, I am not sure I could make that guarantee to myself. And my M9 is really too big to carry in public, so it would wind up being [I own these] a compact .45 or a small .380 so I would have to be even closer and if it was a .380 I am not sure it would knock down a crazy man at any distance unless I could hold it against his head . Finally, I would have to have some reason to think that the cops were nowhere close. I don’t want them thinking the good guy with a gun is a bad guy, and if the cops are close I figure they will be in a better position to do the right thing anyway so why not wait?

So the truth is, as much as I might want to be helpful to others, if I had been armed with a pistol in the movie theatre in Colorado or something similar, I might just have gotten the hell out of there or if I couldn’t get out, I would have gotten out my gun and hunkered until he was right on top of me.

In school full of little kids, I would probably be a little more aggressive, but even then, I would worry about shooting a little kid or a teacher by accident. No good.

And if it was some moron stealing an old lady’s purse or something, I would just beat the shit out him.

So we can talk all we want to, but if you think about, concealed carry should be for the most extreme circumstance of personal defense. Everything else is a little risky in my opinion.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

No, going for my gun would be a last resort. I was taught in the concealed carry class not to pull the gun unless you are going to use it. Which means to me that if I take that step, someone’s going to die. No ifs, ands or buts. So no, I wouldn’t go for the gun unless someone was going to die anyway, and even then it would have to be me or a loved one. Unless there was a mass shooting going on – then I would use it. But I have never been in that situation, so who knows what I would actually do. I would like to know that myself.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I almost never have one out in public but if some one breaks in to my house in the middle of the night and the sight of the business end of a pistol does not convince them to leave then they may get shot. Honestly though I’ll probably use my pepper spray and call the cops when in public. That’s always at least as nearby as my car. There have been some high profile murders where I live, It has changed the way people think about things. After it happened there was a wait list of over a year to get into a cc permit class. If I’m armed and something happens then like others have said it’s a last resort. A last resort means I’m probably going to die not someone wants my wallet.

tomathon's avatar

If I did not cause the incident, then it is not my problem, so I feel no obligation to intervene. I bought firearms to protect myself, not others. Plus, you have the whole liability issue. I could be sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death. For this reason and on account of the Zimmerman case, I recently decided to purchase an Israeli bodyguard service, so if such incident should occur, it is their problem. I still carry, but I don’t expect to ever draw my weapon in a public domain unless both bodyguards were not around or taken out. I’ll still visit the shooting range though. I don’t expect the bodyguards would intervene either in a given opportunity to help someone since they would be breaking protocol and my contract.

echotech10's avatar

That is 100% illegal in the State of Florida. I have a firearm carry permit, and am prohibited by law to intervene. When I am carrying I either have my .38 revolver or my .380 semi-automatic pistol. My firearm is a “last resort” means of defense. If I can use a non-lethal means, I would rather do that. I can only use that firearm I am carrying to protect myself and my family. Otherwise that goes under vigilanteism. So, no, I do NOT intervene nor will I intervene. That is what the police are for, and at most, I would call the police.

cheebdragon's avatar

If you aren’t confident in your aim, you should not own a firearm.

Aspoestertjie's avatar

There are better ways to deal with confrontations than to use a gun. I will not feel obligated to intervene even if I am better prepared than most people. To use a gun, even in my home should be the very last option to take.

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