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Old April 13, 2011, 02:43 PM   #1
GregInAtl
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Every man's dilemma

A friend of mine told me about something that recently happenned to him and his wife. He and his wife had gone downtown one night to a concert in Atlanta GA where they live. The friend was armed with a .40 caliber conceal carry pistol. He also had a conceal permit to carry it. As they were walking back to their car about 11pm they noticed a couple of young punks appear from what seemed to be out of nowhere and began to follow about 20 yards behind them. As they walked down one street, turning the corner and walking down another, the punks continued to follow them. They started talking louder trying to get get the attention of my friend. There was no one else around and they were pretty sure they were about to get mugged. My friend, according to him, stopped and pulled his pistol out of his pocket. According to him, he pointed it down at the ground being careful not to point it at them as he did not want to threaten them but only wanted them to see that he was prepared to defend himself if need be. At this point they had not threatened him or his wife although he figured it was imminent. He didn't say a word to them. When they saw the pistol, they scattered and took off running. He figured they didn't look like the types that would go call the cops so he figured he was safe and never heard anymore about it.

My question is if the police been called or witnessed the episode could he have been charged with a crime since he felt threatened and he did not point the gun or threaten them but only made them aware he was armed.
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Old April 13, 2011, 02:52 PM   #2
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Was it the legal thing to do? Nope.
Was it the right thing to do? Only the 2 guys that ran away know for sure.
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Old April 13, 2011, 02:55 PM   #3
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legal or not, your friend made a good decision. I would accept my fate with the law knowing that it could have been worse.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:04 PM   #4
robmkivseries70
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This was described as appropriate in Missouri. Sometimes presenting is all that's needed. Check the law in YOUR home state.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:06 PM   #5
stonewall50
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Hm. State of Florida law (only 1 i can speak for) states that if you pull you should be shooting. I personally think that no cop would blame you if you pull and hold someone at gunpoint(if they were armed with a hatchet and you confronted them and gave them a chance to surrender).

BUT that being said, in this kind of situation the best thing to do is just like a shooting situation and make sure you are the first person to call the cops. If your life is in danger then the cops would probably see no problem if you pulled out your gun. Be wary though, young thug wannabes are VERY good liars and will certainly say they were following you becaue they thought they knew you or that they were just trying to ask to borrow money. A former friend of mine is no longer stands on the respectable side of the justice system and if you hear him talk(especially in his dealer voice), you understand that alot of these kids are on the boarder of pathologial liars.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:18 PM   #6
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Well, by no means am I an expert, but it seems OK since Georgia allows open carry and he was simply carrying it openly. I suspect if the Police had been called he might have been detained for a little while, but would probably have been sent on his way.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:22 PM   #7
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Something like 30 years ago, before ccw became legal, I was in a similar situation. Difference being my wife and I had just gotten into my parked car. Two individuals who didn't look friendly were approaching with eyes on us. I reached into the glove compartment for my 4" M-19 . The motion caused them to look at each other, say something between them, and turn around and walk in the opposite direction. I never had to actually pull or display. As far as the subject of the OP. If he hadn't pulled his weapon he might have had to use it later, so I guess it was a good move.
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Old April 13, 2011, 04:11 PM   #8
GregInAtl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryLee
but it seems OK since Georgia allows open carry
So, you don't have to have a permit to carry it openly in GA?
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Old April 13, 2011, 04:21 PM   #9
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A possible alternative:
Take out your cell phone, call 9-1-1, and loudly advise the dispatcher that some "suspicious persons" seem to be following you, and you location. I'll bet they will decide they have someplace else to be just then.
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Old April 13, 2011, 04:43 PM   #10
BarryLee
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Quote:
So, you don't have to have a permit to carry it openly in GA?
Yes, I believe you do need a Firearms License to open carry, but I thought you said in the OP that he had a license.
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Old April 13, 2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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I thought open carry was legal with or without a CCP in the state of Georgia. I need to look that up and make sure.
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Old April 13, 2011, 05:16 PM   #12
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Checked...

Open carry WITH a permit is okay in Georgia. Georgia is a nontraditional open carry state.
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Old April 13, 2011, 05:29 PM   #13
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not enough info for me

to draw a weapon in this instance. if the two "punks" had called the police, they might've ended up fitting the bill to a different stereotype(and this would not have worked in your buddy's favor).

some people get a little paranoid when they carry. I like to think most of the CCW people don't, but what would he have done if he wasn't carrying? I don't want to judge your buddy, as I need more info. It does seem that he was judging, assuming, guesstimating, and so-on in my opinion.

I will say that I wasn't there in his defense though, and he was with a significant other who he cared about too. We can't even get his side, so the heresay makes the determination even harder...
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Old April 13, 2011, 06:29 PM   #14
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I say he did the right thing, though he might have kept it at thigh-level.
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Old April 13, 2011, 06:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
My question is if the police been called or witnessed the episode could he have been charged with a crime since he felt threatened and he did not point the gun or threaten them but only made them aware he was armed.
It all depends on how well one is able to articulate and justify ones' actions in accordance with state law imo.

Criminal predators try to hide their intent in order to gain surprise, increase their chance of success, and to maintain plausible deniability in the event they are compromised before they commit their act.

More often than not, their hostile intent is communicated through non-verbal physical cues that can be identified by alert individuals. Facial expressions, posture, eye cues, the manner of walk, the speed of their walk, and how they position themselves in relation to intended victims can all be signs of imminent hostile intent. LEO's know this, as they see it every day on the streets, and the good ones become quite adept at reading non-verbal cues.

IMO, as long as you can articulate the behaviors that lead you to believe you were under an imminent threat of attack, preparing a lawful firearm in a non-threatening way shouldn't be an issue, and by doing so, you stand a good chance of stopping an attack before it even begins, without firing a shot.

Presentation of a firearm in a non-threatening manner is the potential victims' form of non-verbal communication to the criminal, and if they are smart, they'll get the message and choose another victim.
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Old April 13, 2011, 07:51 PM   #16
raimius
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Well, if he pulled a gun because people were walking behind him at night, yeah, I'd say he could have faced some legal trouble.

It's hard to say. Did he have a reasonable fear of being attacked? Can he articulate it? If not, I'd say a brandishing charge would probably stick if someone had reported it.
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Old April 13, 2011, 07:56 PM   #17
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As others have said, it depends on your state. In mine, this would have been legally unsupportable. At best, it would be a VERY gray area in pro gun counties, but even then probably still not in your favor. And in antigun communities? Big trouble, with possible charges running from brandishing to assault with a deadly weapon.

In my state, in order for you to claim that you were reasonably in fear for your life (or others), or that you feared serious bodily harm or sexual assault, three conditions must be met by your assailant(s): ability, opportunity and intent (or motive).

I wasn't there, so I certainly cannot say for sure, but from what you have described I'm not sure all 3 conditions were present. The smell test here is whether or not his actions would have been justifiable had he immediately started shooting. If the answer is no, it doesn't pass the initial smell test, and the actions were probably not legally justifiable. Again, in my state this would likely be a problem, but maybe not in yours.

So yeah, be sure you understand your state laws before you carry, openly or otherwise.

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Old April 13, 2011, 07:58 PM   #18
Glenn E. Meyer
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Quote:
Hm. State of Florida law (only 1 i can speak for) states that if you pull you should be shooting.
Want to quote the law that says that directly? I doubt this is true.

If you draw, most laws indicate that if you draw you must be justified to use lethal force - not that you must shoot. I doubt Florida says that if justified you must shoot.

So clarify that for us. Or someone post the FL law on this.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:01 PM   #19
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I believe Georgia law does allow open carry without a permit.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:14 PM   #20
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This is the Az. statute.

13-421. Justification; defensive display of a firearm; definition

A. The defensive display of a firearm by a person against another is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.

B. This section does not apply to a person who:

1. Intentionally provokes another person to use or attempt to use unlawful physical force.

2. Uses a firearm during the commission of a serious offense as defined in section 13-706 or violent crime as defined in section 13-901.03.

C. This section does not require the defensive display of a firearm before the use of physical force or the threat of physical force by a person who is otherwise justified in the use or threatened use of physical force.

D. For the purposes of this section, "defensive display of a firearm" includes:

1. Verbally informing another person that the person possesses or has available a firearm.

2. Exposing or displaying a firearm in a manner that a reasonable person would understand was meant to protect the person against another's use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.

3. Placing the person's hand on a firearm while the firearm is contained in a pocket, purse or other means of containment or transport
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:17 PM   #21
Sport45
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They were 20 yards away when he pulled the gun? At least I didn't read anything about them closing the distance, only talking louder.

Quote:
According to him, he pointed it down at the ground being careful not to point it at them as he did not want to threaten them but only wanted them to see that he was prepared to defend himself if need be.
I'd say he failed miserably if he didn't intend to threaten them when he showed the gun.

IMHO, what he did was very much illegal. If I had done that in Texas and the "punks" had called the police, I could lose my right to carry forever. They may have just been going from the same concert to the same parking garage and talking loudly because they were sitting closer to the music.

In the situation described, lethal force was not called for. I think Sleuth's suggestion of calling 911 to loudly report the suspicious activity would be the best course of action. Of course, if they were partially deaf from the loud music they may not have heard anyway.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:23 PM   #22
highvel
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Even if the state allows open carry, to draw a weapon without adequate threat may have legal consequences.
This one is tough to "armchair quarterback"!
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:23 PM   #23
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In GA, no idea how it would have played out. In my state of AZ, legal. Modifications underway to make the law even clearer about defensive display.

Edit to add, misread the distance involved, thought it was 20 FEET, not 20 yards. That definitely changes things if there was no weapons displayed on the "other teams" part.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:45 PM   #24
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I do not believe the person acted correctly. First, if I understand correctly, the two kids were 20 yards away, that is 3 times the defense zone allowed for shooting in self defense when no long range weapon is available. Second, there were no acts that were suspicious or incriminating other than just walking behind the couple in question. In addition, I would have simply taken an evasive action by crossing the road or getting on the other side of a car and seeing if they simply passed by. I believe that is a case of brandishing the weapon and not a good idea to emulate this example.
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Old April 13, 2011, 09:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Hm. State of Florida law (only 1 i can speak for) states that if you pull you should be shooting.
We are going to need chapter and verse on that one.
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