View Full Version : In the bank and...

Rob P.
January 19, 2006, 01:55 AM
Awhile back a local bank that I have used on occasion was robbed by a guy with a handgun. I was not in the bank at the time and the BG grabbed some cash and ran out the back before the cops got there (6 minutes after the alarm was hit). This is a branch of my bank and I have been in this branch in the past.

Question: If you were in the bank and CCW when a lone masked person came in and waved a gun around while robbing the place what would you do?

This issue has bothered me for about a week or so because I have 2 answers. 1. Be a good witness, and; 2. Draw and shoot if the BG threatens me with the weapon.

Since the BG is robbing the bank and I'm only incidental to that nor am I truly being threatened if the BG is able to get away being a good witness is probably the right thing to do.

OTOH, if the BG is waving a gun around, that pretty much indicates that he is willing to use it to get his way. Given the number of violent or take-over robberies that have been happening, the risk that the BG will actually try to use the gun is fairly high. So, I actually am in physical danger should something happen to key the BG into shooting someone. Being in physical danger means I have the right and obligation to protect myself.

So, what would be the preferred course of action?

January 19, 2006, 02:06 AM
Both options are potentially correct depending on the circumstances. In my opinion in order for me to draw and shoot the BG would have to have a visible weapon and at least threaten to use it. If something like give me the money or I'll shoot you" or "don't make me hurt someone" came out of his mouth then I would go for it. Even then I'd draw, get a bead on him, and tell him to freeze and drop his weapon. If the so much as turned to look at me without dropping the gun I'd pull the trigger. But I don't think I'd do anything if they just had a gun. I'm sure several banks have been robbed with the threat of a weapon when none was present or it was fake.

January 19, 2006, 02:15 AM

I'm afraid that this is going to turn into another "you are a coward because you are afraid to do the right thing no matter what the cost" versus a "its not my hide on the line so why should I complicate my life" war. Some people are just itching for an opportunity to shoot someone. For many others (the more mature members of ths board in my opinion), they view the use of lethal force as an absolute last resort and would only use it if their own or a loved one's life was endangered.

I would have to say the answer to this scenario depends on the situation. For example, if the bank was full of people (I can't imagine robber would be so stupid) there is a very good chance of hitting bystanders. Furthermore, engaging the target would cause him to return fire (assuming you aren't capable of 100% head shots) and endanger others and yourself. If it turned into a hostage situation because the clavary showed up while the bad guy was still there, I would shoot given the opportunity.

Good Luck and I hope you never have to use it.

Sir William
January 19, 2006, 02:46 AM
Waitaminute!!! First, tell me where it is legal to CCW in a bank. Some states allow it and some don't. What is the federal authority to bar firearms in a bank? Savings & loans? Federal credit union?

Optical Serenity
January 19, 2006, 03:09 AM
Here in Georgia there is nothing that restricts you to carry in a bank with a GA Firearms Permit.

January 19, 2006, 03:38 AM
The outcome would depend on several factors. Upon or previous to entrance, I would have noted several things. Numbers two and three are for purpose of conducting my own business as promptly and smoothly as possible, the rest are the result of awareness of a possible the following:

1) Any abnormalities in vehicular presence.
2) Whether or not the security is present and alert.
3) Whether or not the bank tellers seem competent and capable.
4) Whether it appears any of the clientele, the security guard(s), or the tellers, in that order, pose an immediate threat.
5) Whether or not there are any children or females present, including tellers and security.

The second set of observations would be made in specific secenarios, I.E. where I was in the world, what bank, what state, what laws, et cetera. In this case, it would be concerning the bank robbery.
1) Descript and hierarchy of numbers.
2) Is it a seemingly preplanned, organised movement, or experienced persons?
3) Are they using a weapon? If so, do they appear profficient or skilled in its use?
4) What is the likelyhood of interior assistance, in any way or form?
5) What is the likelyhood of ulterior assistance, in any way or form?
6) What is the purpose of the infraction?

To summarise possible reactions, although it is ONLY a summary...
1) Any significant abnormalities, or a combination of minor abnormalities, means I simply do not enter. This is the best way to avoid all altrication.
2) If there are no women or children present, I could not care less. In order to present a threat, there must be something to threaten, and in my perspective the human male is worth nothing.
3) If the infractor is unarmed, I do nothing. It is not the crime I care anything about.
4) If it is seemingly well-organised, and well-lead, I do nothing whether or not they are armed. An organised group implied a lesser likelyhood to actually kill anyone. There is also a lesser chance of myself being effective as a method of neutralisation.
5) If the infractor is armed, there are women or children present (including the infractor), and it is seemingly unorganised, I would kill the infractor(s). Note that I made no reference to a gun; how it is done would be circumstantial. My reasoning for it is this:

I have witnessed three bank robberies during in America the course of my life. One was committed without the use of physical weaponry. The two who did so served a miniscule sentence for it, and the money was nver recovered by law enforcement. One of the other two infractors was shot down before he posed too much of a threat, by a swift security guard, immediately after he drew and opened fire (there had been two guards, I can only assume the man was wired enough to just see one). The other one was apprehended shortly after.

In America, it is incredibly stupid to rob a bank with a weapon, evermore so a firearm. Many bank policies require of them to hand over the money if a threat is imposed, and there are many ways of doing this without commiting a second degree felony. Because of this, it is unlikely (possible, but I rarely dwell on the insubstantial) that any unorganised armed robber is intelligent, experienced, or has previously planned. This sort of a person poses an extremely high risk of doing harm to myself or other persons whom I might be interested in preventing harm to. The best way of circumventing that is removing the risk.

January 19, 2006, 09:07 AM
If your going to carry a CW, a person better think tactically, and I mean full time.

How do you KNOW the only bad guy is the one you see? Quite often, these guys use backup that enter the business first and pose as a customer. They walk out as just another patron if all goes smoothly. If not, you are suddenly outnumbered, most likely faced with a tactical situation you don't remotely know how to deal with, and on the back side of the lag time curve. Say goodnight, Gracie...

Are you a pro who has been trained extensively to respond to an armed robbery scenario with numerous bystanders, or a gent with the usual minimal required CCW training? If the later, this isn't the place to learn. Remember that once you pull out that sidearm, you'll most likely be held criminally and even more likely, CIVILLY RESPONSIBLE for everything that happens and every round fired.

In a bank, those funds are federally insured. You and the other patrons won't lose your money. Unless you are a LEO, you have no duty to get involved, and even LEOs caught in a bank in this situation don't play their hand unless absolutely necessary.

Your best value is as a witness, and you have to survive to testify...

January 19, 2006, 09:36 AM
As long as the robbery is going "smoothly" I will be nothing but a good witness. It is not my job to save the bank money that it has a policy of handing over to any person who demands it. The gun is to protect my family's and my own lives first and foremost. The safest outcome for everyone would be no shots fired. The best outcome for me is the criminal(s) flee the scene before police arrive avoiding a standoff.

Even if the teller is threatenned I will not immediately intervene. As already stated you do not know if he has unseen back up inside or outside the bank. One thing is certain, if it hits the fan after you draw and innocents are hit YOU will be blamed by the media and very possibly by the authorities depending on the area and outcry.

If things start to come apart and say a hostage a situation ensues I am going to act if I feel the need to. First I will fully appraise the situation, by that point any accomplices should be clearly seen.

There will be no commands to freeze or drop it. My job is nto to arrest them, it is to protect innocent lives. Theirs are forfeit. Don't forget the poor CCW holder at the Tacoma Mall in WA last year who challenged a gunman shooting into the crowds of people. For his kind consideration of a criminal he was rewarded with the possibility of being in a wheelchair for the rest of his life as a cripple. YOU are not a cop. YOU do not have backup. YOU are not there to enact an arrest. YOU are there to survive. If this means I "unfairly" drill two rounds through his back so be it! There is only ONE fair outcome and that ends with me walking out alive.

In the words of Touco from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

January 19, 2006, 10:21 AM
For your case ,unless there is a destinct threat , just be a witness.....Here are two real bank stories ..In my bank a fellow was carrying legally and thought the gun was concealed but the teller saw it . When he left the bank he was greeted by FBI and police ! Very embarrassing !....In PA a couple went to the bank. He was carrying and his wife knew it. While in the bank two BGs entered to rob the bank. The wife , in a loud whisper, said to her husband " don't pull your gun" The BGs heard that and immediately killed him !!! ...Don't be so anxious to be a hero . Get good training and do some serious thinking !

January 19, 2006, 11:28 AM
Yowzers, that PA one will make your hair stand on end. The one advantage you have as a CCW civilian is surprise. My wife knows to ALWAYS keep her mouth shut about what may or may not be on my person.

When I lived in FL the owner of the gun shop I frequented was a retired LEO. He had a grainy B&W photo on the wall. If you asked him about it he would point out that it was a bank during a robberry conducted by two guys with AK clones. Of the many people on the floor he would point out the one at the bottom of the picture that was him. He was off duty, plain clothes and packing at the time. He was also absolutely certain he wasn't going to do something to get himself or others killed. Two prepared guys in a crowded bank with AKs against one guy with a ccw handgun... After they left one criminal killed the other.

Lessons were:

1. Don't pull it out unless you absolutely have to.
2. Don't get into a gunfight you don't think you can win.

Chris Phelps
January 19, 2006, 01:01 PM
"Do you know what the definition of hero is? Someone who gets innocent people killed." ~ Serenity

Bank money is insured and will be replaced. Lives posess no insurance, and are irreplacable. Don't be a hero.

January 19, 2006, 01:09 PM
Hey, KNJoe:

Did you use the Pythagorean Theorem to come up with all that, or did you leap to Quadratic Equations instead?:p

Way too much thought process to make in a second or two of tense decision making, IMO.

January 19, 2006, 04:22 PM
Hey, KNJoe:

Did you use the Pythagorean Theorem to come up with all that, or did you leap to Quadratic Equations instead?

Way too much thought process to make in a second or two of tense decision making, IMO.I don't think you quite understand. That IS how one should be thinking in any situation, either in order to prevent such altrications from arising, or to prevent them from ending with less... Ease, than they might.
Anyone with appropriate control can calmly speak to a gunman threatening his life, despite the fact that only a few pounds and a quarter inch stand between life and death. Anyone with decent training and experience should also know what do to and how to do it in that same situation.
What I presented was simply a very progressive, and orderly statement about how I, myself, process.
None of the above information takes more than a few moments to process. The first subset takes only a few seconds, literally, to observe. Most of the time it takes to do so is mechanically induced, such as how long it takes you to look to turn your head slightly and look out the corner of your eye. The second subset takes slightly longer, because of its social basis. Still, this would take no longer than a few seconds itself--and full ideology is not necessary for action. On the contrary, you should be fully prepared to act on any given information on any given time.

Perhaps the difference you fail to grasp is the fact that I ALREADY KNOW WHAT I'D DO. That's why my post encompasses so much, and why it is set out the way it is. Unlike many of the others here, I already know exactly what I would do under any given circumstances, as opposed to stopping to think about it. Sir William asks others what THEY would do; his post inherently shows his lack or presconsideration on the subject. DTakas states that both alternatives are 'potentially correct,' and that it could 'depend on the circumstances.' To me, they are not both potentially correct; I already know under what circumstances I would act doing what. My line of work necessitates it, and so also necessitates my awareness, willingness, and ability. I have no doubt as to how any of those three would affect the outcome of something being described. You do.
Also... You both are unprepared for such an instance, you have really crappy comebacks. Use something that works, or that is at least even remotely funny. The use of the Pythagorean Theorem would dictate that yourself squared, plus the situation squared, would equal the outcome squared. This would imply that yourself, the situation, or the outcome are inflective. This is not so; they affect ulterior variables, which in turn affect yourself. Obviously a very ineffectual analogy.

January 19, 2006, 04:48 PM
I know that in Texas you are allowed to use deadly force in behalf of another person if they are threatened with deadly force and you are afraid for their life.

as to the bank scenario...dunno would have to be there and see what options I felt I had.

January 19, 2006, 04:58 PM
Waitaminute!!! First, tell me where it is legal to CCW in a bank. Some states allow it and some don't. What is the federal authority to bar firearms in a bank? Savings & loans? Federal credit union?
my state repealed its law prohibiting the carrying of firearms into financial institutions years ago.

if the robber starts shooting, i'll draw and fire. if not, i can give a good description to law enforcement.

January 19, 2006, 05:30 PM
I'm not pulling my weapon unless someone threatens me or a loved one directly. Mister Badguy can have all of my banks money, as long as he doesn't decide to point his piece at me or my fianceƩ. I'm not going to deal with the police, or even worse, face possible civil liability for anything that doesn't directly threaten me.

I'm not a police officer, and i'm not sworn to protect the public. I'm out for me and my own, and that's it.

Besides, banks have procedures for these kind of things. Dye packs, trackers, etc. Thirdly, the money is insured. Misterbadguy takes a couple hundred thousand dollars, but my money is insured. I've got nothing to gain and EVERYTHING to lose.

Now, if mister badguy decides to threaten me, my fianceƩ is under standing orders to shoot someone, as am I. Big difference there.

EDIT: Glad to see we don't have a bunch of cowboys. I think I like it here.

January 19, 2006, 05:41 PM
If my own life, my loved one's life was in definite danger and/or directly threatened I'd engage w/out hesitation.

Other than that, I'm a good witness.

You have to read the situation, and attempt to forecast how it's going to go down in order to determine if escalating the situation is warranted, via introduction of your firearm.

Personally, I don't want to pull that trigger unless I have to. I won't feel good about taking a life, even if it helps the "gene pool." But I will do it if forced to.

EDIT: Glad to see we don't have a bunch of cowboys. I think I like it here.
Just wait...

January 19, 2006, 06:39 PM
Difficult to answer while sitting at the computer, knocking back a cold one aftrer a long day in the cubicle.
Bet I could make up my mind at the time though. :)

January 19, 2006, 07:29 PM
For the last few years, . . . I probably don't go into banks more than 6 or 7 times a year. But when I do, . . . I'm carrying, . . . I'm looking, . . . I'm observing.

IF I saw a robbery going down, . . . and IF I saw a real sure enough gun, . . . and IF I was reasonably sure there was only one perp (haven't heard of a multi perp robbery in some time around here), . . . and IF I got the idea the bg was about to use that firearm: two to the head with no remorse at all. All our banks around here I go into makes the shot no more than 15 feet, so I have no fear of missing.

But mostly, . . . I doubt if all those IF's will come together, . . . so I'll probably just be a good witness, . . . having punched 911 on my cell phone and laid it up on the counter to get all the audio.

May God bless,

January 19, 2006, 09:37 PM
As long as the robber doesn't point his gun at me,I won't point my gun at him.No,I'm not dense enough to think I can outdraw someone that has a gun pointed at me,but when he turns his attention away from me,he'l be getting a subscription to a whole new kind of magazine...;)

January 19, 2006, 11:29 PM
Situational Awareness! Use the drive-up ATM!! :D :D

January 20, 2006, 10:12 AM

You seem to think that the drive up ATM is safer. Just be sure to drive past the ATM (if there is no one behind you) to check for blind spots where bad guys may be hiding before backing up to handle your transaction. You have very limited cover while in your car and it is often difficult to draw while seated unless you have a cross draw holster or the pistol easily accesible. You can't really duck too well while you are strapped in. If your car is in park, you can't just mash on the gas and go. Don't be fooled into the sense that your car offers you much protection.

Glenn E. Meyer
January 20, 2006, 11:19 AM
If you need to protect yourself from grievous bodily harm or others from such, then you can contemplate using lethal force in an effective manner.

If you don't think you have to do so, then watch the proceedings.

I was in a bank robbery FOF with a takeover style group of robbers. They were all heavily armed. I had a J frame. I died. Actually, I was shot to hell by a full auto airsoft gun and others with sims. Bruises, bloody chest, etc. Ouch!

January 20, 2006, 11:34 AM
Not a hypothetical.

Instructor is in bank when robbery is about to go down. He is armed. He simply walks out and doesn't participate.

I am in the corner hardware store where I have shopped 25 years and know all the staff. A fight breaks out with two customers. I check that I am not in danger and run out the back door.

If you decide to make it your fight then you fight. If you make it your fight, be prepared to be seriously hurt or die. And when you fight, don't fight fair, give warnings, aim to wing the bad guy. And, afterwards, either quietly leave or say nothing to anyone.

You always have an alternative or on line banking, banking by mail or going to automatic tellers at high noon.


January 23, 2006, 04:15 PM
I'm the president of a bank and in general my response to you is simple. Keep your gun in its holster and do exactly what the robber says. Most robberies last less than 5 minutes and most robbers are unarmed or carry a pellet gun or squirt gun as a prop only. It is the exception to the rule that a robber comes in with a real loaded handgun.

Our personnel are trained to get the robber out of the bank as quickly as possible. The vast majority of bank robberies are small dollar "drug fix" holdups where less than $5,000 is taken. We can absorb the financial hit from the robbery, what we don't want is anyone getting hurt. Out of the thousands of bank robberies in the US over the past 10 years less than 2% end with a weapon being discharged in a bank and less than 1% result in death. There is no data available that traces the cause of the violence in those limited instances, but it can be safely assumed that at least some were caused by "heros" trying to stop or hinder the robbery.

Should you draw and fire on a drug addled robber you jeopardize the bank's staff and any other customers in the lobby with you.

Now if you legitimately feel as though the robber intends to shoot you, by all means protect yourself, but don't feel some need to take the place of a LEO and try to stop the robbery yourself. Our staff are trained to handle robberies and we have a very good record of keeping people safe during the commission of these scurilous acts.

January 23, 2006, 04:42 PM

Thank you HAMJACK!

January 23, 2006, 07:42 PM
Question: If you were in the bank and CCW when a lone masked person came in and waved a gun around while robbing the place what would you do?

Find something solid to dive behind. Other than that not a darn thing. Not my money, besides it's insured by the FDIC. I'd probably relocate my CCW to my front waistband or coat pocket and wait. If BG starts shooting at people or looks like he's about to shoot me then it's time to act. IMO the best thing to do is to become a piece of furniture or melt into the floor. In other words don't draw any attention to yourself and and fall in line with the rest of the sheeple. The first person to get shot will be the one that opens his mouth or draws attention to themselves with movement.

I made up my mind a long time ago not to get in the way of other peoples problems. If I'm in a convenience store and a BG robs the place not my problem unless he goes on a shooting spree. If he shoots the clerk not my problem unless I have reason to believe I'm next.

CCW permits are available to all, unless you've got a criminal background. If you get shot for lack or preparation it ain't my problem. My pistol if for defending ME and MINE only. Everyone else is on their own. Sucks to be them, should of got a permit.

FWIW I second HAMJACK. Stay the hell out of the way and let the bank employee's give the robber a thousand dollars in cash, a 100 dollar bill from the bill trap alarm and a dye pack or two. Maybe if you're real lucky you'll get to watch mister idiot BG cram a dye pack in his pants and head for the door.

January 23, 2006, 07:59 PM
Number 1 on the information given:cool:

January 23, 2006, 08:45 PM
Bars...Banks...The Courthouse...just 3 places I tend not to take my gun...
I rarely go inside a bank these days...unless I have to do some business requiring a formal transaction of signing papers... I rarely even use cash...
I saw a bank in Moscow that was neat ie. in the Russian bank only one customer at a time(lines were kept secluded in a locked bullet resistant glass chamber leading up to the cashier)was permitted access to the cashier...and if you tried to rob the cashier...you'd be automatically locked inside the chamber ... It tends to dissuade folks from trying to rob the place.
Prevention is always best! One of the worst banks I've seen was in a small town(think Mayberry and Barny F)in the USA where customers and cashiers chatted away friviously while leaving and/or carrying ample stacks of $$$$$$$$ out in the open... Avoid atms and banks and late night convenience stores... Keep your eyes and ears open! Don't tempt fate!
I don't have any gunfight fantasies... I admit to the occassional fantasy of driving behind an armored car that accidentally drops a bag of $1 million
as it goes around a curb. I pick it up and shout 'Hey you dropped this bag!'...but nobody hears or see's me...so I have to take it home and figure out what on earth to do with it! LOL

January 23, 2006, 10:35 PM
KNJOE seems to be angry at something. MEN

Now she is really ****ed off.
At me:)

January 24, 2006, 12:21 AM
KNJoe - all life is invaluable, even adult males and why wouldnt we be?

Me I want a weapon as a last measure of self defence, not so that I can pretend that I am a cop when the bank gets robbed. If I percieve that I am in immediate physical danger(not like getting my butt kicked but like something that will cause my body to cease functioning) I will draw my weapon. Otherwise I will pursue other routes of self defence, like running away and hiding:p

January 24, 2006, 12:54 AM
well God bless Texas , in Oregon no bang bangs in federal buildings. but I always seem to forget about that.if the fed. buildings (as in post offices) had metal detectors and arm gaurds at the door , I would be more mindful. as far as the bank thing the bad guys can have the $ it's insured by the feds. but if myself or another is endangerd then the gloves are off, and then it's war.

January 25, 2006, 11:17 PM
Several years ago the bank branch where I go was robbed. There were several customers in at the time. The BGs walked in and promptly shot one customer in the stomach.She did survive but has never really recovered...mental, emotional, or physically. I spoke with her husband three years after the robbery and she was not doing well. So, the suggestions of watch and be a good witness, do as told, and survive sound like what works for me. Only if the wholesale killing starts should you (we) take any overt action.But then, its already gone to the dogs at that point. Bad situation all around.

January 27, 2006, 09:39 AM
As a person that works in a bank, I would do this in the following scenario:

As Bank employees, we have been taught to follow the criminals instructions to avoid any injuries or death of customers and employees. Most of the time a robber only wants to run in, get the most cash he/she/they can and get out as quickly as possible.

Often, a robbery that goes bad is because someone did not follow the instructions of the bank robber, or they tried to be a hero. If everyone does what they are told, generally, the crook grabs the money and gets the hell out.

I would only draw my weapon and take action if the robbery went into such a bad state of events that the robber or robbers, started shooting or hurting people. Or if I sensed that they were going to blow somone away 100 percent. I will not risk escalating the event to a more serious degree if I can. I do not want to possibly endanger my fellow workers and customers lives more than they already are.

As somone mentioned earlier there other factors to take into factor here. How do you know there is only one robber? I've seen the situation where one has cased the place while disguised as a customer while the other one does all the "robbing". Generally that person is the backup and is watching to see if anyone does anything "stupid"

In short, don't attempt to save the day unless you absoluteley, 100 percent, have to do something. You are best served to follow the instructions and not make yourself a hostile target for the criminals to lock onto.

January 27, 2006, 10:35 PM
Make sure that you all think like this in every locale you find yourself. Ares45 is the only person that mentioned "cover". Cover is your friend. Cover is good.

Always look around you at possible sources of cover. Remember cover for a pistol is different than cover for a .308, or cover for an AK47.

Try to release any thumb breaks or untuck your shirt at the first sign of trouble, especially if carrying openly as I do about 10% of the time.

look for accomplices.

My instructor taught me a great trick. If you ever have to shoot someone near other civilians, find cover then shout "Police, Call the Police" repeatedly. The first word will confuse enough people into thinking you are a LEO that you are less likely to be seen as a bad guy.