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Old February 13, 2019, 06:51 AM   #2
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Join Date: August 11, 2016
Posts: 1,086
I agree with you in principle, but wonder about how you would train a cop -- or anyone for that matter -- to tell the difference between "good intent" and "ill intent" other than to not automatically jump to the conclusion that anyone carrying a gun is automatically a likely criminal. Does your scenario about out-of-holster guns just apply to scenes in which shooting has already happened?

I ask because I can't imagine many scenarios in which lawfully armed citizens would ever have their guns drawn in the first place. So if someone has a gun drawn and is NOT a criminal, they're probably in fear for their lives and are responding to a threat.

In this scenario, how can anyone -- again, LE or civilian -- tell the difference? Bob takes up a position of cover and observes the scene. Five people are running for exits with drawn guns. They all look scared as hell and may panicking. None are calmly responding they way they might at a shooting range drill. Which is which?

Now say one of them is observed to be firing. At whom? And why? Is he the threat, or is he defending his (or someone else's, maybe even Bob's) life from the threat?

Now if Bob is an armed citizen and can survive whatever's going on by remaining hidden, I think most trainers would advise that he do exactly that. Leave his gun holstered, wait it out, and/or escape at the first possible opportunity.

But if Bob is actually Officer Bob, then his purpose isn't to avoid or escape, but to find and engage and stop a threat. If all he has to go on is "Shots fired -- suspect wearing jeans and has hair" then what is he to do if he sees multiple people with guns drawn? I can't think of any way to figure that out. Maybe the one-in-five in shaggy clothing and tattoos everywhere is the criminal -- or maybe he's a legally armed citizen who runs a tattoo parlor.

That's one reason why so many trainers, including all I've ever paid, advise that your weapon remains concealed until there's no recourse left for escape or avoidance. Rob Pincus makes the point all the time -- LE can't tell who's who, so keep that thing hidden (literally "keep it in your pants!") and get out of Dodge.

I realize that sounds like a typical argument that anti-gunners use against CCW entirely, but we have to admit there is some logic to it.

Anyways I'm not taking issue with your point, especially that the attitude that Gun = Criminal and "only LE should ever be armed" has to end and be trained out of everyone. If there is a way to train LE to not automatically make that assumption, it should be done -- and I don't know whether it is, or isn't. There ARE criminals who target cops, every traffic stop COULD be the mortal threat, Officer Bob needs to get home to his kids -- under all those conditions, how is he to make any kind of distinction over who is, and who isn't, a threat?
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