“Investigators say [Eric] Crawley rushed to Rugby Street in Cedarbrook last Friday after his sister got into a fight with her boyfriend,” abclocal.go.com reports. “Crawley was wearing a holstered gun. ‘They tell the male not to remove the gun, he removes the gun, the officer tells him to drop the weapon, he does not, the officer fired one shot,’ said [Philadelphia Police Department] Lt. Ray Evers.” Crawley later died. The family disputes the claim that Crawley unholstered his gun. If he did get out his gatt, it was, obviously, a fatal mistake . . .
The Philadelphia Police department has made its antipathy to civilian gun ownership perfectly clear. Most recently, The City of Brotherly Love’s police spokesperson warned open carry advocates that officers would command the gun owner to lay on the ground until the cop “felt safe.” Imagine how they feel about concealed carry. Or click here and read about the Philly PD’s anti-gun jihad.
The Philly Po-Po are hardly alone in this pistol paranoia. Whether or not you live in an area where concealed carry is common practice, cops don’t like civilians with guns. Period.
On one level, it’s perfectly understandable. Your average officer has seen dozens of “normal” people flip out and become violent. Like the gun-grabbing Violence Policy Center, they come to consider every concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit holder a potential perp. Even those that know that most CCW permit holders won’t go psycho would prefer not to take the risk.
It gets worse from there. When a police officer encounters a civilian with a firearm, the officer’s entire thought process is dead simple. Gun = bad. As adrenalin courses through their bloodstream, they switch into one of two modes: disarm or shoot. If the gun in question is in someone’s hand, they just might skip the first option. Entirely.
This could be you. Before or after a defensive gun use (DGU), you may find yourself keeping your gun trained on an attacker in case he or she mounts a fresh assault. You might be guarding against retaliation or escalation from people on the perp’s friends and family program. Or you might just forget what the Hell you’re doing. And here come the cops, implementing the binary decision process described above (disarm/shoot).
First, note that you are under no obligation to remain at a crime scene if your life is in danger. If you’re holding a gun when the police arrive, maybe you shouldn’t be there in the first place. Some gun gurus recommend that you set your gun down AS the police arrive. I reckon the police might interpret any movement as aggressive. So . . . FREEZE!
Don’t move a muscle. Not one. Stand perfectly still. If a police officer tells you to drop your weapon, drop your weapon. Instantly. Even if it’s a $3000 Wilson Combat .45, drop it like it’s hot. By the same token, don’t drop your gun until instructed to do so. Don’t do anything. Wait for instructions. Follow them slowly and carefully. All hell may be broken or continue to be breaking loose, but there’s no rush. Not when your life depends on a police officer’s restraint.
Different scenario: a police officer asks you to remove a holstered weapon. Don’t. NEVER TOUCH YOUR GUN IN FRONT OF A POLICE OFFICER. Even if you remove your gun nice and slow and do exactly what you’re told the cop still might get spooked and shoot you. By the same token, an arriving colleague might see you holding a gun near a brother officer and get the wrong idea.
If a cop asks you to remove your weapon, again, freeze. As soon as you get the chance, as and when it’s safe to do so, tell the cop “Officer, I am not going to touch my gun. What do you want me to do?” If they repeat the command to disarm yourself, repeat your statement that you will do nothing of the sort. Wait until he or she changes the command to something less dangerous (e.g., get on your knees).
As the Brits say, it’s the bus you don’t see that kills you. Be aware that the police may be the greatest danger you may face as a gun owner, even after you use your weapon to defend your life. Especially after you use your weapon to defend your life. That sucks, but there it is.