Earlier today, TTAG scribe Daniel Zimmeran reported that a Baltimore City Councilman told his constituents to enhance police response time by telling the 911 operator there’s a gun involved in their emergency—even when there isn’t. As the police union guy from the “City of Fists” warned (ominously enough), that’s an excellent way to get yourself shot. But it’s equally true that you should call 911 whenever you brandish you firearm. Unlike this yutz . . .
Saturday evening, a man was walking his two dogs with friends near 3000 E. Danish Road. He later told police that his dogs were spooked by fireworks and nipped a man who was walking by. That man allegedly responded by pulling out a gun and threatening the dog walker.
But after the incident was reported by the local news, the man who pulled the gun turned himself over to police and gave a different story, which detectives Wednesday said seems to be backed up by the evidence.
The gunman actually had to be treated by a doctor after the dogs knocked him to the ground and bit his leg and face, said Cottonwood Heights police detective Ryan Shosped.
“The guy was attacked by the dogs and feared for his own safety,” he said.
The dogs that were being walked were both about 70 pounds, Shosped said. One was an Australian Shepherd and the other a Blue Heeler.
“He was walking past the dog owner and the dogs jumped on his back and knocked him down,” he said.
The man had a bruise on his knee consistent with being knocked over. Shopshed said the bite on his leg was also “significant” and part of his finger tip was bitten off.
The man, in his late 60s to early 70s, was an Army veteran and had a concealed weapons permit. He pulled out a handgun and told the dog owner to get his dogs off him or he would shoot them, Shopshed said. He later told police it was the first time he had ever pulled his concealed weapon out.
This ksl.com story illustrates another excellent way for a “good guy” to get shot by the cops. Civilian dials 911 and reports a nutcase with a gun threaten their beloved Fido. Cops show up with guns drawn and hearts pumping (perhaps en masse in one of those “please please please let it be for real” police SWAT teams). A legally armed citizen somehow dies of lead poisoning.
Think I’m paranoid?
Cottonwood Heights police have had several recent reports of a man pulling out a gun on people walking dogs. Shopshed said, however, that this appeared to be an isolated incident and detectives do not believe he is connected to other incidents.
In this case, the cops had plenty of evidence that the elderly Army vet (sympathy comes standard) wasn’t telling porky pies. Once they didn’t shoot him, the Utah po-po were inclined to believe his version of events. To the point where the cops “went back to the dog owner and after interviewing him, cited him for the dog bite.”
Most brandishing incidents involve two-legged perps. And most gun owners do the same thing as our canine compadre: nothing.
Most gun owners realize reporting a brandishing incident will trigger The Mother of All Bureaucratic Hassles: paperwork, interrogation, lawyer’s fees, firearms confiscation, etc. By the same token, CCW licensees figure the bad guys aren’t stupid enough to call the cops. Two and two leads them to follow Lord Humongous’ advice to Max Max: just walk away.
Nope. Don’t do it. The downside of reporting brandishing is bad. The downside of not reporting it is worse. If the perps can drop the dime on you, claiming they were attacked by a gun-wielding madman, you will be in, what’s the exact term? Deep shit.
The cops might not prosecute you, but they WILL persecute you. Innocent until proven guilty? Cue Mandarkian laugh. Unless you’re old with injuries (preferably boasting a crime-related missing body part), the cops will assume you’re a crazed vigilante. Your gun? Theirs. With the rest of your collection to follow. You know; until “we can sort things out.”
The only prudent course of action following ANY brandishing incident: dial 911. Immediately.
Don’t delegate. Give the operator your name, description and location. BRIEFLY describe who did what (e.g. I was threatened by two men at the corner of Thirty-Fourth and Vine”).
Tell the operator “I have a concealed carry license. My life was in danger. I had to draw my gun. I want to make a report.”
That’s it. Even though you were the victim and never fired your weapon, don’t forget to exercise your constitutional right to STFU. The operator will pump you for details. Only add info about the perps. NOT the sequence of events. “I can’t talk about it right now. I’m a bit shaken up. Do you want me to come in and file a report?”
Call your lawyer. Again, nada mas until the brief shows up. No report. No interview. Nothing. Brandishing in the legal sense of the word is a serious crime. If convicted, you WILL lose you ability to defend yourself with a firearm. Perhaps forever.
In short, calling 911 after a non-ballistic gun use is a major PITA. Not calling 911 after a non-ballistic gun use could get you killed. Or worse.