What if. Those two little words are responsible for opening more cans o’ worms than any other two words in the English language. (Okay, “I’m pregnant” is close in a photo-finish kinda way. Still.) So with the rash of flash mobs that have made a progression from “novelty act” and “stunt” to “violence” and “criminal act,” I have to wonder, why is it that these things usually take place in places that have the most stringent, restrictive laws on the personal ownership of guns?
In Texas and other states where restrictive gun laws have been banished from the books, shop owners are allowed to keep guns behind the counter. Now watch the video above, and consider the question, what if the shop clerk had a gun? Plays out a little differently in your mind, doesn’t it?
If a clerk is afraid for his or her life (and I think you can argue that a mob descending on his or her store and overwhelming the place to steal merchandise en masse could sit right on the edge of that legal standard in a lot of states), can you imagine how different it would be with a mob if they faced someone wielding an 870?
More to the point, there’s no reason that a shop owner would have to actually pull out the gun. In a lot of locales, it’s enough of a deterrent to know that there’s even a possibility that a store might be “protected by Smith & Wesson,” if you know what I mean.
Let me go on record as stating that I do not recommend, condone, or encourage anyone to brandish a gun unless/until they face a life-threatening situation. Having said that, if I sat on a grand jury that was considering the question of charging a shop owner with “assault with a deadly weapon” for brandishing said gun when confronted by a flash mob, I’d be inclined to cut the guy some slack, especially if no lives were lost.
My folks owned a rental property (a duplex) next door to their office. One side was leased by a young man who worked at a nearby Circle K convenience store. The widely publicized store policy of Circle K was that employees should offer no resistance whatsoever, should they be held up, regardless of if the robber was armed or not.
When the guy came in to pay his rent, he told my mom that he’d been held up the night before, by a guy with a gun. He didn’t resist, but still got pistol-whipped for his trouble. The following month, he was late with the rent, which was unusual for him.
A week later, his brother came in to pay the rent and tell my mom that he’d have the apartment vacated by the end of the week. My mom asked why. The man reported that his brother had been robbed a second time by the same man. He didn’t resist this time either. But the police said that, because the clerk showed a flash of recognition towards the bandit, they scumbag decided to leave no witnesses behind. (He apparently forgot about the surveillance camera.)
I come down on the side of guns acting as a deterrent, especially if the bad guys are left to wonder “does he, or doesn’t he” when it comes to a potential victim’s carry status. That’s why concealed carry makes a lot of sense. But when criminals know there’s virtually no chance that they might face an armed response to their criminal acts, it’s hard to argue that gun control laws make the world a safer place.