“A manicurist at Nail Tech in Eastpointe brandished a pistol Saturday afternoon during an argument with a customer about glitter nail polish,” clickondetroit.com reports [click on image above for the video]. “Police said the customer requested glitter nail polish. The employee refused and the argument escalated. ‘She angry because she put a nail polish on and she don’t want it and the pedicure took two hour,’ the manager’s sister, Lee, said.” It’s generally true that you can only unholster your firearm . . .
when you are facing an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. Judging from the video, that was not the case here.
While a 1951 Illinois Supreme Court decision ruled that a person defending himself has “no duty to retreat,” retreating should almost always be option A. Remembering that distance equals time and time equals life. If you do end-up drawing your gun, the more distance between yourself and and your potential attacker, the better able able you’ll be to use your firearm effectively (up to point, obviously).
There’s something of a gray area here. Well, not here. Again, in this case, the manicurist went full retard (as they say).
But you may find yourself in a situation where you want to be as prepared as possible to deploy your firearm. For example, when you’re in the proverbial empty parking garage and you see nefarious characters heading your way. Or someone is acting extremely violently or aggressively towards you or other innocents, but hasn’t yet launched an attack.
The line between preparing for combat and brandishing is entirely situational and subjective; it depends on a large number of variables. But the central question is simple enough: am I really in danger?
Ultimately, if you’re arrested for brandishing (i.e. threatening someone with your gun without just cause), it will come down to the “reasonable person standard,” as decided by the police, prosecutor, judge and/or jury. Was it reasonable for you to conclude that you were in danger of death or grievous bodily harm?
All that said, there is nothing tactically wrong with preparing to access your firearm in dangerous circumstances. Preparing as in removing a cover garment or putting your hand on a concealed pocket pistol. Preparing as in placing your hand on your gun like Officer friendly approaching a car at a traffic stop? Maybe. Maybe not.
But the moment you unholster your gun and show it to someone is the moment you run a very real risk of a brandishing charge. When faced with an ambiguous threat, move away from the danger. As it becomes clearer, consider improving access to your gun. But only remove your gun when you reasonably believe you’re facing an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm.