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 Robin Renee Morgan, looking worse for wear (courtesy

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard gun guys say “If I draw my gun I’m going to shoot.” What they’re really saying: I’m not going to unholster my gun unless it’s a life or death situation. If it’s life or death I’m choosing life. I’m going to choose to shoot. Yes, well, no. Self-defense situations are fluid. Like an M. C. Escher drawing, your perspective on what’s “really” going on can change in a heartbeat. Literally. Thanks to adrenalin, when the S hits the F you’re going to be processing information so fast you’re won’t be able to remember doing it. Which is why it’s even more important not to go into a potential defensive gun use (DGU) with a subconscious commitment to drawing and shooting come what may. All that said, it’s true that you should only draw your carry gun to defend innocent life when a threat is imminent. tells the tale . . .

According to Helena Police Chief Troy McGee, officers were dispatched to Lyndale Avenue and Jackson Street shortly before 9 p.m. on Monday after receiving a report that someone in a red car had pulled over a blue Ford truck, and the woman in the red car was pointing a gun at the driver of the truck.

Police received another call stating that the woman was pointing a gun at Gary Hansen, who is wanted in Cascade County on charges of incest.

Chief McGee says that officers arrived with guns drawn and ordered Morgan to put her gun down; she complied, placing the 9-mm pistol back into her car.

The officers detained her and the person she had been holding at gunpoint.

The person was not Gary Hansen.

A preliminary investigation indicates that Robin Renee Morgan [above right] pulled up next to the truck believing that the person was Hansen, and pointed a gun at him and ordered him not to move or she would shoot him.

The man indicated he was afraid he was going to get shot.

Ya think? I think that apprehending criminals is a job best left to the police, who have access to all the toys, a bunch of armed BFFs and a union rep with an infinite number of get-out-of-jail-free cards. In this case, the Boys in Blue charged Ms. Morgan with assault with a weapon and carrying a loaded weapon in the city. While she may walk, Morgan’s case reminds us that firearms responsibility depends on sound judgement, not good intentions.

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  1. You can’t really argue that her heart was not in the right place. I call no harm, no foul.

    • I am less forgiving of the situation; would you really call no harm no foul after some crazy lady holds you at gunpoint for doing nothing but driving through a public street? The woman is lucky she wasn’t shot; if the driver of the truck had been armed he would have been within his rights to put her down.

      • She apprehended a criminal. Had she been wrong, I would have no problem with charging her. However, sitting back and waiting for the “authorities” is what got us where we are today. Back in the day, if you saw a wanted man, you apprehend him and hand him over to the Sheriff or whomever. Nowadays, we are too emasculated to take out our own garbage.

        • Uh, she did NOT “apprehend a criminal.” She stopped the wrong man, a stranger, and not the criminal she *thought* she was stopping.

        • That what I get for speed reading news articles… Missed that little NOT there… Principle still stands though. She was acting as best she knew how and no one was hurt. Slap on the wrist time to check your target, but an honest mistake.

        • As best as she knew how…? The Second amendment gives us the right to bear arms for protection, not assault. If she, or you for that matter, had the even the smallest hint of intelligence… A call to the local police department was all that was needed. May God have mercy on your soul.

    • No way. There was no immediate danger. Even if he were the wanted man, she was absolutely and in no universe except Hollywood wrong. She committed assault and should do time for it.

    • JSIII and Skyler correctly assessed the mistakes, risks and poor judgment of this lady.

      Trying to effect a citizen’s arrest is very risky and the person doing it must be absolutely right in everything they do. Since there was no DGU involved, this lady was risking EVERYTHING.

      She should receive no pass for misidentification or the resulting ADW.

    • She needed to repeat over and “not my job, not my job” Better alternative if her heart lead her, get license tag number, note make, color of vehicle , direction headed and call 911 – that would be no harm, no fowl.

      • She could even have followed him discretely, bringing the cops into his position. I have done this. Cell phones make citizen involvement much safer for all.

    • Threatening to shoot another human being, unless done to prevent stop violence, is a huge foul. Had the man in the truck had a gun, he would have been perfectly justified in shooting her in self-defense.

      She was the aggressor.

      A good rule of thumb: If you see a crime, or a wanted criminal, call the cops. Don’t inject yourself into the situation unless you’re positive what’s going on and there’s an immediate danger of injury that you can stop.

      • +1. No excuse for this lady to be pointing a gun at this guy, unless he was actively in the process of threatening to kill or seriously harm someone. That’s the definition of legal use of deadly force in self defense. She is lucky she didn’t get shot by someone- the guy, another do-gooder, or the cop responding.

        Being the hero is just as likely to get you shot or in prison if you are not justified and trained and even if you are, you could spend your life savings in civil litigation after, and theres plenty of stories of cons in prison doing just that.

        Brandishing alone in CA is a felony, not to mention threatening someone by pointing at them without justification. Couple cops have lost jobs and gone to jail for same.

        To your point Robt about un-holstering- I agree- that decision should be separate from the shoot/no shoot decision, and the continuum by which you come to those decisions, including legal definition of deadly force justification for jeopardy – “opportunity, capability, immediate intent” – should practiced along with dry-fire drills, just as much as you go to range. Maybe more now that ammo is so expensive.

        When the adrenaline is kicking in you fall back on muscle memory and training habits and “good habits save lives, bad habits take them”.

        Including putting the gun back in holster as soon as possible- read Col Dave Grossman on blue on blue encounters where off-duty cops get shot by first responders for why.

        Not enough training organizations consider this- but more and more are, and I think it should be part of CCW training, and for that matter, any hand-gun safety for a certificate type of training, if you are going to be responsible and serious about using one.

    • She was the criminal in this case. 2nd degree assault (assault is the threat, battery is the act) with a deadly weapon is a felony in my state. Just because she can carry does not make her above the law or give her the right to take the law into her own hands. I own several guns and they are all used for hunting only. I would not hunt with many of the people I know who own hand guns. They treat them like toys and like to play with them or show them off. Many are also paranoid. I think anyone with psychological issues should not own a hand gun.
      Keeping hands guns away from idiots is not gun control, its common sense.

  2. Ummm if some crazy chick pulls a gun on me after trying to pull me over she is going down…wild wild west I know but damn; you are not a cop lady, get the plate, give the plate to the cops and move on.

    PS: I am one of those if I draw I am going to shoot people, if I have made the choice to pull my gun and aim it at you, the odds of you doing something so drastic as to change my mind in that 1-2 seconds it takes to bring the gun up and me processing that information in time are slim to none. RF did a very good job of summing this up in the article.

    • So what if the Bad Guy stops dead in his or her tracks at the sight of your gun? Wouldn’t you really rather not shoot them?

      • Of course you’d rather not shoot them. But it would be very unwise to wait to see what their response to your gun is. Could just as easily be they will escalate further rather than fleeing.

      • I wouldn’t want to shoot them but thinking about it, blood gets pumping, my gun is coming up very quick. The odds of them stopping or otherwise “de-escalating” fast enough for me to realize that they are de-escalating and not pull the trigger is low. It’s possible, but is low.

        If someone stops dead in their tracks the second I go to pull or then actually drop a weapon and put their hands up, get down on their knees or by some miracle turn around and start running away before my gun comes up I am not going to shoot; again though these things are going to happen extremely fast. We are talking about at most 5 seconds between draw and fire. In that 5 seconds the bad guy needs to have a change of heart, HE needs to make the decision to somehow de-escalate the situation instantly, then before my finger goes down on the trigger I still have to process the fact he is de-escalating. That is a hell of a lot to get done in 5 seconds. Odds are the bad guy is on the ground before he even knows I am drawing.

        My state has somewhat “liberal” self defense laws, I am justified in using force to stop a forcible felony or other act that is likely to inflict serious bodily injury. In some states I am sure people train up differently as there are a lot more “gotchas” to consider, is he armed, what is he armed with, can I retreat etc; not here.

      • Depends what s/he does AFTER “stopping dead” in their tracks.

        One must remain coldly outside the box objectively viewing the evolving situation, maintaining subject and peripheral situational awareness, and assess the next move as the target’s actions unfold. Not all can do that; you’ll find out if YOU can with your first experience if it ever occurs.

        Is he a deer in the headlights; you take charge at a safe distance.
        Does he run; let him go and memorize his description.
        Does he turn on you and attack, or menacingly come at you intending to overpower? The answer here should be evident and instinctive if it occurs.

        Remember, if you’re not a cop, it’s a DGU that ends when you are no longer in danger.

      • If the bad guy stops being a threat in those two seconds (e.g. stops advancing and drops the weapon), then there’s no need to shoot. If he stops but is still holding a weapon, he could still be enough of a threat, depending on the weapon and distance. It only takes a second to advance a few feet and stab somebody.

  3. Not sure what you’re trying to say… There is no situation where it’s legal to wave a gun around but not legal to shoot. So don’t wave a gun around unless you’re shooting. If anything, this case dirves that point home. The only exception would be if the bad guy can begin to haul ass faster than you can get a shot off and you miss the window where it’s legal (or necessary) to shoot.

    • Steve,

      When an attacker is presenting imminent great bodily harm, the victim is legally justified to use anywhere from no force to deadly force. Shooting someone is obviously deadly force. What may not be obvious is that pointing a gun at someone without pulling the trigger is also deadly force from a legal standpoint. But of course it is completely non-lethal since the victim does not actually shoot.

      If a victim reasonably believes that a criminal attacker intends to commit great bodily harm, drawing and pointing without pulling the trigger is legally justified and might even be a good legal strategy for the victim. Why? Because an overzealous prosecutor will have a much more difficult task convincing a jury that the victim was a “Dirty Harry” wannabe when the victim never actually pulled the trigger. The fact that the victim never pulled the trigger indicates great restraint in fact.

      Remember, a situation which is crystal clear to the victim at the time it is happening could be quite murky to the police or a prosecutor who examine the scene after the fact. A victim who draws and does not shoot hedges their bets so to speak.

  4. Does this mean you should be careful to not get in the habit of drawing to immediately fire? If I always draw a gun to fire as soon as it’s drawn, you would instinctively shoot. Even if the attacker stops in their tracks at the sight of it.

    • Yes, it is good to practice drawing and not shooting — called “shoot, no shoot” drills. A great way to do that: turn your back and have a helper set up multiple picture type targets where one or two are criminals and the rest are “friendlies”. Then you turn and shoot the criminals without shooting the friendlies.

      The drills themselves are the easy part. Finding a helper and a location where you can execute the drills is the hard part. Very few ranges will accomodate such a drill. Remote forest locations could be good. An excellent alternative is to set up in your back yard and use AirSoft pistols.

      I plan to do exactly this in the next four weeks.

  5. But if she had been a member of the neighborhood watch, and the guy in the truck had been a black teenager with a history of pot and skittles abuse, then she could have just claimed she was in fear for her life.

    • I think you mean “if the guy in the truck [had just sucker punched her, broken her nose, and was actively engaged in smashing her head against concrete] then she could have just claimed self-defense, been arrested, and charged with second-degree murder for a political show trial.” There. Fixed it for ya.

    • Well LB Dave, both Martin and Zimmerman had a right to be there right up to the point where drug addled Martin under the influence of his girlfriend decided that he was disrespected which called for a beat down of Zimmerman. When Martin made that choice he no longer had right to public space. Under common law the law citizen (Zimmerman) has the right of way over the criminal (Martin).

    • Low Budget Dave,

      You are quite mistaken. Deadly force is only legally justified when a person reasonably fears imminent death or great bodily harm. It is not reasonable to fear imminent death or great bodily harm from a man who has done nothing more than drive a pickup truck responsibly. The woman flat-out broke the law and will pay the consequences.

    • Low Budget Dave,

      It was reasonable for Zimmerman to fear imminent death or great bodily harm when Martin was on top of him beating the cr@p out of him with no end in sight. That situation satisfied the legal standard of justifiable deadly force.

      Let me guess, you believe Zimmerman was in the wrong because he shadowed Martin? Newsflash: shadowing someone is a legal activity. It might be creepy but it is legal. What about Martin beating someone? Was that okay in your book? Was Zimmerman supposed to take the beating, no matter how far Martin would go, because he followed someone?

      • I was straining the analogy a bit to make the point. I don’t think citizens are within their rights to chase someone down and attempt to arrest them.

        In this case, she had no basis to claim that a crime was in process, while Zimmerman (sort of) did.

        What bothers me is that the truck driver could have shot her dead, and been within his rights, but Trayvon Martin could not have shot his attacker dead.

        Why did Zimmerman have the right to defend himself, but Trayvon Martin did not?

        Is it because Martin used drugs once?

        Why is it that the cops tested Trayvon for drugs, but did not test Zimmerman?

        I think this website shows its inherent racism when they consider this gun use to be “irresponsible”, but made no such claim about Zimmerman.

        I have not been back to the site for a while, because honestly, I tend to agree with some of the opinions. Not all, but some.

        I was interested to see what this website made of Mark Kessler and his militia trying to take over government meetings. Hopefully, that has earned them an “Irresponsible Gun Owner” award, but I have not looked through the past few weeks to find out.

        • Low Budget Dave,

          There is no evidence that suggests Zimmerman attacked Martin. If Zimmerman had indeed attacked Martin, then by all means Martin had every right to defend himself. As I said before, keep in mind that shadowing someone from a distance and keeping an eye on them is not an attack. Heck, even if Zimmerman walked up to within 5 feet of Martin and asked Martin what he was doing, that is not an attack and it certainly is not illegal.

          We can walk up to anyone and ask them anything. And they can choose to reply any way they want — which includes no response at all — and either stay or walk away. It is a free country.

  6. As another member here observed,the driver would have been justified in shooting her dead,best intentions be damned.

    • and this is the double edged sword of some self defense laws; I see this crazy lady gun in hand coming at me, I decide to draw but I am slower than her. She shoots me dead, even though I am minding my own business and she could in theory get off in the courts if there are no witnesses. IMO these situations are so rare though that overall laws like stand your ground do much more good than harm.

  7. You gotta give her some credit, if it were the police ‘apprehending’ the ‘suspect’, the ‘suspect’ might be in the hospital now with some extra ventilation given recent history.

    • She had the best of intentions, I agree. But she was absolutely, positively WRONG in her actions.

      However, if she has no record of serious criminal activity, she deserves probation. I think it would be an over-reaction to give her jail time.

  8. “… Morgan’s case reminds us that firearms responsibility depends on sound judgement, not good intentions.”

    Um, not if you are a Communist Progressive. Good intentions are all that matters to them.

  9. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… just ask anyone who voted for any of the gun grabbers.
    It sounds like a really bad episode of dog the bounty hunter

  10. Her actions in detaining him led to his arrest so does she collect the reward if there is one for this guy even if she is charged with assault?

    • Read it again, slowly this time.

      It wasn’t the right guy, just some dude she thought looked like the suspect. The only person who was arrested was her dumb ass.

        • Even if he were the wanted criminal, which he wasn’t, she still had no right to hold him at gun point. He did not pose a threat to anyone. You can only brandish a weapon if you or someone else is in imminent danger. This woman needs to go to prison.

    • She was wrong. He was not the suspect in the incest case. He was NOT arrested, SHE was. Even cops, with all their resources and training, kick down the wrong doors and arrest or shoot the wrong people. Seems like a citizen on the street should be VERY careful in assuming they can do better.

  11. A crazy beyotch with a gun does not amount to a good time. This is something I know. Do not ask me how I know.

    • Then I’ll ask you something unrelated: Given open carry being the norm, would you prefer the reliable simplicity of a .38/.357 with a 7 round cylinder to an 15+ round capacity automatic pistol that is reliable, but that is more likely to jam just by virture of being a more complex machine?

      • Pulatso: I’m neutral on the choice of semi v. revolver, but I find the “simple” characterization of a revolver puzzling. Have you ever removed the grips and cover plate of a revolver? It’s like a little wrist-watch movement in there. Plenty of small parts.

        • With one exeption all the revolver malfunctions I’ve seen were ammo related. With a semi you can have an ammo related failure and you can have a mag related failure. A lot of ammo failures in a revolver can be cleared simply by pulling the trigger. With semis you have to manually cycle the action to clear such a malfunction.

          The semi has a clear advantage in capacity and quick reloads. But a lot of DGUs are settled simply by having a gun, no shots fired. And when shots are fired it’s usually over before the reload. usually.

          After a recent ammo related failure that locked my gun up at the range I’m of the opinion that if you carry a gun, you should carry 2.

          If I was to be recalled to active duty, not bloody likely, or became a cop; even less likely, I would want a semi. More chances of getting into an extended fight scenario. Funny thing is when I was last in service a lot of us aquired our own sidearms. I wound up with a revolver. It was all that was available with ammo that was available.

          As a private citizen I own semis and revolvers and I feel perfectly comfortable with a revolver.

        • JWM pretty much covered why I characterized revolvers as “simple”, although in fairness “simpler” might be more accurate. I have stripped my Service Six, and yes, there are plenty of parts to the puzzle. That said, my own experience and anecdotal evidence (admittedly not scienctific) points me to the conclusion that automatic pistols have a greater propensity for mechanical failure. For what it’s worth, my cc peice is a compact 9mm, and should my state go open carry, I would switch to the Service Six for everyday carry.

        • Pulatso, my first .357 was a Service Six. Strong and simple says it best. It was my learning gun with my first reloading setup. One of the guns I wish I hadn’t traded off. Haven’t reloaded in 25 years at least. I miss the country.

  12. You don’t pull a gun on someone that is currently posing no threat to anyone, even if they are freaking Charles Manson. Gun grabbers have been trying to conflate lawful self defense with vigilantism, let’s not help them.

  13. yup… there’s always the possibility you may be making a mistake. our job is to minimize those possibilities.

    • The story does not indicate whether she asked him if he was Gary Hansen. It seems to me that would be a common sense way to begin.

      Somehow, I don’t think she did.

      • Even if he were Hansen, which he wasn’t, she still has no right to point a gun at him for sitting in his truck.

      • I wouldn’t expect a known fugitive from justice to admit to being a known f.f.j. when questioned by a stranger, FWIW.

  14. There is a big difference between having a gun for self defense of yourself and your family given an urgent situation and being a vigilante going out looking for someone to point your gun at.

  15. First, if you’re going to apprehend a wanted criminal at gun point you’d better make damn sure you’ve got the right guy. And if you don’t have the right guy, I’d expect at least some prison time.

    Second, I think that often an early display of your weapon could defuse many situations. Be careful not to “brandish” your weapon though, that can get you in big trouble. Do NOT unholster. I don’t know how much time transpired during the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman confrontation before the first punch was thrown, but imagine if Zimmerman had pulled his shirt up over his weapon and walked up to Martin and asked if he could help him? I doubt a first punch would have been thrown and Zimmerman would not have had his life turned upside down.

    If I were confronted with a situation where an armed criminal had his weapon trained on someone else and I had the ability to get a draw on him with his back turned (say an convenience store robbery), I think it would be prudent to shout “Drop the weapon!” before opening fire. Before I drew I’d want some cover and make sure you have a clear shot. Otherwise it would be best to keep it holstered. Once shots have been fired though, all bets are off and you’d best come out shooting.

    • “Be careful not to “brandish” your weapon though, that can get you in big trouble.”

      This is the problem with many concealed-carry laws. In some jurisdictions, just having the gun printing through your clothing can be considered brandishing. I don’t know about Florida, but hiking your shirt up to show you have a gun and approaching a stranger is a pretty aggressive move that lots of prosecutors are going to call brandishing.

      This is why we need open carry. I’d still prefer to carry concealed, but then you wouldn’t have to worry every second that your shirt will ride up and some Nervous Nellie is going to call 911 and say you were “waving your gun around”.

      • In my state a CCW permit allows for either concealed or open carry, so I would imagine it would be a tough sell to call that brandishing. Still, I’d rather go on trial for brandishing than 2nd degree murder. You’ll have to use your own discretion as to when it would or wouldn’t be appropriate, but if I’m pretty sure someone is a mugger or out to pick a fight that’s what I would do if I had a chance. Once your rolling around on the ground it won’t be your gun, but THE gun.

        And you may want to consider buying longer shirts.

  16. It boggles the mind to think anyone characterizes the woman’s behavior as “well-intentioned.” Her obvious intention was to place under arrest and at gun-point a person because she thought he might possibly be someone wanted for incest. Her intention was also, she expressed, to shoot him if he chose to drive away. Safely assuming that she did not observe the alleged incest, she had no certain knowledge that Hansen was guilty. There had been no trial. It is not “well-intentioned” to deputize yourself. It is not well-intentioned to point a firearm AT a person when not under immediate threat yourself. I think this incident points out why many anti’s are anti’s. They imagine they might act like this woman, volatile, enraged by thoughts of abuse, unconstrained by the well-known laws. Such people may well be right about themselves, of course. I cannot imagine any of my acquaintances behaving as she did. “Know thyself” is still, thousands of years later, very good advice.

  17. Can’t depend on the cops to protect yourself.

    Should depend on the cops to protect others.

    While you can halve the cake, you only get to eat half.

    Common sense procedure:

    • follow — at a safe distance — and make the call;
    • do not get directly involved, bringing a bang stick into play only if directly threatened;
    • if it’s something demanding a cinizens’ arrest, have the constabulary there to back you up.

    Unfortunately, common sense ain’t.

  18. Cops get away with this kind of behavior all the time. I can’t believe how many of you think it’s OK for LEO to do exactly the same thing this woman did.

  19. I’d hate to see her crucified for the crimes she actually committed (aggravated assault and kidnapping), but she definitely needs enough misdemeanors to chill her out on probation for a while (sans gun) to wrap her mind around why what she did was the wrong thing to do with the hopeful outcome she’ll do the right thing when her probation is up and she can rearm. Heart in the right place, technique all out of whack. How about following from a safe distance and calling the cavalry to come do the stop? Was anyone in danger if she allowed him to continue for another few minutes until the police arrived?

    What she did was perhaps noble in it’s intent but so flawed in execution as to be a terribly stupid and highly criminal act, one which could have had serious consequences. People like this are exactly who the anti’s have in mind when they predict conceal carry will lead to blood in the streets and running gunfights.

    As for the arguments that the cops do this all the time and blah blah, if you look around I’m pretty hard on the cops, praise where it is do but I don’t hesitate to take them to task for a myriad of problems, however this truly is an apples and oranges comparison. Cops are hired, (hopefully) trained, and then required to do this sort of work at our behest. We, the people hire them equip them and train them to perform this function specifically because we have found that a uniformed service, provided proper training, employing recognized standards and with a defined command and control structure allow for enforcement of the law with less confusion, fewer mistakes and a greater degree of safety for all involved.

    Show of hands, how many would have shot some plain clothed woman pointing a gun and threatening to shoot them? How many would shoot a uniformed officer in a marked car who performed a traffic stop on them? See there, it’s unanimous, what she did was dumb and dangerous not to mention illegal. It’s not about rights, it’s about customary and usual ways of accomplishing things.

  20. In some pretty intense training I’ve been going through lately out at Asymmetric Solutions in Farmington, Missouri, our instructor encouraged us to follow these steps as “standard procedure” so we never are caught with a loaded weapon when it should be unloaded, or an unloaded weapon when it should be loaded.

    NEVER put your weapon in a holster, unless it is loaded and ready to use.

    NEVER take your weapon out of holster, unless you are going to fire it, OR it is the end of the: shift, training day, day, etc. You never unholster to shot your buddies, point it at somebody or otherwise do something stupid. It is in the holster until or unless you need to use it, or lock it away.

    When out of the holster it should NEVER be loaded.
    When in the holster it should ALWAYS be loaded.

    I think this makes a lot of sense.

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