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“Suppose I’m legally carrying a concealed gun at a business when armed robbers show up,” Jan Miller postulates in her letter to “Fearing for my life, I just want to get out of the store, but the front door is the only way out. Let’s assume I can’t tell who is whom by how they’re dressed.” OK, that’s the set-up. TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia is sure to have some tactical advice for Ms. Miller’s thought experiment. Find cover or concealment, draw your weapon and wait to see what develops. Never draw on a drawn gun – unless you have to. Bottom line: it’s better to have a gun in that situation than not in case the armed robbers decide to kill everyone. Ms. Miller doesn’t see it that way . . .

How will I know which of these gunfighters to shoot as I try to get through the doors to safety? Should I just kill anyone between the door and me? Will any police officers who arrive know that I am not one of the robbers? Suppose an undercover officer “looks like” a robber and I shoot him, thinking I’m a “good guy with a gun” taking care of a “bad guy with a gun.” What do I tell their families? “My bad”?

Hey Jan! There’s no getting around it: shit happens. As the Rabbi taught me back in the day, you can do everything right in a gunfight and still die. And you’re absolutely right: a good guy can shoot a good guy by mistake (just ask the police). But just because bad things can happen to a good guy with a gun doesn’t mean carrying a gun is a zero sum game. In other words . . .

Successful defensive gun uses, Jan. Millions of ’em! Statistically speaking, every day in America at least 100 people uses a gun to defend their life or the life of their loves ones – without dying! Or getting wounded. Or wounding a good guy. In fact, there are plenty of researchers that reckon most defensive gun uses end without a shot being fired (or a report being filed, hence the conjecture).

Bottom line: the chances of a good guy with a gun shooting the wrong person or getting shot in a gunfight are far less than the chances of a successful outcome. Think about it logically: if that wasn’t true millions of Americans wouldn’t carry a gun – no matter what the NRA said. Why would they?

For those of us who’ve already made that calculation, and work to defend and extend our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, Ms. Miller’s FUD indicates that we’re on the right track when we highlight successful defensive gun uses. If we can expose antis or (more likely) fence-straddlers to the positive possibilities of armed self-defense they might reconsider their irrational opposition.

Take them to the range, show them that guns can be handled safely, that they can handle a gun safely, and . . . that’s about as good as it gets, conversion-wise. (Showing them David Kenik’s Shoot/No Shoot video wouldn’t hurt, either.) True?

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  1. Or you could just say “Well, Jan, that could happen. If you aren’t okay with that, you could simply not carry. And if you are put in that situation, you’ll have to rely on the good will of the armed robbers or the speedy response time of the local law enforcement. Which situation sounds better: The chance you might screw up and shoot the wrong person, or the chance the criminals will kill you and everyone in the store before the cops show up?”

    • “You’re lucky he didn’t kill you, too. Or rape you, then kill you. Or kill you, then rape you.”

      -Amy, The Running Man

    • Actually the situation she described is so far fetched it may as well have started with “Suppose I fall off my unicorn…”

      1) All businesses are required to have more than one exit. It’s called the fire code.
      2) How would a person know that they were robbers? Did they march in and proclaim as much? “Everybody be cool this is a robbery!” Then she would know that they were robbers.
      3) There is no way in this world she actually has a CCW permit by her question. If she did have one, she would know that you don’t fire indiscriminately(apparently unless you’re LAPD).
      4) Cops would know you’re one of the good guys, because YOU DROP YOUR WEAPON immediately. They got no reason to shoot you.
      5) An undercover cop understands the risks if he’s deep undercover. This ain’t the movies though. They would immediately identify themselves, or they assume the risks of being in with the gang.

      • Exactly. The letter was silly. One second she knows there are robbers in the store, the next second she doesn’t know who they are? What? Did she get a “robbers in the store” text message?

        • Maybe there’s an app for that?

          How does she know she can’t exit the front door? Are they blocking it? I’d say wait it out until you know more. Seems logical to me. Find cover, or concealment. Observe, call 911, hit send, and stash the phone. Unless they are actively shooting, or making threats, you have time to wait. If they are making threats, and or shooting, then their intentions are pretty dang obvious, and you know who to fire on.

        • Most videos of DGU in public buildings involving robbery (mass murder is a different animal), once you shoot one of the guys clearly identified as a bad guy (the guy pointing his gun at the cashier) all of the perp’s crew scramble for the exit. Armed robbers succeed with an overwhelming show of force. Once that force is equalized, they want no part of it. If they can run, they run. Saw one punk run through a plate glass door at Aldi.

      • I’m going to steal that unicorn bit. I will end up using it as follows:

        Anti: Illogical, far-fetched argument.

        DG: “OK, let me see if I understand your objection. You were out riding your unicorn, and then all these other things happened. And that’s why I shouldn’t have a gun.”

      • She successfully identified the “armed robbers”. What’s her problem? Unless she uses the way they dress to determine if they are armed…and robbing…and a threat. Sounds like someone is trying to dredge up the GZ case of profiling.

  2. Well Ms Miller,

    If you prefer to remove the risk of a bad outcome (for bystanders), you can follow the paths of so many of your fellow citizens in [legal] gun-free places (e.g., LA, San Diego, Chicago, NYC): forget about carrying a gun and instead hope and pray that you don’t get hurt.

    Or, if you’re able, you can choose to carry a gun of the hand (“Witness”), secure that it’s available should you need it. That wouldn’t mean that you HAVE to use it, though. You could try to hide (i.e., find a defensible position in the store) and either the robbers will come after you (you may have an opportunity to shoot) or they don’t (your handgun stays hidden and you give a good report to the cops).

    Without an effective defensive tool/weapon, you give up one of your choices.

    Just sayin’

  3. The best way to convert an anti is to get them some range time. 80% of the time, it works every time.

      • It was a riff on Yogi Berra’s famous, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” VERY well-known quote.

      • I get it. Of the 80% of the converts, every one of them converted. The other 20% were 100% unchanged.

      • I have only taken two strident antis, but they both did convert. I would add they will really convert if they live in a restricted jurisdiction like DC. My neighbor , who has an Obama sticker on her Subaru, joined the NRA as a result of having to jump through the hoops that treated her like a criminal.

    • I have taken three people out to the range that were not fans of firearms and thought only police or military should have “guns”. They converted right after the first mag and now shoot regularly with me. So yes, not sure of the statistics but of those I have talked into coming out for a few rounds it has been 100%

  4. ‘Never fire on a drawn gun – unless you have to.’

    I’d revise that to ‘never DRAW on a drawn gun – unless you have to.’ Once you’ve drawn on a drawn gun, by all means fire.

  5. In general these types go hysterical and delegate all responsibilty to the All Wise Govt. Oh gosh, bad people. Call in the govt. Oh gosh, I can’t figure out how to teach my kid. Call in the govt. Oh gosh, I’m pregnant. You’ve got it. Call in the govt.

    Oh gosh oh my. On a thousand issues it is always throw hands up in dispair. Close eyes. Have the All Knowing govt handle it.

  6. Yeah… Making decisions is hard. Got it. Being prepared to defend myself is an easy choice. How/when to engage if it is go time? Tough. But at least I have options the unarmed citizen does not.

  7. Jan Miller, do not carry. Ever. Instead, take one for the team. Be the bullet catcher. And when a good guy with a gun sees you blown away by a bad guy, the good guy will know exactly who to shoot. That’s your best and highest use, Jan baby. And I’m fine with that.

    • I promise to shed a tear for Jan, the bullet catcher, and even support spending the $$ raised from charity to enact a memorial in her honor.

  8. I recall a tragic incident in a NYC tavern many years ago. As I recall the newspaper account, two off-duty police officers shot and killed each other. The investigation revealed that they never worked together, did not know each other, and had probably never met.
    Witnesses said there was no altercation between them, and neither spoke to the other before they fired at one another from opposite ends of the bar. The result of the investigation was that one officer had apparently accidentally exposed his off-duty firearm, and the other officer saw it. That officer drew his off-duty weapon to challenge the first officer, and his display of a gun lead to the first officer also drawing. Both fired simultaneously, and both were killed.
    Ms. Miller’s solution would of course be “Cops can only be armed if they are on duty”, ignoring the countless times off-duty LEOs stop crimes in progress.

    • How about Cops cant get drunk while armed? There is an idea…

      Maybe a better approach would be to not initiate a combat situation when a discrete call to 911 and all your Cop buddies can come in with overwhelming force (and lots and lots of uniforms). In fact, a SWAT response is better than just drawing your gun and threatening.

      • They weren’t necessarily drunk. I can tell you that just as many people have designated drivers, cops often have ‘designated shooters,’ especially places in NYC.

        The rest of your statement I agree with though. There’s a reason police wear uniforms, and part of it is to avoid tragedy like that. Just because you have the legal ability to do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD… just like if you’re in a car and have right of way you should still stop to avoid an accident.

        • I don’t think there was any problem with blood alcohol levels — or at least not as I recall. What I thought at the time was that if an off-duty cop is going to draw his gun, he had better have his badge in his non-gun hand.
          I’m sorry I don’t have much details. This was back in the 50s or 60s, and I had no luck in Google search. That incident may have led to some changes in Police Department policy about off-duty cops.

        • I’ve also seen that “designated shooter” arrangement in the non-law enforcement world. Before CHL law in Ohio, it wasn’t an unusual practice for groups with which I hung out. My brother and I also sometimes had that arrangement between us for a variety of situations including when people were drinking. Generally, the designated driver was also the designated shooter/protector. All were armed but one was the decision-maker in the event presentation of arms was necessary. Of course, with the change in laws, those lawfully carrying in bars cannot drink in Ohio.

      • We used to drink and some of us got drunk while armed. We had lighters (many smokers) and had vehicles. The wiser among us never used a firearm or a vehicle while intoxicated except in extreme, extreme emergencies. We didn’t use the lighters to burn down anything either. This modern nanny state is ridiculous, IMHO.

        • Stress and adrenaline have a sobering affect. My wife and I took a “rum runner” cruise in Key West. That is when you go out snorkeling and on the way back, everybody gets shit faced on rum punch and beer. I could hardly walk or see I was so intoxicated. We made it to the public bathrooms and when my wife did not come out after several minutes, I went in to check on her. Her passed out body was blocking the door so I had to push it open sliding her across the floor. All the shops were closed and everybody else had left. She woke up and I managed to get her on her feet so we could make it to the street to catch a cab. I went from the world spinning and feeling sick to completely sober in a split second. When someone you love needs help, you manage. I don’t advocate getting drunk, but I believe that if you drink and you are armed and you are seriously threatened, your mind will clear up under stress.

  9. “Let’s assume I can’t tell who is whom by how they’re dressed.” Well, a good tip-off would be they’re the ones who are armed and yelling “this is a robbery”.

      • Oh no, she’s talking about the undercover robbers who never announce they’re robbing the place and never point their weapons at people, and don’t actually rob the place. In fact they might not even have their gun drawn, and simply be potential robbers…

    • The gloves and the bandanas or hoodies covering their faces are a pretty good clue too–if that is their guns and yelling don’t give them away. Rhetorical question–if you can’t tell who the robbers are, how do you know it’s a robbery?

  10. Mistakes happen, Ms Miller. I’ll trust the armed citizen since police make mistakes too. Fortunately the armed citizen is five times less likely to shoot the wrong person than the police are. We don’t have perfect choices, but we do have better choices.

    • And in LA… Yeah the LAPD has never riddled a vehicle with bullets that was not the vehicle they were looking for, and the persons in the vehicle were two hispanic women and not the single black man they were hunting…

  11. The fail is strong with this one.

    If it wasn’t that the gun grabbers keep trying to disarm us because of their own insecurities; It would simply be free entertainment better than stand up night at the comedy club.

  12. Shoot anybody who’s trying to shoot you, duh! That is how you get out the front door. Moving to cover is advisable, I’d say also to wait for an opportunity to present itself that allows you to get your gun drawn and yourself behind some form of cover. If your only egress route is the front door you are doing it wrong.

  13. “How will I know which of these gunfighters to shoot as I try to get through the doors to safety? Should I just kill anyone between the door and me? ”

    Am I having a deja vu?

    ”In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?” —

  14. While we’re stacking improbables, how about that meteor that’s about to kill me? I could shoot at it and if I’m lucky deflect it *just* enough … but if I miss, my bullet might take out someone else … or I might deflect the meteor into my neighbor’s house … or … or …

    It’s amazing how easy it is to come up with what you think (hope?) are no-win scenarios for yourself.

    And amazing how improbable they are.

      • I think it’s quite telling antis often tend to over analyze and focus on random firearm or tactical minutia like threat recognition and assessment (in this example) when they so often display a stunning lack of fundamental knowledge of basic firearm safety, operation, and much less any sort of “tactical” understanding of basic combat mindset they’re trying to make a point about.

        It’s almost always a case of the woefully uninformed commenting on a subject they know nothing — or worse, lots of misinformation — about for the sake of trying to start an argument.

        Magazine capacity comes to mind. As do scary “parts” of “assault” weapons which have zero impact on “killing potential” as someone put it. I never thought I would witness a triumph of stupidity of that magnitude in politics in quite a while. How that bill passed is mind-boggling.

        Free speech is great. I just wish the stupendously misguided and unfortunately ignorant politicians and their fans wouldn’t avail of it so often. It’s embarrassing as a whole.

  15. Just the idea that this woman actually thought this was a valid point to be concerned about; enough that she posts it on a public forum for the entire world to see.

    Words fail me.

  16. I was at a Scheel’s in Reno a couple of years ago inent on getting a new toy. I decided not to and walked out, but those pesky drink coolers in by the cash registers always get me. So, I buy a Monster and accidently flash the inside of my wallet, full of 20s for the gun I decided not to buy. Well, I guess someone saw it and they followed me to my truck. As I was getting in my truck he tried to grab the door but I was able to shut and lock it and there we were, just looking at each other through my window. He taps a Ka Bar on the window. I tapped the muzzle of an M&P45 on my side of the window. He ran like a rabbit. I didn’t call the cops; it was dark, I had an hour to drive home, AND what good would it have done? Lessons learned: don’t flash your cash and presentation is more than half the battle.

  17. Well Jan,
    If you don’t want to carry a gun, you don’t have to. That’s called freedom. Also, I highly recommend that when the armed robbers herd everyone into the back, you look on the bright side and go with a smile. Your about to have first hand knowledge that will settle the argument you’ve been having with your Jesus-freak cousin.

  18. Dear Ms. Miller: We interrupt your victim status to bring you these words of wisdom…. When in Danger When in doubt, Run In circles, scream and shout…

  19. This letter was probably a moby set up by some gun grabbing organzation. In other words an asigned plant. No one would write such a stupid letter for any other reason.

  20. I figure having a gun may not keep from getting killed. But it may keep me from getting tortured and then killed.

  21. Jan Miller

    Just because you never pondered those questions before writing your letter doesn’t mean those of us who carry daily didn’t do so long before we started down that road. Also, I wonder did you actually open yourself up to the logical answers that follow those questions or did you think you were just asking yourself easy questions with easy answers that all lead to “guns are bad?” If you’d only enter into a real conversation with a legal gun owner in good faith you might actually learn something. Or is tolerance not really your thing?

  22. This is a typical case of “allowing the leftist to frame the argument.” She starts out by saying, “Suppose I’m a complete idiot and don’t even know my ABCs…” and thus projects her fear of taking responsibility for her safety and her disdain for gun owners onto every would-be victim of an armed robbery. The only way antis win arguments is by lying about reality in order to trick you into arguing an indefensible position.

  23. Libs love incompetance. It is their bread and butter. Everyone needs to be taken care of by the government. They don’t want to be responsible for their own saftey so they try to convince everyone else that taking care of yourself is too difficult.

  24. Jan
    I respect your point, but I really can’t agree with it. First of all, the bad guys usually make themselves quite obvious by, well, I dunno. Asking for money? Holding a weapon? Stating “This is a hold-up!”? Most of those things suggest, or rather scream, “Bad Guy” to me. As for the undercover cop, tough. Chose the wrong place to rob. I’ll still apologise, but I won’t lose sleep at nights.

  25. Faulty premise. In the situation described you do not attempt to run away. That’s a fine way to get yourself shot in the back. If you’re armed you take cover and wait for the bad guys to come to you.
    Note to Ms. Miller, if you ever do find yourself in such a situation do the above. If you are not armed you should immediately disrobe and neatly fold your clothing some where safe. Buck naked you will let both the bad guys and the cops know you are not a threat, and if the purpose of the event was to have their way with you this will speed things up and prevent damage to your attire. Uttering a low key baaaing sound is optional, but a nice embellishment.

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