The Gun Community™ seems to find a way to get itself into occasional tizzies over things done or said by those within it who are ostensible allies of the right to keep and bear arms. Every once in a while a member of the community will say something that outrages the majority. Many of these offenders have metaphorically shot themselves in the foot and have been driven out of polite (firearm) society.
Some see this as a healthy purging of those who insufficiently support the Second Amendment. Others see it as examples of the gun community eating its own. Plenty of people come down somewhere in between.
As examples, l’affairs Zumbo and Tsai come immediately to mind. Both of those happened many moons ago, but what both individuals wrote made the job of defending the right to keep and bear arms more difficult in the face of an unending wave attacks by the civilian disarmament community.
The latest brewing kerfuffle isn’t quite the same, but it’s close. It comes in the wake of the doddering, depleted, desiccated old man who currently occupies the White House recently opining — yet again — on the topic of armed self-defense and the way law enforcement uses firearms against dangerous suspects.
Biden said cops should be trained to ‘shoot to stop’ rather than ‘shoot to kill.’ It was the usual case of someone with no working knowledge of guns or how they’re used in the real world presuming to offer advice on a topic about which they’re embarrassingly ignorant.
Grampa Grumpy is certainly no stranger to all of that.
The President’s comments prompted an article from the noted personal defense experts at FOX News, quoting conservative pundits, LEOs and professional trainers, illustrating how laughably wrong poor ol’ Uncle Joe was on the topic.
One of those who was quoted was Rob Pincus, Personal Defense Network owner and defensive firearms trainer. The original version of the article contained these quotes from Pincus . . .
“Biden, many years ago, made a statement about going outside and firing a shotgun up in the air if somebody is trying to break into your home. What he said last Friday is really very closely related to that concept, which is if you’re going to use a gun, you don’t have to use it to kill someone, there’s other ways to somehow use a gun to defend yourself; and that is anathema to people in the training community, whether it’s law enforcement, military or civilian defensive shooting in the United States,” …
“I have to admit that Biden’s right. If somebody were trying to break into your home, and you stick a shotgun out the window and fire rounds into the air, that person is probably going to leave.”
As published, some read that as an endorsement of Biden’s idiotic advice about shooting at extremities, firing warning shots, launching shotgun volleys into the air, and shooting through doors at home invaders. Some in the pro-gun media were appalled by what appeared to be a prominent trainer endorsing such irresponsible advice, and have said so in print and on the air.
What we read in the FOX article sounded…unlikely. We figured Pincus had either sustained a serious head injury before talking to FOX or was somehow misquoted by the jernalizmist. As it turns out, it’s pretty much the latter.
A quick Google search of Pincus and “warning shot” takes you to his website where you find this . .
Using a firearm is a use of lethal force. Shooting to wound is a horrible idea and shouldn’t be part of your tactical approach or your strategy. Rob Pincus understands why the concept of shooting to wound is part of our conversation, especially with people who don’t carry guns and don’t train…but Rob wishes it wasn’t.
WHAT IS “SHOOTING TO WOUND”?
Shooting to wound is the idea that you might use a firearm to disable an attacker in a way that doesn’t threaten their life. But the reality is that, any time you launch a defensive bullet (or any bullet) through a human body, you are potentially going to kill that person. This is why using a defensive firearm is such a serious responsibility. We need to keep this in the forefront of our minds when we’re training, when we’re using self-defense weapons, and when we’re talking to people outside the gun community about the use of lethal force.
BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA! NO, IT DOESN’T
If you haven’t shot at moving targets or thought seriously about self-defense concepts and defensive gun use, you may think why not just shoot someone in the leg and drop them to the ground? Rob explains why there is no guarantee of either option — you may wound the person but not stop them, or you may kill them. Even worse, your bullet may miss or pass through the leg and hit an innocent person behind or to the side of the bad guy.
WOUNDING SHOT VS WARNING SHOT
Rob feels a wounding shot is like an extreme version of a warning shot. And he believes Warning Shots, to which he has dedicated a video, are incredibly reckless. The wounding shot is not far behind.
The minute we talk about shooting to wound, we become unrealistic about shooting capabilities and very unrealistic about the responsibility that comes with pulling the trigger.
All correct and eminently reasonable. Could he really have done a complete 180?
When we talked to Pincus, we found out that the FOX reporter, Taylor Penley, who’s probably never seen a firearm up close, let alone pulled a trigger, had trimmed the quote Pincus gave her in such a way as to make his meaning…less clear.
He told us . . .
5 minutes after it was published a family member sent me the article like “hey, cool, look at this!”
I cringed and immediately knew someone was going to stop reading after “Rob Pincus said Biden was right.” …. And that was before I realized she didn’t even put the complete thought in the article ! 😂
Here’s a text exchange he had with someone who saw the original version of the article, trying to explain what happened . . .
He then shared emails with us in which he asked Penley, the FOX reporter, to edit the article to more accurately reflect what he said . . .
I read your article on the “shooting to wound” issue and I thought it was overall a fair piece and well written, but I’ve come under a bunch of heat for what I believe to be a partial quote from our phone conversation that (apparently) leaves the very wrong impression that I ENDORSE the idea of firing warning shots. In the article, you correctly share that I reluctantly have to admit that “psychological stops” are a reality and that shooting a gun in the air might very well lead to an attacker who didn’t know you had a gun running away. I believe I followed that acknowledgement up with a very clear refutation of the idea that it is anything by reckless to fire bullets into the air or into the ground as a warning. Not surprisingly, there are people in the Gun Community who are more than happy to willfully ignore twenty years of work promoting responsible defensive gun us and simply see that I was quoted by Fox News as “agreeing with Biden”…
I don’t know if you can amend the article (although, I did see that one typo in the second use of my name was fixed at some point after the initial publication), but could at least get a copy of the transcript of your interview so that I can clarify what I was actually saying?
While I had no idea it was going to turn into the drama that it has for me this afternoon, as soon as someone sent me the article, I cringed a little bit knowing that someone would misunderstand my position based on the partial quote. I sent the first person who sent me a link to it this right after I read it.
Penley, to her credit, has altered the published article to more accurately reflect what Pincus told her and what he teaches his students. The article now reads . . .
“It is true that there has been an important evolution in the way we talk about the use of deadly force, but when we say we are ‘shooting to stop’ a threat, we must not forget that we may very well take a life whenever we pull the trigger on a gun,” [Pincus] said.
“Law enforcement training has evolved over the last few decades to make it less likely that an officer will have their gun out when they don’t need it, which is a good thing … but it should not be seen as an indication that officers who do fire their guns have somehow failed. Mistakes are actually very rare.
“Both Armed Professionals and those who carry for Personal Defense always need to be aware that pulling the trigger is a use of ‘lethal force,’ despite the fact that they should only ever be shooting to stop a threat when they perceive the need,” he added later in the statement.
Pincus said it is more difficult to shoot moving limbs, so training involves aiming at the “high center chest” area to cause a physical disruption to suspects trying to impose harm. Aiming for that area also creates a higher lethality rate.
He also told Fox News Digital that Biden’s advise was “anathema” to what’s recommended by professionals, and while an attacker may be scared by the sound of a gun, firing warning shots is highly reckless.
She even added this footnote: This article has been updated to clarify that Rob Pincus does not support firing warning shots.
Try getting a concession like that out of, say, CNN, the New York Times, or the Daily Beast.
In other words, Pincus knows cops are trained to shoot center mass to stop the threat, not to kill as Biden stupidly claimed. And warning shots are in fact “highly reckless,” not to mention they could also land you in jail and result in the permanent loss of your gun rights.
So…let’s all take a deep breath and move onto the next controversy, shall we?