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Earlier today, TTAG scribe Daniel Zimmeran reported that a Baltimore City Councilman told his constituents to enhance police response time by telling the 911 operator there’s a gun involved in their emergency—even when there isn’t. As the police union guy from the “City of Fists” warned (ominously enough), that’s an excellent way to get yourself shot. But it’s equally true that you should call 911 whenever you brandish you firearm. Unlike this yutz . . .

Saturday evening, a man was walking his two dogs with friends near 3000 E. Danish Road. He later told police that his dogs were spooked by fireworks and nipped a man who was walking by. That man allegedly responded by pulling out a gun and threatening the dog walker.

But after the incident was reported by the local news, the man who pulled the gun turned himself over to police and gave a different story, which detectives Wednesday said seems to be backed up by the evidence.

The gunman actually had to be treated by a doctor after the dogs knocked him to the ground and bit his leg and face, said Cottonwood Heights police detective Ryan Shosped.

“The guy was attacked by the dogs and feared for his own safety,” he said.

The dogs that were being walked were both about 70 pounds, Shosped said. One was an Australian Shepherd and the other a Blue Heeler.

“He was walking past the dog owner and the dogs jumped on his back and knocked him down,” he said.

The man had a bruise on his knee consistent with being knocked over. Shopshed said the bite on his leg was also “significant” and part of his finger tip was bitten off.

The man, in his late 60s to early 70s, was an Army veteran and had a concealed weapons permit. He pulled out a handgun and told the dog owner to get his dogs off him or he would shoot them, Shopshed said. He later told police it was the first time he had ever pulled his concealed weapon out.

This story illustrates another excellent way for a “good guy” to get shot by the cops. Civilian dials 911 and reports a nutcase with a gun threaten their beloved Fido. Cops show up with guns drawn and hearts pumping (perhaps en masse in one of those “please please please let it be for real” police SWAT teams). A legally armed citizen somehow dies of lead poisoning.

Think I’m paranoid?

Cottonwood Heights police have had several recent reports of a man pulling out a gun on people walking dogs. Shopshed said, however, that this appeared to be an isolated incident and detectives do not believe he is connected to other incidents.

In this case, the cops had plenty of evidence that the elderly Army vet (sympathy comes standard) wasn’t telling porky pies. Once they didn’t shoot him, the Utah po-po were inclined to believe his version of events. To the point where the cops “went back to the dog owner and after interviewing him, cited him for the dog bite.”

Most brandishing incidents involve two-legged perps. And most gun owners do the same thing as our canine compadre: nothing.

Most gun owners realize reporting a brandishing incident will trigger The Mother of All Bureaucratic Hassles: paperwork, interrogation, lawyer’s fees, firearms confiscation, etc. By the same token, CCW licensees figure the bad guys aren’t stupid enough to call the cops. Two and two leads them to follow Lord Humongous’ advice to Max Max: just walk away.

Nope. Don’t do it. The downside of reporting brandishing is bad. The downside of not reporting it is worse. If the perps can drop the dime on you, claiming they were attacked by a gun-wielding madman, you will be in, what’s the exact term? Deep shit.

The cops might not prosecute you, but they WILL persecute you. Innocent until proven guilty? Cue Mandarkian laugh. Unless you’re old with injuries (preferably boasting a crime-related missing body part), the cops will assume you’re a crazed vigilante. Your gun? Theirs. With the rest of your collection to follow. You know; until “we can sort things out.”

The only prudent course of action following ANY brandishing incident: dial 911. Immediately.

Don’t delegate. Give the operator your name, description and location. BRIEFLY describe who did what (e.g. I was threatened by two men at the corner of Thirty-Fourth and Vine”).

Tell the operator “I have a concealed carry license. My life was in danger. I had to draw my gun. I want to make a report.”

That’s it. Even though you were the victim and never fired your weapon, don’t forget to exercise your constitutional right to STFU. The operator will pump you for details. Only add info about the perps. NOT the sequence of events. “I can’t talk about it right now. I’m a bit shaken up. Do you want me to come in and file a report?”

Call your lawyer. Again, nada mas until the brief shows up. No report. No interview. Nothing. Brandishing in the legal sense of the word is a serious crime. If convicted, you WILL lose you ability to defend yourself with a firearm. Perhaps forever.

In short, calling 911 after a non-ballistic gun use is a major PITA. Not calling 911 after a non-ballistic gun use could get you killed. Or worse.

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  1. Whoever calls the Po Po first will usually get listed as the “victim” in the police report. Which is where you want to be. I presented my gun once in Hawaii in a road rage incident and did exactly that. I was driving onto a southbound off-ramp when a guy in a delivery truck (i.e. the kind that UPS drivers use) pulled onto the off-ramp from the shoulder without looking, causing me to swerve, fishtail, lose control, and finally drive into the grass. He then got out of his truck and started to run at me with some sort of 3 foot long pipe / bat, cursing the whole way. I got out of the car with my Glock 17, and point it down to the ground by my side so that he could see it really clearly. He immediately stopped running, shook his fist at me (as if the whole thing was MY fault… wtf?!?!) After a couple second of that, he turned around and walked back to the truck. Cell phones were not common back then, so I jumped in the car and raced to a pay phone, making sure the perp didn’t follow me. The cop came to my house, and took the report. The really odd thing was that the cop proceeded to tell me where the perp lived. How dumb was that?

    • Maybe they had problems with the guy before and thought you could take care of it. Did he wink? Slip a $20 into your hand? Did you find a gun with a filed off serial number on your doorstep the next day? Just saying, Dog the Bounty Hunter has convinced me that Hawaii is the most dangerous state.

  2. “The really odd thing was that the cop proceeded to tell me where the perp lived. How dumb was that?”

    Not dumb. The cop knew you were the good guy and that you might save him and his bros a whole mess of paperwork by suing the jerk who ran you off the road.

    The real question is, how did you get a CCW permit in Hawaii, where only 5-0 is allowed to carry?

  3. Pepper Spray People! Or, if it suits you, collapsible baton (make sure you understand the rules with that one) Obviously if Life or Limb is immenantly in danger use your gun, but you need to have something for those in between moments. Like dogs, or a-holes that want to fight you.
    Going from DefCon 5 straight to DefCon 2 doesn’t leave you with much to work with.

    • Being twenty (+) years older and wiser (and out of shape), I tend to agree with you. Back then I really just wanted to brawl with him. Unfortunately, I had a chick with me and she was screaming her head off, So I figured that I fought him I would freak her out even more and I probably wasn’t going to get laid. I figured the gun was going to be the fastest way to defuse his desire to fight.

    • If a seriously upset man charges me with a weapon in his hand, I will definitely show him my pistol. I will not take a chance that missing with a baton or just making him madder with pepper spray will end up with me beaten about the head with a deadly weapon.

    • Underline the “know the rules” part. In my state baton=club, and carrying one is the same as illegally carrying a handgun. Or an “illegal knife.”
      OTOH we’re good on pepper spray.

  4. Actually, it is a violation of police procedure, because the so-called good guy might have that “don’t even mad, get even” mentality and decide that “payback’s a bitch,” so to say, and go slash the perp’s tires out with his Gerber Mark II. Not that I would have ever done that. 🙂
    As for the CCW (or lack thereof)… um, yeah, well…. let’s just say that I was a self-described Bad Ass (combat vet, Airborne, Ranger, Air Assault qualified Army Officer) back then and I really didn’t give three sacks of shit about legal “technicalities” like a CCW. Needless to say, that overly-cavalier attitude “almost” caught up with me, but that’s a story for another day!

  5. You’re never innocent, you’re GUILTY until proven NOT GUILTY. I had always thought that you were innocent until proven guilty but I was wrong. The fool with the dogs is lucky that he doesn’t have two dead dogs.

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