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That’s definitely not something I want to experience, but I’ll certainly take Robert Eells’ word for it. Eells survived a bullet to the gut, drew his legally concealed gun, returned fire and repelled three street scum who were trying to rob him. Chalk up another one for the good guys. The Temple University student was just fortunate he wasn’t walking the two blocks to campus when he was attacked…

Because like most schools, Temple is a gun-free zone. And island of peace and tranquility in a sea of Philadelphia. So while Eells is licensed to carry, he has to leave his gun at home when heading the two blocks to campus and back. And no one needs a gun on campus, do they? As tells it:

Sophomore Robert Eells, 21, of Chalfont, Bucks County, was sitting with at least one friend in front of their home in the 2300 block of North 12th Street shortly before 2 a.m. when three assailants approached and demanded money.

When Eells failed to comply, the assailants opened fire, police said. Eells, struck in the stomach, fired a couple of rounds toward the would-be robbers, wounding one suspect, a 15-year-old boy, in the chest and a leg.

Fortunately, the famously carry-supportive Philly PD viewed the incident as a clear case of self defense.

The teenager will face charges of aggravated and simple assault, robbery, and possibly attempted murder, said police spokeswoman Tanya Little. She said Eells had a license to carry a firearm and probably would not be charged.

“As far as the investigation stands now, I don’t believe so. He was acting in self-defense,” she said. “If you do have a permit, that would be the time to use your weapon, when someone tries to rob you and shoots you,” she said.

I wouldn’t want to find out how the Philly PD would handle the same situation if the three thugs had only pulled a gun and hadn’t shot first. Maybe Eells should consider himself lucky he was shot. Stupid as that sounds.

Philly has the same issues and crime as any other big American city. Certainly the administrators at Temple, an urban campus, know that. It would be nice if they considered their students’ safety and didn’t require those who are licensed to carry a gun to disarm themselves in order to attend class.

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  1. A dear friend of mine, sadly now deceased, ignored our law school’s prohibition on campus carry. He had also survived being shot and left for dead (in New York City) and said he’d rather take his chances with a jury than with the tender mercies of an armed robber.

    Requiecsat in pace, Michael.

  2. ”If you do have a permit, that would be the time to use your weapon, when someone tries to rob you and shoots you,” said police spokeswoman Tanya Little.

    I wonder if the Philadelphia Police are trained in the “Let them shoot you first before you use your weapon” School of self defense? And do they have to actually hit you, as in Mr. Eell’s case? That would seem to be wonderful way to be sure any police use of a firearm is justifiable, right? [sarc off]

  3. Im from PA the area around temple is horrible, filled with nothing but crime. Im glad this kid stood up for himself!!

    • I got my BA from Temple. The area is not as bad as you might think. The crime rates at Penn and Drexel are usually higher even though those campuses are closer to Center City.

  4. I carry every time I have to go into Philly. Red lights and stop signs are favorite car jack locations. Never open the windows and leave an escape path around cars in front. A favorite trick is to block a street with a car and trap you. I never buy gas or anything else, just stay in the car and go where I need to go. I also take the crappier car and leave nothing on the seats in sight. Don’t even think about going to an ATM or bank.

    Hi-cap 9mm with backup .380 and extra mags. Not the biggest but still effective. There is always the .44 but it’s got a scope on it currently and hard to draw easily.

    There isn’t a safe place in the town, you could get rolled anywhere. Up 611/Broad street the neighborhood around Temple looks safe, lots of pretty college kids strolling around and riding bikes, but go a block in any direction and it’s bombed out crack houses. Temple cops aren’t going to do anything dangerous, that’s for sure.

    The Philly cops, for the most part, support carry but you better have the rules rehearsed. If you pop someone there better be a gun or knife on them and you are still going to have problems. The houses will empty and quickly you will have the locals blaming you for starting it. A shooting turns into a civil rights march real quick after one of their “little angels” gets whats coming to them. The odds are whoever is coming after you has a lengthy record but you still have to be in fear of life, left no escape, and have no choice, etc.

    Best chance you have is to scare them off since a bullet doesn’t let them off the hook and back on the street. They have strength in numbers, usually run in groups of 4 or more and sometimes bring their girlfriends. A shot to the ground is not recommended. Practice taking cover and retreating.

    Fun times.

    • “I carry every time I have to go into Philly…Hi-cap 9mm with backup .380 and extra mags…”

      I’m generally the same way; The last time I went into Philly with a group, the other members of the group were all carrying 9mm or bigger, so I wasn’t too worried about carrying my .380 (P238), as it was all that my wardrobe allowed. The last time I went into the city on my own (SEPTA), I had four loaded pistols on me — My 9mm on my hip, a .380 in each pocket, and my brother’s 9mm in a lockbox in my backpack. Once I met up with him (he had driven in from NJ, thus I had his firearms), I transferred his 9mm and .380 over to him.

      “…The Philly cops, for the most part, support carry…”

      Yes and no. I don’t know what your experience is with the PPD, but in my experience their level of professionalism, as well as their opinions on citizens carrying, varies fairly widely between districts. As I recall, the gentlemen in FIU (basement of FSB at 8th and poplar) were fairly supportive of the concept, as well as those I spoke with at SVU (IIRC); Elsewhere, I got the distinct impression that that the street cops saw themselves as a law unto themselves (18th district).

      • I know a few in the PPD and they don’t have a general problem with law abiding carrying, but still see the revolving door of justice as being a reason to fear the streets. So if one of the frequent flyers of the jails gets popped by a citizen that’s one less to deal with.

        Serving warrants on these animals is a military affair. So if a crime ends in bad guy in a bag that’s also one less problem.

  5. “…one suspect, a 15-year-old boy…”

    What? But, but, but… he’s not allowed to have a gun… Doesn’t he know that?

  6. Now now Derek, we all know the the laws of this fine government don’t pertain to the criminals and felons of this country. As you’ll notice he didn’t get charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

  7. As a fan of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA I know conclusively that the whole city is filled with dirtbags and thieves.

  8. I’d ignore the no-carry law on campus, personally. Get a pocket gun, keep it concealed and secure, and no one’s the wiser. Let the sheep huddle and cry while waiting to be shot if some maniac opens up on campus, not me.

  9. Temple University ordinarily sends out email notifications of crimes that take place on or near campus. This is their most recent bulletin.

    “A suspect has been arrested in the early morning, off-campus attempted robbery and shooting of a Temple student in the 2300 block of North 12th Street, north of Dauphin Street. Philadelphia police have charged one suspect in the case. Philadelphia and Temple police continue to investigate.

    In addition, the injured student is recovering at Temple University Hospital.”

    Notice anything missing?

    • I should add that we get these alerts frequently, but not every day. Less than once a week, maybe. As far as I can remember, they always occur in the middle of the night.

  10. I love the fear of Philly. I went to Temple as mentioned above. I also worked downtown for years. I go to concerts and restaurants all over the city. I even *gasp* fill up at a gas station in north Philly from time to time. The city is not a war zone.

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