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Who should call the police when a gun is drawn?

Who should call the police when a gun is drawn?


Let’s say that you’re out for a walk with your concealed handgun on your person. You’re minding your own business, enjoying the fresh air and the pretty flowers, when suddenly someone with a knife jumps out from behind a parked car.

You’ve trained for this kind of ambush attack (at least, we hope you have) and your instinctive reactions give way to the learned, intuitive response you’ve practiced: you move laterally as you draw your gun.

As you do so your attacker, being not well educated but having a great knowledge of self-preservation, simply runs away (hopefully soiling his undergarments in the process.) You can’t see anyone else around, and as far as you know the only people who are aware of this little encounter are you and the bad guy. No harm, no foul.

Should you call the police and report the man with the knife, or just holster your gun and go about your business?

My position is that you should make great effort to call the police as close to ‘immediately’ as is safely possible. I’ve talked to many police officers over the years and they all tell me that the first person to report a crime is almost always viewed as the victim; perpetrators, being de facto criminals, are loathe to get involved with law enforcement in any capacity and thus are seen as unlikely to involve the police.

You and I, being generally law abiding citizens, believe that our innocence shines like a beacon in the night. Unfortunately our halos aren’t visible to responding officers, and if the guy with the knife is savvy enough to get back at your mean-spirited interference with his making a living by calling the cops you’ll have some explaining to do. The same is true for the witness you didn’t see, but saw you pull your gun without noticing the knife in your attacker’s hand.

Like it or not, the first person to call establishes his or her credibility as the victim (or worse, the witness does that for them.) Responding officers will likely proceed on a course of action based on that assumption, which means they’ll assume you’re the bad guy. That is, at least as long as it takes for them to figure things out, which might involve a ride to a detention cell while that happens.

The situation is even more critical when shots have been fired. It’s imperative the you establish your position of ‘victim’, which is more easily done when you’re the person to reach 911 first.

Part of your training should be to pull out your phone and call 911 after you’ve successfully resolved a situation (whatever that resolution may be.) What to actually say to the dispatcher? That’s another article for another time!

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On February 11, 2014

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