CCW Safe Podcast – Episode 92: Safe Gun Handling
CCW Safe Use of Force Expert Rob High and Firing Line Radio host Phillip Naman are joined by CCW Safe Critical Response Coordinator Gary Eastridge to discuss safe gun handling and the fundamentals of gun safety. They also discuss the issue of brandishing.
Video version of the podcast:
Justin: Welcome to the CCW Safe Podcast with Rob High and Phillip Naman.
Rob: I’d like to welcome everybody to the CCW Safe Podcast. I’m Rob High joined today with us here in the studio by our critical response team manager, Gary Estridge. Then we’ve got Phillip Naman out in California with us again. Welcome, Phil. How you, how you doing buddy?
Phillip: Doing fantastic. How about yourself?
Rob: Really good, buddy. Thank you. Want to be a little on the serious side today. We have had a pretty significant increase in some members having unintentional discharges of firearms. Most of the time these would fall into the negligent discharge category. A lot of that stuff can be handled and addressed just by heeding the four gun safety rules. The very first and foremost always is to always treat every single gun as if it’s loaded. Even if I just get done cleaning a gun, the handling of that gun stays exactly the same. I don’t make a change because I know there’s not a magazine in it or something like that.
I’ve seen guys without a magazine in their gun, not realize that they had something in the pipe and they touch it off, and all of a sudden you’re having to explain why your ears are ringing and there’s a hole in your refrigerator. I also want to make sure that I never let the muzzle of that firearm cross something that I don’t have an intent to destroy. It’s just one of those things that we always talk about safe handling and paying attention to these rules. I’ve seen seasoned gun owners, seasoned shooters make these very same mistakes. They’re always preventable.
It’s just you get a little lax and you start cutting forward from instead of going A, B, C, D E you just go, well, I go A to E. The other part of that is whether have a built-in safety on a firearm or not, you always have a safety on a firearm. Your primary safety is your trigger finger. I always keep that in a high register along the frame of the gun. I never put it inside the trigger well, or touch the trigger until I am on target and I’ve got a site picture and I know that I’ve got a safe background. Everything’s ready to go. Then I engage the trigger. It doesn’t take long to do that.
It can happen really, really fast. You watch guys that really know how to run a gun and it’s just milliseconds. Then finally to always understand and be sure what that backdrop is. Is it safe to discharge a gun over here? In the event that I go beyond that target, is there anything there that I’m going to destroy? That’s why we shoot into a pit or a berm or something like that. Go ahead.
Gary: I was just going to say, Rob, kind of touching on something that you touched on. I’m a firm believer that complacency is the cause of the vast majority of unintentional discharges. I see it we’ve seen it in law enforcement over and over by guys who handle guns every day. That it’s a tool of their trade. An academy mate of mine actually shot himself. You mentioned a hole in the refrigerator. You hope that there’s only a hole in the refrigerator.
Rob: Yes, for sure.
Gary: Not through the wall, into your neighbor’s apartment, or through yourself, or one of your family members. We had an officer who disassembling a Glock, anybody that’s own the Glock knows you have to pull the trigger to disassemble it. He got his steps out of order and ended up removing the magazine failed to clear the next round or the round in the chamber turned the gun around and the way he placed it, luckily it just was a flesh wound through the side of the stomach. Had that gun been treated as loaded and he was aware of where it was pointed it wouldn’t have happened.
Phillip: I think on the accidental or negligent discharges really is what they are. I think the bar build, you have people who are not very experienced with firearms and that trick on the Glock catches a lot of people. We hear about that quite often, in order to remove this slide, you have to depress the trigger and have it unlocked. If you’ve been negligent in clearing your gun, you’re going to get a round sense some direction which is what happened to the person you’re describing. I’ve heard many, many stories about the Glocks like that. You have one area of people who are not familiar.
The other one, as you said, is complacency the guys that shoot all the time and they make a direction– The other thing is sometimes you can get away with breaking one rule, the gentleman who shot himself with a Glock, he did not treat the gun as if it was loaded that’s one rule. He did not have it pointed in a safe direction. That was the second, the second’s what bit him personally, he may have killed his television set or a bookshelf or the refrigerator, but because he literally had the gun pointing to his body the snake bit him.
Gary: I was going to say, that’s why we emphasize not flagging each other when we’re on the range. Rob and I just had an experience up at the Big Tulsa Gun Show where we had a man that appeared to have some experience handling guns had apparently just purchased a new gun. He flagged, I think at every person in the building, Rob went over to him and said, “Hey, please, you’re pointing your gun at everybody.” His first response was, “No, I’m not.” Rob said, “Yes, you are.” Well, the second response is, “Well, it’s unloaded.” Well, this was less than an hour following a negligent discharge at a dealer’s booth 50 yards from where Rob and I were.
Phillip: No way.
Rob: I was already a little gun shy. I don’t like being on the muzzle end of a gun.
Phillip: No, there’s no reason to be there.
Justin: Something I wanted to kick in was you guys talk about complacency. Another thing I’ve seen with especially newer gun owners, or even people who’ve owned a gun for a long time, but don’t actually have a lot of experience when it comes time to shoot or handle them is a task saturation thing. When you start adding drills or they’re trying to do more than one thing at a time if you don’t have that experience of handling a gun and just having that ingrained some people call it muscle memory, whatever you want to call it. I’ve heard a lot of trainers refer to it as basically, you have those processes so ingrained if they’re running in the background.
To where you always, and if you’re around really experienced guys, it’s interesting to watch I’ve been around them in classes, or just cleaning guns in a group or something like that.
They won’t even be attention to the person, but someone will walk across where their muzzle is and you will see them dip that muzzle to make sure that person doesn’t walk in front of it. That’s just that awareness. I think for everybody, but especially people, if you’re going to your first training class or you’re taking someone else to shoot, you’re so focused on that other person and what they’re doing and that you’re telling them the right things that task saturation I’ve seen it bite a lot of people.
Gary: That’s a very good point, Justin. One of the things that I experience, I do a lot of LEOSA qualification for retired officers, and what I see a lot, especially with guys who have handled guns for decades and now they’re not going to the range regularly for qualifications is they don’t have those safety rules as ingrained. They may remember one and three but not two or you see a lack of even understanding the equipment they’re carrying. I’ve had guys with decockers that didn’t know they had to decock again after a [unintelligible 00:10:17] I think that’s a very good point. I agree with you Phil, it’s kind of a barbell, you see it with new shooters. Then especially if you’ve ever had a negligent discharge, and I will confess, I’ve had one. It was completely absolutely my fault and no one else’s.
Luckily, I followed number one. I didn’t follow number two. I made an assumption because I’d rack the slide and nothing came out that it was unloaded. When I should have checked the chamber and it was a 22 semi-automatic pistol. A lot of those require on the blowback of the action to actually help extract any shell from the chamber. Sometimes the extractors will slip off of live round and that’s what happened. Like a dummy, instead of using the decocker that this pistol had on it, I pointed it to the kitchen counter and pulled the trigger. It was really loud, I can tell you that.
Justin: I’ve got one for you so long as we’re telling ND stories. I’ve had one and it was luckily, the safest possible way you could have one. I was at a bowling pin match in the late ’90s. Nobody shoots bowling pins anymore but for those unfamiliar, what it is, is a four-by-eight table with some pins one foot back from the edge. You run it on time and you have to shoot the pins off of the table. There was three guys on the line, three tables of pins and I had just got a new 1911 compensated 45-pin gun that was built to shoot these pins.
It had about a 2-pound trigger in it and I was super excited. I’m up there and what they would do before you did your run is you could go up and you could take sight pictures across the pins. Then you would put the muzzle on the table and then they would start everybody and you would all shoot. What I had always done in the past is with a 1911 safety on so I would just take up the slack on the trigger with safety on, terrible practice, but I’d gotten away with it. You see how accidents are a chain of things.
Rob: Wait, a second here. I’ve shot your 1911, there’s no slack on that trigger.
Justin: Not anymore. I’m taken up so I go up. As I’m taking up the slack and taking up the slack and I see this beautiful sight picture. All of a sudden it was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in my life is that gun went off and everybody looked at me. It was a beautiful shot pin swept right off the table. What had happened was, this guy had a different thumb safety was much lighter. As I was going across, I wasn’t paying attention. I had disengaged with thumb safety. I could still tell you everything about that moment and it was over 25 years ago.
Gary: The outcome of that was very embarrassing for you I’m sure and especially in front of a bunch of other shooters.
Phillip: Oh yes.
Gary: I worked a case or had some involvement in it. It was actually worked by another agency where a young man had a 1911. He had just bought it that day. He was an Air Force airman. He’s in his apartment and he’s got this new 1911. He’d load it and put it up on the shelf. He get it down and he would unload it. He would dry fire a little bit and he repeated this about three or four times and he was just having fun with it, got casual.
Picks it up his dry fire turned into a wet fire and it went through the wall. The sad thing is about two days later he hadn’t seen his neighbor and he went to the maintenance man and said, “Hey, have you seen Mrs. Whatever her name was?” They forced entry and found her dead was this 230-grain ball struck her in the temple. This young man serving his country, a good person is that he’s out by now but ended up going to prison for manslaughter.
Justin: Complacency man.
Gary: There’s nothing like a wake-up call and hopefully, no one is hurt. Unfortunately, according to statistics I read researching for this podcast, about 400 people a year die in the United States from negligent discharges, or unintentional discharges, the vast majority are which are negligent.
Phillip: The majority of those are family members because these happen at home.
Gary: Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that along with our Second Amendment right, comes a tremendous moral responsibility to do no harm to someone that is not trying to harm us. Whether it’s you mentioned family members, storing that firearm safely, handling that firearm safely. If you’re married and have two or three children running around the house, the likelihood of a tragic outcome to a negligent discharge goes up tremendously.
Rob: Justin had mentioned adding things in and building other skill sets or factors and problems into your training and it gets you out of that rhythm. One of the ones that I always saw with new recruits, and it was the thing I always look for with them. You finish a course of fire commands given unload and holster, in every weapon, lock the slide to the rear, visually and physically check the gun.
I know it seems silly, but it’s like the 22, you’re talking about-
Justin: In the house.
Rob: -I want you to do that for me. I don’t care if you can see that it’s clear. I can’t see if you’re the third person down on my line. I want to see that finger go in and yes, and then I dropped the slide and holster. The one that I would see kids do, especially if you’re shooting and calling a cease before they’ve run dry is I’ve seen so many kids, slingshot that slide drop the magazine, it can go to a holster. It’s like guys, you just put a hot gun away.
Gary: Actually, that’s what happened when my friend that was cleaning his Glock. What he did was he wrapped it first to remove the round from the chamber then removed his magazine. We all know what that does.
Rob: Well, it’s really important that you establish your checklist, whether that’s a mental checklist, or something that you have with your stuff as you’re going to break your gun down or whatever that I can do with 0.1, 0.2. 0.3, 0.4. This is how I break my gun down. All makes and models have different ways to take them down. The one we talked about specifically is the Glock because it’s the one we issued to recruits for so many years. It was the first semi-auto gun [crosstalk]–
Phillip: Everybody has one.
Rob: It’s a huge selling gun. You have to depress that trigger and otherwise, you’re not going to be able to take the slide off the frame. It’s just the way it’s put together.
Phillip: One of the other thing is chicks dig scars. They don’t dig ND scars. As a matter of fact [unintelligible 00:18:52]
Gary: Are you sure you don’t have to explain how you got that scar?
Justin: I got one interesting story. We had Jamie Caldwell is a friend of ours and we had him out here for a class. Jamie was in delta for, I don’t know, 15, 16, 18 years, something like that. In that unit, if you have an ND no matter where no matter when there are no excuses, you’re gone. You’re out of the unit. I noticed when he would clear his pistol he would rack the slide multiple times quickly.
I had seen other people do that but the other people I had seen do that I think were doing it more for effect. Then I never did hear a reason to do that until I talked to Jamie about it. I asked him I said, “Why do you do that?” He said the reason he does that is he seen guys forget to drop the mag so they’ll go to– they’re done whatever they’re going to do. They task saturation, whatever, they forget to drop the mag, they rack the slide. Bang. I’ve seen that happen in USPSA matches many times because at the end of the stage, the commands are unload show clear. So you’re supposed to unload rack the slide check clear. You confirm to the RO that it’s clear. They’ll say slide forward, hammer down, holster. Guys get in a hurry, and I’ve seen guys unload and show clear, they rack the slide, they let it go, they point it and drop the hammer, bang their day’s done. His thing was if that happened and you did not drop the mag by racking that three or four times real quick, it’s impossible to miss a reign of brass coming out of your gun. That’s exactly what it would look like going that fast. It’s just like a big thing fireworks going off in front of your face and it made a lot of sense, so something to think about.
Gary: Yes, and we talked the same thing on the tactical unit and I do that as a matter of routine. Speaking of routines to offer some guidance on how to avoid a negligent discharge, you have to build those routines in gun handling. Anybody that’s ever watched me on the range. As soon as I go on the range my trigger finger I exaggerate it and pull it out to the side. Once the gun’s in my hand, if I’m not shooting, I go to the high register, but I mentally, as soon as I walk onto the range, I start thinking finger off the trigger, finger off the trigger, finger off the trigger, and I go through a mental refresher almost of those safety rules.
If you practice those disciplines and develop those habits of gun handling, and then apply those four basic rules of safe gun handling, you have mitigated the chance of harm significantly. You’ve mitigated the chance of a negligent discharge significantly let alone the chance to harm.
Phillip: I just took a course this weekend with the guys from Field Craft, Tyson, and Nick out here in California. One of the guys actually teaches at the academy for the CHP. He’s their handgun instructor, but 18 other guys on the range out there, and you can see the different levels, and right off the bat, it seems like a giant pain in the rear. Every course you go to the first hour is safe debriefing over and over and over again. This is a higher-level class where everybody should be associated with that, but they have to cover their backs.
As I’m watching the groups shoot, you got guys moving station to station figuring the trigger, why? Because they’re performing, “Okay, here’s the [unintelligible 00:23:07].” We’re going to call threat. You draw your weapon, you run to this barricade, you do this, you do that, you reload here they’re making up these drills and the guys are focused on the drill but forgetting the basics right off the bat. Rob, I see him, I see Rob getting– how many thousands of times did you see that on the range, [crosstalk] they get focused on something else and they drop the basics.
Gary: Well, again, that gets back into that complacency to me. When you hear that first safety briefing, you’re almost wanting to take notes the 400th time you’ve heard it it’s going in one ear and out the other but if you have developed in your range sessions, this almost a habit of how you’re going to handle that firearm. I try to, if I grip a firearm, pick it up to clean it, move it, carry it, whatever I grip it the same way every time, and like I say, I exaggerate the finger out when the gun’s in my hand I put the finger on at high register.
Phillip: Another thing that couldn’t happen shooting multiple styles of firearms maybe you started with the Glock then you moved to the Walther, and now you’re on the Sig, or now you’re, Justin, Staccato, but everything’s got different manipulations. How many rounds do you have with each of those firearms, that familiarity is important.
Gary: That’s why those basic principles are so important because those four safety rules apply regardless of the platform and if you’ve developed that handling, there’ll be different techniques or mechanisms that you have to manipulate with a Glock versus a 1911 but if you’re practicing that finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, it don’t matter if it’s a Glock or 1911, most modern firearms are not going to go off on their own.
Rob: Well, and we’re talking about something that can cause tremendous injury or death. It’s not like I’m a painter and if I get a little lax and I spill paint I can go back and clean it up or maybe I ruin something that’s not a big deal.
Phillip: You can’t paint outside the lines with the firearm.
Rob: No, that’s exactly the thing. It’s just one of those that these things are so important for the safety of the handler or anybody else that’s in the vicinity. It’s just a critical task. Let’s go ahead and take a quick break. We’ll hear from Don West real quick and we will be right back. Thank you.
Don West: Hi, I’m Don West, National Trial Counsel for CCW Safe and a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer. The financial cost of defending a self-defense case involving serious injury or death may surprise you. I know this firsthand from personal experience, attorney’s fees alone can be several hundred thousand dollars, but that’s not all you need money and plenty of it for private investigators, expert witnesses, and of course, to pay the bail bond company so you can get out of jail.
All this could easily add up to $400,000 or $500,000 or more, especially if it’s a high-profile case. Without the money you need to put on your best defense, you’re at a terrible disadvantage to an aggressive prosecutor and consequently, you have a greater risk of being wrongfully convicted. That’s why CCW Safe doesn’t put limits on attorney’s fees or trial expenses like most other plans do. When comparing companies take a minute, read the fine print, you can be confident that with CCW Safe, the money will be there when you need it.
Rob: Welcome back.
Phillip: Yes. With Don West. It’s interesting because you never want to have to use him, but if you have to use somebody, you want to use him.
Gary: I enjoy every time I get to sit down and visit with Don, but to go along with what he said, those same expenses, if you accidentally shoot your neighbor or accidentally shoot a family member, those same expenses are going to apply and it was an accident doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight in a court of law. They assume that if you are going to take the– exercise your right to possess a firearm, you’re going to have to do it with safety in mind and concern for others.
Don: Hi I’m Don West.
Justin: Sorry, my bad guys. I screwed up. Go ahead, Phillip, what were you going to say there?
Phillip: Well, is there a standard of competence that you’re required to have in a court of law? Obviously, we want to have as many people carry as possible. We have done nothing, but say get trained, train all the time, we still train all the time. 20, 30 years into shooting careers. You’re still training all the time, but is there a standard of expertise in the law that’s required of a gun owner or handler?
Gary: Reasonable would be the only standard that I’m familiar with. If you’re handling a gun in a reasonable manner but if the problem is, if you have a negligent discharge most likely you were not handling it in a reasonable manner, it’s almost prima facie evidence of negligence if there’s a bad result.
Justin: I just wanted to touch on one thing before you move on to brandishing and it goes back to the gun handling thing and we actually talked about it last week, Rob and Phil. That is one of the most dangerous things I see constantly is reholstering and that’s something that I think people there’s that famous video of the guy holstering in 1911 and, “Oh, I shot myself.”
Rob: 10 million views, he’s famous now. [laughs]
Justin: Yes. That’s happened a lot.
Gary: Yes. Absolutely.
Justin: Just to me especially if I’m running inside the waistband, I clear the garment, make sure there’s nothing in the way, look the gun into the holster, make sure your finger’s straighten off the trigger. Make sure there’s nothing impeding that’s going to get caught in there. Clocks are real bad for that, that if anything gets between that holster and that trigger guard and you push down four and a half, five pounds of pressure that going to go off.
Gary: I had another good friend on the police department following a drug raid, reholstering, got his finger in the trigger guard. The act of re-holstering his finger contacted the holster which put pressure against the trigger. He shot himself. He had a long recovery. He didn’t have long-term effects from it once he recovered, but he could have been much more tragic.
I want to point out something real quick. There is a great article written by Steve Moses that we shared back in July of 2019. If you go to the news section on our website, it’s called 12 Reasons why Negligent Discharges Happen and he talks about reholstering. I think statistically that’s one of the highest probabilities events for a negligent discharge is reholstering.
Phillip: I’ve been experimenting with a few different holsters and it’s interesting to me, I’ve got one for a CZ97, but the design on the kit X that goes against your body is narrow. I don’t know if he’s trying to cut weight or make it look nice or something like that, but it’s narrow and I’ve seen as I’ve gone, just like my t-shirt get snagged between the gun and the holster on that particular model. It’s like, “Man I like the way that holster felt, but this is a disaster waiting to happen, especially that 97. It’s a single action double action or double action, single action.”
Anyway, it could be a really bad issue, but I’ve seen that, that particular design, and so this is something that when you get your holster when you figure out your rig, you need to with a dry gun, practice reholstering see if it has those issues. If you’re reholstering 20 times and four times you have that, throw that thing away, it’s not for you. Whatever reason, your body type, the angle you’re carrying it at. It’s going to give you an issue, put it on eBay, send it down the road to somebody else, but don’t carry something that has shown an effect that could be detrimental to your health.
Gary: That’s why most professional firearms instructors will inspect your holster and make a determination whether you can use it or not. Cops, I was one for a long, long time, cops tend to be cheap and they don’t want to spend top dollar on something unless they can get a discount. I’m guilty.
Phillip: Always want a discount.
Gary: To show up at a range with a swayed holster that you have to dig with the muzzle of the gun to reholster is just– Spend $50 instead of $5 for a holster, and you lower your risk of self-injury or potential civil and criminal liability.
Rob: Yes, absolutely. Moving forward, Phil and I have touched on this multiple times the responsibility that we were talking about earlier of carrying a firearm is tremendous. One of the things I like to tell guys that say, “Yes, I’m going to start carrying.” That’s great. I love that you’re going to do that. Make sure you got the right equipment, make sure you have proper training, and learn to check your emotions.” You don’t have the right to respond emotionally anymore. That’s what gets so many guys tied up and in trouble. The fact that I have a firearm and Phil talked about Justin last week.
Justin is a big man. He could be physically imposing. He could be intimidating if you don’t know him, he’s a great guy, but all of a sudden I got this mountain of a man and I’m scared to death and something emotional has happened here. Just the fact that I’m afraid of this guy or intimidated, does not mean that now’s the time for me to raise my shirt up and start going. “I got a gun.” That firearm is not for you to scare somebody with. I use a firearm because I’m afraid I’m going to die if I don’t put it into action outside of that–
Phillip: You have to stop an action. You’re using your firearm to stop an action. It’s not a shield hide behind-
Phillip: -because you’re here.
Rob: Before we came on today, Phil was asking a question referencing what is brandishing? We always tell you guys, it’s really critical that you understand the laws where you live. Brandishing is one of those things that is so vastly different depending on where you live in the country. Like I was just talking about, I get intimidated. I’m afraid something’s going to happen and I raise my shirt up real quick, “I got a gun.” In some places that act alone is brandishing
Gary: And felony in many states.
Rob: A felony that’s right. It can be aggravated assault because I’m using a firearm. The other end of that is if I’m doing it because I think it might scare them away. Number one, I don’t know if he’s armed as well, and all of a sudden he really knows how to use his stuff, and I’ve made this threat with a firearm and now I am in a gunfight.
Phillip: Not only that, but you’re on the wrong end because–
Rob: You’re the aggressor.
Phillip: When the dust settles, the officer’s going to say, “Why did you shoot him?” Says, “He pulled up his gun and threatened me. What was I going to do?”
Rob: Yes. I cannot be the initiator of that violent action and expect to go in front of a jury and go, “But I was defending myself.” No, you weren’t, you were afraid, and you started that action. You started the thing in motion. That’s the thing that we have to be cognizant of and understand. I’ll back down to anybody, I don’t need to prove myself. I don’t need to fight. I’ve done that in my life. I’m perfectly okay with conceding and telling you that. “Yes, you’ll probably mop the floor with me.”
Gary: Call me any name you want.
Rob: Yes. I back down. Yes, you win.
Phillip: If you know, Rob, folks, it’s really good for the other guy that he backs down. The other guy will walk straighter a lot longer than if he actually stepped up to Rob. Rob, you’re helping him live a long and fruitful life by backing down. That’s the way that works. Maybe we could break it down into a couple things when you’re carrying, everybody wants anachronism. Something like there’s three different Ts.
You need to have your technique. You need to be able to get competent with your firearm. That’s what everybody trains, is being competent with their firearm. It’s all the range time, is hitting zeros, hitting the silhouettes. Loading. The other thing is tactics, maybe you should plan better than to go to downtown at two o’clock in the morning to fill up your gas tank.
Gary: Or in the day of the protest.
Phillip: Yes. Exactly. Your tactics are your awareness and putting yourself in harm’s way or not is a good tactic. The other one is the temperament. That’s what we’re talking about here. If you are carrying a firearm, it is your responsibility to check yourself. If you got under hands-on scuffle over a parking space, because the other guy just wouldn’t back down that’s one thing, but if you’re in a hands-on scuffle because there’s issues and you’re carrying a gun, and this other guy is like Justin the mountain and he disarms you, that’s a whole–
You really need to be meek and mild while you’re carrying your firearm because the use of that firearm is going to change your life materially one way or the other. Well, it’s going to change it materially. If you have CCW Safe, you might survive that, if you don’t, you’re in a world of hurt, even though you saved your life and you did the right thing. An aggressive DA, there’s so many factors that can go against you, and it comes down to, A, it was the parking lot, the guy screaming at you over the parking, you took his space, or whatever. It’s like, “You know what? Hey, I apologize, man.” “Hey, let me get you a cup of coffee,” whatever. “I didn’t see you. I really apologize. I’m going to back out or back out,” and the guy who says, “No, it’s all right it’s fine.”
Justin: I was thinking about this very thing the other day. When I was younger–
Phillip: Would you hurt that guy [unintelligible 00:40:11] in the parking lot.
Justin: No, but I’ve been in some of those incidents, some of which ended up visible, a long time ago. I thought about the stuff I had seen personally, some of the other larger high-profile events that turned from nothing into somebody spending the rest of their life in prison. I thought about, I couldn’t think of any where if the person would have just left, shut up, don’t engage, just realize what you’re on the edge of and just leave, just leave. I’m not saying, I’m not talking about if somebody tries to rob you, and just giving them all your stuff. I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about parking lot altercations, and road rage, the only time I’ve pointed a gun at anybody in real life, was a road rage situation where a guy chased me down and blocked my car off, close I’ve ever come to shooting somebody. I almost shot him. He got out, saw I had a gun pointed at him. Because I didn’t have anywhere else to go at that point. My car was blocked. In my mind, his act of blocking my car with his vehicle, and basically running me off the road was the initiation of force. I made up my mind like I had my gun ready. I said if this guy comes out of the car with a gun I’m shooting, and luckily, I call the cops after that happened, told them about it. They came out and they were like, “Well, okay.”
Gary: Which is a whole nother issue that we can devote a podcast to is if it’s worth pulling your gun, it’s worth calling the police, it’s worth calling 911.
Phillip: It’s defensive.
Gary: To go along with what you’re talking about the parking lot altercation, stand your ground is not an order. That’s not an edict that you must follow. Stand your ground gives you a legal right when other options are starting to fade. There are times where you shouldn’t stand your ground. You should just avoid, leave.
Justin: If you can just leave yes, that’s it. You won that situation.
Gary: You want the parking space, take the parking space. I’ll find another.
Phillip: It’s ego, right? Nobody wants to– like see your wife stare you don’t want to be the guy who backs down somebody else friend’s wife, maybe the wife saying, “You’re going to take that from him?” All those things [crosstalk]–
Gary: Our COO, Stan Campbell, has a saying that don’t do anything with that firearm that you wouldn’t do without that firearm. Don’t let that be your courage to go, “No, that is my parking place.” You need to almost practice the opposite. A lot more giving so you can avoid that potential outcome is that–
Phillip: Let them have the parking space when he goes in the store go out there let the air out the tires.
Gary: There you go. Don’t cut up.
Phillip: Don’t cut up, don’t injure the tire.
Gary: Absolutely. Is that parking space worth spending the next two years in criminal civil or both litigation and then substantially–
Phillip: That’s if you win, right? You’re in that litigation, you’re in that nightmare of the unknown and dealing with the legal system and you’re in a nightmare that’s if you win, it’s only a few years. It’s the rest of your life if you’re found guilty.
Gary: There’s very few wins in a court of law. If you’ve ever noticed on a criminal case, both sides are generally unhappy. One side says there was not enough, the other side said there was too much or something like that, there isn’t a win. There’s a win– if there is a win, it’s at a tremendous cost, financial, restrictions on your freedom Steve Maddux after his incident, spent two years on an ankle monitor only allowed to go from home to work and back, that was it. I enjoy doing things too much to spend two years of my life under court restrictions.
Justin: One other thing I wanted to bring up was, that this is the way I’ve started looking at this thing. If you look at these incidents like we do, and you research them, and you watch all the videos, many times it is– Sometimes it’s, forgive my language, but it’s a case of when assholes collide and you just get to people that have issues happen to meet at the same time and place, things spin out of control. Other times, you will see you have– I think we’ve all seen this in our lives, maybe know, some of these people, these people that always seem to have bad things happened to him always seem to be in dramatic situations and there’s one constant in all of these situations, and it’s that person, I’ve made up in my mind after seeing it over the years, that as soon as you get away from that person, whatever it takes to get away from them, your life becomes much easier.
That means if you run into that, and you start looking at people like that yes, it’s judging or classifying whatever you want to call it, but I call it preservation. If you get into something with someone, and you have that sense in your mind, right when it starts, like someone’s confrontational with you, or you can tell this person is not rational, do whatever it takes to get out there. Leave, you don’t let it escalate, because they want to escalate it, they’re looking for that.
Gary: Don’t fan those fires. How many times have you seen people get into a road rage incident, and then immediately start, given the one-finger salute, and bright checking, and that sort of thing? Disengage, fall back, speed forward, and do something to get away from that person.
Rob: Take the next turn.
Gary: Take the next exit.
Justin: The thing that I’ve told myself is because it’s hard man to– that really you have to– you want or any normal person wants to rare up, and everybody’s got pride and ego. The way I look at it is, I’ve seen long enough that the world generally takes care of those people, you don’t have to do it, their life is pretty bad in the first place, which is why they are the way they are. It’s like, I’m not going to let that impact my life and make my life like their life. That’s just something to think about.
Rob: One of the other things I want to want to touch on, Gary had mentioned it earlier is, if you’ve not been able to disengage, you’ve not been able to get away from whatever, be the one to call and notify the police. Be the one that is the responsible reporting person in the altercation to whatever degree it went. It’s way better than the other guy getting down the road and calling in. Then next thing police are showing up at your door because the guy happened to get a picture of you and your tag or whatever else and now you’ve got explaining to do.
It’s way easier to get ahead of that. That being said, if you have one of those incidents, it is not a big deal to go ahead and take that next step and notify us whatever major or minor conflict you are involved in. If it’s not something where somebody is gravely injured or dying, it’s not emergent. Call into support, they’ll get everything patched through to us and we can start working on that. It makes things so much more difficult when all of a sudden it’s a weekend, and suddenly the police are showing up and maybe making an arrest.
All of a sudden, it’s like, “Oh yes, I need my wife to call CCW Safe. I probably need their help now.” It’s like, we could have been far ahead of this and maybe cut some of that off, if we’d had some understanding beforehand. I don’t know if it’s the fear of you’re going to be in trouble or something but give us the heads up, so that we can at least start looking into the incident and formulating a response if there’s going to be one.
Gary: It shows it shows reasonableness on the part of you as a member. If you call 911 and say, “Hey, it’s not a big deal, but this guy’s driving like a maniac, he cut me off he tried to engage me I disengaged.” If something happens down the road. Your actions are viewed as reasonable, that you followed the steps. Whereas if you, “Oh, I was scared for my life.” “Did you call 911?” “Well, no.” “How scared were you then?”
Rob: The other thing, that 911 call is a recorded conversation-
Gary: And documented.
Rob: -and it’s documented, and that’s part of the history. That’s part of backing up your claim right then, so it’s a big deal.
Phillip: Maybe one day we should do a show on when to engage too. Right? So the other day here in Southern California, I’m coming off the freeway and of course there’s a free range felon, troll underneath the bridge standing there with a machete. Now I’m in my car and door’s locked and I have access to leave so I’m like, “Man, this is not a good thing.” So I just dialed 911 as I drove away, gave description and said, “Go have fun guys. You got to free-range felon run around with a machete down there underneath the freeway overpass.” I had zero call to engage in that, right? There was zero purpose for me to ever get out of the car and do anything other than just report that anyway. I’m just saying, you need to know when to get engaged and when to leave.
Rob: Well and a call like that is something that’s really almost insignificant, but it may be the thing that you get a patrol guy that’s close that swings by and he goes ahead and makes contact with the guy and he may have just saved something critical from happening.
Phillip: I don’t think he was harvesting bananas or coconut.
Gary: The when to engage question is the million dollar question that’s– brandishing is our top claim by far.
Gary: We routinely get questions, if this happens can I do, can I shoot? Can I draw? Can I do this? The situation’s going to define when you can and it’s for us, we’re not able to tell you, “Well at this point no, but now at this point yes.” That reasonableness standard comes back in, would a reasonable person in your situation feel that that was a imminent threat of great bodily injury or death? If the answer to that is yes then you’ve acted in accordance with the law. If the answer to that is no, you’re facing potential brandishing or possibly worse depending on the health situation.
Phillip: Like in that situation, if I was walking on the sidewalk and he crosses over the street and starts coming towards you, that’s a whole different thing. You don’t have access, especially with a bad leg. You’re not going to outrun anybody. Maybe we should look at that later, but very good.
Rob: Well, we thank you guys for joining us again. It’s always an honor to get to speak with you. As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, you can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate you guys tuning in and we look forward to seeing you again next week. See you, Phil.
Phillip: Have a great week, guys.