[VIDEO] Gun Drawn During Argument At Bar: Was It Justified?


SOLVAY, NEW YORK — Cell phone video has emerged depicting a bar room altercation that could have turned extremely bad for both parties.  In the video, included in this article, a bar patron appears to be shoving his way past a woman and charging towards another man.

That man happened to be a retired police officer and in the video, he pulls his legally registered firearm on his would-be assailant.  The assailant immediately backs down and the concealed carrier leaves.  Now, depending upon where you live and how your state’s Stand Your Ground laws work, a person may have been either completely justified or criminal.  Self-defense inside a bar is an extremely tricky affair as attorney Charles Keller III pointed out in his legal advice for Syracuse News.

“If you’re going to use a gun in a bar fight. You have to be reasonably in fear for your personal safety in terms of death or serious injury,” Keller said.

Now, we’ve covered news stories before where an unarmed man attacks another man in the middle of a bar and gets shot.  It’s something that happens.  However, this is where knowledge of Stand Your Ground laws apply.  If you live in a state where that is in play, you are free to defend your life.

We don’t know the situation that presented itself prior to when this video was snapped.  I would go ahead and guess that whoever took the video had an idea an altercation was about to begin because she starts the video with a well-meaning woman trying to stop the man from charging towards the retired officer.  The retired officer may or may not have done certain things to provoke or otherwise not de-escalate a potential situation.  That will be determined in court.  However, because that retired officer used his concealed carry firearm to stop the situation, New York is likely to take issue with his actions.


“In Onondaga County concealed carry permits are carefully given out,” an attorney, Charles Keller III, said. “If he is not active law enforcement, then he’s got to have a permit for that thing.”

So, if the man defending himself in this video is not an active duty officer, he’s going to have A LOT of explaining to do.  In general, we advocate for a concealed carrier to attempt to de-escalate a situation prior to confrontation IF POSSIBLE.  IF POSSIBLE, attempt to leave.  If leaving isn’t an option and de-escalation doesn’t work, you are the ultimate decider in assessing that threat.

You, the concealed carrier, so long as you are where you ought to be, are the ultimate judge of a threat situation.  You will be held accountable for your actions by a jury of your peers — so choose wisely, know the law, and act accordingly.

Honestly, there were a lot of missing pieces in this video to determine good guy from bad guy.  Without a full picture, we’re just going to go ahead and say that the gunowner-in-question should have left the premises before it got to that point.  He’s near the exit, he had the opportunity to leave — he should have left.  Pride takes a far lower place in rank than safety and moral rectitude.

About G. Halek | View all posts by G. Halek

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun…

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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  • charlie baker

    NY law prohibits the carrying of a firearm in a bar. This guy is probably going to lose his pistol permit, which in NY state ain’t easy to come by. He could also be prosecuted for brandishing a firearm. The fact that he is a retired police officer may help his case, but the political climate regarding guns in NY being what it is nowadays, he probably ain’t gonna just skate untarnished.

    • We are not aware of any law in NY that prohibits carrying a firearm inside a bar, or any other place that serves alcohol.

      • a9cromancer

        How clear is the law as far as consuming alcohol.

        • nivekusa

          It isn’t, although any scenario where a person concealed carrying a firearm is found out to be carrying while drinking, for whatever reason (it was either used, exposed, or whatever) and the word gets back to the judge odds are the judge will revoke the permit at his/her discretion.

    • nivekusa

      Incorrect, there is no law in New York State that prohibits a permit holder from carrying a firearm in an establishment that serves alcohol.

  • robey

    I always love when people point out that someone is unarmed like that means something. The gun is the great equalizer and I wouldn’t ever want to risk my health getting in a fist fight. Sad that in the state of New York this guy will most likely be persecuted. Also pisses me off when people say well hes a cop and/or retired cop like that means they have extra rights or something.

  • Stephen Keller

    One thing is if a cop retires they do receive a concealed carry permit while others may not or turned down. The other thing is, if the retired cop was drinking then chances are he was violating the regulations. If he was not drinking then he was not violating any regs. Well generally that is what most states are but New York is a complete other animal. The retired cop did leave the building so in a way he was trying to de-escalate the situation. But if it goes to court hopefully he has all the cards in a row. The other thing that may play into this for the retired cop is even though they are retired they are still used during some situations and yes they do have extra benefits that we don’t. But again, this is the state of New York. Like California, They are their own country.