Joe, and avid reader of Concealed Nation, reached out with a scenario that happened to him not that long ago. He’s wondering, based on the situation below, what line must be crossed in order to make the decision to draw your firearm?
Here’s what happened:
Have a question for you: today I was involved in an incident while driving. I gave a bad look and uttered a few words to myself as I passed a young driver whom had moments before, cut me off. To my surprise, the kid driving the car ended up behind me (must have taken a smaller side that wasn’t much of a shortcut). I continued to mind my own business and proceed with driving. He passed me in the center lane of a 4 lane highway, and managed to cut I between the car length in front of me. He then slammed on his brakes a few times til we had both reached a dead stop. At this moment I became highly alert, especially after the kid had stopped me along with a group of other cars behind my vehicle. He stepped foot out of his vehicle and started to approach my card river window yelling and asking me if I had a problem (mind you this was taking place in the left lane of moving traffic). As a concealed licensed carrier, what are my responsibilities and when does it come time to make that decision on drawing my weapon in defense?? It is ironic, because hours ago today I had just enrolled in a PA Law Shield gun owners course. Any advice?? Thank you for your time!
First, let’s look at when you can draw your firearm. If you feel that grave bodily harm or death is about to come say hello to you, you’d have a right to defend yourself with your firearm. Of course this could be determined by the DA or a jury of your peers, but that’s the ultimate rule with lethal self-defense.
In this particular case, there are a few ways that this could go. Actually, there are a million, but we’ll just look at a few.
Scenario 1: The guy comes up to your window and starts yelling.
If this happens, there really isn’t anything going on besides an angry person letting you know that he’s pissed. Window up, and try to drive away if you can. If not, stay in your car and call 911. Keep cool and hopefully the dude will just get tired and leave.
No reason to draw your firearm.
Even if he’s yelling “I WILL F***IGN KILL YOU” but not touching my car (we’re assuming the window is up), I’d make sure I have a swift and quick access to my firearm, but I wouldn’t produce it.
Scenario 2: The guy comes up to your window and smashes it with a crowbar.
Ok, now dynamics have changed. Can a crowbar be considered a deadly weapon? Uh, yea. One swift swing to the head and you’re done. Or at least knocked out. If someone is approaching you with a crowbar, baseball bat, etc., that would likely warrant your drawing of your pistol.
And if he’s smashed your window, you’ll likely be scared for your life, as normal angry people don’t go destroying property that you’re sitting in.
Reason to draw your firearm.
Scenario 3: The guy is coming towards you, but you’re able to drive away.
Then, just drive away. Maybe even call 911 to report the incident. Did you get the plate number? Oh good! This will be useful information.
In the end, the dynamics of each situation will vary greatly. You also have to consider disparity of force. Are you 130 lbs and the guy is a body builder at a lean 220 lbs, and he’s banging on your window that looks like it’s on the brink of shattering? If it breaks, who knows that he’s thinking of doing next.
If you’re in fear for your life or severe injury, a force multiplier is usually an acceptable response.
What about you? What lines would have to be crossed before you draw your firearm in a similar situation?