This is a discussion on Robber "showing" a gun within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I read a short article in the paper last Sunday where it said that a man (robber) walked into a gas station / convenience store, ...
I read a short article in the paper last Sunday where it said that a man (robber) walked into a gas station / convenience store, "showed the cashier a gun", and demanded money.
This caused me to wonder exactly what was meant by "showing" the gun? What's more does the manner of showing effect whether or not the conditions of justifiable lethal force have been met? For example, if the robber had it stuck in the waistband of their pants and pulled back their shirt or jacket, does this brandishing place you in immediate jeopardy or is it akin to having a gun in a holster?
To me, the action makes an implied threat of death as a means of coercion, making it a lethal threat, but could/would a DA argue differently?
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There was intent, when he made a demand and threatens to use force that makes it justifiable
Showing the gun is a direct threat to the life of the employee, and you since bullets ricochet and you are there as well and you are that thing that starts with a W. He may still decide to do it even if you comply because you are witnesses. That only leaves you one choice.
That's sort of like your enemy driving his tank up over a hill and turning as he comes over the top and just sort of casually points his barrel at you.
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Which is why we are required to conceal our carry. Just the show of the gun is a threat. In my state such an act can get you charged with assault with intent. Yeah...flash your gun at me and you just gave me reason to believe that my life is in danger. Self-defense justified.
As I said above, to me the threat is obvious in that being shot is implied as a consequence, placing you in imminent danger. In many ways, this is similar to the some arguments that I've read to the justification of lethal force against rape: that the threat of harm is sufficiently implied. I am curious if an alternate case can be made, that says this isn't sufficient on the robber brandishing.
I am with y'all. That is intent. Why else would he show it? My life is in danger and I will protect myself.
"Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" ~ Mark Twain
Last edited by tcox4freedom; August 14th, 2012 at 01:26 PM.
Self-defense, or technically the defense of justification, is a defense to a charge of brandishing, “If there is substantial evidence in a case involving a charge of exhibiting a dangerous and deadly weapon in a rude, angry and threatening manner that the defendant acted in self-defense, it is incumbent on the trial court to submit an instruction on that defense to the jury…”
State v Ruffin, 535 S.W.2d 135 (Mo. App St. Louis Dist 1976) at 137.
While deadly force can only be used to meet the threat of deadly force, the threat implied by brandishing is justified by a low level threat. “When a person has reasonable cause to apprehend on the part of another a design to inflict a great personal injury, and there was reasonable cause for him to apprehend immediate danger of such design being accomplished he is justified, and has the right, ‘to avert such apprehended design,’ and in proper circumstances the right of attack may be essential to the right of self-defense.”
Riffin subpra at 137-8 quoting State v Daugherty, 196 S.W.2d 627 (Mo. 1946).
If the bad guy brandishes a weapon and orders me to turn around, get out, lie down or anything in a threating way implied that he or she will use that weapon...ie, imminent danger. The result is a legal justification for use of deadly force in my defense. If I have the opportunity to defend myself I will. I won't be thinking, "maybe he won't shoot me if I just do as he says." Why else would I carry a firearm for self-defense?
As for the specific state law that charges assualt..I am looking it up. It was in the material in my CCW class taught by two retired Detectives. But note this: in many states it is a felony to brandish a gun.
Reality: ability to commit the violence is clear, from the lethal weapon; the opportunity to commit the violence is clear, from the proximity; and the jeopardy is clear, from the "or else" death threat issued or strongly implied by the actions. That pretty much seals it, from the standpoint of imminent legitimate threat of loss of life or crippling injury, in my book.
Could an enterprising DA seek to go after it? Sure, particularly if there's a body and the presumed victim still left standing, and very much so if it turns out the one that had been making the death threats turns out to have had no lethal weapons on him when he's searched. Is it likely? It's less likely if all the pieces fall into place, if you've got video/witness evidence that you're clearly the GG and the BG was engaging in clear deadly threats. It's more likely if such corroborating evidence is lacking.
Though, in the scenario you painted (station attendant, customer, and very possibly video evidence showing the threatening behavior), I'd say it's highly unlikely the situation would be seen for anything other than what it really was: a deadly threat that fully justified every single action on the part of the intended victim to survive it.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Jon Gutmacher a few years back. He's the author of Florida Firearms Law, Use & Ownership. I asked him this exact question. Under Florida law, he told me you would be considered justified.
I'd think he was just showing you his nice gun and his slick Mexican-carry style. Give him a thumbs-up and tell him you gave at the office...
"Historical examination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof that the right to bear arms has consistently been, and should still be, construed as an individual right." -- U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, Re: U.S. vs Emerson (1999)