February 6th, 2008 09:43 AM
I've read stories and seen videos where stores were robbed and the person behind the counter pulled a gun and shot the bad guy, and they were in the right doing so.
An ethical question came up the other day when talking with a friend. If you are in a store, minding your own business, and a guy comes in and points a gun at the clerk to rob the store, what do you do? In this situation you are off to the side or behind the BG and not in direct line of fire, and the BG hasn't noticed or been affected by your presence in the store.
My friend feels you should take cover, draw your weapon, yell "freeze put down your weapon" and let the BG make the move. I think this would be unnecessarily putting yourself in harms way...perhaps you're stopping a robbery and potential killing, or perhaps you're just putting yourself in the position to get yourself and the clerk killed if things don't go well(escalating the situation?). I think the right thing to do would be to take cover, draw(to be ready), and dial 911. But does anyone feel you have an obligation to protect the store clerk from being shot, or only yourself...some would come to their aid(personal choice). But I'm sure we would all feel like crap if the clerk got shot and we could have done something about it....but is it worth it? I think both approaches are right in some ways. What does everyone think?
February 6th, 2008 10:45 AM
NY State law is very clear: You must be in clear, immediate danger of bodily harm. I think I would retreat, take cover, and call 911. I would also have the weapon ready to go, just in case. But I don't think I would attempt an interception... leave that up to the LEO's.
That said, if the BG does fire his/her weapon, then the situation has radically changed, and you are probably now in imminent danger, as the BG escalated the situation. I would not shoot in the back, but if the BG turns, you have a right to then defend yourself.
It's a very fine line... split second decisions... I hope I never have to make one like that.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
-- Benjamin Franklin
February 6th, 2008 10:51 AM
Our local store has been robbed a few times, the last time in December, so I have thought about this several times, and each time my answer is, I don't know. It depends how I react if I am ever confronted with that situation. Here in Vermont, I am eligible as a citizen to use lethal force to stop a violent crime, and armed robbery is considered violent. Because this is a small town, I know the people that work at the store. What if I am saving their lives? What if I am endangering their lives even more? So I'll continue to be honest and admit that until I'm in that situation and see how I react, I just don't know.
February 6th, 2008 10:54 AM
In Alabama you can use deadly force to defend yourself or another person when you have reason to believe that one is in fear of life or great bodily harm.
What I would do in the store all depends, bottom line is I am coming home to my wife and child. I would have to feel the situation and act according to circumstances, ie who's in the store, who's outside etc.....
If the BG fires then I am in fear of my life.
As a Note, you can yell Please drop the gun and make Please sound like Police It might make the BG a little more hesitant, or shot you first.
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
February 6th, 2008 11:05 AM
Florida’s the same way, and back in the late 70’s when I was a reserve deputy, I stopped a “Jiffy Mart type store robbery”.
Originally Posted by pgrass101
However, today being older and wiser, and no longer an LEO, I would have to say it depends.
Like others have said if the BG discharges his weapon (in Florida that will get ya 20 years) it raises the threat level, and the possibilities of the BG shooting everyone, to make sure there are no witnesses.
Therefore, I would rather use the element of surprise to my advantage, than to wait until he points his pistol my way.
February 6th, 2008 11:11 AM
If the BG is pointing his gun AT the clerk, unless you can guarantee you can make a central nervous system hit and shut him down immediately you just might cause him to fire if you shoot and cause the clerks death when it was just a robbery. If you yell something now you put yourself into the position of reacting to the BGs actions, again possibly getting the clerk shot and starting a gun fight endangering bystanders when it wasn’t necessary. Are you sure the BG is alone? Maybe that other shopper is backup for the BG and you invite a shot in the back
Seek concealment, cover if possible, draw to be ready if you want and try to be the best possible witness, maybe follow the BG out the door to get a vehicle description. You are not LEO, you are alone, you are not trained for this situation, expect an adrenalin rush to be really messing up your mind. Also it is quite common for bangers to turn and fire a shot at the clerk as they go out the door, so you might be ready to fire if he turns as he goes out the door.
BUT if the BG starts ordering everyone to the backroom….Remember the recent shooting of the 6 women outside of Chicago, the news keeps saying “robbery gone bad”; I call B.S. it was a robbery and witness execution, again becoming more common with the bangers. So if getting herded into the back, chances are you are going to die unless you do something about it, and that is why we carry, not to play defender of the world.
February 6th, 2008 11:15 AM
Too many variables that could happen here. If I can retreat out the back while calling 911, then that's what I would do if the BG can't see me. If he could see me go out the back but has not seen me where I presently am, then I stand pat and dial 911 without saying anything and let the operator hear what is going on. I might try to whisper if I'm far enough from the BG without him hearing me. If the BG starts randomly firing at customers, then everything has changed and I'm getting involved after I've told the 911 operator what has just happened. If customers aren't dropping, I'm not shooting. I'm no good dead to my wife and kids and I'm no hero. Convenience store scenarios just aren't good. Many might ask, why do I not try to help out the guy behind the register. The BG & the guy behind the register might have a history of some sort - don't know. His employer might have some sort of policy in place regarding this type of scenario that I'm not privy to. I figure it's his employer's responsibility to keep him safe - put him behind a bulletproof glass or something. The customers are another thing.
The most exhilarating thing in life is getting shot at with no results.
- Winston Churchill
Endowment Life Member - NRA
Life Member - GOA
Member - Oath Keepers, SAF, CCRKBA
U.S. Army (72G) 1975-1980
February 6th, 2008 11:19 AM
Most people assume that if you see someone pointing a gun at a convenience store clerk that a robbery is taking place. Most of the time that is correct. However, there is always a small chance that something else is taking place. I have seen a few cases where a BG tied up or killed the store clerk and then waited on customers that walked in right after. In such a case the guy with the gun could be a good guy. Plus there are a lot of robberies that go down without a shot being fired and everyone walks away. I would hate to be the person that caused a simple robbery to turn into a big shoot out. But the only thing worse than watching a store clerk get killed needlessly by a crack head would be for me to do something that might cause the robber to flinch, pull the trigger and shoot the clerk.
I want to be very careful injecting myself in situations that I don’t completely understand. However, if the BG starts opens fire at anyone, I’ll probably open fire as well. At that point I will assume that he doesn’t want to leave any witnesses. But before that happens, I will try to find cover and dial 911.
The short answer is that I don’t know what I would do. The best I can do is give it some thought now and then make a judgment call if I am ever faced with such a situation.
February 6th, 2008 11:25 AM
As long as shots aren't being fired, or death threats that I believe, let them take the money and leave. I'd draw and remain hidden until the above since most armed robberies just go on with no shots being fired.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
February 6th, 2008 11:55 AM
My wife and kids are too important.
As harsh as it may sound, I have no duty to protect anyone other than myself (and IMO my family). If other sheeple don't want to take necessary steps to ensure their right to protect themselves, then that is their choice.
The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. 'Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?' 'No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle.'
February 6th, 2008 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by ArmedAviator
IF shots are fired, or the weapon begins swinging toward me or my family, I'll blaze. Short of that, I'll see how things play out and not do anything that will jeopardize my family.
"Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington
February 6th, 2008 12:51 PM
Im surprised that in a Convenience store or 7-11 type scenario anyone would think they have the time to dial 911 and talk to the operator while this is going down. And some that I have been in don't have a back door away from the counter...bathrooms maybe. No cover either, just a few racks of food to conceal behind. Too tight and not enough time IMO to do anything other than get down and away, or draw and fire.
February 6th, 2008 01:15 PM
If I am getting robbed and a customer shoots the badguy while he has a gun pointed at me I am out of luck and will probably get shot from the Bad guy, maybe even from the customer as well. I carry at work at night, and have had to think a lot about robbery situations, (the gun is not for robbery) IF the BG has the drop on me he is getting anything in the register, should a good citizen be armed in my store at the same time and start shooting my problem is now how to ID the real threat. Thats my problem, and I will probably be disabled by now, what Your problem as the customer who is witnessing a robbery is to protect yourself, not me, not the clerk, not the other employees or customers, but yourself. IF you feel you need to shoot this guy I just hope you do it when he is not pointing his weapon at me, and if he shoots me then by all means I would hope you "stop the threat"
This is not legal/moral advise to anyone here, just my thoughts but someone mentioned they would follow the guy out the store and try to get his plate, DONT DO IT, if you didnt need to shoot the BG you have already won, if you follow him outside with a gun in your hand You are no longer defensive in nature but acting offensively, could get yourself shot from the BG clerk or another witness, remember just because you know your the good guy does not mean everyone else will. (think about how its going to look to a shaken up clerk who has just been robbed when he sees another person with a gun walking out behind the other bad guy)
What I would like to see happen from your side is that you move to concealment if at all possible, stay out of the line of fire/exit route for bad guy, if you feel you are threatened do what you need to do, but do not chase the bad guy outside of the store, its not worth it even if they catch him he is going to get a short term stay in jail/prison. 20 months, is what my last aggrevated robber served on a 6 year sentence, and I would much rather you be alive than the BG going to "criminal retraining 102,203,304," Armed robbers carry the gun as a means to get what they want, I am going to give them that, IF it deters them from killing or shooting any of my customers or employees thats a good thing in my books, IF THEY GET SHOT WHILE IT HAPPENS I wont loose too much sleep after the first two days, but please remember your priority here is to protect yourself, not stop the bad guy.
My priority is to make sure I go home to my wife, make sure my customers are safe, and to make money, if it means I have to shoot a BG then I will, If it means the BG gets some cash and none of my customers get hurt thats a win in my book.
I am not a sheep, if I can stop a felon I will, I just know that if the felon has a gun drawn that there is nothing in my register that is worth dying over, or having a customer killed over. If there are customers in my store I DO NOT WANT A SHOOT OUT. I am confident of my ability to shoot, I dont know of anyone who has ever been in a tough situation that can honestly tell me they can control everything, I know I cant, so I choose to control what I can, and train to control my ability to stop a threat, whether it be by giving up cash or employing other methods, my objective is clear, STOP THE THREAT.
BG pointing a gun at someone else, THREAT, are your actions going to escalate the situation or stop the threat? Please dont walk into my store and tell a guy pointing a gun at me to put his gun down
February 6th, 2008 01:15 PM
Every convenience store scenario will be different, but basically I would be diligent, ready, BUT very very conservative in my involvement. The BG quickly leaving with a few bucks of 7-11 money and no one injured is not worth the effect of a shooting. Him attempting to herd us witnesses to a back room is a new level of risk.
Tip: Never use the convenience store potato chip rack for cover.
Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.
February 6th, 2008 01:21 PM
I agree with AA and from the view of the store worker direct victim Southtexas is on point.
Now if the BG goes and shoots the store worker even after he without resistance gave up the cash/product as directed then the situation in regard to decision making would change.
Would I feel badly about the store worker having been shot? Of course. It's a tragedy. Would I feel as much were my fault? No. The fault lies in the hands of the BG who held the gun that went boom.
Would I have pangs of he'd be alive if only I had *.action. Not likely considering the fact that every action has a reaction, which doesn't always work out to the best or ones own benefit. Which Southtexas addressed above.
"Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy
"A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing
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