Bluff or not?

This is a discussion on Bluff or not? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This situation was brought to light following a recounting to me of an event some years back, that an aquaintaince purported to have experienced. Made ...

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Thread: Bluff or not?

  1. #1
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    Bluff or not?

    This situation was brought to light following a recounting to me of an event some years back, that an aquaintaince purported to have experienced. Made me think a bit on the principle.

    You are approached by someone, who is not threatening with a weapon in sight but who ''requests'' that you hand over money, because, as he states - ''I have a gun''.

    The perp at this stage we assume has no knowledge that you, a CCW, is armed. You OTOH have to decide whether this is bluff (finger in pocket deal perhaps) or for real - and then if so at what stage would you legally be able to state proof of a lethal threat, if perceived as such?

    Do we have to see the gun - because if we go by just an impression and there is no gun, then shoot, we are in very deep manure. Still in trouble too maybe if we just draw - we have brandished and an unarmed idiot trying for a heist thru bluff, has just suddenly become the ''victim'' - ''good guy''.

    It would of course depend very much on witnesses or not - no witnesses it becomes his word against yours.

    So - throwing it into the arena for chewing over
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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  3. #2
    New Member Array Scruit's Avatar
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    A lot of factors come into play... But as far as the presence of a weapon... "I have a gun" = He has a gun. If all other factors mean it's a good shoot, then it's a good shoot even if you don't see it, or he doesn't have one, or it's a bb gun, or it's not loaded etc.

  4. #3
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    Were I am at, if the perp attempts a robbery and says that he had a gun, he will be found quilty of armed robbery whether he has one or not. Same way with sticking his finger in his pocket and announcing that he has a gun.

    Im thinking that if someone came up to you and told you that he wanted yout money and that he had a gun, and you capped him, it would be ruled justifiable.

    Of course, this wouldnt work in the antigun states where robbers are just victims of society and forced to rob people because of the social injustices that they experienced when they were children...

  5. #4
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    The problem tho - well a major one IMO - is, if no one else were to hear his statement of ''I have a gun'', then after a shoot, when investigation shows there was no gun - then what?

    We could swear blind as to what we heard - but with no witness to back that up - and maybe the perp a mere speechless corpse ........ problem?

    Looking at it from another angle - we (hypothetically!) shoot at some guy who is bugging us - and then try to say to LE - ''but he said he had a gun'' - get my point?.

    Who is not likely to see this perhaps as ''well, yeah - YOU say that is what he told you''!! ''All you wanted to do was cap him''!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Safe answer for these tactical scenarios will almost always be "depends". If "in the moment" you believe him you'll have to make that call but I think/guess I'd be a bit hesitant to shoot without having actually seen a weapon. Of course that could get me killed if he has a revolver in his pocket and it's already cocked. You're right to wonder how it'll be perceived after the fact. Consider the judgements passed on the New Orleans officers who shot them wielding a knife. Many thought it was unjustified even though he had a deadly weapon because of their false perceptions about knifes.

    So if this guy really doesn't have one, being able to establish why you felt your life was threatened is going to be a big deal. If there are witnesses, you're set. If not, I hope I could think and come up with some action that might probe without provoking. Not sure what that would be and it would depend on his body language, position of his hand, the shape in his pocket, etc.

    If I already had my hand on my weapon or in my pocket w/a pocket pistol, I'd like to think I could be cool enough to say "so do I", smile and see what his reaction would be

    With all we've all heard and read about what happens after a shoot, I wonder if subconciousley we'll all be thinking more about these things as it's going down than is in our own best interest? Not sure as I've never been there with a gun.

    To figure this one out, it would also likely depend on whether-or-not he had the drop on you. If you haven't gotten a hand on his weapon and he's making some pointing motion, then you not only have to think about whether he's bluffing but whether you can afford to try and move, draw, and counter....

    Or maybe you play along for the moment.

    Wow just too many things to consider that will depend on what you see and take in during that one moment when confronted.

    Next?

    Gideon

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Colorado really simplifys this since we had the original " make my day " law. If a " reasonable man " would be in fear of his life or grave bodily injury its a good shoot , i think " give me your money i have a gun " would put anyone in fear as stated above

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    Depends on the prosecutor, jury et. al.

    If the BG is dead then yours is the only version of events. If the BG had no gun and you are remorseful about it they will likely believe you. If you are not remorseful they will likely not believe you.

    All depends.

    Now if the BG is alive his lawyer will explain that there was no gun and that his church choir member Sunday School attending never miss church going client was simply asking for directions to the nearest homeless shelter so he could make a donation and you shot him.

    Now you have a very serious problem if there are no witnesses.

    Then there is the civil trial which will be a whole different can-o-worms.

    I would probably be a smart a-- and tell him if he shows me his I'll show him mine. Of course I will have already pulled mine. But I'm like that sometimes. Mine are almost always BIG and shiney. I'm thinking if he pulls a gun out then I will probably have to defend myself. More likely is that he doesn't have a gun and he will run away and I will call the police to make a report of the incident.

    -Scott-

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon
    If I already had my hand on my weapon or in my pocket w/a pocket pistol, I'd like to think I could be cool enough to say "so do I", smile and see what his reaction would be
    I'm with ya' there bud


    Seriously, I think you would be justified in drawing your own weapon considering that he made a threat of this nature. If he made a move towards his waistband or any other area where a gun is commonly carried I feel you'd be justified in shooting him.

    The police and DA are going to consider the totality of the circumstances that led to your escalation/use of force (unless you live in the PRK or NY, in that case, see ya in 10-20). We've all heard the story about the officers who shot the guy for reaching for his wallet. They were exonerated because, under the circumstances, his movement toward his waistband was inconsistent with anything other than reaching for a weapon since they had not told him to reach for anything except the sky. There have been other cases where the situation was similar, and the outcome the same (the shooter was cleared). There's a term for this doctrine as derived from the case law but I can't come up with it off the top of my head.

    In the situation we're considering, I think you'd have an easier time justifying your actions than the shooters in the aforementioned cases. My reasoning here is that in the situations I mentioned, the person did not threaten the shooter with a gun, they just made a move that the shooter perceived as threatening under the circumstances. In the scenario we're talking about, the guy has already made a threat and we have no reason NOT to believe him. Therefore, if he moves in a manner consistent with accessing a weapon we can only logically assume that he is trying to carry out the threat he made earlier.

    just my $0.02

    edit: I tracked down the legal junk and the link to an article by Massad Ayoob on a shooting of this type that took place in Alaska. In this situation, the shooter didn't get off "scott-free" but they knocked it down to 4th degree assault which is a misdemeanor with no jail time (not bad considering the alternative, at least you could keep your guns). This exerpt is from the article...
    the furtive movement -- a movement consistent with reaching for a weapon, but not reasonably consistent with anything else under the circumstances -- creates the reasonable belief that an opponent is armed.

    A furtive movement does not justify deadly force; it must be taken in context with the prevailing circumstances.
    Like some BG telling you he has a gun...

    Okay, I'll shut up, y'all can read the article
    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...26/ai_86704794
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

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  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    This is one case that(upon the advise of your lawyer) a lie detector test might in fact help you. Down here the banks hand over their money all the time if they are simply asked. NO WEAPON SHOWN !!(I understand that it is NOT the tellers money) I will not do that. If the perp is real agressive in language or actions,I will draw and kill him. If he's kinda "ho-hum" about it.......I might ask to see his weapon while trying to open the distance by a couple of steps and turn 30-45% to my right.Yeah,really. Why not? The second that I see what reasonably looks to be a weapon I will draw and kill him. If he comes out with his finger I will draw on him,open the distance and dial 911. Given that all cases are different,this is what we practice,and this is what I will do. ---------

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array madmike's Avatar
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    P95,

    Of all the scenarios you've come up with, this is the one that I'd most likely have nightmares about!

    The instant the BG made that statement, I would likely move to make my weapon ready to draw, with my hand on the grips, while using Gideon's line, "So do I."

    At that time, I'd be observing him very closely, gauging his reactions, while hoping I'd be able to recall them later, should I have to justify whatever follows.

    But in the end, I suppose it does come down to things being just a bit easier in court, when only one side of the story is being told.

    I'll just have to hope that should I face such a decision, that instinct takes me down the right path. Thinking about such an event before it happens is proper, agonizing over it after the fact would be terrible.
    Debating it mentally during the event could be lethal.

    mm
    Political Correctness has now "evolved" into Political Cowardice.

  12. #11
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    In retrospect...

    I think just to make life easier on oneself....

    If a perp told me that he had a gun and wanted my money.. I think I would draw immediatley...

    If he made an advance, acted like he was getting something out, or even made a quick movenment it may cause my already hypervigilant trigger finger to fire.


    On the other hand...

    If he was bluffing, and turned and ran...
    you win.
    No police reports,no one hurt, no loss of money, and no jury to try to convince that shooting was the right thing to do.

    You go on about your merry way after dialing 911 and all is good...your gun did its job, you arent out thousands of dollars and you have another story to write about on the internet forums...

  13. #12
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    Great feedback guys and thank you - this is still certainly another of those ''far from cut'n'dried'' cases eh!

    Matt - thx for going to trouble digging up that link to the AK case.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Senior Member Array madmike's Avatar
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    Chris,

    Is it true that you keep making these post just to keep people like me from sleeping at night?

    mm
    Political Correctness has now "evolved" into Political Cowardice.

  15. #14
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    Is it true that you keep making these post just to keep people like me from sleeping at night?
    Mike - haha - well it might seem so I guess but in fact my motivation is maybe the exact opposite, such that thru analysis, thought and debate we may all have some better way to plan and see things.

    There will for us as CCW folks always be some factors that might lose us sleep tho I don't think we need dwell too deep to that extent. Healthy concern and responsible consideration of what we do is I think at least one step up the ladder of greater responsibility - something that cannot but help to better us, plus perhaps too help show the outside world that we are pretty reasonable people.

    Brady et al - please note
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  16. #15
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    Its a good thing to think about things that may or may not happen.

    Just a little forethought about how to react to a particular situation can go a long way. Some of these scenarios may force us to think "out of the box" for an answer that may not be obvious at the moment...

    Keep em coming...

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