Group argument downtown, someone pulls a gun

This is a discussion on Group argument downtown, someone pulls a gun within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi, I'm new to the board, so if this thread is in the wrong place, please let me know. I am from Flint, Michigan, and ...

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Thread: Group argument downtown, someone pulls a gun

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    Member Array andyw328's Avatar
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    Group argument downtown, someone pulls a gun

    Hi, I'm new to the board, so if this thread is in the wrong place, please let me know.

    I am from Flint, Michigan, and around here, sudden, brutal, and entirely unnecessary violence is sort of common. I recently acquired my first handgun (a Springfield XD in .45... love it!) and applied for my CCW permit, after a few of my friends were violently robbed or attacked - one while walking home from the gym, the other walking from the party store. While taking my Defensive Handgun/ CCW class, I ran the following scenario past my instructor, which happened this past summer:

    Me and my friends were walking around downtown around 1:30AM or so on a Saturday night (well... Sunday morning?) in July. As a little background, the downtown area has a few bars and clubs, where people tend to hang out and socialize outside the actual establishment. We get a call from a friend at one such club that he is in trouble, and wants us to come over there. When we arrive, we find him shouting with a group of 5 guys. The argument was over something petty, and we probably should have just left, but our friend was into it with these guys, and you don't just abandon your friends. I was observing from further back, probably 20 feet or so, as were a few of my other friends, so as not to create the impression that we were there to try and start a fight. Well, something someone said apparently went too far, because one of the other group of guys pulls out a pistol. I couldn't see it too well, but enough to distinguish that it was a semiautomatic, not a revolver. At this point, we all are on high alert, and everyone is very uneasy. One of my friends was carrying a pistol, but he refrained from pulling it because the man was not actually pointing the gun at any of us, simply brandishing it. We ended up leaving pretty quickly afterwards, as the handful of my friends that were actually face to face arguing with these guys were not armed, and perhaps realized pretty quickly that whatever they were arguing about was not so important.

    Now, at this time I was unarmed. Had I been in possession of a concealed pistol license, and carrying my pistol, this situation would have been far more uncomfortable for me. As it was, I had a bad feeling about the situation, and when the gun got pulled, I felt powerless and vulnerable, and I genuinely feared for mine and my friend's lives.

    When I ran this situation past my instructor, he said that if it were HIM standing 20 ft back and observing the man pulling the gun, he'd have shot him right there. His reasoning was that a man who pulls out a gun in the midst of a heated argument outside of a club has everyone's lives at his fingertips right then and there, and that Michigan being a castle doctrine state, allowing force to be met with force, and also with the law allowing for the use of deadly force to protect someone in the immediate area's life when they cannot, he would have been justified.

    Keep in mind the situation took place in the alley behind the bar, so defensive carry is permitted there. We had not been at the bar, nor had I been drinking, and those of us standing far back were not agitating the situation, as there were already a fair amount of people around, and the other party did not pay us any attention or perceive that we were standing there, as they were so into it with our friends.

    What would you guys do in this situation? Clearly, just walking away worked out in this instance, but what if he really had intended to shoot someone? I have seen people violently assaulted in public with no forewarning on several occasions, and I do not want to see some of my closest friends shot in an alley parking lot over some petty argument. If and when I get my license, this is the sort of nightmare scenario I am trying to mentally prepare for. So, any thoughts?

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    Member Array reyno2ac's Avatar
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    You really are better off not shooting if you don't have too. You would have had some explaining to do as to how/why you got yourself into that situation if you knew they were arguing to begin with.

    I can't say what I would have done for sure in that situation, BUT if there is a way to safely end the situation without shooting then it is always the better option.

    I don't, however, think it would have been wrong of you to shoot him.

    Oh yea, WELCOME from another Andy/Andrew in Michigan!

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    Hanging around at bar, or outside bars in the early morning hours is trouble looking for a place to happen.
    I would not have gone there in the first place. Now having been there and seeing the trouble brewing, I would have left the area and called 911 immediately.
    Shooting someone during a argument is not going to go well for you, friend or not.
    I believe that your instructor is giving you bad advice. The police are not going to look at you as an innocent bystander.
    Now if you were simply walking to your car and someone approached you with a weapon, trying to rob you....then ventilate him.
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    Member Array andyw328's Avatar
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    Reyno - thanks for the welcome!

    retsupt99 - I agree, bars are trouble. I really liked my instructor, but I got the feeling that he was a little too bold in his solution. As you said, I do not believe that the police would look favorably on me, as I did know the people in the argument. Honestly, I do not think that I would have drawn my weapon if I had been licensed to carry and doing so that night, as it just wouldn't have been worth all the potential consequences, especially since the man was APPARENTLY just trying to intimidate, not actually attack.

    Thanks for the replies!

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    First off, you stated that you can't leave a friend in a situation like you described.

    My argument is, a friend wouldn't put you in that situation in the first place. Therefore, if I can I will tell my so called "friend" that I am leaving and he has two choices, come with me or be on his own. If I can't tell him that, for whatever reason, he's on his own.

    As far as shooting the one that draws a weapon. How do you know it's not another CCW Permit holder, or off duty LEO about to intervene in this situation? Just shooting because you see a gun is not, IMO, the correct response. If the gun packer started shooting at people or some such, then maybe you would be justified in returning fire, but again it depends.

    You're better off avoiding these kinds of situations, and the people that get involved in them. As my Mommy used to say, "Nothing good happens after 10:00 at night. I was probably born at 10:02 PM.

    Biker

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    Member Array andyw328's Avatar
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    Well, I agree about not shooting him just upon producing the gun. However, knowing that these men had been in the bar, and were having a "macho" type argument with another group of men, my assumption was they were not off-duty LEO, although you know what they say about assumptions. I suppose he could have been a CCW Permit holder, but to pull out a pistol over words is still enough to cause me to go into high alert. All in all though, I agree that avoidance would have been better. This was a stupid situation, but of a totally different nature than the predatorial sort of attacks that made me want my license in the first place.

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Welcome! To the forum :)

    I am of the opinion that guns and bars are not a good idea, even when legal. Guns and drinking are obviously a no no. You are a big boy so I would trust you to use your best judgment.

    we probably should have just left, but our friend was into it with these guys, and you don't just abandon your friends.
    Yup. Any dangerous confrontation you can avoid is the best course of action. It is good not to abandon your friends, but it is better to stop them from doing stupid things. Grab his arm, leave, and take him home...

    Nutz's steps in case of emergency:

    1. Avoid
    2. De-escalate
    3. Evade (the fine art of nike-jitsu and toyota-jitsu aka running/driving away)
    4. Request assistance (911)
    5. Respond with reasonable force
    6. Cleanup as soon as things calm down

    The first 3 steps are always preferred, but one can jump to any step if is necessary. That being said, if I found myself in a situation where someone else pulled a firearm in aggression as you outlined, I am either going to be getting my skinny behind outta there lightning fast, drawing and engaging, or both!
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Hanging around at bar, or outside bars in the early morning hours is trouble looking for a place to happen.
    I would not have gone there in the first place. Now having been there and seeing the trouble brewing, I would have left the area and called 911 immediately.
    Shooting someone during a argument is not going to go well for you, friend or not.
    I believe that your instructor is giving you bad advice. The police are not going to look at you as an innocent bystander.
    Now if you were simply walking to your car and someone approached you with a weapon, trying to rob you....then ventilate him.
    This is good advice!!!

    When you legally carry all the time your attitude about these kind of situations should began to change.

    It is a awesome thing to carry the power of life and death and to be able to project that power in a controlled way.

    Being responsible for the death of another is a burden to carry.

    Defensive carry is defensive carry, not out looking for trouble!!!!!
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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    I believe that your instructor is giving you bad advice. The police are not going to look at you as an innocent bystander.
    :
    Completely agree. Esp since, with less experience/training, could you have been 100% sure of hitting him and only him? Have you decided on what type of defensive ammo you are going to carry and run it thru your gun (if you had had it then)?

    Guns, as you noticed, change the dynamics of ANY situation and even the well-trained never have 100% control over the situation when/if they decide to fire.

    I think further questioning of your instructor is in order. And some further research of your own (as you've shown the initiative here).
    Fortune favors the bold.

    Freedom doesn't mean safe, it means free.

    The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)

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    Member Array andyw328's Avatar
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    I work on my shooting at a range several times a week, but admittedly my shooting needs work. At 7 and 15 yds, I can at least guarantee that I'll hit the sheet of paper every time lol. I'm working on it though. I plan on carrying w/ hollow points, for the tissue damage and reduced likelihood of overpenetration. Is this generally the consensus for defensive carry ammo?

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    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Check out the Ammunition sub-forum, but you're on the right track.

    Regarding the original post,
    • You were called - not your fault;
    • You responded by going TO the argument, which WAS your choice - though I believe you that you were part of the 'uh-oh' squad rather than directly involved;
    • Had you intervened in any form you would have been choosing to involve yourself in the argument - sure, the weapon was a catalyst, but you WENT TO the event knowing it could go bad. The jury might very well see your going to the scene as the first part of a two-guys-with-guns event, while if you had been strolling by unsummoned would be easier to pitch the 'defense of others' story;
    • 'Defense of others' really demands you to be squeaky-clean, and this would not have been the case as you (or your instructor) presented it.

    I should think that if the class you took was taught at a gun shop or under anyone's authority other than your instructor, his words should be conveyed to the person in charge. Not to get him into trouble, but I should think that the shop owner would prefer not to incur the liability for this sort of statement.
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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Andy, there is lots to learn, beyond accurate target shooting. It sounds like you have a decent foundation. Keep reading here and elsewhere. And keep training.

    As Paymeister said, check out the ammo forum, pick an ammo (yes, hollow points most likely) and then run it thru your gun to make sure it feeds well. It will be more expensive and you dont want to practice with it, but do shoot it enough to make sure you and your gun are good with it.
    Fortune favors the bold.

    Freedom doesn't mean safe, it means free.

    The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)

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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    First off, you stated that you can't leave a friend in a situation like you described.

    My argument is, a friend wouldn't put you in that situation in the first place. Therefore, if I can I will tell my so called "friend" that I am leaving and he has two choices, come with me or be on his own. If I can't tell him that, for whatever reason, he's on his own.

    As far as shooting the one that draws a weapon. How do you know it's not another CCW Permit holder, or off duty LEO about to intervene in this situation? Just shooting because you see a gun is not, IMO, the correct response. If the gun packer started shooting at people or some such, then maybe you would be justified in returning fire, but again it depends.

    You're better off avoiding these kinds of situations, and the people that get involved in them. As my Mommy used to say, "Nothing good happens after 10:00 at night. I was probably born at 10:02 PM.

    Biker
    +1 Your not batman so please dont try to be a hero. Your friend could have got you killed. If he had time to call you, he should have called 911. If the guy that pulled the gun was in the bar drinking with his gun the cops would have arrested him. Its illegal to carry in a bar in Michigan..

    BTW welcome to the forum...
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    Senior Member Array xsigma40cal's Avatar
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    First of all, from here on out you make it loud and clear to your friends that you will not run to their aid or defend them if its a fight they started or even if its somethin totally BS that theyre involved in. Even so, if your downtown say, eating at a restraunt and this happens, you make the effort to evacuate the situation (which it sounds like you did). If you see that gun getting pulled, you'd better be ready put him down. Because next time, he might not be satisfied with brandishing. Be the element that urges de-escalation, take the reasoable-person approach and stop going to the range. Im guessing they dont allow holster draw there and thats where its going to count, especially with an XD. (I just got mine in .45 too. LUV IT)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nutz4utwo View Post
    Nutz's steps in case of emergency:

    1. Avoid
    2. De-escalate
    3. Evade (the fine art of nike-jitsu and toyota-jitsu aka running/driving away)
    4. Request assistance (911)
    5. Respond with reasonable force
    6. Cleanup as soon as things calm down


    There are no winners in a gun fight -- only, at best, potential survivors. Your best bet to avoid bad results is step 1-3.

    That said, every situation stands on its own and only those there at the time can assess the real risk to you and your friend -- but, BTW, therein also lies a danger of potential bad results. check out: Defending the Self-Defense Case

    Nearly all (if not all) castle doctrines require some level of threat of danger of serious injury or death to innocent parties -- when not on your own property. True, I rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. However, those twelve were not there. What something looks like on a dark night can be seen in a different light in a safe well lit courtroom -- by a jury of individuals who would never be in an alley behind a bar.
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