There was a fairly heated discussion in the comments thread in response to Anthony Branca’s remarks on the behavior of private citizens who are licensed to carry weapons, which appeared in this post over the weekend.
Just to refresh your memory, here are Branca’s words again:
I’d say the biggest misconception is that if you’re carrying a gun you get to take shit from fewer people. The reality is exactly opposite. When you’re carrying a gun you have to take shit from everybody. Except, of course, the guy actually trying to kill you. You can shoot him. That’s the tradeoff. The gun gives you the practical means to end the life of anybody in your immediate vicinity. In exchange for that power it is your moral and legal responsibility to conduct yourself in such a way as to make that outcome as unlikely as possible. The last thing you want to do if you’re carrying is to be the one who even inadvertently escalates a non-deadly encounter to a deadly one. Confronting the drunk loudmouth who’s making a scene at the table next to you in a restaurant, for example, may be seen as a potentially very bad idea if you think a few steps down the line. Best to just let it go, and just go, leave. One of my primary tactical rules of self-defense is to vacate the area at the first sign of a red flag. Let the bad stuff go down while you’re safely somewhere else.
And here’s the start of the reaction of commenters here to what he wrote. There’s a lot of pro and con—some criticizing, some supporting.
That post of mine was cross-posted at Legal Insurrection yesterday, and sure enough, a somewhat similar discussion ensued, but in that case Branca himself took part in the give-and-take. I though you might be interested in following it, so here’s Branca’s response:
Sure. I believe we have both a legal and moral duty not to take another humans’ life unless it is truly necessary. If the necessity can be avoided by conducting ourselves more prudently and cautiously, then I think that’s the right way to go.
I don’t see CCW holders as legal avengers out to make up for the quite glaring shortcomings of the criminal justice system. That’s not our job. Our job is to defend our families and ourselves from violent criminal predation. And, should that necessity arise in my personal life, I intend to do so with all necessary force. I encourage all others to do the same, should they be so moved.
I’m fully aware that some states have laws that allow the defensive use of deadly force in a broader context than I’ve just described. For the most parts those laws provide for presumptions of innocence/reasonableness intended to keep politically motivated prosecutors from targeting people who have defended themselves in their homes, places of work, or personal vehicles. Texas, of course, has the interesting provision for the use of deadly force in defense of property, subject to plenty of conditions.
But I personally would not shoot someone over a property crime alone. Just wouldn’t do it. I live in a two story house, bedrooms are all upstairs. If everyone’s tucked in, and the bad guys come in to rob the place, and they stay downstairs, I’m going to call 911, keep my nice safe perch at the top of the stairs, and let them take whatever they want from the first floor. That’s why I have insurance, and why my taxes pay for the police.
If they try to come up the stairs, on the other hand, it’s likely to get quite noisy.
But those are the elements I’ve chosen to build into my personal legally sound self-defense strategy. Different people will make different choices in their own legally sound self-defense strategy. I only hope to help them ensure that those choices are well-informed.
Seems to me he’s saying that each person with a legal concealed weapon must make the decision for him/herself as to what the goal of carrying a weapon is, and how far he/she is willing to go to protect self, family, or others. The answers can, and will, be different for different people, but need to be very well-though-out in advance, with knowledge of the law and ethics.
Those who would ban legal concealed carry don’t want anyone but the police making such decisions. But, funny thing, criminals will carry concealed weapons, illegally, and you can pretty much count on the fact that their decisions about using them won’t be made quite so thoughtfully.