There are now 25 states with so-called “Constitutional carry” and Florida appears to be approaching permitless carry, which translates to more citizens soon being able to carry defensive firearms without having to jump through the hoops of a licensing process.
There is another translation: Criminals, be careful … be very careful. In fact, now might be a good time to reconsider your career choices and see if the hardware store is hiring.
I routinely report on the number of active concealed pistol licenses in my home state of Washington, and following a slight end-of-year dip reported Jan. 3, the number has been steadily climbing. Last month, a whopping 698,186 active CPLs were reported by the state Department of Licensing.
Each state has its own laws regarding the use of lethal force, and in Washington, the statute is RCW 9A.16.050. Here’s what it says:
“Homicide is also justifiable when committed either:
(1) In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister, or of any other person in his or her presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or
(2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he or she is.”
Collaborating with Alan Gottlieb, best known as the founder and chief executive officer of the Second Amendment Foundation, I’ve done a couple of books over the years dealing with firearms and self-defense incidents. Anecdotal information contained in those books has been appreciated by some while making others uncomfortable and a few upset because the stories reinforced the notion of armed self-defense being a good thing.
One cannot pick up a newspaper or read an online news publication without finding stories with such headlines as “Robbery suspect shot,” or “Clerk kills armed robber,” or “Homeowner kills burglar.” The first Workman-Gottlieb collaboration — titled “America Fights Back – Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age” — is still found on Amazon and other places.
Never Ends Well
There’s an interesting line of dialogue in an old Patrick Swayze film titled “Road House” in which he plays a famous bouncer. While he’s in the ER being treated for a knife wound, the attending doctor asks him, “Do you ever win a fight?”
His reply is sobering. “Nobody ever wins a fight.”
Fox News recently reported an incident that didn’t end well, especially for the alleged bad guy, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience for the good guy, either. In East Hartford, Connecticut, two men wearing ski masks entered a clothing store, and for one of them, it was the last thing he did besides expire.
The report said the robbers shot the merchant in the back, but bad news for them, he had two legally owned firearms, and he fought back. Fatally-wounded in the encounter was a suspect identified as Jashar Haslam of Hartford. He was only 26 years old. The unidentified wounded store owner suffered non-life threatening injuries, and he survived a terrible experience.
When WVIT News reported on the gun battle, it noted the other suspect fled and, at the time, was still at large. Not much friendship among criminals when the shooting starts and bullets start punching holes.
Mother Knows Best
Check your favorite Internet search engine with these words: “Woman kills home invader.” You will find lots of incidents.
One, which recently got my attention, was a CBS News report about a Louisiana mom who “allegedly” brought a sudden end to a strange incident involving a fellow identified as 51-year-old Robert Rheams. This guy had been paroled from a 20-year-stretch for armed robbery, and it evidently didn’t take long for him to find trouble.
The report said he was apparently involved in an alleged carjacking hours before he showed up at the home of the woman, who lived in Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish. He was reportedly armed with a shovel and lug wrench. Never take those tools to a gunfight.
Sheriff’s Office Chief Jimmy Travis was matter-of-factly quoted in the CBS story, observing how this fatal confrontation was a case of a “homeowner exercising Second Amendment rights to protect herself and her children from a violent home invasion.”
The case was forwarded to the local district attorney’s office for “further review,” the report noted.
Heaven? No, It’s Iowa
A 30-year-old home invasion suspect in Monticello, Iowa was shot and killed in a January confrontation involving a homeowner and his 10-year-old son, both of whom were unharmed, according to KWWL News.
This was an early-afternoon incident on a Wednesday, which was unusual when it comes to this sort of crime. The 44-year-old homeowner armed himself after calling Monticello police with a report of an “in-progress” break-in, but by the time cops arrived, Pattrick Michael O’Brine was down for the count.
The incident underscores the wisdom of an oft-repeated observation in the self-defense community: “When seconds count, police are minutes away.” Nothing is closer to the truth than this seven-word principle. While police would be delighted to always arrive in the nick of time to catch the bad guys and save the good folks, rarely does that happen.
It may be one reason why the past couple of years have seen a lot of first-time gun-buyers in shops from Tampa to Tacoma. Toss in longer response times in communities where police ranks have been shrinking thanks to “defund the police” efforts, and nightly news broadcasts that frequently lead with a violent crime report, and it doesn’t take much to figure out why people are buying guns. That good old Second Amendment is the ultimate fall back when everything else goes haywire.
Fort Smith Fatal Encounter
According to a story on “Today In Fort Smith,” an Arkansas man identified as 29-year-old Jacob Andrew Webb had a background that included previous drug-related arrests “for which he received suspended imposition of sentences.”
Early last month, Webb reportedly entered the residence of an unidentified 58-year-old homeowner, armed with a knife. He never left.
There was some sort of confrontation, during which the homeowner was injured and Webb was shot in the midsection. After police arrived, the homeowner was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to KHBS 4029 News. Such injuries are still painful.
At the time he died, Webb was reportedly on “extended probation out of Logan County on two separate drug-related arrests in 2020 and 2021.”
There’s a 79-year-old man in Marathon County, Wisconsin who recently proved age doesn’t necessarily translate to vulnerability.
According to WSAW/Gray News, the septuagenarian was apparently followed home by a 22-year-old man in the early morning hours. The suspect attacked and stabbed the older gent as he was exiting his car, which had been parked in the garage.
This was another example of making a fatal error in the victim selection process. The older man drew a gun and fired one round. The bullet struck the younger man in the chest, and he reportedly expired while trying to flee.
The story made it all the way to Texas, where it was reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, probably because it was a tale in which an older would-be victim prevailed.
Perhaps the moral of this stroll into the realm of violent crime and self-defense is that all the gun control laws on the books, and the ones still waiting to be written, will not deter violent criminals.
Gun prohibitionists think they can penalize law-abiding citizens and somehow get outlaws to change their ways. History tells us differently — after all, Jesse James, Cole Younger, the Daltons, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger and a host of other societal losers provided ample proof — and history is unforgiving, no matter how many times some people try rewriting it.
If you’re one of the millions of armed private citizens responding to a changing world in which the nearest police officer or sheriff’s deputy is minutes away or maybe much longer, find out about your state’s self-defense laws. Today is a good time, yesterday
Lots of ‘Crime Guns’
Here’s something we know about crime: When bad guys are packing iron, much of it is hot.
The New York Times last month confirmed that between 2017 and 2021, law enforcement recovered “about two million guns linked to crimes.” The newspaper said the information came from the most comprehensive national accounting of crime guns in decades. The times was referring to the “National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment (NFCTA): Crime Guns – Volume Two” published by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
When a gun is stolen, it is technically “involved in a crime.” When a gun is recovered from a burglary investigation, or seized from a criminal during an arrest, it is “involved in a crime.” The term “crime gun” can be applied, even if the gun wasn’t fired.
“While more than 95% of stolen guns originate via thefts from private citizens (see Figure BRL-01 below), FFL and commercial shipping thefts are nevertheless a direct source of crime guns,” the report says. “As of 2022, only fifteen states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia — require private citizens to report when a firearm is stolen. As a result, while the reported number of firearms stolen annually from individuals is substantial, there is significant underreporting; a 2016 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that only about 75% of private gun thefts are reported to law enforcement.”
There are lots of videos of middle-of-the-night smash-and-grab gun store thefts. That’s one way to arm a community of thugs.
If you don’t own one, buy a gun safe. Your firearms are valuable, along with your right to have them. Record the serial numbers of your guns and keep that log someplace safe.
If your gun is stolen, report it immediately. There’s a possibility you might get that gun back if it is recovered, and you certainly don’t want to be linked to any crime that gun might later be part of. Thefts from private citizens account for almost 96% of stolen guns during the 2017-2021 time period. During those years, the report notes there were 3,100 theft incidents involving 21,585 guns. Any way one looks at this, it’s a lot of hot hardware.