The advent of widely used conceal and carry laws bring consequences that some may not consider prior to their obtaining a permit and carrying a gun. Ostensibly, the purpose of such permits is to allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons on their person for self-defense.
However, it has also been suggested that ordinary citizens could use these weapons in situations where they could act as the police do and prevent a crime. This type of activity is fraught with peril as was seen from the actions of one woman last week in a Michigan Home Depot parking lot.
Two shoplifters were leaving the store, chased by the store’s loss prevention officer, when the woman attempted to stop them by firing her handgun at their vehicle as they drove away. She missed and the men were later arrested by the police. She has now been charged with one count of reckless discharge, handling or use of a firearm. If she is convicted of this charge, she could spend 90-days in jail and lose her handgun permit.
While she may carry a gun for her own protection, she is not a licensed law officer. One reason why law enforcement officers must be licensed to ensure that there is some minimum standard for those who are allowed to legally fire a weapon to stop a crime.
And if you examine the record of many incidents where the police use weapons, it becomes apparent that even with some training, it is all too easy in a confused firefight for officers to shoot each other or innocent bystanders.
It is all the more risky to have citizens with little training firing guns in crowded public locations. The “good guy” with a gun is also at risk of being identified by the police as an active shooter and become the target of their gunfire.
She is fortunate that she did not wound or kill anyone. Had she, she could be facing far more serious criminal charges, such as manslaughter or even second-degree murder and a civil wrongful death lawsuit. While she could argue self-defense, if the shoplifters were unarmed and not threatening her, it could be difficult to convince a jury that such a defense applies.
Source: detroitnews.com, “Clarkston woman charged after firing gun at Home Depot,” Mike Martindale, October 13, 2015