A friend of mine had a Defensive Gun Use (DGU) a few days ago.
He had parked a bike near the front door, cable locked to a metal chair. It is a decent cable lock. The dog started alerting at the door, in the middle of day, during the week. There was no knock or doorbell. My friend keeps odd hours.
My friend accessed his house gun, a S&W N frame model 28, that had been converted to .45 ACP. The security door was locked. He opened the inside door with his left hand, the .45 revolver in his right. In the entryway was a 16-18 year old young man with a shaved head and tattoos down his neck. My friend is very observant, and had not seen this young man in the neighborhood before.
The young man was studying the bike, the lock, and the chair. My friend held the revolver in the attitude shown in the picture. You do not see more of him because he wishes to remain anonymous. In the actual event, he was in the doorway, visible through the locked security door.
In fluent Spanish, he asked "May I help you?"
The tattooed youth looked up. He did not say anything. My friend said that he did a very credible 100 yard dash. My friend did not pursue. There was no reason to pursue. He never pointed the pistol at the youth. He never threatened anyone. He never reported the incident to police. What was there to report? No crime had been committed, except perhaps trespassing.
In Arizona, you are allowed to threaten deadly force to prevent trespassing. As the young man immediately left the property, it is unlikely a judge or jury would convict him of trespassing. My friend had only asked him if he needed help.
This is a good approximation of the "typical" if there is such a thing, DGU. No shots fired. The mere presence of the firearm defused the situation. If no firearm were present, the youth might have been emboldened to further action.
As it was, there was no physical confrontation. It appears that a guilty conscience was sufficient to command flight.
It is not hard to believe that such incidents occur between 500,000 and 3 million times a year, as noted by the CDC in 2013 (pdf):
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).There is no incentive, actually a negative incentive, to report an incident such as happened to my friend. There is a small but real potential for it to bring trouble to him; there is almost no potential for it to prevent trouble for him. It is not an incident that would make even a local news cycle.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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