CCW Naivety of Genuinely Good People By John Farnam – Silvercore Firearms Training BC
The vast majority of state CCW licensees are genuinely “good” people, but
many have had precious little relevant training, and much of it fraught
with errors and unrealistic expectations.
For example, many naively believe:
1) When they see “bad things” happening in public places (which don’t
involve them directly) that they should step forward and “get involved” and “
do some good.”
2) VCAs will do what they are told to do, because they’re intimidated by
the gun in the hands of the righteous CCW holder.
3) The CCW holder will be thanked and congratulated for his courageous
intervention and good intentions
4) VCAs will be so impressed with the CCW-holder’s gunfire, that they will
fall down immediately upon the first impact, just like on TV!
5) That “going armed” means having “a little something” (like a .380
pocket pistol), and that such “mouse-guns” that will be sufficient for most
6) Holding and maintaining suspects at gunpoint until police arrive is
easily done and mostly risk-free.
The unhappy reality is this:
1) Any time you voluntarily inject yourself into a dangerous circumstance
in which you were otherwise not involved, you are required, by law, to act
in a “non-negligent” manner.
What, under Heaven, does that mean?
It means that, when anyone can point-out where you could have done it
better, you will inherit some personal liability for all the “bad things” that
are invariably going to happen, bad things like death, personal injury,
property damage, etc.
In most cases, when you see “bad things happen,” you don’t have enough
solid information to take any kind of unilateral action, particularly action
that may be the direct cause of personal injury or death. Gunfire is
irreversible! You may not be seeing what you think you’re seeing.
Best option is almost always to quickly withdraw, get to a relatively safe
location, and then call the police. This is the kind of situation you pay
a police department to confront and handle!
2) VCAs at whom you point your gun will likely not be impressed in the
least, because they probably won’t even see it! Expecting voluntarily
compliance under such circumstances is mostly wishful thinking. When you do get
his attention, the best thing for you to do is encourage him to turn and run
3) Don’t expect to be thanked! Don’t expect anyone to be “understanding.”
Do expect to be arrested at the scene, maybe charged. Do expect to be
endlessly criticized and second-guessed by the media, investigators, your
friends, et al. Do expect to be sued. Don’t imagine this incident will have
any kind of “happy ending!”
4) When you are compelled to employ gunfire to protect yourself, lower your
expectations of your pistol and your ammunition. Upon being struck by
your bullet(s), the most likely reaction of the VCA(s) will be to run away,
showing scant indication of reduced mobility! When he/they continue to
present a lethal threat, be prepared to hit him/them multiple times. Even then,
any kind of instant de-animation is extremely unlikely.
5) Small 380Auto pistols, and snubby revolvers are arguable as
second/back-up weapons, but they represent a desperate lower-limit when that is all
you have with you. When “going armed,” you should be carrying the most
formidable pistol you can comfortably fit into your life.
6) Holding suspects a gunpoint and waiting for police to arrive is an
activity that is so dangerous, I recommend you not do it al all!
Suspects may attack you, despite the fact you’re holding a pistol on them.
Arriving police may mistake you for the suspect, and, since you’re
holding a gun, engage you immediately and without warning.
As mentioned above, when you have a dangerous suspect at gunpoint, the best
thing to do, from the standpoint of your continued good health, is to
persuade him to voluntarily disengage and run away. Police will probably pick
him up a short time later anyway, and you’ll end your high risk-exposure as
quickly as possible.
As I tell my students,
“I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m here to tell you what’s going
to happen when you do. Then, you make your own, informed decisions. I’m
not here to suggest you do the ‘right thing,’ nor the ‘moral thing,’ even
the ‘legal thing.’ I’m suggesting you do the smart thing, from the
standpoint of your continued good physical health, financial health, mental
health, and general well-being. “
As more good citizens make the decision to “go armed,” the foregoing is
going to become more and more critical.
“Here lies the body of Mike O’Day,
Who died maintaining his right-of-way
His right was clear
His way was strong
But, he’s just as dead,
As if he’d been wrong!”
From an epitaph on a mock head-stone, erected, among others, as a warning
to young recruits during military training in the early 1940s.
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