Today was like any other day. You woke up, grab a cup of coffee, took a shower, dressed, concealed your pistol on your waist band, and took off out the door on your errands. Twenty minutes later you find yourself walking into a Walmart without a care in the world. What was on my list? Oh yeah, I need to get that cooler special that was advertised for $24.99. Walking through the door you bypass the shopping carts and headed for the sports department. The next thing you know there’s a 250 pound guy sitting on top you with three other people holding your arms and legs, all of them yelling that “you have a gun.” What you do now?
Don’t think this is can happen to you? Think again, it happens quite a bit around the country to lawful concealed carry citizens, other wise know as civilian first responders. While there are no statistics on these events, there is enough anecdotal data to suggest that it’s not infrequent occurrence. Take for example the situation from above captured on this Walmart security camera:
Last year, Michael Foster, aka vigilante, put a man in a choke hold without warning from behind when he saw him enter that Florida Walmart with a concealed firearm. Foster, who is white, decided to take the law into his own hands and launched himself on Clarence Daniels, who is black, fearing a shooting. Foster was helped by other shoppers in the Brandon store, but when Sheriffs arrived they discovered that Daniels did indeed possessed a permit for his gun. The Sheriffs arrested the Foster on charges of battery.
According to deputies, Foster told them that when he saw Daniels get out his car he caught sight of a gun under his coat, in a holster. Foster followed Daniels into the Walmart, but did not call 911 before he attacked Daniels nor did he alert security. During the brief struggle, which caught Daniels completely by surprise, he screamed out that he was licensed to carry a firearm, but Foster ignored that and told him to wait for the sheriff’s to arrive to decide. Three other men helped Foster to hold Daniels down until law enforcement arrived, despite his pleas to let him go.
Most observers about now would asked the question, “What would you do if you are in the situation?” That’s a bit too obvious. A better question is, “What would you do to prevent yourself from being the situation?” At this particular point in Daniel’s life he was a victim and along for the vigilante ride. There wasn’t much he can do beyond waiting for lawful authorities to arrive at this event and resolve the situation. What could Daniel have done to prevent this from happening to begin with?
If you recall from the description above Foster noted that he saw Daniel get out of the car and caught sight of a gun in his coat. This is one of the easiest ways to freak people out – having somebody see a concealed gun and not understand the nature of CCW. Open carrying a gun invokes a completely different response psychology. In open carry, the gun is out there. It’s on your belt. It feels okay to other. A bit weird, but ok. But when somebody catches a glimpse of a gun on your back belt, covered up by shirt, they often become very concerned. They discovered a secret. One that could hurt them. Alarms go off in their head. It’s a natural for most human beings. So we need to make sure that these protective weapons are truly concealed at all time, even as were getting out of our vehicles.
Wearing the improper clothing or using an inadequate holster can cause your firearm to imprint through your clothing, causing the same psychological concerns in uninformed civilians. This negates the purpose of having a conceal carry permit, as it alerts and alarms everyone around you that you are carrying a weapon. A variety of holsters are made to help prevent this mistake – choose wisely.
Another guaranteed way to freak out the general public is to lift your shirt and start messing with your gun. If your holster has slid into an uncomfortable position, do not start adjusting it in public. Instead, find a private area, a restroom for example, where you can safely reset your holster.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to Daniel’s, well, you failed. The whole purpose of concealed carry practice is to conceal the carrying of your weapon. CCW is a way of life. We know our gun. We are trained. We are licensees. We are insured… you are insured, aren’t you. Lastly, we ensure our concealment; not just at the start of our day, but until it’s time to secure our weapon for the day. Mom use to say, a ounce of prevention is worth a… you know the rest.