Recently I read an article about a clerk at an Illinois smoke shop and corner store. He as involved in a shooting.
It is early in the evening when three men run inside. They are wearing hoodies, but these days everyone wears hoodies. They are also wearing masks. With Covid, lots of his customers wear masks.
One of the men pointed a gun at the clerk. The armed robber asks if he has kids and wants to go home to see them. This gets his attention.
He starts looking at his options.
He is carrying a concealed firearm. However, he opts to not try to outshoot the robber.
He opens the cash register and hands the robber the evening’s receipts. The three robbers are leaving when he sees them point their guns at a customer who is entering the store.
Fearing for the safety of the customer, he draws his firearm and shoots the armed robber several times. All three robbers run out the door and drive away.
Taking stock, he checks and his two co-workers are shaken, but not injured. He calls 911.
When the police arrive, he gives them a statement. he also provides them with the store security video of the robbery.
He called his boss and quit his job.
The police find the injured robbers nearby. Two of them were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The injured robbers had a history of armed robbery. One was still on parole. The armed robber died in the hospital.
Police used a picture from the security video and they are looking for the third robber.
Our Peer Review
Without a doubt, our defender deserves a lot of credit. He noticed that small businesses in his area were frequently robbed. He carried his personal firearm on his body when he was at work. In Illinois, a FOID card is required for concealed carry. The story does not mention an Illinois carry permit. You can bet that if he didn’t have a card that would have been the lead of the article; ‘man with illegal firearm gun down three incent men’.
Discretion Is the Better Part of Valor
The armed defender recognized the threat. He didn’t panic.
The armed robber told the defender that he might never see his family that night unless he followed instructions. At that moment, he realized that he needed to defend himself.
However, he also recognized that he would need time to defend himself. Facing the robber’s drawn gun, he did not have a chance to stop the threat without being shot.
The defender waited. Seconds count. He waited for the robber to turn away. Now he could act. However, once the robber got the cash and turned his gun toward the front door, there was not an immediate and unavoidable threat. That removed the legal and moral justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense.
Our armed defender remained calm and did not fire.
The situation changed a second later when the armed attacker pointed his gun at someone who was approaching the store from outside. Illinois recognizes the right to defend an innocent third party who faces a lethal threat. The armed defender shot the attacker. It would not have mattered if the attackers were shot from behind.
From the police report, we have to assume the shots were directed at the armed attacker and the other two attackers ran into the line of fire as they funneled through the front door.
A Man Has to Know his Limits
When the attackers ran, it would have been tempting to give chase. Our defender keeps his head. He doesn’t try to chase the bad guy down the street. He stayed in the store.
We don’t know if this was good judgment or if the defender was not allowed to carry his firearm outside the business.
It is easy to see how it would be impossible for the defender to get his carry permit. Maybe the defender lived across the river in Iowa and only worked in Illinois. Unfortunately, Illinois law does not allow Iowa residents to get an Illinois carry permit, and Illinois does not recognize Iowa permits.
There are several things that our defender and his employer could have considered to lessen the change of a bad outcome.
Firearms Reciprocity Agreements Between States
In our article, it is easy to see how it would be impossible for the defender to get his carry permit.
Maybe the defender lived across the river in Iowa and only worked in Illinois.
Unfortunately, Illinois law does not allow Iowa residents to get an Illinois carry permit, and Illinois does not recognize Iowa permits.
The first goal of a security plan is to keep from getting shot.
Maybe the co-workers would do exactly what this defender did, but maybe not.
Perhaps the three of them would dive under the counter so they were not a target.
One of them might have to stand up and hand over the cash. While the other co-workers were down on the floor and out of sight, maybe they could crawl to the back room and call 911.
When the armed robber threatened another customer, the armed co-workers could shoot the attacker while they stayed hidden behind the counter. They could shoot, but they don’t have to.
The defender called his boss and quit his job. He said his life was threatened at work and he was also afraid he would be financially ruined if he had to defend himself in court.
Can we blame him? You should have legal insurance if you might use a firearm for self-defense. That is true if you have your gun at home, at your business, or if you carry it in public.
Please consider how you will pay those bills while you have time on your side.