We've all heard the righteous remark: "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by six."
Clearly, this is a reference to the use of some form of deadly force to protect one's own life in some kind of conflict/confrontation.
But legally possessing a registered pistol and a holder of a conceal carry permit in your county and state does not mean domination at Dodge.
Three expert speakers offered sound and useful counsel for any and all considering buying a gun to possess and carry for self defense should a quarrel and/or threat occur.
One might think that bringing together Jim Carr, a pistol permit instructor, William Zickl, a prosecutor, and Daniel Killelea, a defense attorney, would result in a vast divergence of facts and opinions. Not so.
If fact, each presenter received immediate and additionally supportive input on all recommendations made to current and prospective gun owners during the Sept. 11 Genesee County Chapter of SCOPE meeting at Calvary Baptist Church in Batavia.
Jim Carr teaches pistol permit classes for New York State and combined classes for certification in Utah, Arizona and Florida.
Carr began by saying, "Buying a gun does not equate to self-protection." He used the simile that it would be like buying a violin with the presumption of playing music without practicing.
He cautioned to be careful with a firearm possessed for self protection. A gun owner is faced with the responsibility of knowing when use of that deadly force is justified — by legal officials and possibly a jury of 12 peers.
While he highlights the need to know that force is used in a defense of life or in the case of an immediate threat to life, a gun owner's stock of morals and ethics precedes any legal considerations.
He warns, "Don't be a ‘Good Samaritan'; with a gun." In order for a Samaritan gun owner to be good, that owner must have a clear moral and ethical understanding of actions taken in order to differentiate good and bad behavior, right and evil intent.
Before conflicts and confrontations arise, Carr suggests, "Be respectful and polite to all. Mind your own business when seeing a crime committed. Call the police; don't step into a conflict."
Deadly force is never a counter for words alone. Panic and what Carr calls "bear reactions" may be the result of fear rather than a real threat.
Will Zickl, a 25-year veteran of prosecution work, began by citing Article 35 in the New York State Penal Code which allows justification for the use of physical force. But, Zickl said, reasonableness in one's actions is an overriding concept.
He stressed the necessity of knowing the gun owner had "no other alternative possible when acting."
Zickl reminded listeners of the introductory video Carr showed of that Oklahoma druggist who was confronted by two thieves. Many recalled seeing this on the national news several years ago in which the armed robber confronted the druggist and he drew and fired at the attackers, wounding the unarmed assailant.
The armed robber left and the druggist returned to the counter and shot the injured would-be robber several times. The prosecuting attorney pointed out the two basic options Zickl offers to gun users in this setting.
The first shooting most prosecutors would consider self-defense; the second shooting of the unarmed, injured robber was ultimately judged a criminal act.
Zickl offers this relatively simple separation of good/bad and right/evil: "If you're acting in fear (of death or grave bodily harm) your legal justification is more accepted. If you draw in anger (retaliation, retribution, revenge, etc.) you're probably wrong."
Conflicts arise suddenly, most responsible gun owners never have a need to display a conceal-carry firearm or draw it for fear of death or grave bodily harm. But Zickl's "fear vs. anger" options are well worth mulling before taking any action involving deadly force.
Daniel M. Killelea had worked extensively in the Erie County prosecutor's office before entering private practice as a defense attorney.
Killelea echoed many remarks of Carr and Zickl. He began by noting one should avoid either being judged by 12 or carried by six, adding, "Article 35 is not a license to kill."
He stressed, "You have a moral obligation to know your firearm, practice with it and know when to use it."
He recommends retreat rather than drawing a firearm in public. "Once drawn, you have to act." Instead, Killelea opts for avoiding physical confrontations. If deadly force (gunfire) was necessary, he advises to have another call 911, let arriving police know you are not a perpetrator, be truthful and concise to identify yourself as a good guy in this police/legal matter.
Police have a duty to act; pistol permit holders do not have that duty.
"Even showing a concealed carry firearm could be considered "menacing" or "brandishing" to others reporting to authorities," he said.
Best options (when possible): Withdraw, call 911, avoid legal hassles while acting properly in a confrontation.
These suggestions apply mainly to carrying a concealed firearm in public.
Article 35 pertains mainly to defending oneself inside one's home/dwelling/residence. The SCOPE chapter tentatively plans a home-defense presentation early in 2013.?