Do You Have to Fire?
When I can, I read the comments of the RackAttack to discover any questions that readers might have, and to better understand what people are interested in learning about self-defense and firearms. Unfortunately, I sometimes overlook a question, but run across it later when trying to come up with fresh ideas, which is what this piece is about.
In my Power of Words blog a reader asked: “Can you pull a gun on an attacker and not shoot?” The simple answer is yes, of course you can. In fact, it’s better if you can end an attack without firing. The act of pressing a trigger in a situation instantly involves federal and state law, which could include you having to pay for an attorney to defend your actions. You also have to consider missed or pass through shots that could cause damage to property and injuries to people. That is one of the main reasons that training is so highly recommended for those who carry a handgun for protection. Training makes you more aware of your surroundings, including potential backstop hazards. It’s often in your best interest to allow a retreating attacker to leave unscathed in both the legal sense and for your own piece of mind. Drawing your gun does not mean you have to shoot. You can let him go before calling the police to report the incident and provide an accurate description of the perpetrator.
Now this is not to say that you shouldn’t fire if the need arises, but to make you aware that not every situation requires a trigger press. There are many times when the act of drawing a gun and showing that you’re willing to defend yourself is enough to deter an attack. This is why I believe that always having a gun is more important than the gun’s caliber. Most criminals don’t want to get shot anymore than you do. There are, however, a few who are uncaring or so drugged out that they will continue the attack, which is why I carry a .45.