What to do when your gun is spotted and you are illegally detained
We all recall the recent news article about a CCW carrier being assaulted and improperly detained until police could arrive? Well, it naturally struck a deep nerve in the concealed carried weapon permit holder community. It's a natural fear we all have when carrying a firearm – we'll be mistaken for the bad guys. And it couldn't be further from the truth! Concealed carry permit holders are usually carrying because they believe in self-defense.
We needed to break this category into two major distinctions: simple assault and being improperly detained. The reason is there is a clear distinction in how most CCW holders will be able to react.
ISSUE: This is when you get spotted by someone who is very wary around guns. Maybe they had a bad experience with one before or conversely are completely uneducated about the legality of concealed carry. In either case, a person or people may approach you and demand you be detained until police arrive. Your best practice is simply to tell the party that you have a legal permit to conceal carry.
In many cases, no. In fact, detaining someone against their will for an illegal reason can be construed as kidnap. If they refuse to release you, it's still not alright to draw your weapon – but that's a question of ethics. However, if anyone lays their hand on you without your permission, that's then the definition of assault.
SOLUTION: If you do not constitute being illegally detained as grounds for self-defense, it's best to just wait until police arrive. Once your permit is seen by the police, they will have to release you. If that doesn't seem suitable, you're free to tell the police that you want charges filed against those whom detained you illegally. And if that doesn't work, you can pursue civil charges.
ISSUE: In the case of that man in Florida who was assaulted and illegally detained until police arrived, being tackled to the ground is clearly an assault charge. While it would be hotly contested in court due the mitigating circumstances of the defendant perpetrating his actions based upon a clear instinct towards survival, it ultimately wouldn't hold up in court. Most gun owners wouldn't want to make that distinction in a court room, though. And that's why once it's construed as assault, you can and may use all means on your person to ensure a quick resolution to the conflict. Ethically, it ought to be less than lethal means. However, use your discretion.
SOLUTION: The simple answer? Sue him. And in both cases, the least likely to wind up on big screen TVs in the electronics section, is to take the time to educate your attackers and patiently wait until police arrive.
“But what if I am unsure what my attacker's intentions are?”
If you're unsure about whether or not the person or people coming towards you mean harm, it's best to do whatever feels necessary to defend yourself. However, the legal consequences for over-extending yourself on defensiveness will truly be yours to consider – with your team of attorneys.
A quality CCW holster will go a long way to make sure that your gun is 100% concealed. Some life adjustments on your part when it comes to bending and reaching can prevent this problem. We wrote a lengthy guide on how to prevent revealing your concealed carry firearm
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.