Why You Should Still Call Police If You Draw But Don’t Shoot

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Why You Should Still Call Police If You Draw But Don't Shoot

If you have a defensive encounter where you have to draw your pistol but don’t have to fire, should you still call police? Not much happened besides the draw, so it may not be worth it to involve them…except that you absolutely should.

You May Be Called On To Justify Defensive Gun Use

A “defensive gun use” doesn’t necessarily mean that a shot of any sort has to be fired. In fact, some studies have found that far more defensive gun uses don’t involve any shots fired at all – often enough, merely showing the gun to a potential assailant (or assailants) or the act of drawing the pistol is enough to frighten a potential mugger, robber or other threat off.

The thing about using force, and especially deadly force, is that it’s actually a crime but can be excused or justified under certain circumstances. Drawing a gun from a holster, even if it doesn’t result in a shot being fired, has to be just as justifiable.

Imagine a hypothetical person, licensed and legally carrying, is menaced by a mugger who starts to bum rush them in a parking garage. Said hypothetical person draws their pistol, in preparation to defend themselves. Aforementioned mugger stops in his/her tracks, turns and flees.

The person who drew the gun shrugs the incident off and heads home, but the mugger calls the police, saying they were merely asking some stranger for the time or for change to catch a bus and got a gun pulled on them.

It’s not like a criminal can be called upon to tell the truth and unless CCTV footage shows the incident went down as the person who was nearly assaulted says it did…the hypothetical person who drew might have a hard time proving the draw was justified in court. Take a look at this article I wrote a while back talking about when it’s ok to pull your gun.

Additionally, what a person drawing a gun experiences and what a bystander witnesses may be two entirely different things. They may not witness the lead-up to a gun being pulled; they may only see someone with a gun drawn on one or more people. As far they know, the guy with the pistol may be a maniac.

It May Help Catch Repeat Offenders Or Get New Ones Noticed

Many studies into crime have found that repeat offenders are behind far more crime than anyone else. In other words, only a small portion of the population cause most of the crime in the United States, violent crime included. Someone who would try to rob or otherwise harm their fellow citizen is probably already known to police.

By calling police and giving a description, you may be able to alert them to activity of a repeat offender that helps put them behind bars. If you happen to be in a public area with a surveillance system, law enforcement may be able to build a prosecutable case against a repeat offender that way.

Additionally, a person embarking on a life of crime or simply hasn’t been caught yet can get onto law enforcement’s radar by reporting them.

Put The Narrative In Your Control

You can’t control what a mendacious criminal might say or what a bystander witnesses, but you CAN control whether or not your version of events is related to law enforcement immediately and up front – which will lead them to look for corroborating evidence – or whether it’s given to them after the fact.

Also, the fact that you didn’t call police may be used against you.

When it comes to your life and your freedom, you don’t want to have to rely on other people to preserve either if you can help it. Therefore, if you have to draw, but don’t have to fire, make sure the first thing you do is contact authorities and alert them to the situation. It may make an enormous difference.

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  • Gunner Butler

    The only good gunfight, is the one avoided. The same rings true for police encounters… I avoid them. Everything you say will be used (not to help you) but against you. If you call the cops from the seedy parking structure where you just got assaulted, they will tell you to stay put! Is that the advice you would give your loved one? I say get away from there, if you feel like you want to submit a police report, do it on line from the safety of your home. If your PD doesn’t have online capability’s, write a statement and mail it to the cops from the safety of your home. I will not intentionally subject myself to be victimized by the state because I am a victim of crime.

    • tdg54

      I think if you’re alone and no witnesses are around, you are probably correct. If, on the other hand, there are witnesses, I think it more prudent to call cops as fast as you can in case witnesses don’t realize what they actually witnessed, and only saw you draw a gun on somebody.

    • Clark Kent

      Wow! Paranoid much? Hate to burst your bubble, but when you delay reporting ANYTHING to the police it just makes you look guilty. Like running away from the scene of a traffic accident. ‘Everything you say will be used (not to help you) but against you’? How old are you, twelve? P.S. If you REALLY want to be ‘victimized by the state’ move to North Korea pronto.

      • www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Well let’s think about this: if you draw your firearm on a person but don’t use it, what just took place? Was it an act of self-defense or an act of intimidation? Use of a weapon for intimidation is an act of aggression and is against the law. Unless you are Joe Biden 😉 So YES, either don’t pull it out, or report the incident immediately would probably be a good choice. Take a picture of the perps leaving the scene and the site of the encounter might even be a good thing if it seems SAFE to do so. However most importantly, keep yourself and anyone you are with Safe; that is job one.

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  • Maybe having some rules would be a good idea. Mine is that if it comes out, I’m going to use it and to that end, I’ll avoid using it. The threat would have to be very credible and imminent. Is the perp armed with any weapon? Would a reasonable person think that their actions would justify fear enough to use deadly physical force? Am I the only victim as it were, or did I come upon a perp committing a crime against someone else? No matter what, whether it’s a cop or a civilian, shooting someone is a choice and one that cannot be undone. I think a good primer for anyone that wants to CCW is Massad Ayoob’s In The Gravest Extreme.

  • Robert Rivers

    This should be expanded to any encounters where it is even hinted at that you have a gun. More than one person has found themselves in the back of a police car because someone called 911 to report that they were threatened with a gun. You get locked up and the other guy laughs it off every time he misses a a court date to testify as to what happened. Meanwhile you’re paying for a lawyer to show up and losing a days pay every time.. even worse if the incident happens in a jurisdiction away from your home town..

  • Frank Hunter

    If I had to draw I am calling the cops because the bad guy did something wrong and I am reporting it.

  • Roy Payne

    Question: In my home town (pop. 9,500), two law enforcement agencies are headquartered … the local city police and the county sheriff’s office. Also, the state highway patrol maintains a presence but has no office here. Which of these departments should I call if I ever needed to pull my weapon?

    • Dan Borchers

      Call 911, that will get the fastest service, and lets them figure out the correct departmental authority.

      • Roy Payne

        Well, DUH! Thanks, Dan. I’m embarrassed to think that I even had to ask.

        Living in a small town, I have the Dispatcher’s number in my phone for calling in a non-emergency situation.

        Guess I figured since I didn’t fire my weapon, it wouldn’t qualify as an emergency.

        But you’re right, of course. Calling 911 is the best way to go.

  • Kevin McCloskey Sr.

    Everybody’s got a video camera pull phone then gun instant dash cam work a dog tag chain and clip phone to: “What happened? I saw XXX and videoed it and pulled my weapon to stop XXX.”” want to see?”

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