Washington County Sheriff Pat Garret's Advice:
If Someone Starts Shooting in Public, Should I Take Action?
Concealed Carry and Other Considerations
One way to process events like the shooting in Roseburg is to run through the scenario in your mind. How might you react? What if you are with your family? Planning and thinking through various scenarios is a healthy way to give yourself peace of mind and to live safer. If you already have a plan, improve it. If you don't, start today.
We cannot endorse any action during an active threat event, but we can share important considerations that may help you decide whether or how to respond if you are in such a situation.
|Watch: Run. Hide. Fight.|
Before making the decision to use your weapon, you should strongly consider if that is the right decision. Exercising your right to carry a firearm does not mean you are required to act during a crisis. Depending on the circumstances, you could aggravate or complicate the situation.
Also, do not assume that simply pointing your firearm at an active threat will stop them or even slow them down. If you choose to confront an active threat, you must be prepared to use your firearm.
Our firearms and tactical experts offer the following considerations for people who carry concealed, but their guidance can be helpful to get others thinking as well. Keep in mind that an active threat may have a gun, a knife, or even a vehicle as a weapon. Not every threat will be a shooter.
If at all possible, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Assess the situation. How many threats are there? Are you in a position of tactical advantage, or are you already cornered? You need to be able to assess the backstop behind your target, and to see who is between you and the threat. How comfortable are you firing your weapon, and do you have extra ammunition with you?
Position yourself for concealment. If possible, choose a position behind an object or structure that both conceals your location and provides a barrier before engaging the shooter.
Separate from other people. You may want to consider separating from your family or others. Once you engage, the threat's focus will turn to you and those around you. If the threat comes to you, you may have to take immediate action.
Consider Physical Responses to Stress. Under high levels of stress, we know a threat's field of vision will narrow to some degree, often to pinpoint vision. They may lose the ability to see peripherally and suffer diminished hearing. It may feel like the threat is in slow motion. This may also happen to you, depending on your experience.
Are you prepared to engage the threat? This is the toughest part of the plan. Are you prepared to take the threat's life to save the lives of others? The threat has already made the decision to kill people. Have you ever considered this scenario? Is it part of your mental plan?
When shooting stops, make it clear you are not a threat. If you took action and successfully engaged the threat, you need to understand that you may be presenting to police as an armed and unknown threat (or possibly to other well-intentioned armed citizens). If you continue to display your weapon, when police encounter you, there are only fractions of a second when life or death decisions are made. After you engage a threat, our trainers recommend you ensure your empty hands are plainly visible. Either re-holster or put down any weapons, depending on the environment, situation, and proximity of police.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever find yourself involved in an active threat situation; however, if you do, and you have a concealed carry license, it is good to be prepared. Practice with the gun you carry. Practice regularly drawing from a concealed carry position using the holster you will be wearing.
Practice until you are proficient with your gear. Be aware of your surroundings. The first time you think about how you will respond to an active threat situation should not be during an active threat event. Plan ahead.
Sheriff Pat Garrett