Being Armed Off-Duty

At the January 2011 atrocity in Tucson, no good guy with a gun got there before unarmed citizens had taken down the mass murderer by hand. By that time, more than a dozen and a half victims had been shot. Compare that to the Trolley Square Mall mass murder that was short-circuited when an off-duty cop with a 7-shot subcompact 1911 .45 engaged the shooter and pinned him down until responding officers could get there and finish the job. Common sense tells us to fight fire with fire. When lethal violence erupts, only lethal force is likely to stop it before there are dead innocents on the ground. Fight fire with fire, fight gunfire with gunfire. History confirms common sense.

Surveys show a stunning number of American law enforcement officers do not regularly carry guns off duty. Imagine what would go through the mind of one of those if something like Tucson or Trolley Square did happen in front of them — and they were close enough to stop it — but didn’t have the tool for the job? Is that a face any of us would care to see in the mirror the next morning, or for the rest of our lives?

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10 thoughts on “Being Armed Off-Duty

  1. RonBorsch

    Being armed off duty:

    As usual, Massad Ayoob is right on!

    Because an active killer and terrorists can and have started their evil work almost anywhere in America, sworn officers that fail to carry off-duty should not consider themselves as professionals, or even the “real” police.

    Law enforcement officers are themselves targets by some predatory humans. They have attacked us in patrol cars, inside police stations, in police parking lots, at coffee shops and even off-duty at various different locations including at our homes.

    When a sworn officer, trained and authorized to be armed off duty fails to do so, by default he has given an advantage to an attacker.

    When he is unable to protect himself, his family or innocents when evil comes to visit in front of him, he disappoints everyone including his peers.

    The world is changing. Rapid mass murder is a copycat crime and is on the increase. Random actor Islamist terrorists have already scored kills inside the USA.

    Good men or women with guns already on site when an active killer strikes is the safest and best counter to a bad man with a gun.

    Locations than ban civilians from being armed have the health safety and welfare of potential murderers more in mind than the safety of their customers. They have literally created a killer empowerment zone.

    Murderers are always empowered whenever honest citizens are disarmed. Fortunately this does not apply to off-duty officers dedicated to off-duty carry.

    Our research and records on Rapid Mass Murder(C) indicate that the active killer is stopped most often by unarmed civilians.

    The majority of these aborts are initiated at great risk by a single unarmed civilian with no guaruntee that anyone else will help.

    Both armed and unarmed civilians together stop rapid mass murder about 2/3rds of the time. Law enforcement is handicapped by time, distance and various faulty beliefs.

    Unarmed off-duty officers should not depend either on nothing happening, or for someone else, (unarmed or armed civilians) to take action. As Massad is fond of saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind”!

    SEALE Academy Bedford Ohio

    1. Dick McIntosh

      While I agree with Massad Ayoob on almost everything he writes and have watched tons of his videos, there are reports that one of the “good guys” who did take down the shooter of the Congresswoman was a civilian who was carrying. He ran toward the gunfire and upon arriving (just after an older retired military guy had tackled the shooter) decided because of a number of reasons, he could not in good conscience, pull and start shooting. He gave many reasons, but some of the better ones were:

      1. The chaos on the scene – people were running every-which-way and screaming in panic,
      2. He could not guarantee the backdrop to be safe – he might hit others by mistake,
      3. The Army officer had already knocked the shooter down and better use of muscle described physical containment rather than a quick pull of the trigger.

      Some other things that popped into my mind, the most pertinent ones:

      1. What would prevent a late arriving police officer from shooting the rescuer, by mistake, in all that confusion?

      2. What if a plain-clothes Secret Service type was trying to get a shot at the shooter, but decided to stop YOU first, in order to halve his workload?

      I have a CCW, but I don’t carry. Reason? I’m not well trained, and until I am I won’t be packing until I can get some serious (and expensive) combat pistol tactics.

      While I agree with Mr. Ayoob that all active police officers should carry while off-duty, depending upon the circumstances, a physical take-down may often be the only safe avenue of subduing such a deranged gunman.

      In a perfect world, would the off duty guy shoot him as he mounted the speaker’s platform, or just after he put a bullet in Gabby’s head? If so, in a perfect world only one innocent would have been shot.

      In a perfect world.

      Imagine being a war-fighter on an Army base and having to duck the shots – unarmed to boot – of one of your own medical staff either because the service doesn’t trust you with weapons in CONUS, or because it’s too hard for the armorers to keep them operational.

      In a perfect world a whole lot more of those killed would have gone home that night had all the enlisted folk or the officers been allowed to keep their weapons.

      In a perfect world.

  2. John Brenize

    I’m a retired Police Officer and I do not leave the house without being armed. To do so is inviting desaster. My brother officers used to kid me about it until I walked in on a holdup off duty and put the perp down. Any officer who does not carry off duty is not a dedicated Law Officer.

  3. Charles

    People place to much credence in police officer that they think it’s a police officer’s legal obligation to protect people 24/7. Sorry that just isn’t factual and according to the supreme court they aren’t.

  4. Juan

    I wholeheartedly agree with Doug Mc Intosh,I do have a CC licence and carry it 75% of the time,I worry about the remaining 25%,I have some training as far as shooting is concerned,but I haven t had to use my weapon in a public place to stop a mass murderer,but the points Doug mentions are always in my mind,bc we are always aware that at any place,any time we can find ourselves in the midst of something like Tucson,there is no sacred place anymore,if I ever do find myself in that situation I hope I can keep my cool and put an end to it fast,but collateral damage is my worst fear.

  5. Juan

    I hope the day comes when 25% of the places we do bussiness at will allow their customers to carry their weapons,as it is now I feel like a sitting duck when I am at those bussinesses,the worse of it is they don t allow their customers to be armed and they don t provide any protection to them,sort of like the movie Dark Knight,where the Joker is the only armed guy….it s joke I tell you.

  6. Eric

    (I’m not a law enforcement officer, but I slept at a Holiday Inn Express once.) I have a Texas CHL and carry a weapon when and where it’s legal for me to do so and, like Juan, I worry about it when I can’t. If I am so unfortunate to encounter a situation such as what happened in Tucson, the gun doesn’t have to be the first choice, but it gives me one more very effective option to save lives.

    A couple of years ago a woman died in a horrible, fiery traffic accident. As her vehicle burned, she was able release her two children from their car seats and hand them to people who had stopped to render aid, but she herself was unable to escape the vehicle. The next day I bought fire extinguishers for both our vehicles, not just for my wife and me, but also if we come upon such an accident.

    When something bad happens, we all (not just public servants) have a responsibility to do what we can to limit the damage. We are the real first responders are. Also, when we depend on the government for our basic personal safety and security, we give up a little of both, as well as some of our liberty and tax dollars.

    There are three kinds of people in the world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. I choose sheepdog.

  7. Becky Blanton

    I graduated from the police academy in 83′ and always carried off-duty, and later even after I got out of police work. The thing most conscientious cops and citizens have to fear most is NOT the shooter or the shooting, but the Monday morning quarterbacking, the prosecutor, the media and everyone with an opinion about how you “should” have reacted, even if you did everything by the book. The most dangerous weapon is not a gun, but an uninformed and legally powerful opinion turned against you for taking any kind of armed response action, justified or not. The only ones who won’t complain (although I don’t rule out that possibility) are the ones whose lives you saved.

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