Armed Citizen Factor

Matt and Sweat considered home invasions and car theft to facilitate escape early on, but decided against it. Part of what motivated that decision may have been fear of being shot to death by occupants. The perception of “anti-gun New York State” comes from the southern N.Y. megalopolis the locals call The City and The Island. Upstate New York is largely rural and home to many hunters, and concealed carry permits are much easier to get there than downstate.

The local populace was indeed up in arms. Bird hunters bought buckshot for their shotguns, broke them out of their safes and gun cabinets, and loaded them up “ready to repel boarders.” People were reported to be openly carrying loaded handguns, illegal as hell in even upstate New York but unnoticed by the police, who were out looking for Matt and Sweat. This was particularly true in and around Dannemora: The prison was the area’s primary employer, and a great many citizens worked there. They saw the face of the enemy every day and had already armed their households. Many residents who didn’t have guns went out to buy some: Firearms retailers in and around the area reported a major uptick in business.