Armed Defense by a Used Car Salesman

U.S.A.-( We start with this news story out of Houston, Texas and reported by the local station ABC13, (and this video from the Houston PD).

You work in a small used car dealership. A customer walks up to you as you are standing in the parking lot and asks if he can see a car. You invite the customer inside so you can grab the keys and get a copy of his identification. As you sit down, you see the customer flash a gun that is in a shoulder holster. 

You are armed too. You put your hand on your firearm and present it. The robber says, “No!” and never pulls the gun away from the holster. The robber runs outside where his partner and the getaway driver are waiting.

You stay inside and call the police. You give the police a brief statement and then show them your identification. You also show the officers the many security video shots of the robber.

You are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No shots fired


Car dealerships are robbed on a regular basis and this defender prepared himself for working at a dangerous job. The defender formed a plan. As a first step, he became a gun owner. The office and the parking lot had several video surveillance cameras that tracked movement. The story implies that the defender carried his firearm on his body in a holster when he was at work, but we didn’t see pictures that confirm that.

The defender recognized that a customer with a gun in his hands could be a lethal and unavoidable theat. The defender drew his pistol and the bad guy ran off. The good guy didn’t chase the robber but stayed inside. Our good guy called the police and then gave the responding officers a statement.

Note what is missing in that description. The bad guy was pointing his gun away from the car salesman. The robber had not made verbal or physical movements that indicated an immediate threat. That could change in a fraction of a second, but that fraction of a second is critically important. The defender presented his firearm, but it appears the defender did not point his gun directly at the robber. I assume the defender’s gun was at the low ready position.

We can make mistakes by doing too much too early, or too little too late.

The key here is to recognize the required points of justified armed defense. The armed robber was an imminent threat but that threat was not unavoidably immediate. Yes, the threat justified that we have a gun in our hands but not that we press the trigger. Not yet.

My first impression was that such careful discrimination under pressure would be almost impossible, but then I remembered that we press the trigger less than 20 percent of the time. Gun owners in the United States are wonderfully reluctant to use lethal force and shoot their attacker. Presenting our firearm and not shooting the attacker is the rule rather than the exception.

I don’t want you to come away with a mistaken impression. If you watch the video you will see that the robber deliberately exposed his firearm. This was not an accident as if the wind lifted the customer’s shirttail and revealed the gun.

The robber’s gun was carried in the high center chest. The robber clearly lifted his shirt, put his hand on his gun, and pulled the gun from the shoulder holster. The robber then changed his mind and did not move his hands from his chest until he reached for the door handle to escape. The video also shows tattoos on the robber’s stomach so the police should be able to identify him.

Even with video surveillance, we have to explain our actions. Can we articulate why we faced a lethal, immediate, and unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm?

Officer, a man came into my office with a firearm in his shirt. He flashed the gun at me the way a robber would and he pulled the gun from his holster. I reacted the way I would if he were a robber. His hand on a gun was a threat so I presented my firearm and I did not point it at the robber. I did not yet face an immediate lethal threat so I didn’t shoot him.

I called 911 when I could and I put my gun away.

If this were a concealed carrier who walked through the door of your office with an inside-the-waistband holster and his shirt exposing the gun, then we’d say, ‘Nice gun.’ If we were the customer, then we’d pull down our shirt, have a laugh, and go about buying a car.

Open carry is legal in many states. Even where open carry is illegal, the mere sight of a firearm is not a threat. A stranger unholstering his firearm in the middle of our office probably is a threat. The law requires that we judge the totality of circumstances.

There is more to do after the bad guy runs away. We want to call the police if we touched our firearm even if we didn’t point it at the attacker or press the trigger. We want to win the race to 911 and create a paper trail if the customer later calls the police. Yes, honest defenders have been accused of assault and brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner.

Your instructor probably mentioned calling 911 the last time you took a firearms class. If that slipped your mind then reading this article was a few minutes well spent. Thank you.

As usual, we want to give the police a brief statement that outlines the facts. Show the police any evidence they need to collect. Then call your lawyer to fill out a complete report at a later date.

-Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve.

About Rob Morse

Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.Rob Morse


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This is a perfect example of where my new law would give him one strike. He would have two more to go and then be executed.

To JSNMGC and others that cherry pick my new law. This is what I am talking about, not what you dream up with your cop entrapment scheme that you tag on all LEO’s. Here is the proof in video. Like I said, video, witnesses and DNA. Yesterday JSNMGC said that DNA can be planted by bad cops. I mostly refer to rape on DNA.


Any power given to the government will be abused.

You have a very clear idea of how the death penalty should be applied. It won’t be applied in the manner you envision.

Even with respect to rape, DNA can be tampered with – a certain percentage of LEOs are bad/incompetent and a certain percentage of other people involved in the process are bad/incompetent.

I don’t tag anything on all LEOs and when you say things like that it detracts from your argument.

We disagree on the death penalty, that’s all – there is no need to lie about me.


death penalty is only justified when the perp ended someone else’s life without justification, and did so willingly. When your ox gores and kills someone you are responsible for that death, but not at the price ofyour own. Same if your axe head comes off and kills your neighbour. But if you sneakup oh him and klunk him over the head with a big rock and he dies, you ARE guilty of a capital crime and should be executed. Go and read that dusty old bible over there on the shelf. God’s law and heart are quite clear.


My concern with the death penalty is the process leading to the verdict. It relies heavily on government employees – too many of whom are corrupt, incompetent, lazy, vindictive (we have retired government employees on this site who want people killed for disagreeing with them), dumb, and who treat various groups of people differently.    As far as the bible goes, there are people here who have in-depth experience with theology. Feel free to discuss the Old Testament vs. the New Testament views on the death penalty with them. Specifically, the requirement for certainty of guilt and standard of evidence (Old Testament –… Read more »


And they don’t even need a law.


“Don’t you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never even occurred to us. . . . We were all so trained to obey orders without even thinking that the thought of disobeying an order would simply never have occurred to anybody, and somebody else would have done just as well if I hadn’t. . . . I really never gave much thought to whether it was wrong. It just seemed a necessity.” The underlined part looks familiar – no? If you haven’t seen this video, you may find it interesting. Whenever I post a youtube video it goes… Read more »


“they’ll just get fired & somebody else will do it”
That was the lead Oathbreaker Apologist of Ammoland. In fairness, I’d feel much better about being murdered by a “pro-gun” conservative cop than a liberal! Might even thank him for his protection & service in my dying breath.


Yes, that would feel much better.

By the way, the above quote was from Rudolf Höss, the commandant at Auschwitz – that was his defense at Nuremberg.


Reply on hold.


Yes, and there are photos not just people saying, it looks like him. I wish my dad would have had that at his car lot. It was right off the freeway by an entrance back on to the freeway. Good thing there was a liquor store next door because they were robbed more and one time a car off my dad’s lot was the getaway car. Crazy kommiefornia.


just the normal daily purchase routine for the 13%, they use their stolen polymer and steel “credit card” for everything Joe hasn’t already given them.


Anyone who commits a crime with a firearm shows they have the potential
to murder. Da’s need to take firearm crimes serious and stop dropping gun charges.


You can’t pull out your gun just because you see someone else with a concealed weapon. He was a customer until you saw that he also carries a firearm, and upon discovery of that he changes from customer to robber. There’s a logic disconnect in this described scenario, but the video won’t play for me.

Last edited 9 months ago by KCsmith

RE readthestory. It was not thatour guy “saw that he also carries a firearm”. Nope. It clearly stated the robber revealed his piece, put his hand on it very deliberately, then drew the firearm from its holster. It was NOT a “show and tell” incident. No conversation indicated a desire to “share” my new gun, wanna see it cause its so COOL. Nope. Anyone I do not know presents a firearm without previous discussion is up to no good. And I WILL resppond accordingly. Note well the YUUUUGE difference between “reveals” and “presents”. The term “presents”always carries with it a… Read more »


I saw this article before short and sweet / never pull your weapon unless you intend to use it. That’s how you get dead
What if he had a friend that also was carrying a concealed weapon you did not see. Now your the threat to the second guy who just shot you.

Head on a swivel protect you vitals shoot only to kill open carry would have changed this story big time.

Last edited 9 months ago by john