You are at home with your girlfriend. It is 4 in the morning when you hear sounds coming from inside your home. You get out of bed. You grab your gun and go see what is happening. You see a stranger in your house. The intruder is armed. You both shoot at each other. Your attacker is hit in the chest by several of your gunshots. He stops shooting so you stop shooting. He falls down. The second robber runs away.
The news report says that deputies responded to a call of a burglary in progress, so you or your girlfriend may have called the police before the gunfight. You stay at the scene and tell the police what happened. The police pick up the attacker’s firearm.
Your attacker is declared dead at the scene. Police interview both you and your girlfriend. You are not charged with a crime. The police are looking for the second robber.
Yes, there are gun owners in California. You may not be able to get your carry permit in Los Angeles County but you can own a gun. In fact, California has more gun owners than any other state. These homeowners planned for their defense long before someone tried to rob them at night.
Let’s look at the simple things they did to save themselves. I like that they didn’t ignore the noise in the middle of the night. They might have called 911 early, and that is good. They had a firearm that they could reach quickly. Their gun was stored in such a condition that it was useful as soon as they grabbed it. They recognized an immediate threat of an armed man in their home. They defended themselves and then they stopped shooting when their attacker was no longer a threat.
I like that they stayed at the scene and didn’t chase the second suspect when he ran away. The defenders called for help and then gave statements to the police when they arrived.
There are a number of things we’d like to do if we were in a similar situation. These defenders may have done them but they are not mentioned in the news report.
Let’s back up a few minutes. The news article didn’t mention that the bad guys smashed a window or kicked down a door. We want to make sure that our doors and windows are locked. That does a lot of good and it doesn’t cost much. Most robbers will move to the next house until they find an unlocked door or window. That is wonderful because we win every home invasion that we avoid.
We want to plan our defense before we hear the sound of breaking glass or strangers in our home. Having a plan reminds us about what needs to be done and what we can ignore. Equally important, a self-defense plan might keep us from doing something foolish as we try to invent a plan in the middle of the night while we are barely awake. A plan has to be simple.
If you think someone is in your home then grab your gun. If you are living with someone in the same room then you both want to grab your guns. That means you have a self-defense tool in your hands and that is a great start.
Lock the bedroom door so the bad guy has to break down your door to get to you. Obviously, you need a different plan if you have children to protect, but for now, let’s stay with the story as it was reported.
If there are two of you then you can be move-in parallel. Turn on the lights in your room so you can identify an intruder. Entering a lighted room is also another level of deterrence since the bad guys know that you are awake and that there is no place to hide if they enter your room.
Grab your phone and get behind your bed so you have some furniture between you and the doorway. Now you call 911. Another option is to also grab your keys and set off your car alarm. The two of you are now behind the bed with guns pointed at the doorway and the cops are on the way.
I like this plan because it is now really hard for the intruders to hurt the homeowners. Our goal is that we get to call our insurance agent in the morning about a broken window rather than calling him about an unexpected trip to the hospital.
We don’t want to clear our home. For one thing, we don’t know how many bad guys are in our house. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know how they are armed. In this news story, we know that the bad guy shot at our defenders. That means one of the good guys could have been wounded or killed. Even if we stop all the bad guys but our girlfriend gets shot then we’ve lost the gunfight. We want to plan ahead so we lose as little as possible.
Stay on the phone so you know when the police are outside. Remember those old holsters that you don’t use and now keep in the bottom of your holster box up in the bedroom closet. What about putting a pair of holsters in the nightstand on the side of the bed that is away from the door. Now both of you have a place to put your guns so your hands are empty when the police arrive.
Make sure your hands are empty when the police arrive.
How about both of you being armed with knowledge about what to tell the police. You might say something like this.
I’m the homeowner that called you. This is where I was standing when I saw the intruder with a gun in his hands. I fired as I backed up to get away from him. We called you as soon as we could. I’ll sign a complaint and testify in court. I’ll answer your questions and submit a complete report after I’ve spoken to my attorney.
Make plans today so you have an attorney to call later.
-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.