Episode 129 with Ben Branam
Rob- Introduction- I’m glad you found us, and welcome to episode 129 of Self-Defense Gun Stories.
This podcast is for people who might be curious about a firearm and for those who already own one for self-defense. I’m your host, Rob Morse. We’re joined this week by self defense instructor Ben Branam.
Ben- Hi, Rob. I’ve been working and shooting and teaching..and driving a lot.
Rob- Ben, how do you listen to the show?
Ben– I listen to it on my phone as I drive.
Rob- That is how most people listen. Please put us in your pocket every week, and give us rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher. Since iTunes and Stitcher lost our show, please go to their sites and give us a rating.
Ben, please tell our new listeners what to expect.
Ben- We study several examples where gun owners survived a life threatening situation. Were these defenders lucky, or did they have a plan? What should we do if we were in their place? Our first story took place last week in the Bronx borough of New York City.
It is 10:30 at night. The flow of customers is finally slowing down. You’re taking care of one customer after another and now you get a chance to clean up. A stranger comes in and says, “Give me your money.” You’re one of the few people in New York who have a permit to have a gun at home and at work. You are armed in your store tonight. You back away from the cash register, but the robber jumps up on the counter right in front of you.
With the robber towering over you, you draw your gun and fire. The robber stops advancing, so you stop firing. You move to the back room and call police.
Rob- Was this a situation that demanded self-defense including lethal force?
Ben- Position of advantage.
Rob- What did our defender do correctly?
Ben- Create distance. Stop shooting. Call police.
Rob- What would you tell your students to do if they were in this situation?
Ben- It wasn’t clear if the store owner had is gun in a holster on his body. You might not have time to get it unless it is with you. Having your gun in your holster on your body also gives you a safe place to put your gun after you use it. I say that because after you’ve shot someone, you don’t want to run through your store with a gun in your hand.
Rob- What should you do after you’ve defended yourself?
Ben- Honor the witnesses.
“Stay down. Is anyone hurt? Please stay where you are so you’re not attacked.”
You don’t know if there is another robber waiting outside. You don’t know if this robber had another weapon. Look around and see if anyone else is hurt.
“I’m calling the police. Does anyone need immediate medical care? Check to see if someone in your aisle is hurt.”
This article didn’t include a video. An in-store video surveillance system can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees. You might end up in court even if you did everything exactly right. The video system can keep you from being arrested in the first place.
Have a lawyer and call them to make a formal statement to the police.
Rob- Do we see robberies very often?
Rob- Anything else?
Ben- That is enough for now. Our second story happened last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Your house is full. You have old friends who are staying with you to avoid some storms. Your daughter is also visiting you. Your daughter’s ex-boyfriend came over, but she asked him to leave. Unfortunately, the ex-boyfriend came back at about 5 in the evening. He tries to get in the front door, but that is locked. He tries to get in the back door, but that door is locked too. He breaks into the garage, and then breaks through your door to the garage. You shout for him to leave, but he advances toward you. You shoot him when he advances toward your family and guests.
Ben- It doesn’t say, but I’ll bet that the mother and daughter were on the phone to the police before the ex-boyfriend broke the garage door and charged the homeowner. That is a good plan because it means that you wanted the police there and establishes you as the good guy asking for help.
The situation would have been entirely different if you’d gone outside to hunt this ex-boyfriend. That is not self-defense.
Rob- Was the homeowner legally justified in using a firearm?
Ben- Castle doctrine in Oklahoma
Oklahoma statute says you have grounds for self-defense if your attacker unlawfully broke into your home, your car, or your business.
Also, there are five of you, so you may not be able to safely retreat without leaving someone behind.
Rob- So I can shoot someone who breaks into my home?
Ben- Intrusion isn’t enough of a reason to shoot. You need to be at risk of an attack. If a young couple’s car breaks down, and they break into your garage to get out of a storm, you don’t have a hunting permit to shoot them as their hands are raised. We have a name for people who do that. They are called murderers and they go to prison.
Rob- What would you tell your students to do if they were in this situation?
Ben- The attacker was probably on drugs. Retreat if you can. Defend yourself if you must. Practice with your family so you all know what to do.
Rob- What could that family plan look like?
Ben- There are several task that you want to do at the same time.
-Who has armed defense?
-Who calls the police?
-Who takes care of the children or guests as the situation develops?
-Do you have solid doors on the room where you want to hide?
You have a very solid case if the crazy intruder is still there with a bruised shoulder as he is trying to break your solid door when the police walk in. I mean it that you don’t want to shoot people. Gunshots are messy, and a solid door and good locks are way cheaper than having to repaint your house because you shot someone in your living room.
Rob- I’ve heard you talk about a solid core bedroom door before.
Ben- Right. Little Ben Branam has a safespace.
In this case, I wish this homeowner had safety film on the glass near the door to his garage. That would have bought this family more time to retreat and more time for the police to arrive. I put the link in the show notes if you want to buy that film.
Rob- Are break ins like this fairly common?
Ben- They happen everywhere.
Rob- Is there more, or should we go on?
Ben- Let’s go on. Our third story happened last week in Taft, California.
Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Please support the Crime Prevention Research Center at
Your children wake you up Sunday morning. They want to use your laptop, but they can’t find it. You tell them it is on the table, but the kids say it isn’t there. You get out of bed and start to look for the missing laptop. You know you used it last night. Someone has also dumped out your purse and gone through it. That is when you hear your 7 year old daughter scream. You run to her and see her running back inside the house from the garage. There is a stranger in your garage.
You put all the kids into the back room. Then you get your gun. This is the gun you bought only two weeks ago. You open the door to the garage and see the intruder in the corner. You tell the intruder that you’ll shoot him if he comes any closer.
Then you call the police. The police arrest the intruder a few minutes later.
Ben- Well that is an ugly way to start a Sunday morning. Holding a gun and making a phone call is really hard to do.
Rob- What did our mama bear do correctly?
Ben- She sent the kids to the back room, and that was perfect. It sounds like she had a plan, and she gets a gold star for that. She also had a gun, so she gets a second gold star. She had a video surveillance system, but she only gets partial credit for that one.
Rob- Why does she only get partial credit?
Ben- There were no signs of a breakin, so she probably left the garage door unlocked. Lock your doors.
It turn out that mama bear had a surveillance system, and it captured the breakin. I bet she also had an alarm system..and she forgot to turn it on.
Turn on the alarms.
Rob- What else did you notice.
Ben- You have kids in the home. That means your gun has to be in a rapid access safe because it has to be securely locked away from your children.
Rob- Ben, do you have a quick access safe for you AND one for your wife?
Ben- Not yet, but I’m working on it.
Rob- Talk about your security plan with the whole family. Who will move the kids. Who will call the police. Who will protect the family. Don’t hunt the bad guys over a laptop.
Rob- Why do you say not to look for the criminal. It turned out reasonably well this time.
Ben- The robber stole a laptop and bananas, and he was in the garage for a couple of hours. I think he was on drugs.
When we look at the patterns of crime, there are usually several robbers. If they have guns, and more of them do all the time, then don’t get into a gunfight that you can avoid. Let the police do that because they wear body armor and , and dogs, and friends carrying shotguns.
Rob- Anything else before we go to the next story?
Ben- A final gold star to this momma bear for not shooting the intruder in her garage. She was in Taft, California. If you point a gun at an intruder in your garage in San Francisco, then you might be arrested for aggravated assault. Remember the rules, and don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
Rob- Good point. You’re going to be pretty nervous and you could fire by accident.
Ben- Our forth story was in Clarksville, Indiana.
You’re getting ready for bed. You hear screams from outside your apartment. The voices sound familiar, so you go outside to see what is going on. A man is beating up your neighbor and your neighbor’s 9 year old daughter. You’re armed. You step closer and shout for the attacker to stop. He looks at you and he sees your gun pointed at him. You say you’ll shoot him if he attacks you. You tell him to sit down on the curb. The woman and her daughter move away from their attacker.
The attacker gets up off the curb and comes toward you. You yell for him to stop and you take a step back. You shoot him as he closes the distance. Now he stops.
You step back and call police and EMTs.
Police take both the woman and her daughter to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. The attacker was declared dead at the scene.
Ben- Are you going to get involved if you hear screams outside? It isn’t your duty to intervene. This woman could have had a gun of her own and protected herself, but she chose not to.
Rob- What about her daughter?
Ben- Good question, but why did this mother leave herself AND her daughter unprotected?
You have to think about this now. Otherwise you’ll be thinking about it for minutes while your neighbor and her young daughter are being beaten.
Rob- So you want us to make those decisions ahead of time?
Ben- As much as you can. This is a great example of why you need your tools with you. Suppose you run out to the street and shout for the guy to stop. He doesn’t stop, so then have to run back inside and open your gun safe? That isn’t a plan.
Rob- Is this a gun problem in the first place?
Ben- This attack was a lethal threat to the child. You could tackle the attacker. I weigh 280 pounds and I can lift 350. If you run up and you’re a 150 pound woman and the guy is my size beating a 9 year old girl, then this is definitely an immediate and unavoidable life threatening situation.
Rob- What happens next?
Ben- The beauty of having a holster is it gives you a place to put your gun once you’ve used it.
Call the police. Stay there if you are safe. Call your attorney. Give a very brief statement. Your attorney will give your full statement the next day.
Exit- Rob- You always give me a lot to think about. that wraps up this episode and thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Ben- Look for me at Modern Self Protection.com. I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas. I teach armed self-defense and church security. Listeners can see my class schedule at my website, and they can also listen to my weekly podcast Modern Self-Protection.
Ben- We share this podcast with you for free. All we ask is that you share the podcast with a friend. We’re also available on Google Play Music and Spotify.
Rob- Apple lost this podcast for a week, so we’re starting over. Please give us a rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher to let people know why they should listen.
Ben- This podcast, just like mine, is part of the Self-defense radio network at sdrn.us
Rob- I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.