Episode 287 with Robyn Sandoval
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 287 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you’re still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Robyn Sandoval. You have been busy, Robyn. What has kept you away?
Robyn- Hi, Rob. I’ve been hosting a lot of great training opportunities for women. Last week I took a dozen women to Glock Professional in Smyrna GA where they took a 1-day armorer class and spent 2-days on the range with Glock instructors. It was a really fun time. How about you?
Rob- I’ve been at the range a few times, and I’ve been carrying every day.
We received a new rating but no new comments on iTunes (is 297×166). A friend of mine said he started listening to the stories with his wife. She recently got her carry permit and is considering how and when to carry.
That is how I hoped the podcast would be used.
Robyn- I love it when listeners go to the Self Defense Gun Stories’ podcast page iTunes store and tell us why you listen.
Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. In this episode we’ll look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
You are jolted awake when you hear a crashing sound at 4 in the morning. You assume it is your niece who lives with you and you shout to ask if she is alright. She says it wasn’t her. You get up and see a stranger sitting at your kitchen table. You rush back to your bedroom and grab your gun. Your niece comes out of her room and you ask her who this is. She says she doesn’t know. The stranger gets up and moves toward you. You shoot him. He falls down and says that hurts. You stop shooting and call 911.
You put your gun away when the police arrive. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital. You give a statement to the police. You say you tried not to shoot but the attacker advanced on you before they arrived. You and the police look at your broken front door. Your attacker is charged with breaking and entering, and with public intoxication.
You are not charged.
Robyn- It’s always impressive when a defender can awake from sleeping at 4am and keep his wits about him. I like that our defender was concerned for the safety of his niece. I like that his doors were locked and that he was armed. He defended himself when the attacker moved close enough to grab him. He stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing. He called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police. I assume his niece also gave a statement to the police, but the news article doesn’t mention her.
Rob- Is there more you’d like your students to do if this happened to them?
Robyn- I want you to have a plan with the adults who live in your home. It sounds like the niece was in her late teens or early 20s, so she could have been armed. Maybe you’ll grab your guns and you’ll both stay in your rooms and call 911. Maybe you’ll move to her room, lock her door, and then she will call 911. I want you to stay away from any intruder.
The defender spoke with the news media. I don’t recommend that. Also, how about spending $7 and putting in larger strike plates in your door casing. Given the increases we’ve seen in home invasions, that is money well spent.
Rob- How do your students learn about protecting their family at home?
Robyn- Start with taking a basic firearms safety and marksmanship course to learn how to operate the firearm safely and the general etiquette about storing and accessing it when needed. These classes also teach you the laws of the Use of Lethal Force and how to make a 911 call. As you progress in your firearms training journey, look for home defense classes and eventually team classes that can help you work with a partner to execute a safety plan.
Rob- When do your students build a safety plan for their home? They can do that in every state, even in states or counties that don’t issue concealed carry permits, can’t they?
Robyn- Everyone needs a home safety plan! Having a plan in place can be done by anyone, anywhere. Determine ways you can harden your home, and places you can stage tools, not just weapons, but lighting and a phone, and maybe a mirror on the wall to give you better visibility of your living room. Now, what tools you use, including firearms, and how they are accessed may vary from state to state, so be sure to know the laws in your area.
Rob- Is there more you want to cover?
Robyn- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Auburn, Washington.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?
You are a clerk at a convenience store. It is almost midnight when someone comes inside. The customer comes up to the counter and says to give him the money. He says he has a gun. You own a gun too. You are carrying concealed tonight. You shoot your attacker. He turns away and you stop shooting. You back away and find a safe place. You set your gun down and take out your phone. You call 911 and ask for help. You put your gun away when the police arrive.
You give the officers a brief statement. Emergency Medical Services declare your attacker dead at the scene. You show the police the videos from the store security cameras.
The news reports don’t say if your attacker actually had a firearm and you do not give a statement to the news media. You are not charged with a crime.
Robyn- This was a dangerous job in a dangerous area. The construction crews working on road repair near the gas station said there were open air drug markets in the alley across the street. There were fights among the druggies every day.
Our defender was armed. He recognized the ultimatum from the robber as a lethal threat. The defender waited his turn and then shot his attacker. It looks like the defender did not chase the bad guy down the street, but stayed inside and moved to safety. He called 911 and asked for help.
There was plexiglass in front of the cash register and it was not to stop covid, but to stop bullets. They had a good security video system. I think this defender recognized that he had a dangerous job and had a plan.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?
Robyn- I was thinking about what happens after we shoot. We want to run away or lock ourselves in a back office, but that means we lose sight of the bad guy and any other customers who are in the store. If the bad guy has a friend who runs in and grabs his gun, then we need to be in command of the situation to ensure nothing else goes sideways before police arrive. We need to be far enough away that we can call the police, but close enough that we can see what is happening. Those conflicting goals seem different than what we feel when we defend ourselves at home.
I noticed that the attacker’s family set up a vigil outside the gas station as if the robber were somehow the victim rather than the perpetrator. You want a lawyer to defend you and your reputation. We’ve seen lots of families play the victim until the video shows their son threatening someone. Let your lawyer manage that decision.
Rob- That means you either need a lot of money for a lawyer or you need a prepaid self-defense legal plan.
Robyn- It takes between 10 and 20 thousand dollars to hire a lawyer for your defense. I doubt that someone who is working the late shift at a convenience store has saved that kind of money. Perhaps some stores could insure their employees, but regardless if I worked there I would definitely carry self-defense insurance.
Rob- The same way construction firms carry extra insurance for injuries, convenience stores could carry extra insurance for armed defense. That is interesting.
Do small business owners come to you wanting to learn armed defense for themselves or their staff?
Robyn- Yes, we see a lot of different people seeking training for professional settings. Training can range from offices and stores to church security, and also realtors and others that go into various unknown situations.
Rob- What is that like?
Robyn- Situational awareness is always key in any situation when you’re around unknown people. Watch for anomalies and behavior that seems odd. For example, is someone walking around looking at customers instead of products? For realtors, we teach them now to guide potential customers through a building so that they always have a clear exit path from any room.
Our third story happened in Sidney, Ohio.
Rob- First this message from FASTER Colorado.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home during the day?
Your daughter is frightened. She says her ex-boyfriend is coming over and demands to see her. She does not want to see him. The doors are already locked even though it is 11 in the morning. You hear a stranger at the front door. He shouts to open the door and let him in. Your daughter calls 911. You tell the stranger to go away and that you’re armed. He hits the door and then throws himself at the door. He slams his shoulder into the door over and over. Eventually the door jam breaks and the intruder enters. You shoot him until he stops and turns around. You stay inside. Police arrive and you put your gun away. Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead at the scene.
Police ask if your attacker came inside. You say he did. They show you a bullet hole in the door. You show the police the broken door frame and the doorbell security video. It looks like the attacker pulled the door closed as he fell back outside your home. You try to take care of our daughter who is very upset.
You are not charged.
Robyn- This had to have been very difficult because she knew this person; he wasn’t a stranger. The daughter had told him to stay away and she quickly called 911 to get the police on the way early. The dad told the ex to stay outside and that he was armed. That sounds like the defenders are doing what they can to avoid a conflict, but sometimes it isn’t enough. It looks like the dad waited until the intruder broke through the door to start shooting, and then stopped when the intruder moved back outside. The defenders did not chase the robber outside but stayed inside to wait for the police.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?
Robyn- Think about a restraining order. Think about calling the police immediately when the ex-boyfriend says he is coming over. Being where you are not invited is called trespass, and with the restraining order is an immediate trip to jail. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m trying to keep someone from doing something stupid and getting killed.
Rob- Do your students approach you with problems they’ve had in the past?
Robyn- Yes, I’ve heard a lot of stories scary over the years about ex boyfriends and ex husbands. Women have a sense about when there is a big problem, and they need to trust themselves that they’re not overreacting or being dramatic. Taking steps for personal safety is important.
Rob- Is there anything else you recommend when an ex won’t take the hint?
Robyn- I can teach firearms safety and armed defense. There are other resources for counseling, for legal services, and maybe to move you to a new location.
Rob- This young woman seemed to be about 18 or 19. Is that too young to learn armed defense?
Robyn- We have a lot of safety seminars for girls heading off to college to talk about how they can be more situationally aware and how they can identify creeper behavior and stay safe. For the most part, a person has to be 21 years old before she can concealed carry. There are some exceptions that allow for younger, but it varies by state and circumstance.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
Robyn- Our last story took place in Norco, California.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at work?
It is after midnight. You are about to close your small market and liquor store. You look up to see a car drive up and a man get out. You watch him on the video monitors. He pulls a ski mask over his face and he is wearing rubber gloves. He is also carrying an AR rifle in his arms. You reach under the counter and grab the shotgun you keep there. You drop down behind the counter and point the shotgun at the front door. Your attacker comes through the door and levels his rifle. You shoot him. He turns and runs outside. Another man in the getaway car gets out of the car to help your attacker. The second man has a handgun. You stay inside. Your attackers drive away and you call 911.
Police arrive a few minutes later. The police arrest your four attackers as they drive into the hospital parking lot. You show the police your security video. Your attacker is in stable but serious condition due to the shotgun wound to his upper arm.
You are 80 years old. You call a 24 hour repair company to put plywood over the damaged front door of your store. Your attackers face felony charges for attempted robbery, possession of stolen firearms, car theft, using guns during commission of a felony, victimizing a person over age 65 and elder abuse. They are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Robyn- Our defender paid attention to what was ordinary and what was out of place at his store. He didn’t pretend that he was safe when a man brought a rifle into his store. He was armed and defended himself. He stayed inside and called the police. He gave the police a statement and the security video.
Rob- Is there more we should consider if we work late at night?
Robyn- The defender was first reported to use a single-shot shotgun, but that was later modified to be a pump shotgun. When they were arrested at the hospital, the police found several more firearms in the robber’s car. These bad guys were armed, and our defender was disarmed if he were even a few steps away from the cash register.
Rob- So our defender was lucky.
Robyn- We use best practices so we don’t have to depend on luck. I think the store clerk should carry a handgun on his body. A tactical shotgun in 20-gauge might be a perfect fit for him to keep behind the counter. The good news is that the store is in Riverside county so he can get a carry permit from the sheriff.
Rob- Wait. There are carry permits in California?
Robyn- Lots of them. I’d also consider a remote door lock so the clerk can easily let people through the front door one-at-a-time after 9pm.
Rob- I noticed that the defender spoke to the media.
Robyn- He did. He had his reasons, but I wouldn’t do that. We don’t defend ourselves in a vacuum. We’ve seen honest defenders arrested. Bad elections have bad consequences.
Rob- Where would your students learn about concealed carry and then armed defense.
Robyn- You’re right that those are two separate things. It starts with taking a class on marksmanship, manipulating the firearm, and knowing how to make hits where (and when) you want to get those hits. Then it’s learning how to have a safe and efficient drawstroke from the holster, what holster is best for the chosen firearm, and maybe eventually understanding tactics around pistol presentation and moving to cover.
Rob- When would one of your students learn to fight inside with a shotgun?
Robyn- A shotgun is a good option for home defense. You can take a defensive shotgun class to learn how to deploy it effectively. Loading the shotgun is the most tricky and takes a lot of practice. Also, storing the shotgun is important to consider since it’s not drop-safe. You’ll need to know how to stage and load it, if you choose that platform for defense.
Exit- Rob- That wraps up this episode. Robyn, thank you for helping us this week. Where can we learn more about you?
Robyn- Look for me at A Girl and a Gun dot org, and at and A Girl & A Gun on all of the social media pages. We have chapters all across the country.
Rob- After you look at Robyn’s events, then please leave her a message on the podcast episode webpage.
Robyn- We share this podcast with you for free.
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Rob- This show is part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us
I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.