Episode 306 with David Cole
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 306 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 self-defense instructor David Cole. What has been keeping you so busy?
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been loading ammo for USPSA season and getting ready to go to Africa.
How about you?
Rob- I went to a state activism meet up in Florida. That was great. The bad news is that my home range is so wet and muddy.
We have some good news from our listeners. They gave us four new ratings and a new comment on iTunes (is 333,182).
Strat-man said, “I like how quick and concise the stories are. Great advice, and safety is mentioned in every story.”
David- Thank you, Strat-man. We try.
On our web page, Stan left a message saying, “I’ve been listening to your podcast for several years. It’s a great reminder that things can go bad really quickly without any notice. The analysis of each story gets me thinking about what I would do in that situation.
Rob- Thank you Stan. It sounds like you are doing your homework.
We’re trying to grow this podcast. Please share it with a friend and leave a rating on the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts.
David- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Phoenix, Arizona.
Rob- First story- Are you armed as you drive at night?
Driver robbed at convenience store.
You pull into a convenience store. It is Saturday night and the sun set a half hour ago. You are standing next to your car pumping gas when a stranger comes up to you. This stranger has a gun in his hand. He points his gun at you and tells you to hand over your belongings. You say you will. You step to the back of your car and grab a gun you keep there. You shoot your attacker at least three times. The attacker drops his gun and you stop shooting. You back away and the attacker falls to the ground. You call 911 and ask for help.
You stay at the scene. Police take your attacker’s gun. EMTs transport him to the hospital. You give a statement to the police. The police interview the store clerk who saw the attack.Your attacker died at the hospital.
You are not charged with a crime.
David- I’m glad our defender owned a gun. He recognized when he was in danger. He defended himself and then stopped shooting. He got to safety and called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave the police a statement.
Rob- Do you see other points you want to cover that were not mentioned in the news articles?
David- What the news story doesn’t tell us is how the defender got his gun without getting shot. We have concealed carry laws for a reason. It would have been better to have a gun on your person and not depend on running to the back seat of your car where you store your gun. This is just one reason I have a big problem with the idea of a “car gun.” I debated this exact scenario with a friend a few days ago.
If you have your gun stored in your car, then not only do you not have it at the moment you need it, you likely are not wearing a holster, and don’t have a safe place to put your firearm after you use it. You’re at risk when you run into the convenience store with a gun in your hand. You’re certainly at risk of giving witnesses the wrong impression.
Another is that if you leave the immediate area, the robber’s buddy could pick up your attacker’s gun and leave with it. Now you’re depending on security video to corroborate your claim that you were threatened.
The good news is that this robber probably had a criminal record so he was known to the police.
Rob- I remember reading that most attackers are intoxicated when they commit their crimes. Does that fit with your experience?
David- Honestly, it can be highly variable. Don’t forget that many criminals are professionals, in that this is how they make their living. They can be quite sober and deliberate in their actions.
Rob- When do new gun owners learn how to defend themselves with a concealed firearm?
David- Once basic safety and what I call “mechanical marksmanship” is learned, training can begin on defensive shooting skills, normally in a dedicated class beyond the basic concealed carry class.
Rob- How should they practice that?
David- Seek out a reputable instructor who can coach proper draw and presentation, along with other more advanced shooting problems.
Rob- Where are we going for our next story?
David- Our second story happened in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed when you stay late at work?
Business owner shot in the back by robber.
You own a clothing store that sells to teenagers and young adults. You make your own designs. It is late Thursday night and you’re getting ready to close the shop for the day. Two men walk in wearing black ski masks. You ask how you can help them. They start to move behind the counter toward the cash register. You push them back. One of the robbers gets behind you and shoots you in the back. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker several times. He drops his gun and falls to the floor so you stop shooting. Your second robber is already out the door.
You call 911 and ask for help. You stay at the scene. Emergency Medical Services treat your wound. You are taken to the hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening injury to your lower back. The EMTs also treat your attacker. He is taken to the hospital where he is declared dead.
Police look at video from other businesses and from your security cameras. You explain to the officers that you shot your attacker with one of your two firearms. The news isn’t clear if you carry on body or if your guns are kept behind the counter.
You are not charged with a crime.
David- It is harder to face two attackers than to face one of them. I’m glad that our defender thought about protecting himself and was armed. Our defender was shot and still saved his own life. He stopped shooting when the threat stopped. He stayed at the scene. Asked for help, and got treatment from EMTs.
Rob- Is there more you want your students to do?
David- Again, I want you to wear your gun on you so you don’t have to turn around when you’re behind the counter to grab your gun. Get your carry permit so you are armed in your store and as you leave late at night.
I like that the defender didn’t run down the street after the bad guy. This attack happened at about 10:30 at night, and I want you to lock your doors after business hours.
Rob- At first I thought I had to shoot fast. Now I think I have to shoot when the attacker isn’t paying attention. When do your students learn about that?
David- We’re probably fast enough to get in the first shot, but that isn’t enough. We want to have such an advantage that we can defend ourselves without getting shot at. Put the money tray on the counter and then back away. Draw as they look at the money. You have to decide if you should shoot the armed attacker first or shoot the closest attacker first.
Rob- When will new students learn those sorts of details about armed defense?
David- Right here, for starters!
But many best practices for home defense will also apply to a business, so any class like the NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home course would be a great place to start.
Rob- Where are we headed next?
David- Our third story happened in El Paso, Texas.
Rob- First this message from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at work?
It is just after noon on Monday. A customer walks up to the counter in your convenience store. Instead of putting an item on the counter and reaching for his wallet, the customer raises his shirt to show you a handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants. “Give me the money,” he says.
You own a gun too. You have your carry permit and you are carrying concealed today. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker. He falls down and you step away. You call 911 and ask for help.
You meet the police and EMTs when they arrive. Police take your attacker’s gun and EMTs take him to the hospital in serious but stable condition.
You give a statement to the police. You show them your ID and your carry permit.
You are not charged with a crime.
David- This clerk recognized that he had a dangerous job. He bought a firearm. He applied for his carry permit. He carried concealed and thought about how to defend himself
When it happened in broad daylight, the clerk recognized an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat. We don’t know if or how he tried to distract the robber. Maybe there were other customers in the store.
Rob- What else should we keep in mind?
Be aware of customers in the store who should not be in your line of fire.
After you shoot, it is a tough call if you should disarm your attacker. Lock the door and check on any other customers or employees who might be injured. Ask them to call 911, and you call 911 as well.
The news reports don’t mention any security video, and that is unusual. Given the dangers of your job, you should have self-defense insurance so you are legally represented.
Rob- What difference would that make in this case?
David- You have one chance to make a first impression. You want your lawyer available when you make your statement to the police. There are a number of legal points that you have to mention so that you justify the legal use of lethal force. If you forget one of them, say you forgot to mention that you were trapped behind the counter and couldn’t run away and you are in a state which has a duty to retreat law, then the fact that you did not attempt to flee first could be used against you. Having your attorney available can help you to avoid those pitfalls.
Rob- That is important.
David- I study this. I teach this. I am not a lawyer and I want a lawyer to start to defend me before I’m charged.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
David- Our fourth story took place in Haines City, Florida.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you arrive home?
It is after midnight when you and your girlfriend drive up to your house. The two of you walk inside and are surprised by two intruders who are waiting for you. You present your firearm and shoot the closest intruder several times. You and your girlfriend run back out of the house. Your puppy follows you. The two of you and your dog get back in your car and drive away. You call the police and ask for help. The police meet you as you are headed to the police station. You guide them back to your home.
Your home is empty, but the police find blood stains. They use a police dog to track your intruder. When they find him, they apply emergency first aid to treat his wounds. EMTs are able to get him to the hospital where he remains in serious condition.
You and your girlfriend give statements to the police. You show them your IDs and your concealed carry permit. Your attacker had a history of criminal convictions including arrests for grand and petit theft, burglary, loitering and prowling. The police find some of your property in the attacker’s pockets. He is charged with burglary of a residence and grand theft.
The chief of police made a statement about your attack, “If you are brazen enough to enter someone’s residence with intent to commit an unlawful act, there may be repercussions. We live in Polk County, and most people are armed.” Close quote.
You are not charged with a crime.
David- Yikes. Not only are you defending yourself, but you are defending a loved one as well. If you’ve practiced together then that makes you better defenders. If not, then it is harder to defend both of you.
Our defender stopped shooting when the threat turned and ran. I like that our victims retreated and called the police. The victims said it isn’t safe in our home so we want to meet you at the police station.
Also, the defender had his carry permit so that tells the arriving officers that he has a clean criminal record. Most of the people the deputy sees who are involved in violent conflicts do not have their carry permits, so you stand out as a good guy.
Rob- Talk to me about Castle Doctrine.
David- One thing that really struck me was that in the statement the police chief gave in the news video, he referred to this case as an example of “stand your ground,” which is incorrect. Stand your ground refers to not having a legal duty to retreat when in public. That’s not what happened here. What happened here was an example of “Castle Doctrine”, which refers to laws which allow a defender to assume that an intruder in their residence intends to harm them, and that they are not required to flee their home. If they break in then we don’t have to wait for them to threaten us before we defend ourselves or our family. If the police don’t understand this distinction…well, remember when we talked about having a lawyer handy in the previous story? This is why.
Rob- Then what is the stand your ground law?
David- Again, stand your ground refers to laws which specify that in public, in a place where you have a right to be, that you do not have a duty to retreat from a threat. We have to face an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat, but we don’t have to run away. In contrast, the duty to retreat laws say we have to remove ourselves from the threat as far as we can if we can do that safely. Then a prosecutor can claim it was safe to retreat and we have to prove it wasn’t.
We might want to retreat and lock our bedroom door if we have enough warning, but that is a tactical decision.
Rob- When will new gun owners learn about when they should use a gun and when they should not use one?
David- Any basic concealed carry class should cover the legal aspects of self defense, including concepts such as duty to retreat, stand your ground, and castle doctrine.
Rob- Say I did that years ago. How should we refresh and review that information?
David- I would recommend an annual review, as state legislatures could update applicable laws during any session.
Exit- Rob- That wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
David- Look for my written articles at deltabravocharlie.com My latest article is about why shooting to wound is an awful idea.
Rob- After you look at Dave articles and his videos, then please leave us a message on the podcast webpage.
David- We share this podcast with you for free. Find us on
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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 next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.