Episode 313 with Heather Reeves
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 313 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 Heather Reeves. I know you’ve been taking continuing education classes. Tell us what has been keeping you so busy.
Heather- Hi, Rob. My most recent opportunity to train was attending TacCon. There was a lot of learning accomplished and I won the women’s division of the match that they do every year.
How about you?
Rob- I was outside the United States so I couldn’t carry. It is good to be back home. I’ve started dry-practicing every night to get ready for a class I’m taking in a few weeks.
While I was gone, we received a new ratings and comment on iTunes (is 345,189). A listener said they were involved in a self-defense shooting. They were indicted six weeks after the event. They couldn’t find a similar situation in our old shows.
I’d love to hear about it, but you might want to talk to your lawyer before you tell us anything. Leave a message on our podcast webpage.
Heather- Gabriel left us a message on Facebook. He said, “Thanks for all the great lessons and we really appreciate the channel!” He and his son listen when they work together in their garage.
Rob- Gabriel and son, thank you for making your family safer. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new gun owners know why you listen.
Heather- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm several thousand times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. As usual, the links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Austin, Texas.
Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?
It is just after 5 on a Tuesday morning when you are woken up by a strange noise. Someone is knocking at your front door. They shout for you to let them in. You don’t know who it is. You grab your handgun and shout for them to go away. You call 911 and ask for the police. You are leaning against your front door as your intruder tries to smash your door.
The intruder breaks through your window and enters your home. You shout for him to leave and shoot him until he stops moving toward you. The police are still on the phone and you tell them to hurry.
You put your gun away when the police are outside. They tell EMS that the scene is safe to enter. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene.
You give the police a statement about what happened. Detectives review that statement and the recording of your 911 call. They hear your attacker beating on your door and window. They hear you shout for him to stop.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- We’ve seen stories like this before, and I’m glad this woman was armed. That didn’t happen by accident.
She recognized that she needed to defend herself. She bought a firearm and learned how to use it. She kept it near her at night, and she kept it in a condition so she could use it quickly. All her preparation happened a long time before she heard someone at her door.
That night, she recognized a threat. She armed herself. She called for help. When the man broke in and the threat was immediate, then she defended herself until the threat stopped.
She stayed at the scene. Put her gun away, and gave a brief statement to the police.
Rob- Is there more that you want your students to do that wasn’t mentioned by the news reports?
Heather- There are a few things I noticed. I want you to keep your gun locked up at night in a bedside safe. That way a visitor can’t get to your gun, but you can have a loaded gun in your hands in seconds. Please install it per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
I appreciate that she put her shoulder against the door, but I want you far away from the door or window when an intruder breaks in. I want you behind the furniture so he can’t see most of you. Better yet would be to look at your front door from down the hallway or from another room where you can see the bad guy but all he sees of you is a dark shape in a dark room. That means you step back away from the doorway so you are well inside the dark room.
I also want you to have a lawyer to call. Your legal advisor can also recommend a counselor for you to talk to, because you’re going to have some strong feelings after you defend yourself.
Rob- I like what you said because those issues are never mentioned in our news stories. When do your students learn about storage, about cover and concealment in their home, and about their legal and emotional defense?
Heather- During our concealed carry class we cover all of that on an introductory basis, and then do deeper dives on each topic through our other offerings. The ladies that work with me through A Girl & A Gun get doses of each of the topics almost every time we meet. It’s a lot to take in when you first decide that you conscientiously want to protect your life.
Rob- How would your students get a chance to practice moving to cover?
Heather- Outdoor ranges let us do that. So does competition like IDPA.
Rob- Anything else?
Heather- Let’s move on to our second story in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?
You are walking across the parking lot between several small businesses. You are getting back in your car just before noon when a man approaches you. The man pulls a knife and threatens you. You back up and your attacker chases you. You shout for him to stop. He is getting closer and tries to stab you. You are carrying concealed. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker. Now your attacker stops. He runs away.
Several people in the nearby businesses heard you shout. They saw you being attacked and backing away. They called 911. It is not clear from the news reports if you called 911 also.
You reholster your pistol and stay at the scene. You give the police a statement. North Carolina doesn’t have constitutional carry, so it seems you have your carry permit, though that also isn’t reported in the news. Police find your attacker at a U-haul lot a block away. He is taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to the upper abdomen. Police interview the other witnesses.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- Our defender was carrying in public. He recognized a threat. He retreated which bought him time to react. He gave verbal commands that drew the attention of witnesses. Said another way, he shouted for the bad guy to stop. He defended himself and stayed at the scene. Great job.
Rob- There are a few things I want our defender to do.
Heather- Me too. We are robbed for our money when we come out of a bank, for our purchases when we come out of a store. Keep your eyes open as you move from a business to your car. Transitional places such as this are the times when we find ourselves most vulnerable.
If someone approaches you, shout “STOP!” Empty your hands and move so that there is a car or other barrier between you and the stranger. We want to avoid a running race where the attacker is running forward and we are running backward. If they come around the car then we shoot them many times until they stop.
I also want my students to call 911. Win the race to the phone.
“I’m at the package store on Broad and Ryan. A man with a knife attacked me and I shot him. We need police and EMS.”
Rob- When do you talk about 911 calls with your students?
Heather- Any class that we teach where use of force is discussed we have a section where we talk about calling 911. Stop the Bleed and Image Based Decisional Drills are when we speak in depth about the realities of calling 911.
Rob- That is interesting because almost all of our defenses will have a 911 call in them somewhere.
Heather- Rehearsing a basic outline for that call means it’s one less thing to think about in the moment.
Rob- Where are we going for our third story?
Heather- Our third story happened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?
You share an apartment with your sister. Her ex-boyfriend beat her up before. Her attacker threatened her yesterday saying he would come over and beat her again.
You are both home with friends on a Sunday evening when you hear someone at the front door. Someone breaks down your front door. The ex-boyfriend walks in and goes to your sister’s room. She shouts and he grabs her.
You grab your gun from your room and follow them. You shoot the attacker until he lets go of your sister. It isn’t clear from the news reports who calls 911 and asks for help.
Police arrive and you put your gun away. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. You give the police a statement about what happened. So does your sister and your friends who were in the apartment. Your neighbors gives a statement about the attacker threatening your sister yesterday.
You are not charged.
Heather- Yikes but this is scary when a man breaks into your apartment with the intent to beat you. Our defender did a lot of things that we already mentioned in the earlier stories, but let me point out the differences.
The defender had to shoot the attacker and not shoot his sister while she was being attacked. That may mean you have to get close to the attacker. You might be able to shoot them in the back, but will your bullet go through your attacker and hit your sister? Every bullet that leaves your gun has consequences attached to it, whether intended or not. I don’t know about you Rob, but I want to be thinking about these types of situations while I’m practicing. Working angles during practice sessions and visualizing these types of things during dry practice can really help our decision making.
I don’t know what the defender did in this case, but it is a harder problem to solve.
Rob- How should I solve it?
Heather- Image Based Decisional Drills and our Defensive Night classes allow my students to experiment with angles before they need them in real life.
Also, I want you to call 911. I want your sister and your visitors to call 911.
Rob- The defender wasn’t a listener to this podcast.
Heather- If he was, then his sister would have asked for a restraining order against her ex, and she would have been armed herself. If we are depending on someone else defending us, then we are counting on luck. What if the attacker broke in while the brother was taking a shower?
Rob- That sounds like a class on armed defense in the home and a class on armed close quarter combat.
Heather- There’s no such thing as too much training.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Heather- Our fourth story took place in Adair County, Kentucky.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed in public?
You and your girlfriend are at a pizza restaurant on a Tuesday night. Two customers have been drinking and are causing a problem. They are asked to leave by the store manager and employees. Now the two pick a fight with you and your girlfriend. You both get up to leave and the two men attack you. You are punched and knocked down. Your girlfriend and store employees try and help you, but you are punched, kicked, and then hit with a chair. Your girlfriend is knocked down and then runs out to your truck to grab your handgun. She comes back and points the gun at your attackers. They stop. You and your girlfriend retreat to your truck to leave.
One of the store employees runs out to see if you need help. Your girlfriend hands you your gun. One of your attackers runs out and threatens you. He says he has a gun. You shoot him at least four times as he runs at you. He turns around so you stop shooting. The store employee is also shot in the foot. It isn’t clear if you did that or if your attacker did that.
You stay at the scene and wait for the police. The store manager has already called 911. You put your gun away when the police arrive. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital.
You give the arriving officers a statement about being attacked. The store employees give statements. Customers who witnessed your attack give statements. The police look at the store security videos.
You are not charged with a crime.
Heather- They did a lot of things right. They tried to deescalate the situation. They tried to leave. The girlfriend got the gun when that didn’t work. The boyfriend defended himself when he was attacked again outside. He stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing. He stayed at the scene and gave a preliminary statement to the police before he received medical treatment.
It is hard to deal with drunks and there are reports the girlfriend had been drinking too.
Rob- Do drunks get in fights that often?
Heather- Let’s turn that question around. Something like 70 percent of the people who commit assault are intoxicated. Most people who are intoxicated are not violent, but most violent people are drunk or high.
Rob- This story took place in Kentucky. They have constitutional carry so you don’t need a permit to carry concealed. They can carry in a restaurant, but they can’t carry in a bar even if they don’t drink, so it is against the law for the designated driver to be the designated defender.
Heather- Find a better place to drink and leave before the drunks get crazy. I noticed that the violent drunks said they had a gun, so the law doesn’t disarm the criminals.
Rob- That is some very adult conversation.
Heather- It is. There are states where you can’t carry where any liquor is served. Some states let you carry and not drink. Some let you drink and not be drunk, similar to the laws about operating a motor vehicle.
Rob- That sounds complicated. What should we do?
Heather- Know the laws in your state. Decide which of you is the designated defender and choose your restaurants carefully.
Rob- What else did you notice?
Heather- There was a lot of evidence that our defender was the victim of an attack. Being treated for your injuries creates a medical record of your injuries that can be put into evidence. The police can’t make you get treatment, but they suggest it, then it is a good idea to take their suggestion.
Also, if you do get medication for the injuries then don’t talk to the police until you’ve talked to your lawyer and are off the pain medications. You don’t need to walk-back the things you said when you were drugged.
Rob- Thank you for that advice. Heather, that wraps up this episode and thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Heather- Find me at my gun store website,
Rob- After you look at Heather classes, then please leave her a message on the podcast episode webpage.
Heather- 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 next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.