Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Minnesota nice?

This is going to be an interesting case to watch. Did this Minneapolis permit holder have to shoot the perpetrator of a crime? There will be a lot more about this one before it's over and not much can be determined yet. But I had a few questions right off the bat. Do you shoot to kill at someone who has just robbed a person and injured them while you were watching? The woman in question did not receive serious injuries. Was this self defense? Would it have been enough to call 911 to respond to the scene? If you didn't have a gun in this situation, as I wouldn't have, what would I have done? I think I would have helped the woman and made sure the robber with his gun was still not on the scene. Calling 911 immediately, though, seems like a good idea rather than taking the law into your own hands. Vigilante justice is not a good idea. But here's the rub from the article:
Andrew Rothman, a Twin Cities firearms trainer and vice president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said Friday afternoon that if the events unfolded as the armed citizen described, "the permit holder acted appropriately. Chasing the mugger to recover the purse or to effect a citizen's arrest is permitted by law."
And, Rothman continued, if the suspect "then escalated by pointing and/or shooting at the good Samaritan, the good Samaritan would have been completely justified in shooting."
There is no way to know how this will end. But regarding Rothman's comments, above, this was the argument during the debate over the recent NRA sponsored Shoot First bill in the last legislative session. It will be the permit holder's word that the robber pointed a gun at him and he had to shoot in self defense. The burglar is now dead and can't tell anyone whether that was the case. With no witnesses, who is to know? Also, did the permit holder have to chase the man? He may have put his own life at risk by chasing the burglar when he could have called 911. Yes, the burglar may have gotten away. He got away with a woman's purse. Was that worth a life? Burglars are not nice people. I don't like what they do. They deserve to pay for their mistakes by serving time in jail. But do they deserve to be shot to death? That is the question here and it will be answered by the legal process.

And speaking of Minnesota shootings, what can we make of a coach shooting at a parent at a YWCA in Minneapolis?
Police officers soon arrived at the YWCA and interviewed Hill's wife. She said her husband owns a handgun. He does not have a permit to carry a handgun, according to the search warrant. He has no prior criminal record.
Where is common sense? It's hard to know what to say. Guns are dangerous. When there's anger and a gun, bad things can happen. Many gun owners are law abiding until suddenly they are not. In this case, though, the shooter did not have a permit for a gun. In Minnesota one must have a permit to purchase handguns and assault rifles, good for one year. Of course, you don't need to show that permit to unlicensed sellers at gun shows and other venues. So it would be interesting to know where he got his gun.

Be careful out there this week-end everyone. Be safe if you are going to the YWCA, the beauty salon, the grocery store, or anywhere where law abiding people are shooting at each other these days.


  1. There's alot about this case that we don't know yet - I think Andrew's comments were entirely correct and appropriate for what we know right now.

    And to be clear about what we're discussing here, this is not a burglary (the entry of a dwelling or building with intent to commit a crime). It's robbery, a far more serious crime than burglary... and if he was carrying/using a weapon, then it's armed robbery - even more serious.


  2. From the story:

    "A caller to 911 said a woman had just been robbed at gunpoint of her purse and pistol-whipped in the head in the parking lot of the Cub Foods in the 2800 block of 26th Avenue S.

    Information from a second 911 call indicated that a man had been shot behind the Super Grand Buffett in the same block. Officers and emergency medical personnel responded and found the mortally wounded man.

    Officers were approached by another man outside the grocery store who said he witnessed the robbery and assault, chased the suspect to behind the restaurant and shot him during a confrontation. The man then directed officers to the weapon.

    The robbery victim, 53, suffered a cut to the head in an injury that police described as not serious.

    Officers located another handgun believed to belong to the suspect near where the shooting occurred."

    Just to keep it in context - we have a violent, armed criminal, preying on the vulnerable, who got shot during the commission of a crime. That's not a bad thing.

    You're right, of course, that sometimes the circumstances can be confusing, the stories contradictory, and the claims of justified shootings questionable. But this isn't one of them. We have the victim, we have the perp, we have the perp's gun. It couldn't be more clear.

    I'll lay you odds - this thug had a long criminal record, was currently out on parole, probation, pre-trial release, or some such, and had been engaged in this sort of criminality for quite some time. There are going to be women who won't be robbed and beaten because of this.

  3. Agreed Bryan. And I know much more will come out but we won't find out for a good while because of a Grand Jury involvement. The man committed a serious crime for sure.

  4. "we won't find out for a good while because of a Grand Jury involvement. The man committed a serious crime for sure. "

    I think the fact that there were no charges filed yet indicates that there probably won't be. I can't speak for Minnesota but here in Texas all shooting, including by law enforcement officials goes to a grand jury. If the shooter did not commit a crime the grand jury returns a no bill as compared to a true bill. This means that unless evidence turns up later that changes the nature of the shooting the shooter will not face criminal charges and it makes it harder for the shooter to be sued.
    Going before the grand jury does not indicate any suspicion of guilt in a shooting case.

  5. I guess the question of "where are all those permit holders when you need them" is answered.

    It think it is informative that your very first question was "did the permit holder have to shoot?" NOT "Wow, a Permit holder SAVES a woman's life with his firearm."

    It goes right to the core of our differences, since you only see guns as used for killing and we see them a a means to STOP violance.

    It is obviously important to you to point out that the robber doesn't get to tell his side of the story. I can say that while it's unlikely the *I* would have chased the robber, I truly and deeply care that the woman was saved and just as deeply don't care what happened to the robber.

    I don't care what his state of mind was, I don't care if he was "troubled"

    He is the one that initiated possibly lethal violence with a GUN against a defenseless woman. In my book, whatever happened after that to him was justified. Just because he DIDN'T kill her, don't forget for a second that he COULD have or even WOULD have, except that the permit holder stepped in.

    What he didn't count on is what we have been saying all along. Someone with a CONCEALED firearm stepped in and stopped him. I bet he didn't imagine his night going that way, but that is the RISK of his profession. To bad.

    I think it's fair to point out that in your last post you recommended that people leave their firearms at home, for home defense.

    " it's a 1% chance that they would ever need to use that gun. Meanwhile, the 2%ers who are carrying are showing that there has not been a demonstrated need. They don't need their guns. They want their guns."

    I bet when she headed to the store that evening if you asked her what the odds of her being robbed and beaten at gun point, she would have told you something like ZERO not even 1%.. I'm sure she left home thinking she didn't NEED a gun because she wasn't going anywhere dangerous.

    That's what everyone thinks, until they are suddenly very, very wrong.

    You have said it yourself, that you don't go places that are dangerous. She was in the parking lot of Cub Foods. Do you ever go to a grocery store? If so, you are at *some* risk. We can argue how much, but not IF..

    I'd love to hear what the woman thinks of the permit holder stepping in and if she would rather that he was not allowed to carry in public.

    The problem with something being a 1% chance, is that with 100 people it is a 100% chance for someone. That night it was HER... I want HER to be able to decide for herself if the 1% chance was sufficient risk to take more proactive measures. I don't want to decide for her or anyone else, or have a legislator do it in my name.

    I'm sort of surprised that you posted this incident, since it provides so many counter arguments to the "no one needs guns in public" argument.

  6. And Robin, the woman was not killed. The permit holder didn't save her from being attacked. The shooter was already on the run. I suppose you could argue that he might have injured others. We don't know that for sure. Meanwhile, the permit holder put his own life at risk by chasing this guy when he didn't have to. It's the job of the police to apprehend these guys. Yes, the permit holder was right there and the police may or may not have found the guy. Maybe police would have shot him if they had confronted him. We don't know and maybe won't know whether the robber threatened the guy. It's his word. We do have a basic disagreement about this. It's hard to argue this was a gun used in self defense since the intent of the shooter was to save the day, not to protect himself or his family as some of you tell me is the main reason you have to carry your guns. The permit holder's life was not in danger. The woman was hurt but not badly, according to the police. It could have ended quite differently. And now he has killed another human being. Police officers are put on mandatory leave after killing someone in the line of duty because of the effects of killing someone on their emotional and psychologica state. Taking the life of another is a huge deal.

  7. "The permit holder didn't save her from being attacked. The shooter was already on the run"

    Japete, that's not what the story says. The first sentence is.

    "An apparent good Samaritan told police that he interrupted a violent armed robbery "

    If he is to be believed, the robber was still actively in the act of robbing/ pistol whipping the women when the permit holder stepped in and "interrupted" it. He might very well have saved her life.

    BTW: I agree with you that it was foolish for the permit holder to chase the criminal. That sounds like a job for the police. They wear body armor, arrive in large groups, and have lots of support at hand.

    Why go one on one over a purse? That part makes no sense at all to me either.

    "The woman was hurt but not badly, according to the police. It could have ended quite differently"

    Another reason for not leaving her side and chasing the robber. At that moment, you can't know how badly she is hurt. Was she pistol whipped to the head? Sometimes that sort of trauma takes awhile to manifest but can be life threatening.

    Better to stay with her and provide security and comfort until the police and ambulance arrive and make sure she doesn't go into shock.

    Anyway. Off to a hog roast. Have a good and safe weekend.

  8. It's the job of the police to apprehend these guys.

    "Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."

    - Robert Peel

  9. "And Robin, the woman was not killed. The permit holder didn't save her from being attacked."

    Okay, I am not sure what brought this on. Personally I wouldn't have chased the bad guy but I don't have any reason to believe the permit holder chased the guy with the intent of doing him harm. That said, the bad guy had already demonstrated his willingness to use his gun to harm another. Therefore it isn't a stretch to assume that he threatened the good Samaritan with it and for that he was shot. I don't know about the law in Minnesota but in Texas I can use deadly force to recover goods stolen by robbery, aggravated robbery or burglary.

    As I said, I wouldn't have chased the guy myself because I don't think the loss of a stranger's purse is worth the loss of my carry weapon and $6000 to $10,000 of my money for a lawyer to see me through the grand jury.

    What I don't understand is your sympathy for the bad guy. He clubbed the woman with a gun. He could have killed her, he could have broken bones, the gun could have gone off and harmed someone else. He took a gun to another person with the intention of doing harm. His decisions put him where he ended up. Would you still be carrying on like this if it was a policeman that shot him instead of a civilian?

  10. I have no sympathy for the robber. I don't believe the permit holder should have chased him. It put both of their lives at risk unnecessarily. A human life is a human life. The guy belongs behind bars. He's a bad apple from the sounds of things. No one should get away with what he did. But chasing him down was a stupid and dangerous idea and unnecessary. And I just don't think a life should be taken over a purse. I don't happen to think he should have been killed over it.

  11. "And I just don't think a life should be taken over a purse. I don't happen to think he should have been killed over it. "

    The bad guy was the one who made the decision to risk a life over a purse. It wasn't the first time since he was on parole for both robbery and first degree robbery. He had used a weapon before. Common sense makes me wonder why he was on the street 2 years after conviction when first degree robbery in Minnesota has a 20 year maximum penalty. If he had been kept in prison for his crimes as pro-gun people desire, he would be alive today.

    I think all of the pro-gun people who have responded today have said they wouldn't have chased the guy. It wasn't the wisest thing to do but it apparently wasn't illegal either.

  12. Here's a difference of view. You seem to see this as someone being killed over a purse. We seem to see it as someone being killed over committing aggravated assault that was not deadly only through sheer luck.

  13. That ignores what appears to be a consensus here Heather. He didn't HAVE to chase the guy. No one would be dead right now and we wouldn't be talking about it.

  14. Because this criminal, had he gotten away, wouldn't have robbed anyone again, right?

  15. But, japete, jdege said, "It couldn't be more clear."

    I suppose he has some magical way of knowing if in the critical moment there was lethal threat.

  16. Apparently I'm not the only one with questions about this case- http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_19168598?source=rss

    " "I would never encourage one of my students to get themselves involved in another person's fight," he said. "Even if they're coming to the defense of an innocent person, I always tell my students that the actions they are about to take are going to have significant consequences. They could get shot or killed, there could be potential criminal liability, potential civil liability. You should weigh those consequences against not acting.

    "There's certainly nothing in the law that says you can't whip out a phone and call 911," he said.

    "This guy chose a different course of action," Pakieser said of the man in Thursday's shooting. "It's an interesting case, and it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. Myself and a lot of other people are watching this.""

  17. "I suppose he has some magical way of knowing if in the critical moment there was lethal threat."

    Any act of violence involving a firearm poses a lethal threat. In this case, the victim was pistol-whipped. The evidence of both the presence of a firearm and of violent intent are clear.

    So yes, in this case that there was a lethal threat is demonstrably proved.

    That's not always the case.

    As for Pakieser, he's repeating the usual advice of carry instructors - that getting involved in defending a third party can be risky. Note - he's not saying that our Good Samaritan was wrong, he's saying he took a significant risk. Which he did.

    To quote myself, on another forum, discussing this event:

    "In general, chasing after a criminal is not wise. But it's not illegal.

    To chase someone down and kill him, after he no longer represents a threat, is illegal.

    To follow him for any other purpose is perfectly legal. Chasing after him so that you can better identify him for police, or can better direct them as to where he fled, or even to confront him and demand the return of the purse that he had stolen, are all perfectly legal.

    And if, while you are engaged in your perfectly legal chase, he should threaten you with death or grievous bodily harm, you are perfectly justified in shooting him.

    The problem is that it's going to be very difficult to prove that you didn't chase him down and kill him after he'd fled and no longer represented a threat. And even if you do win out in the end, it's likely to be a painful and expensive process.

    So let's get it straight - he wasn't wrong to chase the thug. But he wasn't wise, given the current legal climate.

    I hope things go well for him.

    And I hope people remember the dozen or so middle-aged women this thug would likely have victimized over the next year, were he still walking the streets."

  18. Interesting that in this case one is not to pursue the attacker but a few short weeks ago you were critical for a permit holder for not crossing the street to stop a shooter. Personally I think both are not advisable.

  19. No Anthony, I was not critical of that person. I was pointing out the hypocrisy of your position that you think permit holders will "save the day"in these situations which didn't happen at the IHOP that day. Then you must have forgotten the exchange about whether you permit holders actually were there to save the day and most of you said your guns in public were only for yourselves and your families in self defense. Now, in this case, there was no need for the permit holder to chase the guy. He was not in personal danger himself. So here we have the opposite- a man who intends to "save the day" by the sounds of it and not in personal danger. You can't have it both ways as your side wants it.

  20. japete writes:
    "It's hard to argue this was a gun used in self defense since the intent of the shooter was to save the day, not to protect himself or his family as some of you tell me is the main reason you have to carry your guns. The permit holder's life was not in danger. The woman was hurt but not badly, according to the police."

    Minnesota statue 609.06 allows the use of reasonable force, including deadly force, to stop a robbery or other offense against a person. Deadly force can also be used when one's life is in danger and the elements allowing the use of deadly force by statutory law(and case law) are present.

    Given the information that has come out since the shooting, I'd say this will wind up being a "clean" shoot on the part of the permit holder and he will not be prosecuted.

  21. japete writes:
    "That ignores what appears to be a consensus here Heather. He didn't HAVE to chase the guy. No one would be dead right now and we wouldn't be talking about it. "

    No, he didn't, but he did - those are the circumstances of the case.

    MN 629.37 allows a citizen who observes a felony (armed robbery in this case) being committed in their presence to make an arrest - and to use reasonable force to affect that arrest (MN 609.06).

    If in the course of doing so, the bad guy escalated the situation to a deadly force encounter, then the shooter was well within MN law to use deadly force.

    We'll find out more as the case evolves.

  22. japete:
    "And I just don't think a life should be taken over a purse. I don't happen to think he should have been killed over it. "

    Had he been shot and killed over a purse, it would be Murder. He was shot and killed for a different reason.

  23. Was this man's life in danger, Bryan? If he had not chased the man, it would not have been. Was the woman's life in danger? It appears not.

  24. I don't think we know that yet, Bryan.

  25. AND NO charges will be filed apparently the mans life was in danger as he had a gun pointed at him.


  26. Thanks for the article. Remember, I said that no one knows how this will turn out. From the article: " "We prefer that armed citizens do not chase after criminals. Too much can go wrong, with deadly consequences. It is our preference to have our highly-trained and armed police force respond in these kind of cases."" That is my position.

  27. Good night jdege. Your badgering time is over for today.