There are two great big pet peeves that I have with concealed carry, one with the actual firearms community and the other with non gun owners. Both of them center around this issue of killing, and how it has taken an unfortunate center stage in the minds of many people.
The issue I have with non gun-owners is the oft repeated saw of “you’re only carrying a gun so you can kill someone” which we all know isn’t true; but it persists and part of it is our fault. You see, that pet peeve ties directly to my pet peeve with the CCW community, which is the usage of the phrase “shoot to kill”. Every time I hear that it causes my brain to twitch and spasm. The problem is one of language, and to a certain extent we as CCW holders and gun owners have allowed the language to get corrupted both in popular media and our own terms from time to time.
I’ve said before (in fact, a comment I left this morning was the inspiration for this post) that as CCW holders the words “shoot to kill” should never pass our lips unless being uttered in the sentence “I don’t shoot to kill I shoot to stop”. While it may seem like a semantic difference to some people, allow me to elaborate further. We do not, contrary to Elite Warriorz Videos “shoot people to the ground”. If you are forced to deploy a firearm in a dynamic critical incident in defense of your life or others, your goal should only be to stop the threat. This is why we train to shoot for the center of mass on targets, because placing bullets in those areas are most likely to induce the threat to cease their hostile actions. It is an unfortunate side effect of human physiology that putting bullets in those places also carries a significant likelihood of killing that person.
This is where the anti-gun person then jumps in and says “See, you do want to kill people!” This is an opportunity for us to be perfectly clear, because what creates the difference between “shoot to kill” and “shoot to stop” is your mindset and intent. Here and many other blogs have talked about making the decision now, in the light of day to do what you must to survive a violent assault, and this is a large component of that you. Shooting to stop is legally justifiable – you fire only as many rounds as it takes to produce the desired result (the bad guy stops) and no more. In some cases, that means not firing a shot. In other cases, one shot, or two, or more. But because you’re mentally prepared to stop this person, you’re going to do what you need to do an no more.
That’s the line that anti-gun people don’t understand. I don’t want to kill anyone. If I had to use my firearm in self defense and someone did die, I can assure you that the emotional trauma of that moment would live me for a lifetime. The bottom line is that I don’t carry a firearm to kill anyone – I carry a gun to defend my life and the lives of others – I carry a gun to stop a threat.