If you have not read the last few articles I have written, then I highly recommend you go back before looking at this one. I don’t always get a lot of feedback on these but I had a friend that I have a lot of respect for, tell me that my scenario in the first “What If” article really made him think. That is the highest praise I could get and exactly why I write these.
With that in mind let me muddy the water a bit more. While you are going through your “what if” scenarios you need to consider the possible ramifications to you after the action is all over. I like to think of myself as a pretty black and white guy when it comes to decisions. However, having had the pleasure of serving on not only several jury’s, but also a grand jury, I must say that when it comes to firearms I have really had to weigh my options. To me legal should be legal and not legal not. Sadly that is not necessarily the way it is. Jury’s get to do whatever they want, regardless of the letter of the law. They can find you innocent just because they agree with what you did, even though it is clearly illegal, or they can find you guilty, even though you absolutely followed the letter of the law.
When I served on the grand jury one of our cases, in very short form, was this: Sheriff is called to domestic disturbance. When he arrives he sees, through a screen door, a man assaulting his wife. When he calls out the man heads toward him as the sheriff backs off the porch. The suspect comes out of the house cussing at the sheriff and raises a gun towards him. The sheriff shoots and kills the man. An autopsy showed that the suspect had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time. Pretty black and white right? Well not for this jury. We spent hours. I mean hard hours, trying to explain/convince not one but two soccer moms that it was in fact our job to decide if this needed to go to trial. They could not grasp the concept of bill/no bill. They felt that there was no situation where an officer could shoot someone and not be put on trial.
So how does that effect you? Let’s say that while you are pumping gas you see a man approaching. You tell him to stop while he is still 10 feet away. He raises a screw driver held like a dagger and says “you NEED to buy this.” When you say that you are not interested he continues to approach and says “NO MF you are going to buy this or I am going to kill you with it.” Pretty clear cut. Fear for your life, guy with weapon I think we meet the legal criteria. Draw and shoot. Technically you should not be charged or tried. “What If” the police officer does not think untrained citizens should have guns. “What If” the DA just moved to Texas from New York and he thinks only the police should have guns. “What If” you get 3, 4, or 6 of those moms who demand action on your grand jury and then on your trial jury?
Should you run? There will be jurors on the grand jury that ask why you didn’t. Should you brandish? (Actually no such term in TX law but they have ways to still charge you with a crime) The call will go out to the police that a guy has pulled a gun, and is pointing it at people. Now you are the suspect. Also if this is a hardened type criminal he might call your bluff. Put his hands up and keep coming. Now if you shoot what do the witnesses see? A guy that surrendered being shot down. I promise you though, you will be asked by a jurist on that grand jury why didn’t you just pull your gun and point, or why didn’t you shoot him in the leg.