Category Archives: Armed Citizen

Mass Shootings and Gun Rights: Do Pro-Gun People Value Their Guns More Than Life?

At the time of this writing, we’ve had three mass shootings in the last 14 days: Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Las Vegas. It is sickening and horrifying to see how easily people kill others now. Our culture has reached a point where the value of human life is based mostly on what can do for society, not on any inherent value of life in general. We don’t agree with this position, which is why we value both the life of the unborn and those born alike: Even in our old age, we have inherent worth simply because we are all made in the image of God.

So some will wonder then, why we teach people firearm safety and enable them to complete the process to legally carry firearms in public by getting their Minnesota Permit to Carry and Utah Conceal Carry licenses. If guns kill 11K+ people a year, then surely we are hypocrites for advocating more people carry firearms. “You must be selfish enough”, they think, “to want to have your guns at the expense of innocent lives lost to gun violence.” We don’t see it that way and here’s why.

gun-free-cartoon-3In short, we have disarmed our population to the point where mass shootings can occur with relative certainty on the part of the shooter. The reality is that most who kill others unexpectedly with guns look for places where they know people will be disarmed. For example, this was the case in the Santa Barbara shooting, where Elliot Rodgers, in his manifesto, wrote these haunting words:

“During this Spring of 2013, I began to seriously think about planning the Day of Retribution. My next step towards planning for it was to buy my second handgun, a Sig Sauer P226. It is of a much higher quality than the Glock, and a lot more efficient. In turn, it was also a lot more expensive. My Glock 34 was around $700 dollars, whereas my new Sig Sauer P226 was $1100…….

For a while, I had been deciding on whether I would exact my Retribution in Isla Vista or at Santa Barbara City College. In both places, I had suffered greatly at the hands of everyone there. I have seen attractive young couples walking around in both places, and those were my targets. I wanted to kill as many attractive young couples as I possibly could. After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that the Day of Retribution will take place in Isla Vista…….

It came to a point where I had to set a date for the Day of Retribution. I originally considered doing it on the Halloween of 2013. That is when the entire town erupts in raucous partying. There would literally be thousands of people crowded together who I could kill with ease, and the goal was to kill everyone in Isla Vista, to utterly destroy that wretched town. But then, after seeing footage of previous Halloween events on Youtube, I saw that there were too many cops walking around. It would be too risky. One gunshot from a cop will end everything [emphasis added]. The Day of Retribution would have to be on a normal party weekend, so I set it for some time during November of 2013……

It was time to plot exactly what I will do on the Day of Retribution. I will be a god, punishing women and all of humanity for their depravity. I will finely deliver to them all of the pain and suffering they’ve dealt to me for so long…..

The first thing I had to consider was the exact date it will take place. Valentine’s Day would have been very fitting, since it was the holiday that made me feel the most miserable and insulted, the holiday in which young couples celebrated their happy lives together. The problem was that Valentine’s Day was only a month away. I needed more time than that. Also, on Valentine’s Day most young couples will be spread out in various restaurants in the city instead of being packed together at parties in Isla Vista. Another option was Deltopia, a day in which many young people pour in from all over the state to have a spring break party on Del Playa Street. I figured this would be the perfect day to attack Isla Vista, but after watching Youtube videos of previous Deltopia parties, I saw that there were way too many cops walking around on such an event. It would be impossible to kill enough of my enemies before being dispatched by those damnable cops [emphasis added]…..

The reality is that one sense, these people are mentally ill – but not in a schizophrenic way. They are not connected and the people in their lives miss the signs of impending violence. But in another way, they are not mentally ill or insane – they are intensely angry, calculating, planning, thoughtful, articulate people who know exactly what they are doing. It’s just that they really don’t care about the morality of killing others. They are filled with evil and they eventually act out their evil in the form of killing others. Elliot had choices and could have realized that the reason no one paid attention to him was due to deficiencies in his personality and character. Instead, he chose to blame women, thinking that sex was the ultimate form of acceptance. He blamed everyone but himself. And his hatred for women grew to the point where he concluded in a twisted logic, that killing others before he was killed was the only way out of his pain and the only way justice would be served on those who had committed acts of injustice against him. Twisted logic, to be sure – but he’s still thinking very clearly about where to carry out his Day of Retribution – in a gun-free zone where he can kill as many as possible. He planned his attack for over 1.5 years – something that is not uncommon for these mass killers.

Santa Barbara has a conceal carry rate of just 0.016%. Out of 337,000 residents, just 53 have a conceal carry permit. No wonder he chose this town in which to commit his killings – who would oppose him?

You see, from our perspective, Elliot Rodgers is an example of most mass shooters – they choose their victim based on when those victims will be most vulnerable. It is a cold, hard fact that the presence of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens who know how to use them is the best way to ensure that mass shootings subside in this country.

In other words, we don’t see guns as the issue – we see people who are deeply disturbed but still able to think clearly enough who are willing to kill innocent people – they are the issue. These demented people are the problem, not the guns. In fact, we conclude that helping more people carry guns in public after sufficient training and background checks as a way to curb gun violence in our society, including these mass shootings.

We predict that Chicago will see a lessening of homicides with firearms in the coming years. Why? Because law-abiding people will be getting their permits and legally carrying firearms to protect themselves and those around them. Everywhere in the US where conceal carry or permit to carry laws have been passed, violent crime has been reduced.

So, we value human life more than guns. But we find that the presence of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens saves lives. It is really that simple for us. See our Armed Citizen stories for how people have used guns to save lives.


Tueller Drill 25 years later

Dennis Tueller has become famous in self-defense circles for his work on answering the question “How close it too close?” His article, first published in 1983 in S.W.A.T. magazine, became a foundational work against which many thousands have been trained under what was coined the 21 Foot Rule. It really never was a 21-foot rule from Tueller’s viewpoint: “The term “21-foot Rule” was not one I used. In the article, I talked about recognizing the danger zone, and about using cover or at least obstacles to slow an attacker.”

“The term “21-foot Rule” was not one I used”, said Dennis Tueller in a recent interview with the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, a group that supports Network members in their interaction with the criminal justice system after an act of self-defense as well as educating their members about the legalities of using deadly force in self-defense and what to expect from the criminal justice system after defending themselves. “I still think the “21-foot rule” is a poor use of terminology. Why not a call it a “rule”? Because words have meaning in the context in which we use them. What do you think of when you hear the word “rule?” “Follow the rules…” “Don’t break the rules…” “That is a violation of the rules…” In that context, the “21-Foot Rule” could be incorrectly interpreted to require you to shoot someone who is fifteen feet away and brandishing a knife. Conversely, it could be erroneously inferred that “the rule” prohibits the shooting of this same would-be slasher if he is 24 feet and nine inches away. This may be over-stating the case, but I don’t think so, as I have heard people express both of these views when discussing the subject.”

Totality of Circumstances Drive Use-of-Force Decisions

For us law-abiding citizens who carry our firearms concealed, the time and distance scenarios we face cannot be neatly put in a 21-foot box. Especially here in Minnesota, added layers of clothing in the winter increase the amount of time required to access a firearm, which means that the “bubble” increases proportionally. In addition to proximity, variables that determine imminent may include “the physical size and condition of both the aggressor and the defender, the presence of obstacles, cover, bystanders, partners, the terrain, footing, lighting, environment, holster type (high-security holsters take longer to clear than low security holsters), [and so forth]. All of these factors combine to create the “totality of circumstances” which will drive our use-of-force decisions.” In our Minnesota Permit to Carry class, we teach a minimum 32-foot rule, but we also explain that other variables might exist to extend this to longer distances, depending on the exact scenario. We can envision a scenario in which 30 or more yards would still be “imminent” if a certain mix of circumstances where present. For example, consider the man who was harassed and eventually beaten nearly to death on a New York interstate. It seems to me that being boxed-in by ~ 30 motorcyclists would significantly increase the distance in which an imminent danger existed and thus drive a use-of-force scenario.

Movement Matters Too

“Speaking only for myself,” says Tueller, “I think being able to move then shoot, shoot and then move again is tremendously important. So is moving when you see a potential threat, so you are not standing where the attack was directed. That way you can get inside your adversary’s reaction time, forcing him to react to what you are doing.” Tueller is right: in the heat of the moment, movement provides you a tactical advantage in that the threat must react to your movement. It also has the added advantage of keeping your wits about you during the shooting. If you’re moving, then shooting, moving again, then shooting, it seems that you have to think more intentionally about what you’re doing, which will help you handle the stress better and help you be a bit more thoughtful about your actions. If you’re making real-time decisions instead of just reacting, that helps you do a better job of managing yourself during the stressful event.

Most people don’t practice moving as a self-defense tactic. They just practice hitting a target in a well-lit room with even temperatures. But most self-defense shootings don’t occur in such sterile environments. This is why getting to an outdoor range where you can practice movement is so important.

Stepping Back is Good Movement Too

Says Tueller: “I wanted to sell the idea of taking a single big step back as you draw – to gain a bit more distance from your attacker – as an acceptable technique. Of course I’ve come to realize that if one step back is good, six or eight are better if you can maintain control and move smoothly.” Stepping back creates distance. Distances often increases your safety as well as forcing the attacker to respond to you. In our Minnesota Permit to Carry course, stepping back is highly recommended as a way to increase safety and yet maintain control of the situation and yourself.

Being Alert is Your Number One Tool

More than your firearm, being alerts to potential dangers is your best form of self-defense. In our Minnesota Permit to Carry class, we teach that the only conflict you cannot lose is the one you never engage in. So conflict avoidance is one of the first topics we discuss. We don’t care if you lose all dignity to avoid the confrontation. Lose your dignity. Engaging in a confrontation with potentially deadly consequences is a scenario we hope we never experience and never want to see occur. We don’t rejoice in the death of anyone – even an attacker. The use of deadly force is and must be a last resort – after verbal commands, retreat (when reasonable), brandishing and other, less lethal options.

“You need to believe it can happen to you. You need to recognize dangers in your vicinity, trust your feelings, and act based on your knowledge, experience and training”, said Tueller. We agree.

Armed Citizen in Maine, Ohio and California

Take a look at these three recent reports of law-abiding citizens defending themselves.  This is one of the reasons we have the 2nd Amendment and one of the reasons we’re in business:  we believe in the cause and right of self-defense.  While we do not rejoice in the death of anyone, we also recognize each person’s right to defend themselves.

All three of these stories occur inside the person’s home.  But this doesn’t negate the need for training in the use of a firearm and for familiarity on the legal ramifications of using that firearm.  Consider our Minnesota Permit to Carry class as the first logical step in your journey to defend yourself.

Read the stories here.


Armed Citizen in Houston Described as Good Samaritan

This is an interesting news story to watch.  Notice that in one short part of the clip – after the police arrive – the good Samaritan goes down on his stomach and then is no longer in the picture.

What this told me was that he understood the role of the police when they arrive:  they get everyone under control and then sort out the situation.

Personally, I still would have called my lawyer and ensured that I had legal protection, but it appears that this individual will not be charged with any crime.  Good news for those who like to see law-abiding citizens making our streets safer with the proper use of force.

Be sure your Minnesota Permit to Carry and Utah Conceal Carry is up to date.  Check our web site for class dates/times to make sure your license doesn’t lapse.


Chicago Man Defends Himself – No Charges Filed

A 53-year old man successfully defended himself against two men who tried to accost him in Chicago recently. To my knowledge, this is the first news story about a person defending themselves with a valid permit to carry license in Illinois. This is why we continually push the notion that people here in Minnesota should obtain their Permit to Carry license so they can defend themselves if the rare attack presents itself.

Bill English

Little Falls Man Admits to Shooting Teens – Claims Self-Defense

Holding a Minnesota Permit to Carry license does not exonerate you from careful scrutiny of your actions should you decide to use deadly force. And when it comes to using a self-defense as a legal reason for using deadly force, you first must admit that you violated the law by shooting that person, but that under the law, you were an unwilling participant and that you had no other alternative. Admitting that you shot the other person is the first step in claiming self-defense as a reason to use deadly force. This is precisely what Bryon Smith is admitting: He shot the two teens who entered his house on Thanksgiving Day, 2012, but he shot them in self-defense.

Minnesota law is murky on the justifiable use of deadly force, in my opinion. Here is the relevant law:


Subdivision 1. When authorized. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 2, reasonable force may be used upon or toward the person of another without the other’s consent when the following circumstances exist or the actor reasonably believes them to exist:

(1) when used by a public officer or one assisting a public officer under the public officer’s direction:

(a) in effecting a lawful arrest; or

(b) in the execution of legal process; or

(c) in enforcing an order of the court; or

(d) in executing any other duty imposed upon the public officer by law; or

(2) when used by a person not a public officer in arresting another in the cases and in the manner provided by law and delivering the other to an officer competent to receive the other into custody; or

(3) when used by any person in resisting or aiding another to resist an offense against the person; or

(4) when used by any person in lawful possession of real or personal property, or by another assisting the person in lawful possession, in resisting a trespass upon or other unlawful interference with such property; or

(5) when used by any person to prevent the escape, or to retake following the escape, of a person lawfully held on a charge or conviction of a crime; or

(6) when used by a parent, guardian, teacher, or other lawful custodian of a child or pupil, in the exercise of lawful authority, to restrain or correct such child or pupil; or

(7) when used by a school employee or school bus driver, in the exercise of lawful authority, to restrain a child or pupil, or to prevent bodily harm or death to another; or

(8) when used by a common carrier in expelling a passenger who refuses to obey a lawful requirement for the conduct of passengers and reasonable care is exercised with regard to the passenger’s personal safety; or

(9) when used to restrain a person who is mentally ill or mentally defective from self-injury or injury to another or when used by one with authority to do so to compel compliance with reasonable requirements for the person’s control, conduct, or treatment; or

(10) when used by a public or private institution providing custody or treatment against one lawfully committed to it to compel compliance with reasonable requirements for the control, conduct, or treatment of the committed person.

Subd. 2. Deadly force used against peace officers. Deadly force may not be used against peace officers who have announced their presence and are performing official duties at a location where a person is committing a crime or an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult.


The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.”

As you may know, opening statements began Monday morning in the Little Falls, Minn. murder trial of Byron Smith. He is a 65-year-old man who killed two teens who broke into his home on Thanksgiving Day, 2012. Smith is charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. “According to the criminal complaint, Smith shot Kifer and Brady multiple times during the burglary of his home. He admitted to using “more shots than” were needed, and even gloated about firing a “good, clean finishing shot.” He did not immediately report the shooting to police, instead having a neighbor call on his behalf the next day.” (Fox 9 News)

Now, I don’t know how this will play out, but for sure, you don’t say anything about getting a “good, clean finishing shot” and you never admit to using “more shots than” are necessary. You shoot just enough to remove the threat, then you stop – even if the other person is in significant pain. You don’t do a mercy killing.

If Smith is convicted, this will be a classic case of how talking after the shooting, but before your lawyers are present, can negatively affect you in a court of law. We’ll follow this trial here, but for sure, be clear on one point: you don’t talk after the shooting until your lawyer is present.

Little Falls, Minnesota Man on Trial in Self-Defense Shooting

This is no laughing matter and gives all of us a chance to learn vicariously from this case. Just because the two teens were inside his house doesn’t necessarily mean that Minnesota law indemnifies the man from shooting them. Pay attention to this case and follow it. You will learn some important lessons from it – include the first one that we teach in all of our Minnesota Permit to Carry classes: do not talk to the police without your lawyer present. After the shooting, you’ll want to talk – but don’t do it. Be sure to call your legal team immediately.

If you don’t know who you would call, NOW is the time to get that relationship lined up and ready to go. None of us ever want to shoot anyone, but all of us who carry under the Minnesota Permit to Carry laws should prepare for the worst.

Armed Citizen – Husband Defends Wife

Persistent training in the use of your handguns is essential to knowing how to use them in the heat of the moment. Our Minnesota Permit to Carry training will help you understand when and when not to shoot as well as understanding how to safely handle your firearm.

“A husband and wife were asleep at home in Houston, Texas when they were awakened by someone attempting to break in through their front door. The husband responded by retrieving a gun, as his wife called the authorities. When the home invader managed to get into the home through a back door, the husband shot the criminal. The wounded home invader then moved in a way that made the husband believe he was reaching for something, prompting the husband to shoot the intruder again. The home invader later died at a nearby hospital.  (KPRC, Houston, Texas, 04/21/14).”

Copied from