COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The recent shooting at a Thornton Walmart left three people dead. Police say several shoppers inside the store during the attack un-holstered their weapons ready to take aim at the suspect if he came their way.
This raises the question if those armed civilians would be prepared to fight back.
Certified weapons instructor, John Besançon with AimTech says to only fight back if that is the only option you have. There are three plans of action they can follow incase of an active shooter. He says, "Your first situation should be access where you are and run where you can. Two, if you are unable to escape then run and hide. And as a last resort when you have no other choice and you are found, don't sit down and take it, stand up and fight for yourself."
The instructor elaborates saying just because someone is carrying a gun, does not mean they should try to be a hero or know what they are doing. That they should only use the weapon if they really feel their life is in danger. Desançon also says the only time someone should draw their weapon is if they are going to use it, "Simply drawing it and waving it around isn't going to help you or anyone else. It might cause panic." Especially if police are also in the area searching for the active shooter. They may confuse the good Samaritan for being the suspect.
Even those with an concealed carry permit may not be ready to shoot and kill someone causing deadly harm to others. "Concealed carry in and of itself does not make you prepared to carry that firearm and implement that firearm," Desançon says. It takes hours and hours of practice and training and after that they still might not be ready.
Desançon adds if you do have a clear shot of the active shooter who is threatening your life and you know you can hit them without harming anyone else, never hesitate in firing the weapon.
It's important to note that there's a thin line between lawful self-defense and a criminal act, depending on the situation and witnesses. So, if you do pull the trigger, be prepared for the consequences.