Ignorance - for people who carry concealed, it can be tragic

People who like guns and have a concealed carry permit most often focus on guns, caliber, holsters, concealment and other every day topics that keep us entertained and up to date. However, today, I saw and responded to a disturbing thread on a gun forum that dealt with none of these things.

The poster related an incident that could happen to anyone, but his attitude toward it and his responsibility as a gun owner - it's not a situation that is confined to concealed carry - was ill informed, based more on folklore than fact, and perhaps too common. In brief, the situation was this, and I'm paraphrasing and leaving out any identifying details.

The gun owner and his friends were sitting on his property enjoying their conversation when an adult male, riding a bicycle appeared and began riding around on the gun owner's property, and making stupid remarks. The bicycle guy was asked to leave repeatedly and finally rode off uttering generally threatening remarks and bad language. Then the bicycle guy returned. The gun owner sent his guests into the house and confronted Mr Bicycle Man, who at one point moved his hand toward his hoodie pocket at which time the gun owner drew his pistol so the bicycle man could see it, but didn't point it at him. Bicycle man rode away, mouthing threats.

Well, there are probably a few things the gun owner did wrong, or on the edge of wrong, but the most disturbing thing was the follow up posts. These were from the gun owner and a few other forum members, the essence of which is that the gun owner stated that he was within his legal rights to shoot someone who is trespassing on his property and refuses to "follow orders" to leave.

This is undoubtedly wrong, regardless of the state in which Mr. Gun Owner resides. It is wrong, both legally and ethically. I certainly am not familiar with every state statute on defensive shooting, but I will say that I believe there is a requirement on the part of the shooter to know, without a reasonable doubt, that he, or some innocent person at the scene, is threatened with severe bodily harm or death and the person threatening this has demonstrated the means to do so.

Carrying or having access to a firearm should make one more responsible and less willing to engage in confrontations for that very reason. If I have a legally sanctioned carry gun and some bozo wants to argue, insult and question my manhood, well, fine. I don't have to bite. I know that I have the means to defend myself if I am significantly threatened and frankly, I don't really care what other people on the scene may think. I know I am armed. The others don't. And I intend to keep it that way.

So, once again, people who have guns, especially those who carry legally, have a serious and constant burden to know the law and to know when deadly force, or the threat of it, is appropriate, legally and morally.

The scenario I proposed to Mr. Gun Owner who posted on the forum was this: suppose a twenty-something male, dirty, oddly dressed and mostly incoherent appeared on his property. Mr. Gun Owner argues with the man and orders him to leave his property. The man doesn't comply but continues to wander around raving incoherently, maybe walking toward the Gun Owner's house. The Gun Owner decides the other guy is freaking him out, doesn't know what he might do and besides, has not followed orders to leave the property, so he shoots the raving man. Afterward, Mr. Gun Owner is informed by the police that the raving man was an honorably discharged veteran who was undergoing treatment for PTSD, tended to get confused and babble when off his meds and had wandered away from home where he was being cared for by his elderly parents and was confused and looking for help.

The responsible gun owner cannot resort to deadly force unless there is no other viable alternative present at the time. Period.

I'm not a lawyer, or am I offering this as legal advice. I'm saying, know your legal and moral requirements if you carry or own a gun. From what I have seen on various gun forums, many people do not.