Don’t settle for the defensive training that came in the box with your gun.
Your concealed handgun is NOT a talisman, or a “warning sign”, or a “shield”, to be flashed when you get a bit scared of, or uncomfortable with, the smelly transient who is begging for money in the parking lot or at the gas station pump. Your fear must be REASONABLE before you may use force…not just to you, but to a reasonable person. And yes, merely displaying your firearm can be considered a use of force, also known as assault. There are a host of other legal elements and crimes that you may inadvertently commit through your ignorance of the law as well. You must not violate any ONE of them to be able to legally claim self defense. Your actions will be judged and evaluated by reasonable people (the jury of your case) who will be told, through jury instructions, that you should have known the various elements of the laws of use of force. Your opinion, if not reasonable, does not count. If you cannot support your claim of fear of death or great bodily injury with evidence and facts, and you threaten someone with force, you are at risk of criminal prosecution.
If you don’t know the particular details of what I just described, and you do have a CCW permit, you either didn’t pay attention to your CCW Instructor when this topic was covered during the training class, or it wasn’t covered appropriately because you decided to use the lowest bidder and you got what you paid for. Nonetheless, your ignorance of the realities of the criminal justice system in general, and statutory and case law in particular, make you a criminal defendant waiting to happen, as well as an embarrassment to responsible, well-trained, and properly educated firearms owners everywhere.
Here is another Quip from John Farnam about a Brandishing incident in Tennessee wherein a woman was “scared” by somone who asked her to light his cigarette. While this is a common pretextual “interview” used by criminals to close the distance to their victims, it is not a blank check to commit the crime of brandishing a weapon in a rude and threatening manner, or, in this case, an outright assault with a deadly weapon.
Yes, your alarm bells should be ringing, and ringing loudly, at this point if a similar set of circumstances begins to develop around you! However, one must be able to recognize, and assess, whether a developing set of circumstances really is an imminent attack or merely innocent behavior. And yes, again, there can be a fine line between the two. The predator can easily break off his attack at the last minute by saying, “I was just asking for a light. What’s your problem and why are you pointing that gun at me?” You, however, must have the ability to manage this, within the legal confines of the system. No one said this is easy. You must have some level of stress inoculation (otherwise known as realistic sceanario training) to allow you some time to evaluate the developing situation and then initiate some appropriate actions based upon the facts, NOT your UNREASONABLE fears. Proper training will allow you a “comfort zone”, or safety margin, if you will, to consciously evaluate the unfolding situation in front of you, while having the knowledge of your personal defensive abilities to act, WHEN APPROPRIATE. Yes, not too soon, and not too late…just right. It requires committment to learn the law, and to learn how to use violence in your defense only when it is appropriate, and legal.