In a story that will likely get widespread national attention if it gets picked up by a major news agency, an armed customer at a local Macon Game Stop store managed to thwart the escape of two criminals from Sacramento, California that had only seconds earlier robbed the store and patrons inside.
The alleged gunman is a 34-year old career criminal from California named Javon Glen Britton. He was assisted by a female accomplice named Maryann Jeanette Davis, also from Sacramento, California. The local media reports they entered the store armed with a high powered rifle and a handgun. After meticulously and professionally robbing the store and the customers inside, one of the customers named Tim Jackson who was not armed while inside the store followed them outside in the hopes that he could get their license plate number. Although just a guess, I imagine they were likely passing through on their way north or south. The Game Stop is only a short drive away from the interstate exit.
Jackson ran to his car and retrieved his 9mm pistol and then ran down the sidewalk towards the robbers who were inside a new model green BMW. When Jackson was around 10 feet or so from the car he noticed the male reach under the seat and feared for his life and opened fire on the vehicle.
Jackson fired a total of seven shots which caused the car to crash at high speed on a six foot embankment as they tried to flee. The tires were shredded by the crash and the police arrived soon after and they were quickly apprehended. Briton and Davis were both arrested at the scene and charged with armed robbery. Neither were shot by any of the seven rounds fired.
Jackson was formerly a security guard at Academy Sports and now works as an animal welfare worker was quoted as saying:
“I scared the hell out of them,” “But I checked first to see there weren’t any people around before I pulled the trigger.”
“I haven’t quit shaking,” he said. “All I’ve heard is, ‘You’re a good Samaritan,’ but I don’t feel like it.”
The 2nd Amendment and the “Good Guy” Argument
Personally, I am in the middle when it comes to discussions over any new gun laws which pisses off both sides who tend to control the conversation. Supporters and Opponents of gun laws have PACs and advertising to get their message out and shout down what I think is a majority of Americans who are open to tweaking gun laws in favor of some common sense regulations. In fact, most people tend to think like me and support the 2nd amendment but also support tighter gun control laws in polls.
The 2nd amendment is an extremely complex subject, so I will not even attempt to try and write about other facets of laws beyond CCW (carrying a concealed weapon). In Georgia, you do not need a CCW permit to carry a gun in your car as long as it is not in the open, nor do you need any sort of license or permit to own a gun for your home. If you want to carry it on your person then you need a permit. Different states and even counties within the state have different terms, fees, and requirements. Some call it CCC, others CCW, and many more. I will simply use CCW for clarity sake since that seems to be the most common term. It costs between $75 and $89 in Georgia.
The requirements for a CCW permit include a background check, proof of identity and residence, an application, and the fee. Not all states have reciprocal agreements so be aware of that when you travel out of state.
My Personal Views On CCW Laws
I don’t think anyone really disagrees that the 2nd Amendment does not include protection for CCW. Even in the Wild Wild West days it was common for visitors to surrender their firearms to a sheriff or even a saloon owner in a bar when while in town. The 2nd Amendment guarantees your right to own a firearm but not the right to carry it wherever you like. Local laws and private businesses can and do put restrictions on where you are allowed to carry a weapon.
As the recent story above from Macon, GA demonstrates, sometimes a so-called “Good Guy” can stop a crime or potentially save innocent lives. But it is also possible that something could go tragically wrong. I don’t want to give dozens of hypothetical situations for potential mishaps, but a few off the top of my head include: shooting innocent bystanders by mistake, two different CCW people shooting at each other instead of the criminal with all the confusion and panic that ensues, having their gun stolen because they were caught by surprise by someone with a knife that then has a far more deadly weapon, and simply getting killed themselves if a criminal sees the gun on them and gets the drop. Criminals are already on alert and prepared to shoot which is a major advantage in a shootout where a shopper may be thinking what they need to buy and completely unaware of a danger a few feet away.
Although the case in Macon,GA had a happy ending for everyone besides the armed robbers, this is not always the case. A good guy was killed in Las Vegas when he failed to notice the female accomplice behind him. This brings up an additional hazard that criminals often work in pairs or groups where a CCW holder may be alone and outnumbered. There is also the recent case of a retired cop who had a CCW permit and lost his temper in a movie theater and shot and killed a man that threw popcorn at him over a texting dispute. Both supporters and detractors of CCW permits can find anecdotal evidence that support their position.
What concerns me about CCW Permits
My main concerns about CCW permit holders is whether we are doing enough to ensure we curtail potential mishaps. Are current regulations up to snuff in terms of ensuring public safety? All criminals have a clean record until they don’t. Background checks are certainly necessary but are insufficient in my opinion since they do little to weed out people with mental health issues or complete novices that have no idea how or when to discharge their weapon.
Although it is also true criminals will not need a CCW to commit crimes that does not invalidate the need in my opinion to ensure permit holders do not present a threat to themselves or others. Anyone can also practice surgery illegally at their homes but we still have doctors sit through a board exam before they can cut us open for a very good reason.
Here is what scares me the most about CCW permit holders. Anyone with a clean record and around $80 or so bucks can get a permit. But we have no evidence that they are proficient at discharging the weapon, know proper safety protocols, or have any other training to ensure that they have the knowledge or skills to properly handle an adrenaline charged situation where they might have to actually pull their weapon and make split-second decisions that can save or take lives.
I think most people would be a lot more at ease with CCW permits, if in addition to simply filling out a form and paying the money there were a few more requirements in place. Some animal welfare adoption agencies have stricter protocols in place before they adopt out animals than the requirements to carry a gun in public. In some case a home inspection and follow up visit are done before the animal is officially adopted out. All I ask as you read this article is to try and keep an open mind and look at the other side regardless of your current views.
Additional requirements could include written questions along with a practical target shooting exam with silhouettes of a bad guy with some innocents next to him. The written exam could also include some basic psychological components in addition to gun use and safety questions to potentially weed out people with mental health problems. The exam certainly would not be perfect or as detailed as the DSMM but it would be better than nothing at all in my opinion and a step towards common sense compromise.
Many companies like Wal Mart require a rather involved psychological questionnaire for potential employees, so I don’t think it unreasonable to ask this of people that want to carry around a gun in public given the great responsibility that entails. Although the one companies use is more tailored towards theft and lazy workers, one for a CCW could be tailored towards questions any CCW applicant should be able to answer.
Even if these additional requirements were in force, it is extremely important that CCW permit holders also regularly do target practice. Some states already have far stricter requirements than Georgia and require training and practice to keep their permits active. If you do not regularly practice or you are just a terrible shot you do not need to be carrying a weapon in public unless you only ever plan to use it when a criminal is a few feet away at most and you can’t miss if you tried. Nor should you carry one if you are not prepared to fire when it is pulled from the holster. Not everyone is capable of taking a life in a split second decision so you must be honest with yourself before you decide to carry.
The main point is that you must be able to hit what you aim at… ACCURACY is the top priority by far. We must also recognize the importance of TRAINING over equipment and even caliber. Some people also get taken in by a slick salesmen at gun stores and buy the wrong gun for them. They opt for a more powerful (expensive) weapon over a more practical one. A 9mm may be less powerful that a .357 magnum but it is also smaller and easier to be accurate with less recoil. Hitting your target with a small .9mm is a lot better than making a loud noise and missing with a large caliber. People also need to be aware of the holster they use which can affect draw time and their own safety. Without any written or practical exams it is impossible to get an idea where permit holders fall in terms of their skills and knowledge.
I suppose my position likely angers off both camps since I disagree with both of them. I support CCW permits but I also think with permits comes a great responsibility. If you have the potential to take my life in public I think you should be able to prove you can hit a target at 30 feet away and can answer some basic questions on use and safety and prove you are not mentally unstable.
If you want to cut hair, drive a car, and hundreds of other jobs and tasks, they all require you to prove your knowledge and skills. I do not think it unreasonable to ask the same of CCW permit holders. The added difficulty would also weed out people that really have no business even owning a gun at all let alone carrying one in public. At the very least it would require people that fail to get some additional training to gain proficiency and could retake the test not unlike a drivers license.
Where do you stand on current CCW requirements in Georgia or your home state? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.