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The 1st Rule of Defensive Gun Use: Have a Gun (Jake's Tale)

Recently, a friend of ours who we'll call "Jake" had a situation. First, a little background:

Jake owns a restaurant and a bar on the beach. As anyone can tell you South Florida is an unpredictable place to live much less own a bar. Jake has had his share of drunks and scuffles break out but nothing truly serious.

Recently, Jake had a string of break-ins (I think he's lost 10+ televisions in the last 6 months) at the restaurant and realized that his camera's weren't cutting it after one of the criminals simply avoided all the cameras.

Jake started taking an interest in carrying and learning to use a handgun for defensive purposes. Jake had prior experience with rifles in high school but no other training whatsoever.

Jake made plans to come shooting with us... and cancelled.

Jake made plans to come shooting with us again... and cancelled.

Jake made plans to come shooting with us again and swore he'd make it... and cancelled.

It happened more than three times, so needless to say we never actually thought he would go.

One day, he actually showed up ready to go. It surprised us so much that only I was actually able to go at that time. Jake and I went to Pembroke Gun and Range with his wife and went over the basics using a PPK/S and a Glock 26.

While Jake's wife never really got comfortable with the PPK's snappiness, she took to the Glock really quickly. Okay, not really quickly, there was the few moments when she was convinced she didn't have the hand strength to pull the trigger - but we got past that quickly and she had a blast.

Jake did well with both guns although he kept wanting to move the target further out even though we were only running 100 rounds of ammo total. I appreciate the excitement, but let's handle basics first. At the end of the range session, Jake and his wife agreed the PPK/S was a better choice for a first firearm because it has a manual safety and they are more comfortable with that - I can completely understand that.

Move forward a couple of weeks.

Jake's running the restaurant when a customer arrives with a Bull Mastiff. If you don't know what a Bull Mastiff is, it's a big damned dog. The customer had been there the week before and the dog had definitely been a little aggressive so Jake kept an eye on them. And, the guy stands out as he was around 6'3 and 240 pounds. Not a small dude by any imagination

Several drinks in, okay a lot of drinks in, the customer went to the bathroom and then basically snapped. I won't get into specifics but he was being belligerent, throwing things around, screaming at people, the whole works. Jake asks him to leave and the two get into a screaming match.

Finally the guy starts to leave with his small horse, I mean dog, and Jake walks behind him to make sure he leaves the property. What do you think happens next?

Yup, a fight breaks out between Jake and the big guy with a big dog. A customer sees Jake in the fight and tries to help. Outcome: Jake has a broken hand and is bitten by the dog on his upper arm, the customer is bitten on the upper arm and across his abdomen (I told you they are big damned dogs), and the customer gets a little beat up in the scuffle but nothing serious.

So you're asking, if Jake was armed, why would he let the situation go that way. Shouldn't he have been following rule #1 of Because I Carry a Gun? Shouldn't he have known to keep his distance and, if the guy or the dog started to attack been able to draw and defend himself? Yes and yes.

Why didn't he? Because he didn't carry the gun that day. There's a reason we talk about conceal carry as a lifestyle - because it has to happen every day. You don't choose when you'll need the gun, the bad guys do.

So, just a reminder: