By Marvin Marroquin • Updated: 02/18/2023 • 7 min read
Do concealed carriers actually save lives? If you do a YouTube search on “guns save lives”, you’ll come across many videos of responsible gun owners protecting themselves, their family, and community from a scenario that could have ended deadly. These people who assumed personal responsibility to carry a firearm were at the right place, at the right time. They are a positive testament to the false narrative that more guns equals more crime.
Statistics are great, however, personal stories drive the point home. With that in mind, I found myself in a situation where I needed to unholster my gun in the parking lot of Target. I’m confident that after hearing about it, you’ll be more convinced that in the real world, you’re far more safe carrying a legal firearm than you’d be if you did not conceal carry.
I’ve always been interested in firearms. At 21, I bought my first one and was faced with whether or not to carry it since I was legally able to while living in Florida. I struggled for a while to take the plunge and carry. After two years of going back and forth with myself, and hearing about home invasions in my neighborhood, I pulled the trigger so to speak, and applied for my Concealed Carry Permit. I felt it was better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
For several years, I had it on me everywhere I went. At first it was awkward, and it felt like everyone knew I was carrying. I took it everywhere I was legally able to, and no one was the wiser. Having it on me increased awareness of my surroundings and checked the way I carried myself in public. I didn’t want to be part of a scene that would jeopardize my permit or firearm.
Then came the day I actually needed it. When I was 26 year old, and came across two men who were in a heated argument outside in the Target parking lot. One man seemed to be the agitator, he was very aggressive and yelling at the other man. The other man looked somewhat calm and was trying to get his wife and daughter into the car and out of potential danger. As the family made their way inside the car, the agitator walked away seemingly ending the argument. The family man walked around the car to get into the driver seat when I walked by. No more than 8 seconds later, I heard glass breaking and more yelling. When I turned around to see what was happening, I saw the agitator had returned and started bashing out the man’s car windows with a crowbar.
At this point, I was in shock for a split second but then ran over while unholstering my firearm. All sorts of things raced through my mind. What if he turns the crowbar on me? Do I shoot him? Tell him to drop it? Fight him off? What if my gun is knocked out my hands? What if he takes it from me?
Before I knew it, I was three feet behind him with the element of surprise at my advantage. I screamed, “Stop or I’ll shoot!” I almost didn’t believe myself. Would I really not hesitate to shoot if he turned around and started swinging the crowbar at me? He put his hands up and dropped the crowbar. I then yelled instructions at him, telling him to lay face down on the ground, and he did exactly that.
The other man got out of the car bleeding at the forehead, the wife and daughter were crying, and I asked him to call the police. The whole thing felt like a million years had passed by, but it actually took less than 20 seconds. I held the agitator at gunpoint while he laid on the ground with his arms and legs spread out until police showed up 12 minutes later. It all happened so fast, and there really was no time to reflect in the moment. I was just glad that he listened and didn’t try to get up.
When police arrived, I was instructed to lay the gun on the ground as they arrested the agitator. They took various statements from me and other witnesses. One officer took my firearm to check the database for its serial number. After questioning, they returned my firearm and sent me on my way. That was it. I never found out what the argument was about, but the family expressed their gratitude on how I handled the situation.
When it was all over, I played the entire 20 seconds over and over in my mind like a slow-motion movie to see if there was anything that I could’ve done differently. I realize mistakes were made, such as approaching the agitator too close at gunpoint. But I was level headed and fortunate he cooperated by immediately dropping the crowbar. Not a single shot was fired and the threat was eliminated quickly. This was the best case scenario.
There are thousands of scenarios like this every year. They prove guns save lives. These are a couple of take-aways that I think people can learn from this incident.
Always yell with authority when pulling your weapon
Always make sure that you yell at the top of your voice when pulling your gun on someone. The sound of your loud authoritative voice, coupled with a drawn gun, will almost always cause compliance. That’s exactly what happened here in this situation. My voice screamed confidence, and my drawn weapon demonstrated that I meant what I said. If you can’t demonstrate confidence when drawing your weapon, then you should not conceal carry. Demonstrating confidence is everything.
Never engage in conversation after drawing your weapon
Never engage in conversation with the suspect when holding them at gunpoint. It’s not a time for you to scold the suspect. You instruct them to get down on the ground and spread all limbs. It’s really hard to quickly get up from that position and try to run or attack you. They can argue with the police when they arrive. The reason you ignore everything that comes out their mouth is because they’ll try to find your weak spot, and if found, they’ll play to that and do anything to get out of the situation.
Never engage in conversation with onlookers
Never engage in conversation with other people when holding a suspect at gunpoint. Don’t try to justify anything. Instead, ignore anything people say, but also be aware of their movements. Try to put your back against something, a wall or car, so that someone doesn’t approach you from behind. Crowds can be a problem, especially when people show up late to the scene and just see a guy with his gun out. Encourage someone to call the police. In fact, encourage several people to call the police. If you engage in conversation with onlookers, it can distract you and you may say something stupid to agitate the situation against you. You don’t need to justify yourself to anyone but the police.
Finally, I want to point out that I didn’t fire a single shot in that parking lot, and yet the threat was eliminated quickly. Granted, this was a best case scenario. But if for example, I didn’t yell aggressively with my gun drawn, and had I used a passive tone when telling him what to do, I don’t think that he would have listened to me at all. If I had only threatened to draw my gun, but didn’t actually draw my gun, I think there would be an entirely different result, and I might not be sitting here with you today.