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Holding criminals at gunpoint when your life ISN'T in danger...

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by G27GenFour, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. G27GenFour

    G27GenFour American

    Jan 20, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Wasn't sure how to search for this topic and I'm sure it's been covered here somewhere. I also know that local and state laws will be an obvious factors here, and they probably vary - but how do people hold a criminal "until law enforcement shows up" when that criminal could, in theory, turn his back and walk/run away? Surely the good guy's life isn't threatened in that case, and I think the common concept is that you're not supposed to shoot anyone unless your life is in danger, but you do hear occasionally (and here today, locally) about someone apprehending a criminal and holding them at gunpoint until a LEO shows up. Thanks for your feedback!
  2. BenjiEDF


    Jun 15, 2012
    Good question! Handcuff him and make a citizens arrest? Short of that I don't know. Might be a good question for the gentlemen in the cop talk forum.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

  3. The Fed

    The Fed

    Dec 23, 2012
    Central Florida
    You better have plenty of evidence before you detain someone, gunpoint or otherwise. If you do have a video evidence or independent witnesses of a crime and it's on your property then you can detain someone, just like any business can in cases of theft.

    No proof? You can be arrested for unlawful restraint, and sued.
  4. WFBont7


    Mar 26, 2002
    I have been in law enforcement for almost 20 years. Over the years I have learned that the guy bad doesn't stop or stand still for you if you are holding a gun at him. They don't believe that you are going to shoot them.

    Since I have been in K9, its a whole different story. A bad guy will stop, will turn around and will put his hands behind his back. LOL
  5. If he wants to run away, that solves a big part of my problem.

    If I can safely hold him at gunpoint, I might try, but I feel no obligation to do so.

    It's much cheaper and simpler for me if I don't shoot anybody.
  6. GlockFanWA


    Sep 9, 2012
    And what are you going to do if while holding a person at gunpoint they get up and walk/run away? Shooting a person in the back is usually a good way to end up in jail.
  7. soflasmg


    Sep 3, 2004
    The longer barrel of the model 17 is better for pistol whipping than a 19.
  8. The Fed

    The Fed

    Dec 23, 2012
    Central Florida
    Reminds me of what a young neighbor Sgt. told me when I lived in Philly. I asked him if he ever shot anyone. He said, don't you know we're not allowed to shoot anyone? He clarified that cops who shoot people don't get promoted in Philly? He even avoided high crowd events in his off time because he would be obligated to act if there was a problem.
  9. TK-421


    Oct 12, 2012
    Pflugerville, TX
    I really think about all you can do is handcuff the guy, make a citizens arrest, and basically lay on him and pin him to the ground until cops show up. Most guys won't stand still when a gun is pointed at them because they believe that you won't pull the trigger, so pointing a gun at them generally won't do much to keep them there. Granted, there are exceptions, but I think a gun won't do as much as you think it will.

    But you better have some damn good evidence as to why you're detaining him, because you don't get off easy if you detain the wrong person, or can't prove what happened that made you think it was a good idea to detain him.
  10. G27GenFour

    G27GenFour American

    Jan 20, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Great (and very obvious, in most cases) points, folks. This question was brought up by a report today in this area of a female jogger who was pulled into the bushes by an attacker. She managed to fight him off, and he ran away but was followed by a bicyclist who unfortunately lost the trail, so the bad guy got away. I just know that I'd want to detain some slimeball like this, but in reality, it's pretty clear that he's not likely to hang around even if I am pointing a gun at him, and of course I'm certainly not going to shoot someone running/walking away.... as much as he may well deserve at least losing a kneecap...

    Thanks for the feedback, all.
  11. KentuckyPatriot

    KentuckyPatriot Photojournalist

    Aug 30, 2010
    Here is a thought for you...if YOUR life, or the life of ANOTHER is not threatened, or either of you threatened with great bodily injury, you should leave your gun holstered.

    The mere pointing of a loaded gun in the above instance transforms you into the criminal and the bad guy into the victim. You can (in most areas) be charged with reckless endangering, terroristic threatening, etc...all based on the whim of your local prosecutor and local police report.

    If the BG wants to run...let him! Be vigilant, get somewhere else and call 911, and be a good witness. You are not the cops and you do not handcuff! Good Grief...have you ever tried to handcuff an unwilling person?

    Keep it simple...keep it holstered until your life, or the life of another is threatened. Then bring your firearm into play.

  12. Revvv


    Jan 28, 2010
  13. G27GenFour

    G27GenFour American

    Jan 20, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Very well stated, sir. Thanks.
  14. blk69stang


    Jan 10, 2011
    Detaining a bad guy at gunpoint, with handcuffs, or otherwise, is inviting a charge of unlawful detention or kidnapping.

    Not saying it can't be done, but if you have to ask on an internet forum, then you are not knowledgeable enough of the law to be going around doing it.
  15. G27GenFour

    G27GenFour American

    Jan 20, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    No argument there at all. I wasn't necessarily contemplating doing it, but more just bringing up the aspects of doing so. Another local case here this week did involve someone holding a bad guy at the scene of a crime, but I have no idea how they were able to do so. Again, great and very clear insights posted here; thanks.
  16. Mr. Blandings

    Mr. Blandings

    Jun 20, 2001

    Know your applicable laws and regulations VERY well. Also be cognizant of the mood of the public/press, law enforcement, prosecutors and courts- but know that all of that can change without warning.

    Florida went from being a strong pro-gun/pro-self defense state to shaky ground almost overnight based on one incident - Trayvon Martin. That incident resulted in states throughout the nation at least discussing "stand your ground" self defense laws.

    The developments of that incident, the after effects and subsequent on-going prosecution provide valuable lessons in how cautiously one should approach situations that may result in a use of force.

    Even law enforcement officers often find themselves criticized, investigated and even prosecuted for line of duty use of force incidents.
  17. Mr. Blandings

    Mr. Blandings

    Jun 20, 2001
    I recall a few months ago there was some video of a group of "good samaritans" who tackled and held a criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived on the scene. (You should be familiar, it was in Seattle: The group as a whole was generally given the public atta boy treatment afterward, but I wonder how different the reaction would have been if an armed citizen had intervened and been filmed holding the bad guy at gun point?

    Further, when law enforcement did arrive to the scene one of the "good samaritans" briefly had a 12 gauge shotgun pressed into his back and a police officer was about to take him into custody until it was quickly explained that he was one of the good guy.

    This is a demonstration of how law enforcement reacts when they arrive on the scene. Anyone not in uniform is a suspect until verified otherwise. Anyone holding a firearm is an armed suspect.

    Also note from the news story that the initial "good samaritan" - a doorman - was shot by the badguy while tackling him. Who do you suppose covered the doorman's medical tab?
    (Follow-up story notes a fund had been set-up, but doesn't say the bills are covered. Also, lost time from work, etc. The bills don't stop coming in.

    Edited to add: Okay, now curious about this I applied some google-fu and discovered a later article where the Mayflower Park Hotel states that the doorman's wages, tips and expenses would be covered ( He is lucky. Compare this to many easily located articles about businesses (usually corporate chains) who fire employees that resist robberies or display firearms defensively.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  18. Blaster

    Blaster Hunc tu caveto

    Feb 2, 2000
    How many of you folks who suggested "Handcuffing" are trained in the art? Do you actually believe that putting handcuffs on a person is a simple and easy operation?

    Those who would try are asking for Big Trouble! It is not a simple matter to handcuff a person, especially one who may have prison learned disarming skills or simple martial arts training. Police officers spend a significant amount of time learning how to handcuff a suspect. It is extremely dangerous to get that close and try to restrain a person even if you are armed.

    Stay Away!

    Since when is it your job to restrain anyone?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  19. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    It's a bad plan.

    Here are some more points to ponder...

    Suppose you do draw your firearm and tell the dude to halt, sit on the ground and wait for the cops.

    What if he turns back your way and decides you're not serious and makes a go at you and your gun instead? Were you expecting that could be a possibility?

    Now what's your plan? He didn't do what you said and is coming at you...tick-tock...times up...he has his hands on you and your piece...

    What if "he" is actually "them?" Got any training or hands on experience in controlling multiple assailants?

    Are you trained in handgun retention and spent a lot of time practicing it under the guidance of a competent instructor?

    Me neither.

    You in good enough physical condition to fight that fight hands on against someone or a group of someones that might be younger and stronger than you or prepared to take it to a level you are not or were not expecting?

    You got a radio and backup on the way?

    Me neither.

    I always figure it like this, there are people walking around out there that are crazy enough or high enough to fight uniformed officers and try to get their gun from them and kill them. They aren't going to even think twice about trying that on little ole you and me.

    I hope they do run away. Aside from never having found yourself in such a situation to start with, that would be ideal.

    I refer you to another thread - things often don't work out the way people imagine:

    Read the stickies here:

    Read this:

    Read this web site:
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013