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Law Enforcement: Use Caution With Concealed Weapons

5:40 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, N.C. - It could happen at your workplace. A stranger comes in. You feel threatened. The stranger looks suspicious. Then, he pulls out a gun. You are carrying a concealed weapon. However, just because you have a concealed weapons permit, doesn't necessarily mean you should draw your weapon.

The mysterious person might be an undercover detective or you might not fully understand what is going on. Unless someone directly threatens you or your family, law enforcement recommends you stay out of it.

"It's better to be a really good witness. Call 911 or get a good description of the suspect, instead of trying to take matters into their own hands," Captain Randy Shepherd said.

The North Carolina Castle Doctrine allows you protect yourself if you feel threatened in your home, vehicle or workplace. The law says you must believe there is a threat of imminent danger or death. However, it doesn't grant you the same authority as an officer.

"They may assume what they see is one thing. They may assume someone is getting robbed or mugged. But, the actual facts of the situation may turn out to be different," Captain Shepherd said.

Law enforcement officers go through realistic training every year. They're put in scenarios where they need to decide whether to shoot or try another tactic. It's this kind of intensive training that gives law enforcement the ability to make split second decisions

"Those split second decisions are generally made by the officer observing the person for a few seconds beforehand and picking up on danger cues from that person's mannerisms," Captain Shepherd said.

When it comes to firing a weapon, the captain says accuracy and decision making are key. When you add in stress to a situation, your accuracy can decrease. This weekend, a group of Guilford County Sheriff's Citizen's Academy members will get the chance to work with this training equipment.

You might remember back in July, a Reidsville business owner shot and killed a man who police say broke into his business. Authorities decided that the business owner was acting in self-defense, so he did not get charged. The Trayvon Martin case is another example.

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