Shop Lifters – What Would You Do?

This video of multiple shoplifters filling their bags and exiting a liquor store without paying has been making its rounds. What would you do if you were present when this happened?

I was having a conversation with one person who said she would draw her gun and hold the shoplifters at gunpoint. She also stated it was OK because she has her concealed carry license. Do you think that is the proper action?

If you answered yes, for your own legal protection, it might be a good idea to leave your gun at home. There’s a very good chance you would end up in jail for pointing your gun at shoplifters.

Also See: Can I shoot if _____? A conversation about justified self defense.

Your concealed carry license is not a police badge. If you think it is, may I suggest you find a police force to enlist. Several police departments are hiring. ALL your concealed carry license allows you to do is possess, in public, the best possible means to effect your self-defense.

From the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act…

(c) …A license shall permit the licensee to:
(1) carry a loaded or unloaded concealed firearm, fully concealed or partially concealed, on or about his or her person; and
(2) keep or carry a loaded or unloaded concealed firearm on or about his or her person within a vehicle.

That’s it. That’s all the license allows you to do. I could be wrong, please verify with your criminal defense attorney, but pointing a gun at someone is the same as shooting them. That is to say, in my nonlawyer opinion, pointing a gun at someone is “use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm”.

Here is when force is allowed in Illinois (In Defense of Property)…

(720 ILCS 5/7-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-3)
Sec. 7-3. Use of force in defense of other property.
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.
However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(720 ILCS 5/2-8) (from Ch. 38, par. 2-8)
Sec. 2-8. “Forcible felony”. “Forcible felony” means treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnaping, kidnaping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

So, what would the recommended course of action be? Be a good witness. If it is your property, your family’s property or you have a duty to protect (think security guard) said property; force might be warranted. But, there is a difference between force and force which is likely to cause death.

Be a good witness. Call the police. Video the incident. If you choose to involve yourself, which is seldom recommended, give verbal orders. If at that time you are attacked, the justification changes from the use of force in defense of property to use of force in defense of person.

No matter how well-intentioned, don’t put your freedom or safety in jeopardy from few bottles of wine.

Be armed. Be trained. Be Alpha. (Part of being Alpha is to understand the law.)

Illinois Concealed Carry Training Class

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