Hypothetical fact pattern: Youâ€™re in a retail business minding your own business, when suddenly several armed robbers burst in and order you and the other people present, to lie face down on the floor. In searching one of the other customers, the robbers discover he is an off-duty police officer who has a handgun in a belt holster. The criminals begin to pistol whip and grapple with the off-duty officer; who is able to fire a round or two before being wounded himself and dropping his pistol. You are able to pick up that firearm and fire at the then-fleeing robbers, wounding one or two of them.
Question: Are you hailed as a hero?
Answer: If this occurred in New York City, not only are you not hailed as a hero, but you face potential prosecution because you fired a gun belonging to someone else.
Note: This is not a hypothetical. It is a real incident that took place in New York just last week. The man who picked up the police officerâ€™s handgun and used it to try and stop the armed robbers, was an off-duty school safety officer not authorized to carry firearms in the course of his duties. However, his real â€œcrimeâ€ here is the fact that he picked up the wounded officerâ€™s handgun and tried to stop the robbers. This is a criminal offense in New York, and initially he was threatened with prosecution.
The Lesson: This is life in the Bizarro World of an American city which government believes that the best way to enable citizens to avoid becoming victims of armed criminal is to disarm the citizens and then prosecute them if they have the backbone and sense to pick up a wounded police officerâ€™s gun and try and disable the attackers. At least in this instance the Big Apple did not actually prosecute the local hero. However, the mere fact such a law is on the books, and that the city even considered prosecuting him, should cause outrage in all Americans who understand and believe in liberty and our Bill of Rights.
by Bob Barr â€“ The Barr Code