It’s one of the worst nightmares for those who carry a firearm in self-defense; a bad guy getting the drop on you and disarming you of your gun. That’s what happened to a 53-year old in Detroit last month, but police have only now released details of the crime.
In the incident, the suspect approached the victim from behind as he was paying for his gas, then yanked the gun from the man’s holster and took off running.
Kofi Kenyatta is the co-founder and vice president of the Black Bottom Gun Club which advocates for the Second Amendment and promotes safe and responsible gun ownership in Detroit and the surrounding areas.
“As I watched the video I definitely don’t want to blame the victim here, but it’s important that we have a perception of the elements in our immediate environment and make sure that we are aware of surroundings, alert to potential threats as well as being ready and able to react to actualized threats,” Kenyatta said. “Based on the feedback from the numerous instructors that are part of the Black Bottom Gun Club, there are many new Wayne County and Detroit firearm owners – and unfortunately they don’t have the ability to properly, legally obtain their CPLs.”
Kenyatta is absolutely correct that many new gun owners in Detroit who want to carry in self-defense are being forced to do so openly at the moment because of the year-long wait in Wayne County to even drop off an application for a carry license.
In neighboring Macomb and Oakland counties the wait for a concealed carry license is just a few weeks, but in Wayne County officials say they’ve been struggling to keep up with the demand. As a result, the only option for those new gun owners who want to protect themselves in one of the most violent cities in the country is to openly carry a firearm, which comes with a very big drawback; criminals may very well be able to spot the gun before the gun owner can spot the criminal. That appears to be what happened in this particular case.
“It’s just frustrating because someone may get shot, robbed, and then the guy who lost the gun is going to feel like, you know,” said Steve Dolunt.
Dolunt is a retired assistant police chief with DPD.
“If you want to open carry that’s on you but you gotta have weapon retention,” Dolunt said. “From what I can see, he just walks up from behind and snatches it. the perpetrator must have seen something and said this guy’s not paying attention.”
Police say they actually took the suspect into custody for unrelated offenses, and he was behind bars when the surveillance video was released. According to authorities, the alleged robber is believed to have been responsible for a number of recent offenses in the city, including a non-fatal shooting.
While it’s good news that this particular suspect has been nabbed, the fact is that there are going to be more folks openly carrying firearms until the Wayne County clerk is willing and able to start processing carry license applications in a timely manner. Under state law, the county has a legal obligation to process and approve these licenses within 45 days, but since county officials aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see open carry on the rise.
Situational awareness is important for every gun owner who carries in self-defense, but it’s critical that those who openly carry a gun (either by choice or necessity) are on guard against potential threats to their life or safety. This robbery may have been avoided if the gun owner had simply been paying more attention to his surroundings, but it may also never have taken place if the gun owner had applied for and received a carry license in the 45 days required under state law.