California’s “may issue” laws mean that the vast majority of residents in the state’s population centers are unable to legally carry a firearm in self-defense. From San Diego to San Francisco, much of coastal California actually operates under what are in essence “will not issue” policies that bar almost everyone from obtaining a carry license.
San Mateo County is one of those places where most gun owners don’t even bother applying for a carry permit because they know they’re going to be turned down, but one jeweler in the county apparently managed to convince sheriffs officials of his need for self-defense, because authorities say Usman Bhatti was legally armed when he squared off with armed robbers at his store in the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno last week.
According to a San Bruno Police Department report, the attempted “smash-and-grab robbery” took place Friday afternoon at the Tanforan Mall when five intruders – believed to be in their teens to early 20s – entered Maaz Jewelers. One of them was carrying a crowbar.
Store surveillance video footage that was released to the public shows Bhatti verbally confronting the man with the crowbar when he was trying to smash a jewelry display.
When he turns to Bhatti, who was raising the crowbar, Bhatti displays his firearm, pointing it at the man with the crowbar. That prompted the man with the crowbar to leave before another intruder drew a firearm of his own. Bhatti then pointed his firearm back at the man, eventually leading all of the men to flee the scene.
Like the vast majority of defensive gun uses in the United States, Bhatti didn’t have to pull the trigger of his gun to defuse the threat and de-escalate the situation. The fact that he was armed was enough to put an end to the attempted robbery and send his assailants scattering.
California’s gun control laws didn’t prevent this robbery from taking place. At least one of the suspects had a gun of their own, and the Bay Area press is rife with other stories featuring individuals not legally allowed to possess a firearm, including those still in their teens, who’ve simply ignored the gun laws on the books (along with ignoring the laws against carjacking, home invasions, and shooting people with malicious and criminal intent).
The state’s gun control statutes are much more effective at keeping law abiding citizens disarmed. If the smash-and-grab robbers had decided to target the GameStop or the Spencer’s inside the mall instead of the jewelry store, they wouldn’t have had to worry about coming across an armed citizen able and ready to protect themselves, because there’s no way that a retail clerk at a business like that would ever be given “permission” to exercise their right to bear arms in the first place. Bhatti’s carry permit has everything to do with his professional circumstances as a jewelry store owner, not his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
I’m glad that Usman Bhatti was able to protect himself and his livelihood from the armed criminals who targeted him. I just want every other Californian to be able to do the same without having to first beg for permission from their county sheriff or local police chief. Self-defense is a human right; not one limited to the powerful, the wealthy, and those who’ve demonstrated some sort of special circumstance.