Two of the nation’s leading gun rights organizations have called for a “national dialogue” on how police respond to active shooter incidents in public places in the wake of the tragic Thanksgiving shooting of an armed citizen who was mistaken for the person who had just wounded two people at the Riverchase Balleria Mall in Hoover, Ala.
The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be working with Gun Talk Media to make this conversation happen, according to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, and Gun Talk Media founder and host Tom Gresham.
“There are more than 17 million gun owners in the United States who are licensed to carry concealed,” Gottlieb said. “In addition, there are untold numbers of legally-armed citizens in states where permits or licenses are not required for either concealed or open carry. In an active shooter incident, these citizens are well within their rights to act in self-defense or in defense of others, even when it means they draw a defensive sidearm but don’t immediately open fire.”
Hoover officers apparently mistook Emantic F. Bradford, Jr., 21, as the suspected shooter. Mr. Bradford had a carry permit, according to his family, but investigators have declined to confirm that, according to Alabama sources contacted by Liberty Park Press. He had reportedly drawn his pistol and according to the Associated Press, that visible gun “heightened the sense of threat” for responding police.
There have been protests in the wake of the shooting. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating and Hoover Police are conducting their own investigation, according to published reports.
“Armed citizens have interrupted would-be mass shooters,” Gottlieb noted, “sometimes fatally shooting the perpetrator before police arrive. This happened at an Oklahoma City restaurant, a Walmart in Washington State, and at a McDonald’s restaurant in Birmingham in October.”
He said the likelihood that police might encounter a legally-armed private citizen acting in self-defense has “increased exponentially in recent years with the expansion of concealed carry.”
“We need to address the potential for mistaken identity fatalities so that good guys don’t shoot one another while the bad guys get away,” Gottlieb stated. “This dialogue should include law enforcement and commercial firearms instructors, open and concealed carry advocates and experts on the use of lethal force. We are working with Gun Talk Media on this effort.”
Gresham, who hosts the weekly “Gun Talk” radio show that is syndicated nationwide, is all for the idea of a national dialogue.
“Callers to my radio show over the last 20 years want to do this right,” Gresham explained. “Both citizens who carry and conscientious police officers know this is a situation fraught with peril and all parties need to work together for solutions. The police we work with know this is a very real problem.”
“We have an opportunity to learn from the Hoover incident,” Gottlieb said. “Something good can come out of this terrible incident that will help police and millions of legally-armed private citizens reduce the likelihood of such a tragedy ever happening again.”