How not to act with a gun

Guns should be well concealed and secure.
Read Gun Digest book of Concealed Carry by Massood Ayoob for tips

Erik Scott, a 38 year old concealed weapon holder was killed by police in Las Vegas outside a Costco.  He had been seen carrying a gun in Costco. Was asked to leave. Refused. Costco called the police, who confronted him as he left. Reports vary at that point, but police claim he reached for his pistol. And he was shot and killed.

By all accounts Mr. Scott was a great American. His unfortunate death does highlight the risk of taking on the responsibility of carrying a weapon.

I hold a CCW permit and carry every day. Until Nevada stopped accepting Utah licenses, I carried in Las Vegas frequently.

My thoughts on this unfortunate event:

a) Costco handled this wrong
b) the police handled this wrong
c) but mostly, Mr. Scott handled this wrong.

Of the three, I’d say Mr. Scott is mostly to blame. As much as I want to support a fellow gun owner, fellow former Army officer, and by all accounts a great guy, he just did not handle the responsibility of gun carrying well on that day.

At least not based on the reports I’ve read.

He should have carried his gun in a more concealable fashion. He should have left when Costco asked him too – after all they have property rights.  And he should have followed police instructions precisely.

Now maybe they shot him with his arms up. Maybe the police are lying. That does happen (a lot).  But maybe they aren’t. We don’t know yet.  But what we do know is this…  he should have just left when instructed. It never should have gotten to the point where a line of police were aiming guns at him.   He had that responsibility, to himself, to his family, to the police, the public, and to fellow CCW holders.

I’ve got plenty to be irritated at police about, but them being jumpy about a guy with a gun not following their instructions is low on that list. If he had behaved responsibly, it wouldn’t have escalated.

I carry every day, and nobody knows it as I walk around. I keep it that way. But if a property owner does notice, and they ask me to leave, I will.  That’s just the way it is. I have my rights, they have theirs. We honor and support both.


  1. If I obtain a permit to demonstrate against higher taxation in the street and someone comes up and asks me what my religious beliefs are, am I compelled to refrain from answering simply because I am there under a permit to demonstrate?

    How then, can you (and others who are uneducated in our rights here in the state of Nevada) claim that Erik had some sort of duty to keep his weapon concealed simply because he had a CCW? In this state he could have walked in with the weapon strapped to his forehead and been perfectly within his rights. Just because he went a step further and got a permit to allow him to carry concealed also doesn’t take away his state and second amendment right to open carry.

    Further, there is absolutely no evidence that he was asked to leave. Find the older man who heard the conversation the Costco employee had with Erik. It looks like the employee approached him and told him that firearms were not allowed in the store. Apparently he let them know he had a CCW and the fact that they had no signs posting such outside AND that he regularly shops at Costco in Texas and they allow it there. At that point it appears the Costco employee walked off without even asking him to leave (after helping him load his water bottles in the cart).

    If it were me I would have thought I had just educated another liberal in regards to our rights and since I wasn’t ASKED TO LEAVE I would have done just as he did, that being, quickly finished my shopping and left (probably not to return to the store again)

    Personally I would have probably asked to speak to the manager immediately which would have probably brought in the SWAT team for a formal inside the store execution.

    You are a contributor to the reason we have no few rights in this country. If real patriots would stand up and demand that we ALL be allowed to be openly armed (or concealed as in Arizona) AND demand retribution for all those who would strip us of those rights (including the police AND anyone who artificially escalates a situation to get faster police response) our country wouldn’t be in the stranglehold it is in today.

    And since when should a law abiding citizen be required to lay down on the ground without any dignity or at least a conversation to determine their intentions? What country are you living in?

  2. Ken, I came across this blog searching for recent Erik Scott news. The scathing post above was my reaction to your post on this subject. Afterwards I went back and read some of your other articles and I think we are in pretty close agreement.

    I left my response up only because I think others need to read it.

  3. The unarmed and un-manager Costco employee took reasonable action in not escalating the confrontation with a man openly carrying a gun. Some non-zero percentage of such people are “armed and dangerous” with no certain way for anyone to judge who isn’t dangerous. Emotions around carrying a gun can run away too often and ordinary people should avoid triggering them by challenging any gunslinger. Give them space and remember that it’s for the good of the free nation that ordinary citizens are to be regularly intimidated. We too can sink to the level that power belongs to the armed.

  4. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    #2… Tony.. I knew I’d get heat for not reflexively blaming police on this. But I’m glad you understand that we are really on the same team on this.

    In terms of police reaction about guns… if we didn’t have the war on drugs, maybe it would be different. But a lot of them die, or are wounded, and I don’t blame them for being jumpy. I wish it weren’t that way, but I can’t blame them. In this particular case, it does seem over bearing, but again, I felt Mr. Scott could have avoid this rather easily.

    As an aside, my family has a personal boycott against Pizza Hut because of their policy on concealed carry. As I do against other places that don’t let you carry, but also don’t offer protection or screening like an airport does.

    Regards – Ken N.

  5. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    #3… I don’t think I’m powerful because I’m armed. I’m safer and those around me are too. Thanks aren’t necessary.

  6. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Also… on open carry. I agree with it as a right, but not one I would pursue for tactical and practical reasons. Sort of like flag burning… a right I’ll not be using.

  7. The carrier may feel safer and harbor the illusion that everyone else around is safer. But the large majority of the people around are non-carriers and non-violent and uncomfortable with guns in the hands of just anyone. And the presence of just a few carriers can lead to an escalation of carrying – it’s a guy thing behind a Second Amendment veil.

  8. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    large majority… ? Wrong. Most American’s – almost 80% support and encourage concealed carry rights.

    You are really wrong on most topics. But on this you aren’t even in the ballpark.

  9. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Rereading # 7 it just smacks of pure lack of understanding about pretty much anything on this topic except a visceral distaste for firearms and men.

    The only “viral” thing that happens with more people carrying is that people that put other people at risk are less likely to do so. This is proven fact.

  10. It appears that you need to do more reading on this incident. Your judgment is predicated on several assumptions or conclusions that are contradicted or unsupported by the evidence. Check out the post on Pajamas Media, for example.

  11. Ken

    September 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I’m aware this is a fluid situation. And I’ve read two or three reports so far, with varying degrees of certainty about what happened. And I link to the Pajama Media report in my post.

    What I tried to do is cut through the emotion about gun rights and get to the practicalities of strolling about with something on your hip that can make other citizens and armed authorities nervous.

    Do I think he should have been shot by the police – no. Did the police handle this right – no. Did the victim handle it right – no. Do I think the police have ample reason for being jumpy about people with guns – yes. Do I think the war on drugs that has caused this jumpiness/militancy a correct endeavor – no. Do I think Costco should bug concealed carry holders – no. Do I think they have a right to – yes.

    Ultimately, I think there were simple practices that could have been used by the victim to avoid the ultimately lethal situation. This says nothing about him being a bad person, or that he “should have been shot”, or that the police were right to do so. Or that this isn’t terribly sad, or that the family shouldn’t be incensed with the police.

    My focus, instead, was on what should other concealed carriers take away from this. They are simple… properly conceal your weapon, do not be confrontational while carrying a weapon, and ALWAYS do exactly what the police tell you when you are carrying a weapon.

  12. What evidence do you have that the police acted inappropriately or were jumpy? I’ve been carrying for 22 years and never had an issue. How long has this guy been carrying and already he messes it up.

  13. Ken

    September 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    It is a lot of he said/ she said. Jumpy referred to in general, which makes sense considering the gun violence related to the drug trade.

    In this case, I don’t know if they reacted “wrong” other than an innocent man is dead, and that implies bad procedures at a minimum.

  14. Innocent? Of what? Refusing to follow the lawful orfers of a peace officer? It doesn’t sound like he was innocent. Were the cops supposed to know his background and family history and somehow take that into consideration as he refused to comply?

  15. Ken

    September 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Nah… none of that. Just that innocent of a serious crime that would normally warrant being shot.

  16. The last cop I informed I was carrying a concealed weapon said “Probably a good thing, you can back me up.” (note that I was the one who called him)

    In a situation like this every has blame: The cops, the victim and the store employees. The store employee, as I read it, overreacted. The cops got there found an armed man with a woman screaming at them about it and they overreacted. They should not have ordered him to drop a gun that wasn’t in his hand. Erik Scott should not have attempted to disarm, he just have just gotten on the ground and let the cops control the gun DESPITE their instructions.

    Someone may take most of the blame or be cleared when the tapes and witness accounts are all tallied. The cops were told he was on drugs according to some reports, which in my mind puts it squarely on the 911 dialer for over-escalating the situation.

    #7 CCWs make people safer. Read up on the trolly square shooting in Utah.
    The psychopath was cornered by an off-duty cop carrying a concealed weapon so he couldn’t kill anyone else. You know where there weren’t any CCWs by law? Virginia Tech, Columbine and Fort Hood.

    Predators and crazies prefer helpless prey. I will not be helpless an no innocent around me will be helpless.

  17. We can extend the CCW= safety to nuclear weapons among nations?

  18. No, actually, you can’t. Mutually Assured Destruction implies that everybody dies, that is not the case here.

  19. Ken

    September 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    #17… lame.

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