Think carrying a legally permitted gun keeps you safe?
Not in the least. In fact, just having it can get you killed.
Philando Castile was an innocent man who was shot dead in his own car by a policeman after Castile was forthright during a traffic stop about having a permitted firearm with him.
Textbook traffic stop
The recently-released police dashcam video of Philando Castile getting pulled over last July in a Minnesota suburb could have been used as a training video for the proper way to act when getting pulled over by police: Pull over in a safe place as soon as possible after the patrol car’s lights go on, open your window enough to talk, keep your hands where the policeman can see them, be polite and inform the officer right away if you have a firearm with you. Castile did all of these things and still got killed.
The policeman asked Mr. Castile for his driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile told the officer right away that he had a permitted firearm with him. Then Castile did as the officer asked and reached for his drivers license.
That was all it took. The officer, fearful that Castile was reaching for his gun, shot Castile at least seven times, according to the video. There is no evidence Castile was reaching for the weapon, and Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him, repeatedly told the officer Castile was not reaching for the weapon.
The policeman had told Castile he pulled him over because of a broken tail light.
What Castile didn’t know was that the officer who pulled him over thought Castile resembled a robbery suspect, and this apparently put the officer on edge.
Castile had all the necessary permits and papers to legally possess his gun, but that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was how the mere knowledge that Castile had a firearm with him made the policeman feel during this circumstance. The officer claimed it made him afraid enough to pull his service weapon and use it on Castile without hesitation.
That defense worked, by the way. On June 16, 2017, a jury acquitted the officer of all charges related to the killing of Castile, and the officer walked away a free man.
This is a good example of how merely having a permitted gun with you can get you killed, even while you are a model citizen and are obeying the law to a “T.”
So much for being “a good guy with a gun.”
This scenario could certainly occur in western Colorado as easily as it did in Minnesota. The western slope is full of people who mistakenly believe carrying a firearm will make them safe.
It won’t, and doesn’t. People who carry firearms are 4.5 times more likely to get shot and 4.2 times more likely to get killed than those who don’t, according to New Scientist magazine — and that statistic was from 2009. Millions more guns have flooded the country since then.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four year old daughter were in the car with Philando during the traffic stop. She live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, and assured officer that Castile had been reaching for his driver’s license: