Are you prepared and willing to use your gun on a person?

We were having a discussion today about mall shootings and what would happen if you were there. The question came up if you were in the mall when the shooting started and you had a weapon, what would you do? Do you think you would hesitate when faced with the possibility of having to take a person's life. We all would like to think of ourselves being akin to a Hollywood movie star and blaze away without emotion. However if you have never really placed much thought to this matter and prepared yourself mentally, could you do it without hesitation when needed. I am not talking about execution without cause. One needs to remember action is faster than reaction and hesitation, in the wrong situation, could prove fatal to you and others.

One of the cases we talked about was the Tacoma Washington mall shooting. This was November 20 2005 when 20 year old Dominick Maldonado entered the mall with a Norinko MAK-90 rifle and a pistol. He shot 6 people and one of them being Brandon McKown. Mckown was carrying a concealed handgun and drew down on Maldonado after he had started his shooting spree. In his own words he says that he told Dominick to drop the gun and Dominick spun and shot McKown multiple times.

McKown would not be in this position had he not been at work on Nov. 20. He managed a store inside the mall and was chatting with a friend when he heard gunshots.

"Bam, bam, bam, bam, high rate of fire, people wer diving for cover," he says.

That is when McKown pulled his pistol, the gun he has carried for 17 years, not imagining he might actually have to use it. That is, until he came face to face with Dominick Maldonado, who had a rifle.

"I said - 'Young man, I think you need to put your weapon down.' He apparently didn't appreciate that and he brought his gun around. I drew and right as I aimed at his head, he hit me in the spine," McKown says. "Each blow is throwing my arm back into the air and I'm just praying to God, something really un-Christian, just please let me kill this guy before he shoots somebody else."

As McKown was bleeding and believing he was going to die, police say Maldonado took hostages, keeping officers and paramedics outside for another hour and twenty minutes.

It appears that McKown had time to assess the situation and become aware that Maldonado was truly a threat. As the good person McKown seems to be, he gave Maldonado one more chance to stop his rampage. In my OPINION, McKown had every right to stop Maldonado without giving commands and waiting for him to turn around. Maldonado had already started shooting at people and was an immediate threat to McKown and the others in the mall. Lucky for him he survived.

Another shooting we spoke of was the Trolley Square shooting from February 12th 2007 in Salt Lake City Utah. This was where an 18 year old male walked into the mall and killed five and wounded four. An off duty police officer was in the mall and responded by pinning the shooter in an area until police arrived.

An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who killed five people before he was cut down.

A day after the shooting, investigators struggled to figure out why a trench-coated Sulejmen Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a supremely calm look on his face.

The teenager wanted to "to kill a large number of people" and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer, Police Chief Chris Burbank said.

Ken Hammond, an off-duty officer from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, jumped up from his seat at a restaurant after hearing gunfire and cornered the gunman, exchanging fire with him until other officers arrived, Burbank said.

"There is no question that his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people," the police chief said.

"I feel like I was there and did what I had to do," Hammond told reporters. After spotting the gunman, he told his pregnant wife to take cover in the restaurant and went to confront the suspect.

Police said it was not immediately clear who fired the shot that killed Talovic.

Talovic had a backpack full of ammunition, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, police said. Investigators knew little about Talovic, except than he lived in Salt Lake City with his mother and three younger sisters, police said.

Police say they have no motive for the rampage. Talovic had some minor juvenile incidents and dropped out of the Salt Lake City school system in November of 2004, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

"He was such a good boy. We don't know what happened," says Ajka Omerovic, Talovic's aunt.

Talovic drove to the Trolley Square shopping center — a century-old former trolley barn with winding hallways, brick floors and wrought-iron balconies, and immediately killed two people, followed by a third victim as he came through a door, Burbank said. Five other people were then shot in a gift shop, he said.

The victims were identified as Jeffrey Walker, 52, Vanessa Quinn, 29, Kirsten Hinkley, 15, Teresa Ellis, 29, and Brad Frantz, 24. Four people were hospitalized — a 44-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man in critical condition, and a 34-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy in serious condition.

The card store Cabin Fever had been packed with Valentine's Day shoppers Monday night when the shooting started, store owner David Dean said.

Dean said his assistant manager called him, saying "someone's in the store killing people." The place was "all shot up," Dean said. He said three or four of the victims were shot inside.

As investigators began interviewing the 100 to 200 witnesses, people placed candles and flowers at two memorials outside the mall for the victims. Business owners surveyed the damage, and shoppers who had fled returned to pick up cars they had to leave parked overnight.

Marie Smith, 23, a Bath & Body Works manager, said she had seen the gunman through the store window. She watched as he raised his gun and fired at a young woman approaching him from behind.

"His expression stayed totally calm. He didn't seem upset, or like he was on a rampage," said Smith, who crawled to an employee restroom to hide with others. He looked like "an average Joe," she said.

Outside the mall, candles and flowers were left as memorials to the victims, who were identified as Jeffrey Walker, 52, Vanessa Quinn, 29, Kirsten Hinkley, 15, Teresa Ellis, 29, and Brad Frantz, 24.

Hammond's boss, Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, said the state Senate wants to honor him.

"Thank goodness he was there," said Greiner, who is also a state senator. "You don't want to ever say it's good we were there and killed somebody, but it's probably good someone was there."

Accountant Jeff Barlow was on a date at a restaurant when he looked outside and saw the gunman firing from the hip.

"I thought it was some kind of joke — some kind of movie or stunt," Barlow said. "I didn't believe it was happening. And then I saw a man go down in a courtyard. I realized this was serious. These are real bullets flying around."

His date, Stephanie Bronson, added: "Just crazy. Absolutely terrifying."

What was not listed, but brought up, was that Officer Barlow was carrying a Kimber 1911. When the shooting was over he apparently only had one round left in his gun as he only had the rounds in the gun with no spare magazines. This lead to the discussion of what would be the proper number of magazines to carry with a concealed handgun. The difference between the two shootings is also that Officer Barlow ran and engaged the suspect where most people would more likely defend their ground.

The discussion just reminded me that if we choose to carry a weapon we might be placed in a situation that we may have to use it. With that comes an immense amount of responsibility and possible good and bad consequences. Being mentally prepared prior to that situation may be a life saving action. These shooters along with the Westroads Mall shooter were all young men or boys. When you role play in your mind the different situations that you could be involved in, do you also think that it might not be some large angry dirty smelly biker dude that you confront?

I realize this is a long post, but this has been on my mind most of the day. If my few random words help just one person think, then it was well worth the time.
This is always a difficult topic - no one will know how they will react without being confronted with a situation. In that given situation there are then a million factors that can determine whether or not you will even draw your weapon, let alone use it to kill.

If the question is are you willing to take a life, then I guess you should already have answered that one if you carry concealed.

As far as the two scenarios above, the off duty officer reacted the way he did - taking the fight to the shooter, because that is his job. That is what he is trained to do, and expected to do.
It is not the duty or responsibility of a CHL holder to do anything in that type of situation. I hope most would intervene if they could do so without endangering more lives, if the shooter was in the immediate vicinity and lives were threatened.
Going out of your way to track down a mall shooter in the above scenarios would be foolish. There's a very high risk of getting yourself killed by Law Enforcement if you go looking for the shooter in this type of situation, with weapon drawn.
They have no way of knowing that you're a CHL holder with good intentions. To them you're an armed person in an area where gunshots have been fired and people may already have been killed.
+1 to Joe.
If there is even a chance you can help save lives(in the situations listed above), then I am willing to take the chance of negative repercussions. As for the first man, in my head, I wouldn't even be wanting to draw down unless I already had the mindset that a shot was going to be fired. After innocent lives are already lost or injured and the gunman hasn't stopped to feel guilty (or whatever they would feel), I'd have a hard time thinking that me saying to stop would have any effect on him.
If you have made the choice to carry, then scenarios like this and many other hostile situations should have crossed your mind and accordingly a plan of action should exist. Nothing can prepare you for the actual encounter, however, the best alternative is training and alertness. Why carry, if I am only going to use it to escape a situation, and not help others? Remember Sheep-dogs!! yes, with this choice also comes consequences, thus proper planning before you get caught in an event like this may save your and others life.
Someone is randomly shooting people in a mall, I'm not going to threaten or try to reason with them.
That's just about THE definition of "in fear of my life", and I'd certainly want to nuetralise the threat.
I don't go to crowded places like the mall WITHOUT my carry piece.
Always wondered what the situation was with Brandon McKown at the mall shooting. I feel sorry that he placed himself in such an appalling scenario by confronting this mad man with words. Thanks for the enlightenment. Unfortunately there is obviously no other option when faced with someone armed and commiting mayhem. The otherday the Seattle police had to shoot a man in a German WW11 uniform brandashing a weapon. One person on the TV said why didn't they shoot him in a non-life threating area. Our exposure to the mass medias, TV, movies, has imprinted on some part of the population a fairy tale attitude toward destructive weapons. Shoot in a non leathal area, the scary part is this person can be on the jury that is trying you in a fatal confrontation. I hope I am never confronted with this problem, but you must face reality if you carry. You don't take that gun out unless you intend to use it. Spad
If someone is trying to kill me or innocent people around me, and I have the capacity to stop them as well no loved ones with me to try and get out of harms way, and with no clear presence of first responders, I would attempt to engage an active shooter, or shooters. I would shoot to kill, and without warning.

The only proper response to an active shooter is swift and extreme violence, in my opinion.

I feel a moral obligation to prevent the taking of innocent life and also have no issue with taking the life of someone who is actively trying to or succeeding at killing innocents - in my mind an active shooter forfeits any right to live via their actions, regardless of age, gender, race, creed, whatever. As such I am indeed prepared and willing to take such a person's life.

I too hope that I am never faced with such a situation.

Also ETA - As was said above there truly are a million different variables when it comes to such a situation and so one really never does know what they will do if/when the time comes - regardless of how mentally prepared you might be be. One angry kid with an SKS, and I'll give the Jack Bauer thing a shot, 5 angry terrorists Mumbai style and my carry piece is there to facilitate my ability to get out, you know what I mean

AND- torpedoman, those are wise words...
Last edited by a moderator:
Someone is randomly shooting people in a mall, I'm not going to threaten or try to reason with them.
That's just about THE definition of "in fear of my life", and I'd certainly want to neutralize the threat.
I don't go to crowded places like the mall WITHOUT my carry piece.
Me too, but I don't carry 24/7 so it's a numbers game, but t ALWAYS carry at the mall.

It's sad to say, but I'd probably let them take some shots at few people first before I sneak and shoot. No "hey buddy drop the gun" here. They'll see a flicker from the Crimson Trace and that's about it.
I agree with everyone else...if you're carrying a firearm you should be prepared to use it if and when the situation arises. Once you make the decision to carry you need to dedicate some time to mental training as to how you envision yourself reacting in a stressful situation.
I would also add that in a situation such as the mall, if a mad man has shot at or gunned down anyone I would definitely NOT try to talk him out of the situation. Once you announce yourself and show the threat that you are armed you have immediately leveled the playing field. If you make the decision to neutralize the threat then do so, don't give away your advantage by announcing it.
"I said - 'Young man, I think you need to put your weapon down.'...then went to draw his weapon!
Well that's mistake #1 and #2, bass-ackwards, first you draw and if anything is going to be said, you should be screaming get down down on the ground don't make me shoot you! This poor guy just set himself up to be shot by using poor procedure.

A small piece of free advice, start thinking about the term "shoot to stop" instead of shoot to kill.
An overzealous prosecutor (or personal injury attorney, on behalf of the shooter's family) could take that statement and fashion a noose out of it to show malice. I know it might sound crazy but it's an important distinction. You want to position yourself soundly on the defensive side of the transaction, in fear for your safety, not harboring lethal thoughts about the poor, departed shooter!

And yes, I'm ready to open up if someone is out there taking lives in a mall or anywhere else.

Joe Link

No problem.

Something I find sad and funny is that if anti's were reading this thread they'd be absolutely appalled, but you can bet they'd be the first to flock to you when there's a wolf around.
Man is that ever the truth.

I found out the hard way- once, not long ago someone I knew asked me to go provide security while their ne'er-do-well son went over to collect his belongings from some former roommates of his---- roommates that he'd stiffed for money he owed them--- and who'd made a lot of phone-threats of violence if the debt was not paid----

But months later, she was shocked- shocked I say, to discover that I carry all the time, even in her house! Horrors! It was a big deal and the beginning of the end of the acquaintanceship if you could call it that.

Last edited:


Cerberus Training Group - Skill Builder - Pistol/Rifle Combo
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA
Cerberus Training Group - Skill Builder - Pistol/Rifle Combo
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA
Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA


  • J&B Firearm Sales
    5.00 star(s)
    Good local shop
    Picked up a rifle yesterday from J&B. This was the second or third gun purchase over the last few years from them. I always enjoy stopping by...
  • H&K Gun Shop
    5.00 star(s)
    The only place I have found 9mm in stock
    I’ll admit I didn’t even know this place existed, as I don’t tend to go into Forest Grove often. But it’s a giant (looks bigger from the...
  • Revelation Arms
    4.00 star(s)
    Depends who answers the phone
    I was given the number to Roger Loock by Beaver Creek Armory, as I needed parts I had ordered from MCarbo installed on a Kel-Tec Sub2000. On my...
  • Coastal Farm & Ranch - Cornelius
    3.00 star(s)
    Lesson learned
    I’ll take some responsibility here, as I took the employee at their word instead of doing a thorough inspection. Short story is that I asked for a...
  • MK Tactical
    5.00 star(s)
    Good guys!
    I stop in here every once in a while to see what Michael has in the clearance section, and to ask questions when I have a project in mind...
Top Bottom