Don't bring a pellet gun to an actual gunfight

There’s an old saying about never bringing a knife to a gunfight, but it turns out that the same guidelines should apply to pellet guns. (Hat tip, Bob Owens at our sister site, Bearing Arms.) In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, things got dicey at a local pizza shop when two gunmen wearing hooded sweatshirts and face masks arrived to rob the establishment. Their plans ran into trouble when they pistol whipped the only customer in the joint but their weapons turned out to be plastic pellet guns. The customer was considerably more well armed. (Associated Press)

A pizza shop customer who shot and killed one robber and injured another as they tried to hold up the suburban Philadelphia restaurant will not face any charges, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Authorities also said the suspects in Tuesday night’s attempted robbery at Porfirio’s Pizza and Pasta, located in a shopping plaza in Levittown, about 25 miles northeast of Philadelphia, had pellet guns with the orange safety tip removed.

The customer took out a gun and shot both men after they allegedly pistol-whipped him, Middletown Police Chief Joe Bartorilla told reporters.

The customer (who has not been identified) had a recently expired concealed carry permit, but in a rare case of common sense in the judicial system they won’t be holding that technicality against him. This story does, however, give us yet another chance to revisit the question of laws banning toys and Airsoft style pellet guns which are not painted a particular color or without orange “safety tips” on them to indicate that they aren’t real firearms. Reading this report, the robbers in Pennsylvania had pellet guns which had precisely such orange markings but the criminals removed them.

When the government moves to pass any sort of regulatory burden on the free market it’s always worth asking whether the rules will actually produce a positive effect for the citizens or if it’s simply window dressing to make people feel better. These laws obviously fall into the latter category. If you are buying a toy or a pellet gun for legitimate use, no reasonable person would want to change their appearance. You don’t want your child waving around what appears to be a real firearm, particularly in today’s tense climate regarding rising crime rates in many areas and questions over police response tactics. Any plausible use for a pellet gun will not be impeded by having an orange tip on the barrel. The only two times when anyone would want to alter a toy or replica in that fashion would be for filmmaking (or other artistic purposes) or to commit a crime. And if you want to do that, removing the tip or repainting the entire thing with shoe polish is not difficult.

While we’re on the subject of good Samaritans, there was another story out of Florida this week which is worth a mention. A motorist came across an ongoing act of violence in the form of a man who had a sheriff’s deputy pinned down on the ground, beating him and attempting to take his weapon. The motorist jumped out of his vehicle and yelled for the attacker to back off. Things went south quickly for the criminal from there. (Washington Post)

When the man saw a patrol car parked on the exit ramp of a Florida interstate, he witnessed a scene too troubling to ignore: a sheriff deputy being slammed to the ground and beaten by a man in plain clothes.

The passerby, whom the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is now calling a “Good Samaritan,” rushed to the two men, telling the attacker he would shoot him if he refused to stop beating the deputy.

The attacker, later identified as 53-year-old Edward Strother, continued to pin down the deputy and attack him, and the deputy struggled to keep his weapon away from him. When the attacker failed to comply to his warning, the passerby shot him three times, killing him, the News-Press reported.

Two very different sets of circumstances here, but they share one thing in common. Both of these cases involved elements where authorities could have chosen to go after the Samaritan. But in each case they chose to praise the person who intervened in an ongoing crime, exercising their Second Amendment rights to defend not only themselves, but a neighbor in immediate danger of their lives. Such responses will no doubt bring cries of vigilantism from liberals, but these were simply individuals who were in the right place at the right time with the right tools to intercede in a violent crime situation.

We’re hearing a lot about Make America Safe Again lately. It’s worth remembering that the cops can’t do it all on their own.