As a licensed firearm carrier, I have had to undergo significant and ongoing training, in both the safe operation of firearm and the legal and prudential implications of bearing arms as a civilian. One of the first things they teach you in training is that when you are pulled over or detained by a police officer, you have a duty to disclose to the officer that you are carrying a firearm that you are legally licensed to possess. The reasons for this are obvious — disclosing that you are in possession of a firearm protects the life of everyone involved.
Fast forward to the breathtaking course of events over the past week: On Monday, eyewitness cell phone video recorded a struggle between two Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers and Alton Sterling, a black man whom they were attempting to arrest on suspicion of threatening another citizen with a gun. Although not completely clear from the video footage, the officers appear to have the subject more or less incapacitated and on the ground, before one of the officers yells ‘gun!’, after which the other officer, who was sitting on the suspect’s body, pulled out his service weapon with his free hand and fired several shots into the subject’s chest, killing him instantly.
In the immediate aftermath of the event, many people — both casual observers and those in law enforcement — seemed to say that since the subject was not in legal possession of the firearm (as a parolee from a felony conviction) and was apparently resisting arrest, officers reasonably feared for their life and were justified in shooting him.