Your cart is currently empty.

Bias in Blue: How Law Enforcement's View on Gun Owners Can End in Disaster

The tragic shooting of Senior Airman Roger Fortson by an Okaloosa County sheriff's deputy highlights a critical and often overlooked tension between the exercise of Second Amendment rights and the perceived threat of gun ownership by law enforcement. This incident and article serve to caution legal gun owners of the potential risks faced when confronted by police.

The Second Amendment and Law Enforcement

While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, the real-world implications of exercising this right can lead to unpredictable and sometimes deadly encounters with law enforcement. The case of Airman Fortson, who was legally armed at the time of the shooting and had broken no laws, augments the existing evidence that law enforcement's response to legal gun owners is often fatally misjudged.

Implicit Biases and Stereotypes

Despite the “good guy with a gun” mantra of second amendment proponents, there remains deeply rooted implicit biases and stereotypes that paint anyone with a gun as a threat. When applied to law enforcement, such biases often affect officers' perceptions and decisions in these scenarios. As with Senior Airman

Fortson and thousands of other gun owners, this has led and will continue to lead to catastrophic outcomes.

Lack of Standardized Training

A critical aspect of this issue is the lack of standardized training for law enforcement in safely interacting with legal gun owners. Standard protocols are often insufficient to guide officers in identifying and assessing the threat level of an armed individual accurately. This gap in training places gun owners in the defensive crosshairs of officers.

This recent situation renews calls for a dual approach in addressing the safety of both gun owners and law enforcement:

  1. Increased Awareness for Gun Owners: Gun owners must be aware of the inherent risks involved in encounters with law enforcement. Education on how to safely interact with police officers when armed is essential. This includes clear communication and compliance with law enforcement directives during encounters.
  2. Law Enforcement Training: There is an urgent need for law enforcement agencies to implement comprehensive training programs that focus on de-escalation techniques and the recognition that an individual seen with an unraised firearm is not likely to be a threat; especially in situations where officers have little evidence that a crime has been or is being committed. Training should also emphasize the presence of implicit biases towards those who own firearms. This must be critically rationalized regularly by officers as a means of more accurately assessing perceived threats.
  3. Policy Implementation: Law enforcement agencies must establish unequivocal policies safeguarding both officers and legal gun owners. These policies should delineate precise protocols for handling interactions with armed citizens, reducing the risk of lawful gun owners being fatally shot by police. Implementing policies mandating officers to unmistakably identify themselves, including their agency and name, and prohibiting the use of lethal force unless a clear threat has been reasonably established can create space for both officers and gun owners to deescalate tensions through open communication of intentions.

In conclusion, while it is often said that "a criminal’s worst nightmare is a good guy with a gun," this narrative fails to address the complex reality that law enforcement may also perceive the "good guy" as a potential threat. The fatal shooting of Senior Airman Roger Fortson should serve as a catalyst for a broad and serious discussion that explores implementing effective solutions designed to preserve the right to bear arms while ensuring the safety of both law enforcement officers and gun owners.

Share this post:

Older Post Newer Post


Tony / Jun 11, 2024 at 18:06

Y can’t we pay monthly

Christopher Cerullo / May 28, 2024 at 10:39

As a Trained & Experienced (USMC) Military Police Officer, Military Escort (Chaser), Peace Officer & N.Y. Nassau County Corrections & (Retried) Florida Corrections Officer. There must be sufficient & proper “Training” in U.S. Constitutional Laws & Individual Rights, in dealing with the 2nd Amendment Rights of Tax-Paying Citizens.

Leave a comment

Translation missing: