Be it the military, police or civilian sector, one recurring concept offered up by those uninitiated in defensive firearms usage frequently causes eyes to roll- why don’t people shoot to wound, like in the movies?
Such was the case during Thursday night’s ABC News Town Hall, when former Vice President Joe Biden said that police officers should shoot people in the leg instead of aiming center mass.
“We can do this,” Biden said. “You can ban choke calls, you can budget, but beyond that, you have to teach people how to de-escalate circumstances, de-escalate. So instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do shoot to kill, you shoot him in the leg.”
This however, is not only a terrible idea, it greatly increases the safety risks to officers and innocent bystanders.
So why is this idea frequently touted by individuals as a solution to the issue of officer and citizen-related defensive shootings?
Three things: Hollywood, static ranges and a lack of understanding when it comes to human anatomy.
Human beings have a circulatory system of veins and arteries in their arms and legs, providing such a serious threat to bleeding out if struck that tourniquets have been “standard issue” and/or sound advice for both police and concealed carriers.
“Shooting to wound,” as the more ignorant among us would suggest, might actually lead to more fatalities.
The idea of aiming for an extremity also requires the target to be static and/or stationary to be considered a reasonable action, as threats are usually moving. This creates a higher probability that the shooter will miss, thus potentially causing harm to bystanders or failing to stop the threat.
An individual who goes to the range to shoot at a static target might not understand this, as opposed to one that trains to stop a mobile, active and hostile threat.
Lastly, officers and concealed carriers do not “shoot to wound” or even “shoot to kill.” They “shoot to stop” the threat, which is a serious enough threat to life and limb that it made the deployment and use of deadly force necessary. This part is extremely important, as in most jurisdictions, it is part of what defines and justifies “deadly force.”
These are, among other reasons, why “warning shots” and “wounding shots” are not only heavily discouraged in the United States, they are usually illegal.
However, this has yet to stop former Vice President Biden, who not only once suggested that people “fire two blasts” into the air to scare off threats, but to shoot for extremities.
Interestingly enough, Biden blasted the concept of shooting to wound a decade ago during discussion over a 2010 “shoot to wound” bill in New York. According to the New York Post, he dubbed it the “John Wayne Bill,” as it would require the kind of shooting one only sees in Hollywood westerns and action films.
It is unknown why Biden has changed course on the matter, though one thing is for certain: no one at the town hall event asked him about more personal matters, such as his son, Hunter Biden, being involved with potentially illegal Ukrainian dealings.
Then again, it’s probably best to avoid taking any legal advice from Joe Biden.
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