If It Happened to You

By Kellene Bishop

There was a tragic crime committed here in SLC last night. A man held a gun on a clerk at a gas station located as part of a major grocery store chain. The clerk was in the windowed area that you typically see in the gas stations nowadays. The gunman demanded cash which the clerk did not have. As a result the gunman demanded that he go into the main portion of the store and get him cash. (This guy clearly is not operating with a full deck.) After the clerk left (and called 9-1-1 from the main store) a woman pulled up to fill her car with gas. The gunman approached her and demanded her money which she informed him she did not have. The gunman then ordered her into her car to drive him to an ATM machine. She complied and after giving the gunman money he then ordered her to get back into the car and drive to a cul de sac where he sexually assaulted her.  He then required her to drive a few more blocks away and then got out of the car and instructed her to drive in the opposite direction.

There simply aren’t any words to describe how heinous and shocking this crime is, however, it causes me to write about it in hopes that women will read this and learn how they should handle a similar prospect.

A couple of ground rules here first of all –it’s very, very important that when you have a gun pulled on you like this, regardless of how many movies you’ve seen, you need to remind yourself that the gun is a tool of control in the hands of most criminals—not a murder weapon.  Don’t fixate on the gun. Next, there should never be a situation in which you fail to be aware of your surroundings. As you pull up to the gas station, always select the most lighted and well seen area—even if it means you have to wait in line to get your fuel. When you get out of the car, look around at your surroundings.  Never face the gas dispensing machine directly, always at an angle. And if it has a reflective cover on it, keep an eye out in that reflection for what may be happening behind you.

As you are filling your car with fuel, use the reflection of your windows to help assess your surroundings. Don’t allow yourself to be fixated on the numbers running on the dispenser, the gas nozzle etc. Be aware of what’s going on around you. You can use the reflection in the windows of your car to help you with that as well as constantly moving your head around to see.

Now, on to some actions that I hope each woman reading this will remember. If you are approached while filling your tank, understand that the gas nozzle is a weapon. Pull it while spraying fuel at your would-be assailant and RUN behind shelter immediately.  Even trained police officers miss 70% of their firearm shots, so even IF the perpetrator is intent on shooting you for non-compliance it’s very likely he will miss even when only 6 or 7 feet away from you.  Remember, no matter which end of the gun you are, there will be climatic emotions. Even well-seasoned criminals rarely practice shooting moving targets—and they certainly aren’t able to do so in a manner which will mimic the adrenaline high that they’ve got running through their body. This surge of emotion slows the physical responses as all of the blood is diverted from their brain to other parts of their body for fight or flight. So unless you’re dealing with an expertly trained marksman, moving quickly to shelter is a viable solution. Even better is if you’ve got the opportunity to move to their weak side of their body. (That would be the opposite side of their body which is hold the firearm.  If they are holding the firearm with both hands, then they are likely to have one foot more forward of another.  That foot forward will indicate which side is their non-dominant side.

O.K. So let’s say escaping at the gas pump isn’t possible for some reason or another—and let’s say that I’m your typical female who is not packing heat.  In which case I can guarantee you that I would have tried to throw my keys and my wallet far away from the perpetrator and then run as described previously.

Which reminds me, carrying a firearm may not be realistic for you. If that’s the case then you should always view your cell phone as a necessary “weapon”—meaning that when you get in or out of the car, it’s with you so that you will always be able to call for help after you’ve run.

Moving on… Now let’s look at a situation in which he’s in the car, gun pointed at you, and telling you to drive somewhere specific. Put your seatbelt on, drive towards where he’s telling you, and then step on it, Mama, and run into something, preferably targeting the passenger’s side of the front car. As you’re speeding up, he can’t shoot you because you’re driving. The moment you start to aggressively speed up that gun is going to move because he will have a natural physical reaction. It is VERY unlikely that he will have put his seatbelt on. Most criminals aren’t going to buckle in for a nice leisurely ride to the bank. They will be on the edge of their seat with a minimal amount of balance. If he’s in the seat directly behind you, this is still a viable strategy and once you have selected your ramming target, get your right hand on the seat belt and be prepared to release it and evacuate the car. Yes, you’ll be in some pain regardless of how great your airbags are, but I assure you that victorious pain heals a lot better than victimized pain.

Now, let’s look at another scenario, one in which you’re armed. To be honest, it’s very unlikely that this would have happened to me simply as a result of preventative measures. But also, if the guy comes at me from the back of my vehicle, I suspect he’d notice the Women of Caliber car sign that takes up my entire back window.  I’m positive this has been a deterrent in the past as I’ve traveled at all hours all across the nation.  But enough about me—let’s talk about you. If you are carrying your firearm, I’d still go for the gas pump spray and run first if there is enough distance between you. But if not, I’d pull my firearm with my weak side pointed towards him in order to ensure the element of surprise, and then fire. This action means that two fundamentals need to be in place; 1) that you have practiced shooting across your body like that, and 2) that you have the mental fortitude to pull your firearm when necessary. Just so you don’t feel defeated in reading this advice, keep in mind that this is ideal. Dog gone it, if you have to pull your firearm and shoot it in some other way that’s comfortable to you, then do it and don’t worry about the physical angle. It’s simply offered as a strategic suggestion and one in which I’m comfortable with after practicing it for years.

In spite of many women taking to carrying firearms nowadays– like never before in history—I  find that the majority of them still are not carrying them on their person for whatever reasons.  Instead they are in their purses. I have a firearm in my purse as well. As such,  I have literally practiced a specific response repeatedly in which I feign a frightened and frenzy response to a would-be criminal in an attempt to get my “money” out of my purse, only to be able to grab the trigger of my firearm, point the purse at him, and shoot through the purse towards the perpetrator. If you are unable to shoot through your purse (easier done with a revolver rather than a semi-auto, depending on the type of purse you carry) then you should definitely be practicing a quick-draw movement of your firearm from the purse.

As I traveled cross country over the last month and half, I drove through several states which would prefer women to remain easy targets and have minimal ways in which I could be licensed to carry a firearm, or they do not recognize my Utah Concealed Firearm permit. As such, every time I got out of the car to fuel up the car or to get food or whatever, I always had my Asp weapon on me, as well as my finger on the trigger of my long-distant red-dyed pepper spray. (The dye is much like what they put on money in the event of a bank robbery and it will “mark” the perpetrator for two weeks.) If the woman who was attacked had either of those on her, along with the mental fortitude and physical rehearsal needed to use those defenses, she would have had ample opportunity to strike effectively and run. I can’t imagine she would have had to get in the car with the criminal in the first place.  Either of these weapons can be used effectively with a minimal amount of physical strength and either one will still provide you with an element of surprise which successfully interrupts the synapse of the criminal’s mind.  Remember, he’s probably talked to himself in the mirror, planning his bad-boy bully actions. But I assure you he didn’t practice with an aware and strategic victim in mind. The moment you interrupt his synapse, you’ve got yourself a suitable distraction and you need to take advantage of it by getting away as quickly as possible.  (The throwing of the purse and keys accomplishes this as well in most scenarios.)

In case you weren’t aware, getting into the car with a criminal is one of the worst things you can do and it should be your number one priority to avoid. Use the panic button on your remote control. (Yes, this means stop leaving your keys in the car when you’re filling it up.) Lay on the horn, etc.

The most important key to escaping the same fate as the woman in this story is to mentally prepare yourself for it and the actions you intend to take.

For any questions or comments on this article, please leave a comment on the blog site so that everyone can benefit!


Copyright Protected 2011, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

Right-to-Carry Laws and the Thune-Vitter Amendment

Right to Carry vs. Gun Control photo c/o freerepublic.com

Right to Carry vs. Gun Control photo c/o freerepublic.com

From an excellent blog by Scott J. Bach, blogger for www.blog.nj.com on the Right-to-Carry, published July 21, 2009. 

In an era where vicious criminal predators prey upon the weak and vulnerable, the U.S. Supreme Court has surprisingly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens and cannot be held accountable when they fail to do so. This means that from the time you dial 911 until the police arrive, you’re on your own. Right-to-Carry helps level the playing field in the gravest extreme, and offers victims a fighting chance while they wait for help to arrive.

Approximately 40 states comprehend this simple truth and recognize the Right-to-Carry. Wherever Right-to-Carry laws have passed, there has been a corresponding and sustained drop in violent crime rates, for one simple reason: criminals go somewhere else when they think their victims may be armed. When the predators can’t tell the difference between the lions and the sheep, the whole flock is safer. Right-to-Carry thus benefits not only the law-abiding citizens who exercise their Constitutional rights, but also those around them who don’t.

Think about it: every mass killing in recent memory has had one thing in common: the victims were unarmed and unable to defend themselves against violent and brutal surprise attacks by predators. Right-to-Carry helps even out the odds, and criminals know it. A study for the Department of Justice found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed.

The Thune-Vitter Amendment expands Right-to-Carry and will enhance public safety, contrary to Governor Corzine’s ill-advised view. It recognizes that competent, responsible, law-abiding Americans still deserve our trust and confidence when they cross state lines.

New Jersey’s policies on gun rights are as backwards as its policies on taxes. It’s time for elected officials who swore to uphold the Constitution to stop trampling on our protected gun rights.

For the whole article from blog.nj.com, click here.

U.S. Senate Rejects Thune-Vitter Gun Proposal

Senators Reject Gun Proposal: July 22, 2009 from ABCNews.com

  • The U.S. Senate voted against a proposal to allow certain gun owners to bring concealed weapons across state lines.
  • The Senate’s 58 to 39 vote fell just short of the 60 votes needed to add the amendment to a defense policy bill.
  • The gun debate was not an issue that cut down party lines.
  • Many new Democrats from conservative states are supportive of gun rights, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who voted in favor of the amendment.
  • Author Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said, “The visitor must comply with the restrictions of the state they are in.”
  • For example in S. Dakota, he explained, concealed weapons are prohibited at schools or anywhere that sells alcohol.
  • “It is not, as some have suggested, a preemption of state laws,” Thune said.
  • Only two states not slated to be part of the plan: Illinois and Wisconsin, who do not issue any conceal and carry permits so wouldn’t have been affected.
  • The amendment also did not apply to the District of Columbia.
  • “Law-abiding South Dakotans should be able to exercise the right to bear arms in states with similar regulations on concealed firearms,” Thune said in a Monday statement. “My legislation enables citizens to protect themselves while respecting individual state firearms laws.”
  • Those backing the measure argued that it’s not the people holding permits that Americans need to worry about.
  • “Few criminals are going to go down to the county courthouse and file a permit,” said Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, who said he has a concealed carry permit himself.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agreed, saying those who take the time to go through the steps required of gun permit holders before carrying a concealed weapon are likely the ones who “understand the responsibility that goes with owning it.”

What is the Thune-Vitter Bill? February 5, 2009 kalb.com

  • U.S. Senators John Thune and David Vitter introduced the Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in February 2009
  • The bill would allow individuals the right to carry lawfully concealed firearms across state lines, while respecting laws of the host state
  • “This bill simply clarifies the rights of gun owners and affords citizens a right that they are already entitled to under U.S. law,” said Vitter.
  • “By elevating concealed handgun permits to the same status as driver’s licenses, we can ensure that an individual possessing a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon from his or her home state is afforded the same privilege in another state that already has concealed carry laws.”
  • The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act allows an individual to carry a concealed firearm across state lines if they have a valid permit or if, under the state of their residence, they’re entitled to do so.
  • Traveling individuals must follow the laws of the host state, including laws concerning areas where firearms may or may not be carried.

For a full copy of the Amendment, click here.

What are your thoughts on the rejected Amendment?

Yes, You Can Defend Yourself with a Firearm

By Kellene Bishop

As a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit Instructor, it’s no wonder that I am asked frequently “when is it exactly permissible to defend yourself with a firearm?”  Many believe that the circumstances of defending yourself are actually rare. Personally, I don’t believe that 2.5 million crimes being stopped every year with a firearm constitutes a “rare” circumstance, but I will address this issue as clearly as I can.  Bottom line is, under the correct circumstances, the answer is YES, you can defend yourself with a firearm, legally, lawfully, and morally. 

woman defending herself

I will attempt to answer this question bluntly in this article, however, keep in mind that state laws vary, so please check with your state.  I’ll do my best to speak in more universal terms as assured by the Constitution of the United States.

  1. You have the right to defend yourself if you feel your life is in jeopardy or you are under threat of serious bodily injury.  Based on my most recent research, this standard is applicable in every state in the U.S.  This does not mean that you have to wait until you’ve been punched, shot at, told that you’re going to be killed, or any other such aspect.  If you are in the midst of a threatening encounter in which either of these two qualifiers are present, you have the right to permanently stop your attacker.  The foundation is that you must feel an imminent danger upon your life or the threat of serious bodily injury.  If you’ve received a death threat, no, you cannot be proactive and put the antagonist out of his misery.  Defending yourself must be “reactive” in such an instance.  However, with the truth of the situation, law enforcement will typically see such as “self-defense”.
  2. The next issue is not cut and dry in all states in the U.S., although it is generally acceptable.  You are permitted to defend the life of someone else who is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.  That’s right.  If you come across someone who is being threatened at knife point, you are permitted to take action with your firearm to defend such a situation.  Although I would strongly advise you to be 100% certain of your environment prior to doing so
  3. I haven’t found a state yet that prohibits this (although there are plenty of shameful countries which do), but in the U.S. you are permitted to defend your habitation—plain and simple.  If someone forcibly or with deception enters your home uninvited, you have the right to encourage them to leave the premises immediately, even by permanently stopping them. 
  4. Lastly, the U.S. Constitution entitles Americans to defend their property.  While this does not mean that you can kill someone over something as temporary as piece of property, you are permitted in most states to attempt to stop a felony robbery from taking place.  (Even outside your home.)  With proper concealed permits, you are allowed to approach a felon in a fully armed state.  If your attempts to stop the felon were to escalate to the point in which your life or body was threatened, then you could legally use a firearm to stop such danger

In all such instances, defending yourself must be a reactive result, never a proactive one.  The only offensive actions you can take part in is to be competent and proficient with your firearm, have it handy, and have it ready to go in an emergency.  This is how you become truly prepared.  Unexpected events need not be tragic ones, if you’ve properly rehearsed your response. 

Ultimately, your right to protect yourself is inherent in the U.S. Constitution; however, it also behooves you to become very familiar with the laws in your area in order that you might fully be protected.

Note that the author of this article is NOT an attorney, nor does she play one on T.V.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Are You a “Gun Free Zone”?

By Kellene Bishop


While it’s one thing for it to be a federal offense for carrying a firearm into a “gun free zone”, it’s a completely different situation for you to impose such a state upon yourself.  There are dire consequences in doing so.  And yet the MAJORITY of the women that I speak with who have a concealed firearm permit do not carry a firearm on their person, or even in their purse.  As such they are sentencing themselves to the same exposure that a “gun free zone” does to citizens involved in public shootings.  While carrying a firearm indeed needs to be a confident proactive decision, too many avoid carrying their firearm on their person for reasons lacking in rationale and substance. 


military-baseLet’s ask this question.  If you were a criminal intent on shooting people, or robbing a place with a firearm, where would you NOT want to go?  What would be the most stupid place or area you could attempt to hold up?  Let’s see… The Pentagon.  A police station.  A military base.  A Texas rodeo.  A donut shop in New York (because that’s where a lot of police hang out – j/k) or a pawn shop in Utah—way too many guns there and people with guns.  Yup.  I haven’t heard of any criminals trying to hold up the Federal Reserve or Fort Knox in a hundred years.  I wonder why that is?  Oh yeah, there might actually be GUNS there and people who know how to use them.  Indeed, with the exception of a little tongue in cheek humor, these places would be the most risky for a criminal to infiltrate as a result of the harm that he would most assuredly face.  And since such criminals are cowards of prey, not predators, they would not be inclined to expose themselves to such a risk. 


Now, let’s ask this question.  If you were a criminal intent on killing people, where would you go to avoid the majority of risk with the most possible damage?  The post office?  A school?  A church gathering?  Blockbusters or McDonalds?  (Both opposed to their customers being armed with the ability to protect themselves).  And exactly why is that?  Because a criminal knows that there are no lawful firearms in these places.  Instead, while there may be concealed firearm permit holders, such holders are statistically very law abiding individuals.  So, no guns.  Just law abiding citizens.  As a result of this rationale, what have we seen parading on our televisions as of late?  Shootings taking place in “gun free zones.”  In fact, the whole nation watched the consequences of a U.S. ship which was barred from having any lawful guns on it.  (Thank goodness the captain and pirates were actually off of that ship when the pirates were shot, otherwise an explosion or something dangerous could have occurred—*sarcasm intended*)  Seriously.  Think for a moment of the multiple victim shootings in “gun free zones” you’ve been exposed to lately. 


virginia-tech-shootingRiverside, CA—Roman Catholic Retreat—no guns allowed.  2 killed, many wounded at the hands of one gunman

Oakland, CANo firearm permits issued without insurmountable exceptions.  4 police officers dead at the hands of one gunman.

Detroit, Michigan—Michigan College—gun free zone.  2 dead at the hands of one gunman.

Blacksburg, VA—Virginia Tech—gun free zone.  33 dead at the hands on one gunman.

Colorado Springs, CO—New Life Church—a gun free zone, with the exception of armed security officers who are screened members of the church, one of which stopped the killer with her own gun.  3 were killed that day by a man who was armed with 2 firearms and over a thousand rounds of ammunition.


As “STUPID” as criminals are, do you think that they are not aware of the fact that the likelihood of a WOMAN being armed and able to defend herself is less than 1%??  That’s right.  They instinctively see women as a perpetually open season “gun free zone.”  No wonder they see women as targets, as easily accessible as a church, school, or federal building.  Is that really acceptable to you?  And besides, in the name of fashion, for crying out loud…  Does a big fat neon bull’s-eye on your back compliment any of the fashionable accessories and clothing you adorn yourself with everyday?  Contrary to a popular movie title, “death” does not look good on anyone.


Now, here’s a compelling 3-minute video to make you think a little deeper about this issue.  



My point?  So-called “Gun Free Zones” don’t do much to protect anyone from criminals.  So why would you insist on imposing a “gun free zone” in the sanctity of your own home or in and around yourself?  How about doing more with that concealed firearm permit than just having it in your wallet?  How about getting the training and confidence that you need to actually start carrying a firearm on your person and being ready for any possibility in which you would need to defend yourself, your family, or members of your community?


Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.

You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.