ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Outside a tavern, two men got into a fistfight over a woman who was dating them both. Assistant Deputy Chief Patrick Hoey of the Rockford Police Department confirmed that one of the men, Blayne F. Leu (aka Higgins), 40, drew his concealed carry pistol and shot the other out in the parking lot outside Gene’s Place.
Police confirm that he both had a license to carry and a valid firearm purchaser’s card – both requirements to maintain a concealed carry firearm on one’s person in Illinois.
Initial reports had Leu fleeing the scene and was unidentified. He later turned himself into authorities. His pistol was taken as evidence (“criminal forfeiture”, see our article on Civil Forfeiture here) and he, himself, is being held pending a judge’s ruling.
The 28 year old victim of the gunshot was able to retreat to safety within the tavern where the woman, whom both had been dating, worked.
While details will likely continue to emerge, this is shaping up to be a perfect example of what not to do while carrying a concealed firearm. The county prosecutor will likely be determining the charges but this is one of the biggest reasons to stress guns and alcohol never mix.
Concealed Carrying Trumps Heartache
Being a concealed carrier means being responsible for your own safety and that of those around you. Physical altercations are a product of high emotions mixed with bad decisions. That’s why being in a bar – in the first place – puts the concealed carrier at a far greater risk. Situations that only brew in the underbelly of an alcohol den are known to bubble and rise to the surface. And when they do – swinging fists is a horrible idea. As a concealed carrier, you’re armed. The person you’re fighting may not be. More importantly, at fist swinging distance, a knife can be just as deadly.
And if you start losing that fight and shoot the other person, that’s just low. Having a gun doesn’t give you the right to be a bully. It means you have a responsibility to stay out of potentially meddlesome situations. It’s completely different if you’re minding your own business and someone comes swinging out of the blue.
Events surrounding this case in Rockford are still developing but if you’ve got time to be out in the parking lot, you’ve got time to leave. Having a concealed carry means you always have to be the responsible adult in any situation.
As a concealed carrier, how would you have de-escalated a hot situation without using your firearm? Tell us in the comments section below.