A customer with a concealed carry license shot and killed a man who appeared to be armed while trying to rob a Chicago store last weekend, says the Christian Science Monitor. Though the robber's weapon turned out to be a paint gun, charges do not appear likely against the citizen, said police, according to the Chicago Tribune. This news comes less than a month after a Michigan woman with a concealed carry license shot at shoplifters fleeing a Home Depot store in the Detroit area. Though no one was hurt and the suspected shoplifters were arrested several days later, the woman faced up to 90 days in jail. Two other shootings in which citizens stepped in to punish lawbreakers also occurred in September in Michigan.
Such acts of vigilantism, where bystanders use their guns to stop crimes in progress, raise the question: Are people justified in taking justice into their own hands when their personal lives are not threatened? Several states are considering lifting the requirement for gun owners to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. “It’s a slippery slope” when it comes to the question of whether citizens licensed to carry guns should intervene in dangerous situations, if at all, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, told the Associated Press. “You have situations like this,” he said, referring to the Chicago robbery, “and you have situations that end tragically. The department is not going to advocate for what people should or shouldn’t do.”