Mall scenario

You are in a mall shopping by yourself you are on the 2nd floor and hear gun fire you look over the railing and see a shooter and innocent people failing to the ground. What do you do you run to nearest exit and call police or do you engage the shooter.

Shooter is on the 1st floor you are on the 2nd if you engage them it will take time for you to get there and the police are probably on there way you could be mistaken for a 2nd shooter by police

If you run to nearest exit more people are sure to be killed.
What do you do?


I don’t need yet another reason to avoid malls.


Going to be dependent on a persons skills. I think a lot of people would want to engage but most people have only shot on a flat range and at self defense ranges.

It would depend who’s with me. My families safety is always going to come first. If they can get out safely without me needing to escort them, I would consider engaging, but more then likely I’m getting out with my family and if others want to follow that’s great.

This is going to sound terrible but its just a cold hard truth. Everyone(with very few exceptions) has just as much right to take steps to defend themselves. Their plan or lack there of is not my concern. I am under no obligation to be a hero. Now if the gunman is between my or my families safety then it’s time to go to work and get out safe.


It may sound a little odd, but the first thing that popped into my head was to start throwing chairs, planters, merchandise down on them. It would distract them from causing harm, and the odds are against them hitting you.


Not odd at all. Definitely an option. When it comes to a situation anything goes


I have yet to see a mall without no gun signs sooooo… not saying I’m not carrying but…


That is actually a very good ideal


Only if my life and that of my wife and children I will engage. Moving target from assuming 100-200ft may not lend to a good shot. Not to mention what’s next to, in front of and/or beyond the intended target. As opposed to running toward the nearest external exit, I have instructed my family to run into the nearest store and out their back door. This leads to the less traveled service corridor and a better chance of a clean escape.

As for “no guns” signs, that simply means the shooter is less likely to get hit by return fire and more than likely decided to shoot for that reason.


What I would say about that mayor would be banned here but I wonder how he made it beyond sandbox in grade school.


I agree with @Sheepdog556

I am under no obligation to be a hero. Now if the gunman is between my or my families safety then it’s time to go to work and get out safe.

Lead to safe exit point, but most likely be drawn and ready in the event of encountering a 2nd shooter.


Past events of the type indicate the lone shooter will run or commit suicide once they are confronted. Depends on where you and your family are relative to the exits relative to the shooter, but your survival chances may be better if you engage the shooter and perevent him or her from targeting your family a minute later. So, this is one factor, and the other is target isolation. E.g. a person with a gun you see may be an off-duty cop reacting to the sound of gun fire. If you are not 100% sure who is doing what - don’t make the situation worse.


I exit without confronting the shooter. #1, a crowded mall with lots of hard surfaces makes collateral damage a very real possibility … ricochets, etc. #2, I’m not a deputized sheriff, out to protect others. NC CC laws very specifically limit the use of my firearm to self-defense of myself or family. If I have a way out … I take it. #3. Most malls are gun-free zones. I generally do not give GFZ’s my business in the first place.


@Sheepdog556, fantastic post. Everyone does have the same right of self-defense. The fact that they’re too disinterested in their own safety isn’t our problem. It’s the duty of LEO’s to protect John Q. Public, not myself.


There are a couple of ways to look at this. The Marine in me says that if I’m on the second floor and the shooter is on the first floor, I have a tactical advantage because it would be harder for him to find cover. The problem is all of the collateral damage with people panicking and running around the shooter.

With that said, I would take cover and keep my firearm accessible. With my non-firing hand I would call the police, give an accurate description of the shooter and his weapon(s), however I would also advise them of my location in the mall, and that I am also armed.


I see malls that allow firearms… though some may prefer no guns, they do not prohibit them.

The same with Walmart, … they asked for no open carry, but have not actually been enforcing it.

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If you see the shooter, you could shoot down on them… but, is that the shooter or an armed civilian defending their life?

How many shooters are there?

If you have a means of egress, take it. Get as clear a picture in your head of what you see, call 911, and report being a witness and what you saw.

Hearing shots and seeing someone shooting does not automatically mean they are the ‘active shooter’… (criminal).


If they are apparently shooting random people that are running away from them with either a long gun or handgun with a 50 round drum, they probably are not a CC civilian.

In that case I suspect I would take the shot if I could, but you never know what you might do until it happens to you. Also, the same person might react differently at different times.

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Both quotes are very true.

I think most people would want and believe they would the “that guy” to stop it. It is so much more complicated than that. There are countless variables that instantly change what we would do or how we would do it.

As many have already said, there are too many variables to give a definite answer.

  1. Are you alone or with your family? If you’re with your family, there should be no hesitation. Get them out immediately. Thanks to fire exits, there are likely many routes available to get yourself and your family to safety, while the shooter has to make his way all the way upstairs to where you were. Yes that’s unfortunate for others downstairs, but this is a matter of strangers vs. you and your loved ones.

  2. Are there multiple shooters? If so, are they cutting off exits, such as shooters coming up each of the stairwells, firing as they come upstairs toward you? If so, you may have little choice but to engage at least one of them.

  3. Is the shooter wearing body armor? If so, shooting them with a small CC weapon like a .38 or 9mm could be useless and end up getting you killed.

  4. Are there armed guards in the mall? If they hear gunshots and run out to see you shooting down on someone, this makes you the bad guy in their eyes. With your attention on the real bad guy, you may never even see the guard who puts one in the back of your head, thinking he’s stopping the killer. Is it really worth your life when you could have gotten out safely?
    For the same reason, I’m not going to have my gun drawn while trying to get myself or my family out to safety. A guard or someone else carrying may very well see the gun and shoot first and ask questions later.

I know it’s preaching to the choir here, but many of these questions could be pre-answered with situational awareness. Observe where all the stairwells and exits are. Notice whether there are guards and if they are armed. Those two things give you an advantage over everyone else in the building, whether you end up needing to flee or fight.


I have doubts this is so, and would like to hear if other folks agree. Short of Mumbai-style attack by multiple militants, any armed opposition may have tremendous psychological effect on the criminal, causing him or her to lose momentum, even if not effectively hit.

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