The following article features contributions from two perspectives: the cases for and against carrying restraints as part of your EDC. I wrote the case for carrying restraints from the perspective of someone who was a sworn LEO in a previous life, has been trained in how to use them properly, and has hundreds (maybe thousands, who knows) of reps with them in real life, on the streets. One of our long time customers and a former District Attorney (read: Prosecutor), Gunnar Anderson, took the opposing view point and wrote the case against carrying restraints as part of your EDC. The following article is NOT legal advice, and isn't even necessarily indicative of our personal feelings. Instead, the article is designed to help you think about the various considerations that you may want to consider before carrying restraints as part of your EDC.
We hope you find it helpful, but if you don't, well, God gave us the "close window" button for a reason.
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THE CASE AGAINST CARRYING RESTRAINTS
By Gunnar Anderson
Unless your employer issues you a badge and a gun, and you have statutory arrest powers (not to be confused with citizen’s arrest powers), carrying restraints as part of your EDC is a bad idea.
Before we get into why carrying restraints as part of your EDC is ill-advised, we should examine the purpose of EDC - utility. EDC is about more than carrying a firearm. EDC is about carrying those tools you may need during the course of a day. Disregarding his aversion to guns, MacGyver was a childhood hero and inspiration of EDC - a Swiss Army knife and duct tape. He could solve almost any problem with those two items. As I got older, I replaced my Swiss Army knife with a Gerber multi tool. I used these items every day as I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. These were the EDC items of my youth because I recognized their usefulness. I didn’t carry them because they looked cool.
Turning our attention back to the question of EDC restraints, ask yourself why you would carry them. Stated differently, under what circumstance do you see yourself needing to take another person into custody? Focus on the word “need.” There are situations where you need to use deadly force, but are there situations where you truly need to put someone in handcuffs? Why can’t you leave? Why can’t you wait for the police? If the person tries to run from you, is there really an imminent threat to your safety? (And for the love of all that is holy, do not shoot someone running away from you.) I have a strong sense of justice and want people to be held accountable, but there is no NEED to take someone into custody.
Now let’s examine the downsides of carrying restraints as part of your EDC. If you ever have to use your firearm in self defense, how is it going to look to the police who investigate, the prosecutor who reviews the case for charges, or the jury who decides your guilt? And make no mistake, if you ever have to use your firearm, the police WILL become involved.
Look no further than the Kyle Rittenhouse trial to see how your actions can be held against you. The Rittenhouse prosecutor tried to use the fact that Kyle was a minor out past curfew, was carrying an “assault rifle” that can only be purchased by someone who is 21 or older, and days earlier had made an offhand comment about what he would do to protestors if he had his AR with him. The jury reached the right verdict, but Rittenhouse did not do himself any favors by being out there. Think of all of the trouble he could have avoided by making better choices.
Similarly, a prosecutor is going to make something out of the fact that you are carrying handcuffs or some other form of restraints. You start to look like “that guy.” That guy is looking for an excuse to shoot someone and not someone who truly and reasonably feared for his life. That guy looks like someone preparing to kidnap or falsely imprison someone, a cop-wannabe, or someone who needs to register as a sex offender. That guy is the EDC equivalent of the coworker who microwaves fish in the break room. Don’t be that guy.
As someone who has prosecuted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and other violent felony cases, I know how I would view a case where the suspect was also carrying handcuffs. I would analyze all of the circumstances of the case, but there are zero situations where this would be a good fact for the suspect. And this is from someone who fully believes in the right to self defense and the Second Amendment - beliefs not shared by all prosecutors.
If you are not a peace officer, leave the handcuffs in your bedroom. It’s one less thing to carry, and it is a choice that will potentially keep you from losing your liberty. Make good choices.
Gunnar Anderson is a former EMT, rescue diver, and prosecutor who now trains and advises both law enforcement and emergency management.
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THE CASE FOR CARRYING RESTRAINTS
By Justin Li
To be clear, this article is NOT advocating that everyone carry restraints as part of your EDC. It is merely designed to elicit a discussion and thinking about whether or not they are a good fit for EDC in general. They may or may not be a good fit for you.
I'm going to go for the Bottom Line Upfront approach and make this article as short as possible. We're all busy.
USED ONLY AFTER A USE OF FORCE INCIDENT
The idea of restraints in EDC should be thought of in a way that is TOTALLY different from the conventional understanding of restraints which is based almost entirely on the use of handcuffs by police to take someone into custody. For a normal citizen who is not a sworn law enforcement officer, restraints should only even be considered after a private citizen has had to use force in self-defense.
At the police academy, we were trained to use all of our weapons, including our firearms, to "stop the threat." While not identical, that standard is similar to the one that a regular citizen will use if forced to defend themselves using a weapon carried under the authority of a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) or Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW): was the citizen in fear for their lives?
Let's take a scenario where a private citizen has had to draw their firearm at a convenience store to defend themselves against an armed assailant who stormed into the establishment with a clear intent to harm and malice. We've all seen this exact scenario play out hundreds of times on news and social media via surveillance camera footage. We know this happens. This is not fiction. This is a page from today's actual headlines.
Back to our scenario...the private citizen has had to draw their weapon and fire it at an armed assailant at a convenience store. The suspect is wounded by the shots fired by the private citizen. Other citizens are present at the convenience store, but the private citizen has used the minimum amount of force necessary to stop the threat, at least for the time being. However, the suspect is only wounded, is still armed and is still moving. At this point, the private citizen has the following two realistic options:
1. Run, flee the scene for safety.
2. Stay and hold the suspect at gun point until the police arrive
While running from the scene might get the private citizen to safety, is it really a good idea? After all, a crime was just committed and that private citizen had to use force to defend themselves against certain bodily harm while likely also preventing the loss of life for other bystanders. If the private citizen who used force in self-defense is the only person armed at the scene, and then flees, they leave the wounded suspect at the scene of the original crime with the ability to potentially still hurt other innocent people because they are merely wounded. This goes double if you are only carrying a Taser. In this scenario, it could be argued that the use of restraints on the wounded suspect to secure the scene until the police arrive is better than using more force, no matter what form it takes.
The taking of human life, no matter how legally justified, and no matter how evil the bad guy, is never a good thing. We should all strive to be prepared, taking responsibility for our own safety, but doing so in a way that minimizes the probability of ever having to take another human life.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on the inclusion of restraints in EDC load outs for responsible armed citizens? Let us know in the comments below!