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Shooting a Gorilla with Your CCW Handgun

The gorilla now has child and has been dragging him around the enclosure.

Imagine being a CCW holder being faced with this situation? Having to shoot a 400# gorilla with your pea-shooter handgun? Let me explain.

There was an incident at a US based zoo. At a outdoor gorilla exhibit, a 4 year old boy was able to climb around, over, through, under the barricades and fall 12 feet into the gorilla enclosure. Immediately a 400 pound male gorilla comes over because he’s as curious as you are reading this story.

Harambe At Cincinnati Zoo

Within a few minutes, the gorilla is dragging the boy around the enclosure. Officials say it took their, “Dangerous Animal Response Team” 10 minutes to get on site. Very quickly it was determined that the gorilla needed to be shot. So they shot it. With a rifle. According to Zoo spokespeople, tranquilizers were not a viable option since the 400# animal was agitated and that means dope takes even longer to set in.

Video showing the gorilla just as he made contact with the child in the moat

A couple of points I wish to make.

1. I’ve never heard of a Dangerous Animal Response Team. But it makes sense. You know every zoo in America has to have options on site to deal with deadly animal disasters. For example, imagine a pissed off rhino running down patrons while headed for the parking lot and freedom.

2. But even then it took 10 minutes for the DART folks to get on scene. 10 minutes is a long time. But also note 10 minutes is better than ANY SWAT team in the US. Better by a lot. And every SWAT officer reading this agrees.

3. I wonder what they shot the gorilla with? I wonder what Dangerous Animal Response Teams are typically equipped with? Or what weapons they might have on hand. The old saw about, “you can hunt anything in North America with a 270 Winchester” starts to wear thin when looking at the menagerie of your local zoo! If any of our readers can shed any light on the subject, I would be most grateful.

4. When the dangerous animal folks showed up and shot the gorilla, it is my understanding the four year old child was between it’s legs. Bullets do funny things in living creatures. Ask any hunter. Hell! Ask any Secret Service Agent that protected President Reagan on the day he was shot. That little 22 zipped all around the inside of his body.

Presser of Zoo explaining why they were justified in shooting the animal. Do you believe Thayne Maynard would be using the same logic if YOU shot the gorilla?

So the logical question for most people reading this blog, since we are primarily concerned with shooting and firearms is: Would you have shot the gorilla with your CCW gun? Some would say yes. Some would say no. And I can’t fault either group in their logic.

First we need to understand that you as the reader have already been told zoo officials shot the gorilla. Even if you don’t acknowledge it consciously, you already have an outcome bias. Let me put it in full context.

Little Johnny has just fallen in. Big gorilla is making his way over. What happens? Do zoo keepers suddenly come out of the woodwork and alarms start sounding? Or does nothing happen? And how long do you wait to see what happens?

Gorilla looking down and sees child? Do you shoot before it decides to get closer?
Gorilla looking down and sees child? Do you shoot before it decides to get closer?

Mind, you don’t know how this is going to end up. You don’t know that in 10 minutes the zoo will end up shooting the gorilla with a rifle. There has never been a training scenario, or class, or school, or lesson learned that will prepare the average civilian for the possibility of whipping out their wonder-9 and blasting away at everyone’s favorite silverback.

So…you decide to start shooting at the 400# animal with a 9mm handgun? At some range? What if you hit the child? What if you piss off the gorilla and in a rage he tears the child into pieces? What if you do everything right and the bullets don’t phase the animal? A failure to stop? What if you pull the trigger and out of horror and shock another CCW holder shoots you in the back of the head.

The gorilla now has child and has been dragging him around the enclosure.
The gorilla now has child and has been dragging him around the enclosure.

Don’t like that last possibility? Well, you don’t know that in 10 minutes the zoo will be doing the same thing. After the child has been injured mind you. So…it is YOU who has introduced gun-fire into an already chaotic and impossible situation. With wild animals. Getting justifiably shot is real possibility

If you shoot, I can pretty much assure the world will think you’re an asshole. You will be arrested. You will end up not only in arraignment the next day but a criminal trial for the next year. You’ll probably never be able to own, much less carry, a firearm ever again. People just like me will judge you and say you don’t represent “sensible” gun owners or that you were somehow wrong. And the cherry on top? Some of those civilians, probably even the child’s parents, will sue you civilly. You know, because…reasons.

But what about the alternative?

What if you stand there and do nothing?

What then?

I don’t know.

I shot the f@cking monkey.





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Update: We have word that the Gorilla was shot with a Winchester Model 70 chambered in 375 H&H. AKA 375 Holland & Holland.

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