After getting caught up in an armed standoff with an intruder in a vacant property, a father-son real estate duo has reignited a longstanding conversation about agents and guns.
Phil Morrical III, 62, and his son Kyle Morrical of Morrical Realty were managing a rental property in Hamilton, Ohio, that had stood vacant for several months. After learning of a break-in, they went in and found various drug paraphernelia, knives and abandoned propane tanks inside the house. They came back to clean up and secure the property but, upon opening the garage door, found a man, whom the police later identified as Derek Miller, inside.
“We told him we were going to call the police and he got so agitated that he pointed toward his pants and indicated that he had a knife and a gun,” Morrical III, who is an army veteran and a former fire inspector, told Inman. “He implied that if we didn’t give him what he wanted he was going to use it on us.”
Both Morricals had concealed carry permits which, in states like Ohio, allow residents to walk around with a hidden gun so long as they have a license. Given the situation, Kyle pulled out his gun and pointed it at the man while his father tackled Miller and held him down. Meanwhile, a neighbor who had seen the situation unfold called the police.
“It was a very scary, very tense situation,” Morrical III told Inman, adding that it took about 10 minutes for the police to show up. “I just wanted to do what’s best to minimize the violence as best as we could.”
After arriving, police charged Miller with assault, menacing and trespassing. Morrical III said that they were both glad to have had the weapons and to not have had to use them.
“The last thing you want to do is cause harm or take another life but there are extreme circumstances in which you need to protect your own life and property,” he said. Both father and son regularly go to a shooting range for practice and believe agents, particularly those who work with vacant or abandoned properties, could benefit from being armed on the job.
Guns among real estate professionals has been a contentious topic in the industry — a quarter of male Realtors in 2017 said they carried a gun for protection while on the job. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) told Inman they do not have an official stance on Realtors carrying weapons but encouraged those who do to familiarize themselves with local laws, which vary widely from state to state.
“NAR recommends that before agents arm themselves with any self-defense weapon, including firearms, sprays or tasers, that they know their local and state laws and brokerage’s policies to ensure they are conforming to all applicable rules and regulations,” a spokesperson told Inman in an email. “Also, homeowners always have the right to prohibit agents from carrying guns onto their property.”
Morrical III, meanwhile, said that anyone “who is not 110 percent comfortable carrying a weapon that they should not be carrying one.” Other safety options could include not going inside vacant properties by yourself, meeting potential homebuyers at an office before going inside a home, being trained in basic self-defense and having an emergency alarm set up on one’s phone.