Like most people, I find stories about law-abiding gun owners who vanquish low-life criminals to be riveting. What red-blooded American doesn’t enjoy genuine stories of self-reliance and self-defense?

With America’s love for adventure and justice, it is not surprising that concealed carry classes almost always include an individual that wants to know only one thing: when can a citizen legally shoot a criminal?

Obviously, it is extremely wise for gun owners to know exactly what the law says in their respective states concerning the legal use of deadly force. Ignorance of the law is not a legal defense for any crime — just ask single-mom Shaneen Allen from Pennsylvania, a concealed-carry-permit holder who made the honest mistake of bringing her legally owned firearm to New Jersey. The local prosecutor appears determined to make this woman suffer.

People need to understand that in addition to what the law says, a prosecutor ultimately decides whether charges will be filed. If he files charges, the prosecutor plans to fight vigorously for a conviction — and not every case is about justice. Allen’s case is just one example.

When it comes to a defensive shooting case, prosecutors have the luxury of far more time and far less stress than citizens are afforded in deciding whether pulling the trigger is justified. Additionally, every action and decision leading up to the moment of the shooting will be dissected and second guessed.

For instance, what is the reputation of the person claiming self-defense? Is there any evidence that might indicate this person did anything that could have instigated the conflict? If there is, the next fight for that individual’s life will likely be in a courtroom. If he survives the trial, he may be financially ruined with many other personal problems and life-altering issues in front of him. If he loses, the individual will be fighting for his life among predators in prison.

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