The worst has happened. For whatever reason, you’ve been forced to fire your gun in self-defense and now you’re waiting for the police to arrive. Your hands are shaking from the adrenaline coursing through your blood system. Your spouse looks at you with concern, which stands to reason because you’re wide-eyed and trembling like a Hollywood producer at a sexual harassment press conference.
The police arrive and start talking to you. You know the law. You live in a Stand Your Ground State and you had no choice. You tell the officer what happened.
Before you know it, you find yourself thrown up against a car and your arms are torqued behind your back. Another office starts reading you your Miranda Rights and all you can think is, “What’s going on? There are laws to protect me!”
There are, but Miguel at Gun Free Zone said it well a couple of days ago:
This is a quick one. I want people who understand that even if there is a law saying you are doing something legal, specially with guns, it does not mean you will not be arrested or sued in civil court. Ask any lawyer worth his/her salt.
Now, will you be convicted of something horrible? Probably not. Not if you’re in the right. As you said, there are laws to protect you.
However, what those laws do is protect you from being convicted or having to fork out a settlement to the would be attacker’s family. It doesn’t prevent the process from taking place.
An anti-gun community in a pro-gun state may well have a police chief and a portion of officers who believe you had no business carrying a gun, or that you must have been looking for trouble by being armed in that part of town at night, or whatever. They arrest you, regardless. The DA is an elected official, and he’s anti-gun too, so he’s just chomping at the bit to take down a horrible vigilante.
The judge looks at the case months later and throws it out. “The law clearly states that the defendant had no duty to retreat, and the prosecution has no evidence that he is in any way responsible for what happened. Case dismissed!”
That is blessed news, but let me tell you that any legal proceeding is expensive as hell. You’re going to pay out a lot of money. It’s either that or risk a public defender.
Yeah…I’ve known some public defenders and even counted one or two as friends, but public defenders have a reputation as an option of last resort for a reason.
And as for lawsuits, well…those are expensive as hell too, and they can be filed by anyone for pretty much any reason. Think about all the gun companies that get sued after a shooting despite a law explicitly against it. Do you really think that Carl Criminal’s family won’t file a lawsuit in a heartbeat?
While many states have laws that are designed to protect you, it may still take time to get to that point. Tens of thousands of dollars can be dropped before you ever see the inside of a courtroom.
So what do you do?
Well, I’m not a lawyer, I have never played one on TV, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but here are some simple thoughts.
After you call the police, call an attorney. While the attorney will expect to be compensated for their time, it’ll still be a lot less than if you have to pay him to get you out of jail or deal with criminal charges.
If the police arrive before the attorney, politely explain that you’re waiting for your attorney to arrive and will be happy to answer their questions when he gets there.
Yes, it’s easy to say, “If you did nothing wrong, why wait to talk to the police?”
However, after an event like that, it’s possible you won’t be thinking clearly. If you say the wrong thing it can cause even the most pro-gun officer to believe this might not be a case of self-defense. By speaking with an attorney first, he can help you get your story straight by asking the questions to make you think through what happened.
An attorney can also stop any unnecessary prying by any anti-gun law enforcement officers.
Get Concealed Carry Insurance
The National Rifle Association offers their Carry Guard insurance. The United States Concealed Carry Association has a similar insurance program. Both of these are designed to help you cover your legal fees in the event you’re forced to use your firearm in self-defense.
As noted previously, it’s expensive to deal with legal issues. Any legal issues. I can only imagine how bad they can be for a self-defense shooting.
Now, I’ve looked at these and my knee-jerk reaction is to say that even the low-end plans are expensive for something that, statistically, will never happen.
Then again, statistically you’re unlikely to ever have a fire in your home. You’re still insured for that, right?
I’m not going to make a recommendation as to which you should get, mostly because I’m still deciding myself. What I will say is that this is a solid idea to mitigate potential problems.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m also not a lawyer. I’m a guy who writes stuff on the internet, for crying out loud. However these are just two common sense things you can do to protect yourself. Do them.
What else should people do? Let us know in the comments below.