You’ve just gone through the most intense and frightening experience of your life. You are exhausted from the adrenaline rush that just faded away. Your body aches from the fight. Your ears are ringing from the gun shots and your heart is pounding. The police show up and you want to tell them all about the incredibly terrible thing that just happened to you.
While it is natural in the aftermath of a traumatic experience and confronted by the authorities to figuratively spill your guts, this can get you in a lot of trouble. Many of us make no plans or preparations for after a defensive shooting. We figure that it will be relatively unlikely we will have to shoot someone and if we do, we’d “rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.”
I’d like you to consider what could go wrong. Maybe you shot at the wrong moment or at the wrong person. Maybe your defensive display of handgun gets called in to 911 as a brandishing and the bag guy’s friends back up his story. What you say is just another piece of the puzzle; not necessarily the gospel truth of what really happened.
When police are involved in a shooting, they are asked two things right away: how many shots did you fire and in what direction? After that, they are provided with a lawyer and union representative. Their department reads the officer their Miranda rights and orders them to speak or be fired, thus rendering anything they say inadmissible in court.
You don’t get those courtesies. In my time in law enforcement, I’ve seen far too many people open their mouths and talk themselves in to trouble. A lot of them were willing to admit they were wrong and face the music, but in a gray area where your very life could be at stake, you do not want to take chances.
These two men over-reacted and one seriously should have shut his mouth. You do not have to speak with the police, but many people want to tell their side of the story. Too many people think they can talk their way out of trouble and instead talk themselves into a pair of handcuffs.
Now, if you did do wrong, why wouldn’t you find someone to help you to ensure the best possible outcome? In the road-rage story from Las Vegas linked just above, an attorney would have been invaluable during the interrogation. Remember, the police will ask you questions and elicit responses from you to establish guilt if they suspect you did something wrong.
If you screwed up and shot someone when you shouldn’t have, but they were still a threat to you, what you say to the police can make a second degree murder charge when in fact it was only involuntary manslaughter.
What if they lie about you? One resident of Las Vegas was accused of pistol whipping a friend during an argument. Despite discrepancies in the victim’s story and the apparent motivation for the attack to be to establish grounds for a “U-visa” (crime victim), the district attorney’s office brought the case forward. The prosecutor was none other than now-Senator Nicole Cannizzaro. The defendant I interviewed accused her of pushing forward the case out of political motivation due to her running for the senate that year.
That Las Vegas man spent $70,000 of his savings to pay for attorneys and put his house up for bail collateral after defensively displaying his gun. Though he was acquitted after 20 minutes of deliberation, he is still out that money and has to deal with the damage to his life that the accusation caused.
Whether that is the case or not, the time is now here that a purely political prosecution is probable. Do you want to be the next George Zimmerman or one of the horror stories in a Massad Ayoob concealed carry book? Of course not.
Can you afford an attorney on your own? The above case of assault with a deadly weapon cost $70,000 and required a top-notch attorney. Do you trust a public defender to get you off? This is why you need concealed carry protection. The US Concealed Carry Association provides legal assistance to keep your money in your wallet for as little as $22 a month.
Even if all you ever use from them is the magazine (which is top notch) and the training materials, you have the piece of mind of having $100,000 up to $250,000 for legal defense and $500,000 to $2 million for civil defense. If you are involved in a shooting, you don’t have to scramble to try to find an attorney.
All you have to do is pull your membership card out of your wallet and call the 24/7 hotline for a specialist defense attorney come to your aid. Even if everything is 100% above board with your self-defense incident, an attorney can bring you piece of mind and comfort while the police interview you. Join the USCCA today and get the piece of mind that comes with knowing there is always someone who will have your back. Keep your savings for you and your family; let your membership foot the bill.
Just like you hope to never use your gun, but if you do, make sure you have someone on call to represent you and the funds to defend yourself.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West