There is a ton of information – lots of it right here on BoomerPreps.com – on how to prepare yourself for using a gun for self-defense. Tactics, weapons, training. But there is very little information on what you should do after you’ve been placed in the situation of having to shoot someone in defense of your life, or the life of someone else.
In many states, although the law says you have the right to use a gun to defend yourself, it seems as though the presumption is made that YOU are the criminal. My state of California is a prime example. It seems as though unless a TV crew was taping as an assailant bursts into your home with a sawed-off shotgun in one hand and a 30-round, full-auto AK-47 in the other, you are at risk of being prosecuted.
Clearly, unless you politely asked the misunderstood youth to exit your home through the newly broken window, return the TV set, and to get his paws off of your wife and teen-aged daughter, you’re nothing more than a blood-lusting, right-wing gun nut that needs to be locked away for the safety of society.
Nothing is more precious than our independence – our freedom. Being unprepared for the aftermath of a self-defense shooting can wreak untold devastation on your personal finances and personal liberty.
Considering NOW what you will do after a shooting may keep you from being arrested, or at least help your cause in the event you ARE arrested.
Here are some thoughts:
Call 911. Two reasons for this. You DON’T want the bad-guy to die. It just complicates things. Plus, if he does die, you’ve demonstrated you’re not some blood-lust nut. You tried to help.
Secure your weapon. After the bad guy is incapacitated, holster or otherwise secure your weapon. You don’t want the police to roll up and think you’re the bad guy. I’d add that you might also be at risk from a neighbor who heard the shooting, sees you with gun in your hand standing over a body, and comes out and shoots you!
DON’T render aid to assailant. This one is a great point. Remember, this guy was just trying to harm you. You have no idea if he’s ‘playing possum’, has a knife, etc. Don’t give up the advantage you gained by stopping his attack by getting within his striking range.
DON’T mess with the evidence. Don’t rearrange or touch anything if possible. Other than moving any weapons out of the reach of the bad guy, don’t change anything.
Shut your pie-hole. When the police arrive, give them your name, tell them you were in fear for your life, and stick to the basic facts. Then tell the officers you want an attorney or call a service such as SecondCall Defense before you say anything else. This makes me sick – that you have to worry about going to prison for defending yourself – but it’s how it is.
When you shoot somebody, unless you have ice water in your veins, you will be going through various stress reactions. Some of you may be in shock, others will be distraught that they just took a life, others may be enraged that some bad guy just threatened their children.
Whatever your reaction, you will not be in a calm state of mind. It is a medical fact that adrenalin affects our higher brain functions. You will tend to forget details, some of which may be very important, or even worse, your brain will fill in the forgotten blanks with facts that will later be shown to be incorrect.
Wait until you have an attorney present before you make your complete statement. This gives you the time to compose yourself and calm down.
Remember, the Bill of Rights gives you the right to legal counsel and to keep your mouth shut. Take advantage of it. A good attorney will keep you from saying anything stupid that will be used against you later in court.
I must say, I think that this last piece of advice will most likely increase your chances of being arrested. The police seem to have the attitude of, “If he’s lawyering-up, he must be guilty“.
Personally, I don’t give a damn what they think. I’d rather be arrested and win in court, than to screw up my interview and end up as San Quentin bunk-mates with Bubba.
Many years ago when I took the class for my Utah non-resident CCW permit, they talked about this quite a bit. Some states, like TX and GA might give you the benefit of the doubt in a shooting, but most states tend to look down on citizens exercising their right to self-defense.