Last evening, while attending a seminar regarding the law and being armed, I was surprised by the number of questions being asked by the attendees. If I must guess, I would say 80-85% of those attending had their Concealed Weapons License (CWL) and many were likely armed. What concerned me was not that they were asking questions, but it was the answers they were looking for.
Many of the questions were in the vein of, “If the VCA (Violent Criminal Actor) does X, can I do Y?” If only it were that simple. It is incredibly concerning to me that if these folks are already licensed and are carrying a firearm, why all the questions? I understand the need for some clarification, but these are the same folks who are already carrying a gun and are planning to use it if necessary. Are they even aware of the consequences if they must use their firearm against another human being? Did they not consider this prior to going armed? If not, why not? Having the ability to use lethal force is serious business and the responsibility cannot be taken lightly.
There were at least two attorneys present (one leading the lecture and another commenting) and both are experienced in defending civilian and law enforcement use of force cases (i.e. shootings). The gist of their advice was, (a) KNOW the laws regarding carrying a firearm and OBEY them – don’t make assumptions, (b) If you are involved in a lethal self-defense ‘episode’, call your attorney BEFORE saying ANYTHING and, (c) If in doubt, refer to a & b above. I find this guidance to be sound and practical. Don’t listen to ‘gun store commandos’ or ‘internet “operators” or you could find yourself in big trouble.
Further, I’ll wager those same folks asking the questions haven’t received, nor sought out any actual, substantive training, since they purchased their gun. Some may have attended a “firearms safety class” or shot a few rounds at the local range but, this will not prepare you for the ‘3 fights’ you will find yourself in if you have to use lethal force.
Each incident is actually three separate fights; Fight One is the 2-3 second scrum or actual incident; Fight Two is the 2-3++ years of court and attending legal issues, both criminal and civil; Fight Three is the never-ending psychological battle.
Which one is most important? Well, if you don’t win the first one, the other two are moot. If you win the second one, you could still wind up owing an attorney thousands of dollars and then there is the civil case. Remember OJ? He won the criminal case (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”) but lost the civil case to the tune of $33.5 million! Do you have that much money lying around?
Where should you spend your time and money? It appears it all comes down to education and training:
- You need the necessary skills for the 2-3 second fight. A solid understanding of the shooting fundamentals PLUS training in the judgmental/decision making (‘Shoot – Don’t Shoot’) of lethal force. Training isn’t a ‘one and done’ thing. It is constant and consistent. These are perishable skills and must be maintained if you are to be effective.
- You need a firm grasp of the appropriate state laws and a good legal team, (such as US LAW Shield) to handle the second fight.
- As for the third fight, you MUST have a strong constitution and have a high level of self-awareness and confidence. A good support team (family, friends, and lawyers) is essential.
In closing, I’ll reiterate, if you carry a firearm, get the training you need and maintain your skills. If you are involved in a lethal confrontation, make sure you and your family are safe, call 911, wait for help to arrive, then say nothing until your attorney also arrives.
GTAC offers a variety of classes that review these procedures and train you to be ready in the event this happens to you.
BE SAFE · BE EFFECTIVE · BE READY