CHL –The legal side
In my last blog I mentioned the necessity of obtaining a CHL if one is prepared to be responsible for his or her own safety. For me having a CHL falls under the category of self preservation. A subject that has been in the forefront of my thinking ever since my mother stopped dressing me, and I began to realize that I was, and always will be the first responder to my clarion call for “under attack--need immediate assistance.” If you are to be your own first responder, than what I have to say concerning every facet of concealed carry, including what happens after you have discharged your weapon, and especially if you killed your aggressor, should provide you with much food for thought and reflection.
Although the majority of us strive to give trouble a wide berth, we realize that in this very mobile society trouble often finds us simply because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately much of this is based on Murphy’s Law. For those of you who just landed on this planet, the expression goes like this: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way. I’ve heard many a wise person, namely military personnel; say that they believed that Murphy’s Law was one of optimism…Always prepare for the worst and pray for the best.
We are going to prepare for the worst by starting out at worst case scenario…you have just been involved in a righteous(of course) shooting. From there we’ll go backwards to cover such topics as: firearms (including mouse guns), personal protection ammo, holsters and almost holsters, clothing, environment awareness, and practical shooting exercises.
Pop Quiz: I ended my last blog with this question: ‘Should I retrain a lawyer before I leave my house armed?’ Answer: Y-E-S! It’s called having insurance incase of an accident. We think nothing of spending thousands of dollars each year on life, fire, home, car, etc, insurance; so why not purchase an “Out of Jail” insurance card? I have one, and I hope I never have to use it. But I like having that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I’ve covered myself on both ends of a righteous shooting.
From the outset let me say that I am not an attorney nor do I posses legal or actual experience in this field. In other words, I have never shot anyone, and therefore I have never had to deal with the authorities or our judicial system. And although I have had close encounters of the wrong kind, it was real world knowledge, combined with the proper mind set that got me safely through a situation that could have turned out otherwise. I have always found it wiser to learn from those individuals that have blazed a path upon which I can safely travel. They have enabled me to stand on their shoulders and look through their eyes so that I may avoid the traps and pitfalls that have befallen many a good person that did not have proper legal guidance. Being right doesn’t always win the day. And we all know that bad things can happen to good people, especially if they are totally ignorant of the law or who lack the common sense (knowledge) to keep their bloody mouths shut by forgetting that any thing that they say can truly be used against you. Take a hint from one of the popular defense posters from WWII: “Loose lips sink ships. It still is good advice seventy-one years later, and especially in today’s litigious society.
By now you should realize that this topic is one in which you better get control of before you have to pull the trigger; because after the event, you don’t want to hear a voice in your head saying: “What do I do now?”
If you should get into a justified shooting and you do not have access to legal counsel, please keep the following advice in mind. It comes from a Self-Defense Guideline Card that crossed my path many years ago. The author / source are unknown. But the advice is consistent to what is given today. I would seriously take it to heart.
If you have been involved in a shooting incident, the following steps should be taken but only after you are completely sure there is no longer a threat.
- Secure the weapon the assailant used. Check yourself for injuries. Make a complete check of the scene, however, don’t tamper with any evidence. If the person shot is no longer a threat try to help him. Do not talk to him or use abusive language. Don’t touch the assailant if he appears to be dead. Don’t let anyone else handle any evidence.
- Call the police as soon as possible. Tell them what has taken place, and your location. Ask for emergency medical assistance. Don’t give too many details of the incident over the phone. Put your weapon away, and keep it out of sight. Innocent people have been shot by the police because they were holding weapons when the officers arrived. Try to spot them first and attract them in a non-threatening manner. At first the police may treat you like a suspect, especially if you have a weapon. Do as you are told. Do not question or argue with them.
- Call your lawyer. Make no statements to the police or anyone else until your attorney is present. He should meet you at the scene if possible. Tell him exactly what happened and let him do the talking for you. If you must meet the police by yourself, be sure not to make any statements. Explain to the police politely, but firmly, that you don’t want to talk until your attorney arrives. Keep in mind that anything you say can, and will, be used against you.
- When the Paramedics arrive get medical treatment for shock for yourself and any other person involved whether physically injured or not.
- Stay away from the news media. Never talk or make any sort of statement to them. Let your attorney make any statement for you. Remember, the news media has NO authority.
- Legal actions. You are justified in using lethal force only if you “feared for your life” or that of another person. Don’t apologize for defending yourself. Avoid statements such as “I’m sorry I had to shoot.” “I regret the incident happened.” Such statements are equated with feeling of guilt. You are remorseful therefore your actions are inappropriate. Such statement can cost you later on in a court of law.
- Stress. Persons involved in shooting incidents face a great amount of stress. Psychological problems sometimes appear, and even physical ones such as sleeplessness, headaches, and diarrhea and heart problems. These problems are common and affect even trained law enforcement officers. If you encounter any of these problems, seek professional help.
Remember: Loose lips sink ships. So please don’t shoot your self in the foot by doing your Clint Eastwood impression for the crowd or the police. Let common sense prevail. Are you reflecting?
Pax vobiscum (Peace be with you.)