The following is a video transcript.
2018 has come and gone but has left us with many important reminders that every responsible gunowner must know. As Independent Program Attorneys for U.S. LawShield, we see a wide range of self-defense cases each year and wanted to share some of the lessons we have learned from three notable member stories of 2018.
Member Story #1: True Story–Wrongfully Accused Member Arrested by S.W.A.T.
First off, let’s look at Joyce’s case, a senior citizen who was arrested by a S.W.A.T. team.
This all started when Joyce was attacked in a road rage incident. When the aggressor charged Joyce’s vehicle, she removed her holstered firearm from her purse and placed it in her lap; just in case she was attacked.
With some quick thinking, Joyce saw an opening and escaped the encounter without incident—or so she thought. A week later, Joyce received what seemed like an innocent call from a police detective wanting to get her side of the story. Little did Joyce know, these simple and benign details would be all the corroboration the detective needed to secure a felony arrest warrant.
There is a valuable lesson we can all learn from Joyce’s case, and that is any time you have been involved in an incident involving self-defense it’s important to speak to an attorney—even if you think a crime has not been committed because you “stopped” the crime or escaped before it became a real emergency. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, your options, and counsel you on the best course of action.
In this case, if Joyce had spoken to an attorney before being contacted by the detective, there may have been a different outcome. Making any statement to the police, even something as simple as, “Yes, I carry a gun,” or, “I was in that area that time of day,” could be all they need to corroborate a lie or story.
If you think you are (or may be) investigated by the police, you need to speak to an attorney. Joyce’s case was no-billed, meaning insufficient evidence existed for an indictment on a criminal charge by a grand jury, but she was treated like a criminal, spent several days in jail, and was forced through the legal system.
Member Story #2: How I Saved Innocent Bystanders Using My Firearm
Let’s look at another U.S. LawShield member story from 2018. David came to the defense of police and innocent bystanders in a parking lot.
In this case, David witnessed a suspected fleeing felon smashing through cars and attempting to run over police. Concerned for their safety, he drew his firearm and discharged a single round, striking the attacker’s vehicle. The attacker was soon caught, but that wasn’t the end of it.
David, with his attorney present, fully cooperated with law enforcement, providing a written statement and a walk-through of the scene with investigators. Even though he was acting in justified defense of a third party, that did not stop police and prosecutors from presenting the case to a grand jury.
Thankfully, David’s case was no-billed by the grand jury; but we cannot forget the valuable take away from this case: even when you are acting in clear-cut, justified defense, you may still have to defend yourself from criminal charges, so you must be prepared.
Member Story #3: How Texas LawShield Protected Me From My Neighbor
Finally, this list would be incomplete without discussing Jerry’s case, a member who was forced to defend himself against his attacking neighbor.
Jerry, who had been carrying a weapon for nearly two decades without incident, faced a situation we all, as responsible gunowners, prepare for and try to avoid at all costs. Jerry displayed his firearm in self-defense in response to his neighbor’s violent attack on him and his vehicle.
He never got out of his vehicle, and he escaped the situation and called 911. Even though his neighbor started the fight, Jerry was arrested and spent the next year and a half fighting for his innocence.
At trial, Jerry was found not guilty after the jury was instructed by the Court on the Castle Doctrine.
The major lesson from this case that is a great reminder for all of us, is even when you don’t start the fight and act in self-defense, there may be a long fight ahead in the courts.
With the New Year in full swing, it is important for us as responsible gunowners to be informed of the potential consequences of defensive gun use (or even from just the mere accusation of displaying your firearm).
If you are ever involved in a self-defense incident or being investigated, here is what you need to know: it is critical for you to speak to a lawyer, it doesn’t take much to be dragged through the legal system (even when you do not start the fight), and even if you are not charged with a crime (in cases of clearly justified defense) you may have some legal hoops to jump through.
We can all learn from these experiences and better prepare ourselves for the future; but if you have any questions about these topics or what you might expect if you are ever forced to defend yourself or another, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.