You’re sitting in traffic when someone cuts you off. Angrily, you honk your horn. The other driver aggressively changes lanes and pulls up beside you. He rolls down his window, and you watch him frantically reaching into his glove box. What happens next and how you respond could send your life into a tailspin.
Road rage incidents are scary. When driving at high speed with your attention divided in a high-stress environment, you have limited time to think. Based on past experience from U.S. LawShield members from around the country, they’d like to share the important lessons some have learned the hard way. You need to have a plan if you find yourself in this situation.
Do you call 911? Do you try to get away? Do you drive home? What if you’re forced to protect yourself? Do you provide a statement to the police? Do you have a plan for the legal repercussions to follow?
Incidents like this happen all the time, and sadly, all too often, innocent people find themselves tangled in a long legal fight. Maybe they thought the danger had passed. The fight was over. They stopped the perpetrator from committing a crime against them or their family. Why call the police if no crime occurred?
A recurring theme for people tangled in the legal system is this: they didn’t speak to an attorney prior to talking with the police. What you say after a road rage incident can mean the difference between finishing your drive home or winding up in handcuffs downtown. The time for you to formulate a plan is now.
If you’re involved in a self-defense incident, including road rage, you should speak to an attorney before you make any statement to the police. Call the U.S. LawShield emergency hotline and your Independent Program Attorney will provide the help you need to navigate through these difficult situations.
A shouting match escalated when Bryan Huff grabbed a steel pipe and charged at his neighbor in his yard. The Pocatello neighbor shot Huff in self-defense.
The victim fired a pistol twice at Huff. Pocatello police report that one of the shots hit Huff in the arm. The victim threw the gun after shooting and the two men started fighting. The man then pinned Huff down to the ground.
In the meantime, a woman associated with Huff retrieved the thrown gun and ordered the man to release Huff.
The victim complied, and everyone went back into their respective homes. Pocatello police report they received dozens of 911 phone calls from multiple people in the neighborhood.
Police arrived and located Huff and the victim. Huff was taken to Portneuf Medical Center by Pocatello Fire Department ambulance for treatment. Police officers interviewed everyone involved in the incident.
One witness said the disagreement between the man and Huff began because of a dog that belongs to one of the men.
Huff is charged with felony aggravated battery. The maximum penalty for the charge is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The victim’s name has not been released. Police report he will not be charged because he acted in self-defense on his property.
You are more likely to be attacked by someone you know than a stranger. If you must act in self-defense, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for an attorney. You defend your life. We defend your freedom. Join U.S. LawShield, the premier legal defense for self-defense program in the nation.
With hundreds of duty and self-defense 9mm ammunition choices now available, do you know which one is right for you? Most first-time gun buyers will overlook the kind of ammunition that they are using, with many picking round nose full metal jacket rounds. These are sometimes not the best choice for self-defense.
Surviving a firefight can come down to the type and caliber of ammunition that you carry. Previously there was quite a hot and heavy debate over .45 vs .40 vs 9mm. However, with the advances in ballistics and bullet construction, the 9mm has pulled away from the pack 9mm ammunition offers a good balance of stopping power with lower recoil, and the added benefit of a larger magazine capacity.
Hollow points are nearly always the correct choice for self-defense ammunition widely used by law enforcement throughout the United States and private citizens in their own homes, 9mmis the best ammunition whether it’s for LAPD SWAT or your mother-in-law.
Here are our top five choices for 9mm self-defense ammunition!
Federal Hydra-Shok ammunition has been around for years serving everyone from law enforcement to everyday Americans with a cost-effective round that has the stopping power needed to neutralize the threat. Hydra-Shok has a center-post hollow-point design that optimizes the penetration after the hollow-point expands. The round is 124 grains with an 1,100 feet-per-second muzzle velocity and approximately 20 inches of penetration with a half inch expansion.
Its $1.25/round, $25/box and worth every penny.
Hornady XTP Custom
Hornady designed this round to mimic the ballistics and quality of hand-loaded match-grade ammunition, of which it does a fantastic job. The round is 124 grains with an 1,100 foot-per-second muzzle velocity. The round will penetrate just under 20 inches with .44 inches of expansion. This round offers similar performance to that of the Federal Hydra-Shok but at a lower price point.
Its $.72/round, $18/box available at most ranges and big box stores.
Remington Golden Saber
This 124 grain 9mm round has been a staple of Remington’s ammunition production for many years and was recently reintroduced with the Black Belt series The expansion and penetration are both reliable through a variety of materials with minimal deviation between individual rounds, with Golden Saber you always know what you’re going to get. The muzzle velocity is 1,125 feet-per-second with just over 17 inches of penetration and an expansion of .38 inches. Although some of these stats are lower than other rounds on this list, it is worth remembering that the FBI recommends 12-18 inches of penetration for a self-defense round, this prevents over-penetration in an active shooting environment.
$1.05/round, $21/box available at most all big box stores.
This round is a heavy hitter! It’s a 147 grain 9mm self-defense round with high expansion numbers we will be reviewing today. The muzzle velocity is 950 feet-per-second and an average penetration depth of 20 inches with an expansion of .52 inches.
Speer Gold Dot
The Gold Dot is another 147-grain load it has a hollow point design with a penetration depth of 17 inches, a muzzle velocity of 985 feet-per-second. The average expansion of .424 inches is great when considering Gold Dot’s cost.
$.46/round, $23/box of 50
U.S. LawShield® members enjoy hefty discounts on ammo at local gun shops and nationwide retailers as part of our Member Perks program. Sign up now to get started.
The Florida Supreme Court has issued a decision in a case involving a claim of civil immunity from a lawsuit for injuries sustained in what was ruled justifiable self-defense by a criminal court. The Supreme Court has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to civil immunity. Essentially the Court said immunity from criminal prosecution does not protect a person when it comes to a civil action.
A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR . . .
In a Tampa barfight back in 2008, Nirav Patel smashed a cocktail glass into the eye of Ketan Kumar, causing permanent blindness. Patel was arrested and charged with felony battery.
Patel argued at a pretrial hearing in the circuit court that Kumar started the fight and he was merely acting in self-defense, using Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as his defense. The circuit court agreed Patel was justified in his use of force to defend himself and granted him immunity from criminal prosecution. Undeterred, that decision did not stop Kumar from later filing a civil suit against Patel for his injury sustained in the barfight.
Doesn’t the law protect you from civil suits if your actions were found to be justified in the criminal matter?
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?
Florida’s immunity provision can be found in Title XLVI Chapter 776 of the 2017 Florida Statutes.
Section 776.032(1) states:
“A person who uses or threatens to use force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use or threatened use of such force by the person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against whom the force was used or threatened, . . .”
Patel sought dismissal of the civil matter based upon his having been granted immunity in the criminal matter. The circuit court denied the request, so Patel filed a petition with the Second District Court of Appeal challenging the lower court’s decision. In 2016, the appeals court ruled that state law “guarantees a single ‘Stand Your Ground’ immunity determination for both criminal and civil actions.”
End of the discussion, right?
DIFFERENT COURTS HAVE DIFFERING OPINIONS
However, that ruling conflicted with a 2014 ruling from the Third District Court of Appeal that found an immunity determination at a hearing in a criminal prosecution cannot be used in a civil matter.
The Third District based its reasoning on the doctrine of “mutuality of parties,” whereby a judicial determination generally cannot be binding upon a person not a party to the proceedings. The civil plaintiff is not a party to the criminal proceedings—the State assumes that role.
Two different appellate courts with two different interpretations of the law. So, the matter went before the Florida Supreme Court.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SETTLES THE MATTER
On September 28, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision.
The Supreme Court determined that a separate immunity process is required for both criminal and civil cases. The Court based its reasoning on their view that the Florida Legislature never clearly stated that one hearing would cover both determinations in the criminal and civil matter. And since a potential civil plaintiff is not a party to the criminal proceedings, they could not be bound by any immunity determination granted a criminal defendant. The Legislature did not purport to modify this “mutuality of parties doctrine” when it passed the “Stand Your Ground” law.
Additionally, the law provides that if defendants successfully argue they acted in self-defense in a civil matter, the plaintiff must pay the defendant’s legal fees. That would seem to indicate a separate hearing must be held in civil matters, apart from any criminal proceedings.
And the third reason the Supreme Court gave for reaching its decision is that the Legislature amended the Stand Your Ground law this year to create a separate burden of proof in criminal cases, different than the burden required in a civil matter, further distinguishing the two matters as separate determinations to be made.
CIVIL IMMUNITY STILL EXISTS BUT IT IS NO LONGER AUTOMATIC
The result of the Supreme Court’s decision is that even if you successfully argue immunity from prosecution in the criminal matter based upon the “Stand Your Ground” defense, you will not be given a pass in any civil matter based upon the same incident. The findings at the criminal immunity hearing cannot be used in any subsequent civil suit immunity determination.
The effect of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that the Stand Your Ground law does not provide you with immunity from a civil suit, even if your actions were found to be justified in a criminal proceeding resulting in immunity from criminal prosecution.
Civil immunity still exists, but you will have to fight the battle on two separate fronts. In essence you will have to have a trial within a trial to establish your right to civil immunity, another reason you need to have the legal protection offered by U.S. LawShield.
U.S. LawShield has your back and will provide legal defense for the criminal and civil trials as well as all immunity proceedings at no cost to you for attorneys fees.
During the recent storms that struck Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, your attorney hotline has been busy helping members that have been forced to abandon their guns as they leave their flooded homes, who were worried about the threat of gun confiscation, or have had to defend their property from looters. Texas & U.S. Law Shield was there to help.
“Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma devastated the Texas and Florida coasts causing unprecedented damage. During difficult times like these, we tend to experience the best out of people, as seen in countless heroic images of neighbor helping neighbor.
However, these events can also bring out the worst out of people, seeking to take advantage when you are the most vulnerable.
From the moment rain and wind started, calls have been pouring into our attorney answered emergency hotline from members who were forced to abandon guns in their homes overtaken by flood waters as well as members who have had to protect their property from looting. Our member, John, was one of those callers after he was forced to use his gun. Here is his story.
During Harvey, John and his son were combatting the water that continued to rise in their home. Suddenly, John noticed a truck driving up and down the street, creating wakes. Each time the truck passed, it pushed more water into John’s home.
As the truck was coming back around, John’s son went out to confront the driver and ask him to stop. John didn’t recognize the truck as being from the neighborhood and was worried the driver might be casing the street looking for an opportunity to loot empty houses. Responsibly and legally armed, he followed his son outside.
As John walked toward the truck, the bad guy started accelerating straight at his son. John, fearing for his son’s safety, fired a single shot in order to startle the driver and give his son time to move.
When police arrived, they intended to arrest John for Deadly Conduct. He called the LawShield emergency hotline and was immediately advised by his Independent Program Attorney. After the attorney talked to the police, they determined that a crime had not been committed because John acted in lawful defense of his son.
Thank goodness John is a LawShield member and knew exactly what to do when the police arrived. We were there for John when he needed us most and we are here for you 24/7 with our attorney-answered emergency hotline.”
A Miami-area Uber driver has sued the popular ride-share company claiming its firearms policy violates his right to self-defense under Florida law.
Jose Mejia, 28, is a concealed-carry license holder who became an Uber driver in March 2016. But in 2015, the company banned guns in cars after an Uber driver shot and wounded a gunman attacking people in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago’s north side.
“My rights are being infringed on because I’m not able to lawfully carry my firearm,” Mejia told Miami’s Channel 10 News.
“I’m not able to protect myself or defend myself,” added the part-time student. “And remember we have regular cars—there’s not a divider between us and the passenger or nothing of that nature.”
The complaint didn’t list other members of the class-action lawsuit, but the document suggests tremendous growth potential. Uber says it’s now in 633 U.S. cities.
“While the exact number of members of the Class is unknown to Plaintiff (Mejia) at this time, based on the nature of the trade and commerce involved, Plaintiff reasonably believes that there are thousands of members in the Class,” the lawyers said in the complaint.
News outlets have asked Uber for comment about the lawsuit, but the company declined.
Uber and guns
San Francisco-based Uber transformed the vehicle-for-hire industry in 2009 with its ride-sharing smartphone app.
The mobile technology connects riders seeking better convenience and customer service with independent drivers trying to turn their cars into cash-generating machines.
State prosecutors said Hendricks faced no charges because he was licensed to carry and acted in self-defense. The gunman, Everardo Custodio, pleaded guilty to weapons charges and went to prison.
The incident became a national story and, two months later, Uber issued a new policy.
According to the company’s website, “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That’s why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app. Anyone who violates this policy may lose access to Uber.”
Florida self-defense law for cars
David Katz, an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®, reviewed the class-action complaint. Katz said Mejia’s lawyers based the case on a self-defense law passed by the Legislature in 2008.
“The law’s ‘Legislative Intent’ affirms that people have—and I quote—a ‘constitutional right to keep and bear arms,’ and that ‘these rights are not abrogated by virtue of a citizen becoming a customer, employee, or invitee of a business entity.’”
Driver acted in self-defense
Mejia reminded Channel 10 about an incident last December when an Uber driver killed another man in self-defense in Aventura, about 18 miles north of Miami.
“Imagine,” he told Channel 10, “if he had not had his weapon—he wouldn’t be alive today, the passenger wouldn’t be alive today and then what’s Uber going to do? Issue a statement of apologies, and that’s it?
“What about his family?”
—By Bill Miller, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® Blog
An armed citizen in Phoenix was at the right place at the right time to stop an armed man trying to rob a Walgreens pharmacy of opioids.
As reported in azcentral.com, 30-year-old Stephen Holguin pulled out a gun, jumped the pharmacy counter at a Walgreens in the 3400 block of West Union Hills Drive, and demanded oxycodone.
An armed customer responded to the deadly threat by shooting Holguin. Police found Holguin wounded but still armed, including a back-up gun, and used a police dog to subdue him. Police administered CPR to Holguin, but he died at the scene.
Police interviewed and released the customer who shot Holguin, and are withholding his identity at his request.
Though Arizona offers concealed-carry permits, it is also a “Constitutional Carry” state: Arizonans can carry either openly or concealed without the requirement of a permit. Arizona also has “third-party defense” laws in place, meaning that you may defend a third person from the illegal use of force with a proportional response.
According to a recent DEA report, there are many more drug-overdose deaths than there are gun-related homicides in the United States. Two Arizonans die each day from opioid overdoses; in fact, the epidemic is so dire that the Arizona Department of Health Services even has a real-time ticker of deaths and overdoses.
In Louisiana, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s department, “which has an overwhelming number of applications from women wanting to take the self-defense courses being offered without charge, announced there will be other classes in the fall,” The Advocate reported.
These new fall offerings were in addition to the four courses the St. Tammany parish department held in July in Covington, and another four in Slidell.
Demand for female self-defense instruction in Louisiana is not limited to St. Tammany Parish, which lies just northeast of New Orleans. The Baton Rouge Police Department offers the “Equalizer Women’s Self-Defense” class, specifically designed for women.
“The course covers facts about violence against women, reducing the risk of becoming a victim, defenses striking, common grab defenses, head-lock defenses, bear hug defenses, along with striking and knife defenses,” WBRZ.com reported earlier this year.
This move toward female self-defense in Louisiana also includes concealed carry. John Lott, of the Crime Prevention Research Center, published new data recently that revealed a “general upward trend in the percentage of people with permits to carry a concealed firearm are women in seven states— including Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Louisiana,” Fox News reported.
Lott’s findings were presented in a report, “The changing gender and Race of Permit Holders.” It says that in 14 states that have issued approximately 4 million concealed carry permits among them, Lott found that women now represent about 36 percent of all those with carry permits, indicating a clear upward trend. In Louisiana specifically, women held 18.3-percent of the carry permits in 2008. By 2016, that had risen to an impressive 24.1 percent.
Lott also reported that eight states saw a 326 percent faster increase in permits among women permit holders than among men from 2012 to 2016.
And, contrary to what the mainstream media often tries to portray, “Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted,” according to the report.
Obviously, women in Louisiana and many other states are not going to allow themselves to be victimized by violence, and are taking the appropriate steps to make themselves as prepared as possible for worst-case scenarios. And that’s a great thing!
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise (R-1s Dist.) is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. It came as no surprise to his constituents back home that, even after he’d been shot by a gunman intent on a murderous rampage, Scalise neither blamed the firearm itself nor advocated for stricter gun control.
On June 14, 2017, Scalise and other Republican congressman were practicing for a congressional baseball game at a park in Alexandria, Va., when James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois opened fire on them with a rifle. Hodgkinson, according to multiple news sources, had a list on him with the names of six members of Congress—all Republicans—and planned to kill them. A supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during Sanders’ failed run for the presidency, Hodgkinson apparently hated President Donald Trump. That day, he ended up wounding five people before he himself was shot and killed by police.
Seriously wounded in the attack, Scalise has had multiple surgeries to repair the damage he suffered. He was readmitted to the hospital last month because of an infection related to his bullet wounds.
As Scalise’s congressional website notes, “In the 112th Congress, Scalise introduced H.R. 58, the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which improves law-abiding citizens’ ability to purchase firearms. The bills Scalise has recently cosponsored include H.R.645, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia and the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, H.R.822, which would ensure national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders. Congressman Scalise’s pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
After the shootings, gun-control supporters demanded ever more firearms regulations. But the congressmen who had been shot, all of whom are Scalise’s colleagues, called for something different: new laws to allow concealed carry in Washington, D.C., so people could protect themselves in the case of another similar event.
As the New York Timesreported in early July, in the weeks following the shootings, “Conservative lawmakers, some of whom were nearly the victims of gun violence, have pressed to loosen gun controls. Three bills introduced in the Republican-held House during the past two weeks would allow lawmakers to almost always carry a concealed weapon. A fourth would allow concealed carry permits obtained in other states to be recognized in the District of Columbia.”
The Republican Majority Whip, Scalise has been working when his health has allowed, including taking conference calls with other members of Congress. He will no doubt be reasserting himself as a strong proponent of the Second Amendment for his constituents back in Louisiana once he is fully recovered.