As a law-abiding gun owner, you might ask yourself: “Why would I end up in jail when I carry my firearm legally and know how to use it correctly?” Unfortunately, as our experience has taught us, even legal gun owners are not out of the reach of the long arm of the law. Here are five reasons legal gun owners often end up arrested and in jail even though they think they have done nothing legally wrong.
Number 1: Bad Guys are Liars
If you are involved in a self-defense incident with your firearm, chances are good that the bad guy is not going to admit that he was threatening to rob you and that you pulled out your Glock in self-defense. Instead, he and his buddies will likely tell police that he was the victim, and was threatened by a crazy person with a gun, even though what really happened was that he tried to steal your purse while threatening to assault you, and you pulled out your firearm in self-defense.
Number 2: Gun Owner Ignorance of the Law
Unfortunately, despite feeling certain that they know what the law is, many people do not actually know what the law says about when and where they can carry and use their firearms. Even though the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms, that doesn’t mean there are no restrictions! Not only are there federal and state statutes that govern firearms, but there are also regulations, case law, and local ordinances that might limit where and when you can possess and use your firearm. Firearms law is complicated, and even attorneys cannot memorize every law for every situation!
Number 3: Law Enforcement Ignorance of the Law
John and Jane Doe are not the only people who may not fully know the law! Often times, even police officers are unaware of recent changes in federal or state law that may lift restrictions on or eliminate crimes for the possession and use of firearms. Firearms laws change all the time, and not every officer stays up-to-date on the latest passage of a bill in the state Legislature. This lack of knowledge may result in you being charged with and arrested for a crime that may no longer exist!
Number 4: Decisions for Another Day
The job of police officers is not to decide who was right or wrong in a self-defense incident they were called to the scene of. Law enforcement is there to take control of the situation and may end up arresting everyone at the scene, regardless of whether the person being arrested was the aggressor or not. Further, if you are the only one at the scene with a firearm, the police may automatically view you as the aggressor, leading to charges that have to be sorted out by the district attorney and/or the courts.
Number 5: Politics
Despite the continued efforts of U.S. Law Shield and other advocates for gun rights across the country, anti-gun bias is real and prevalent across the country. Many prosecutors and police officers in your state may have come from states with much more strict firearms laws and think that these laws are how things should work. Unfortunately for law-abiding gun owners, this sometimes results in situations where the particular leanings of an individual may lead to the burden and inconvenience of an arrest booking into the local county jail.
Many of these reasons are beyond an individual gun-owner’s control. After all, the bad guy is never going to be the good guy, and you often can’t make someone else understand the law in the heat of the moment. Our mission at U.S. Law Shield, however, is to educate and protect our members who obey the law and are forced to use their firearms in self-defense.
The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.