Concealed Carry

Texas Law Shield: What Should I Do After Having To Defend Myself?

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Whenever a critical event happens, we seldom rise to the occasion. Instead, we fall back on our training. While it’s common sense to train our skills at the range, seldom do we practice what to do after the bang! as much as we practice what to do before the bang! With this in mind, here is a five-point mental training list of what you should do if you ever have to use your firearm in self-defense. Texas Law Shield Logo

  1. Make Sure You Are Safe. First and foremost, your safety should be the first priority. Many law enforcement officers say “Where there is one – there’s two. Where there are two – there are three.” Scan the area to ensure no further threats exist.
  2. Call 911. Remember, 911 calls are recorded! Tell the operator you have been the victim of a crime and need law enforcement assistance. Give them your name, location, and identifying factors. For example, “My name is Michele Byington, and I was just the victim of an attempted robbery at the gas station at 1234 Main St. I’m wearing a turquoise dress. Please send help.” After that short statement, hang up the phone.
  3. Return the Gun to Safekeeping. Whatever you do, do NOT have a gun in your hand when law enforcement arrives. They will most likely see this as a threat, as they may not know who the good guy or bad guy is when they get to the scene. Either holster the gun or place it somewhere secure, like in a locked motor vehicle or gun safe.
  4. Call Your Lawyer! Using a gun in self-defense will be one of the most traumatic events of your life. Your body will undergo several physiological effects that may cloud your recollection of the incident. When you’re trying to recover from an adrenaline dump, it is not the best time to give a detailed statement to law enforcement. This is because every statement you make will be scrutinized, and if there are any discrepancies between your statement and the physical evidence, it could cause a lot of trouble in the long run. Instead, tell your lawyer exactly what happened. Be as detailed as possible with the events immediately surrounding your use of a gun. They will advise you throughout the process and ensure your rights are protected!
  5. If You Can’t Call A Lawyer, Invoke Your Rights. If the police arrive before you can call a lawyer, as mentioned, you are not in any condition to give statements or be questioned. Tell the police officer you are invoking your right to an attorney, and your right to remain silent, and then simply remain silent. If you can weather the storm, eventually you will have an opportunity to speak to an attorney, and be in a significantly better position with regards to any pending criminal cases compared to if you had simply spilled your guts to law enforcement.

What would you do after the Bang! Has reading this changed your plan of action? Share you answers in the comment section.

Originally posted on Texas Law Shield.

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Comments (20)

  1. Police questioning at the scene of a possible or probable felony (in their eyes) is not a chat, it’s part of an investigation they hope will end in an arrest. If you are the defender on the scene of a shooting, it’s reasonable to assume they consider you a suspect and to act accordingly. This will likely be made very clear to you from the outset when they prone you out at gunpoint on arrival and cuff you before they let you stand up.

  2. While immediately invoking your right to an attorney is the best advice, how do the police react to this?

    Seems like they would read it as you might be guilty of something and treat you accordingly.

  3. Ayoob & Branca aren’t fans of the full clam-up, first because it’s important to point out evidence and potential witnesses to the cops, second because there’s wisdom in immediately establishing victimhood with a brief, general, undetailed description of the event, such as, “I was violently attacked and had to defend myself”, with NO more detail than that, and a pledge to cooperate fully with the investigation after contacting a lawyer. But if you’re too rattled to stay that cool, then clam up. Any lawyer would rather defend a clam than a talker.

  4. Be AWARE that the Police are not your friends. They are going to be trying to find a way to lock you up or get you the Death Penalty.. KNOW THIS!!

    1. @ Scott Oliphant,

      You are wrong. There is no federal statute that would make hanging up illegal. The only federal statutes that govern 911 services are limited to regulating funding through taxation and rules mandating which municipalities must maintain 911 systems.

    1. @ Scott,

      You are wrong. There is no statute that would make hanging up illegal in Texas. It should be stated there is a distinct difference between a harassing 911 hang-up call versus making an emergency notification and choosing to hang up. Short of some obscure city ordinance, there is really nothing that could be done to you for either type of hang up.

      Even 911 hang-ups done under mischievous pretenses usually elicit a simple warning because there is no chargeable statute. This is not to say that an overzealous officer couldn’t try some alternative penal code to creatively charge you with; but it probably wouldn’t stick.

  5. As soon as the area is secure and you have reholstered (reload first if necessary in case another threat appears before the police), call 911 and after you’ve reported “there has been a shooting, I need police and an ambulance” and have described your location, name and appearance, tell them you will remain on the line until LEO arrives. Then leave your phone on the ground with the speaker up so that you do not meet the police with anything in your hands. Everything will still be recorded and you can avoid being drawn into a conversation with the dispatcher. Experienced trainers like Mas Ayoob and Clint Smith have excellent template for the min/max info you should give the responding officer.

    At that point, ask the officer for permission to phone your attorney. You will likely be held at the scene awhile, so ask your attorney to come immediately to the location. Make no more statements to LEO, the attacker, or bystanders until your attorney is present..

    If the police deny you a call from the scene, you may want to ask them to take you to a hospital for examination for injury or other trauma. This is a reasonable request and if they have the personnel to do so, they will likely comply.

    Above all, remember that you were the victim of a violent attack and were forced to use (possibly deadly) force to defend your life. Nobody in that situation, including a police officer, is expected to give a detailed, reliable statement until the shock of the encounter has passed.

  6. The advice is good. The less you say at the time, the better. You are upset and might say something that can later be used against you in court when you, at the least, get sued by the ‘victim’s’ family. I carry USCCA insurance just for this eventuality. My firearms instructor says, ‘If you pull that trigger, someone is going to get arrested or sued’. The police can get agressive in their questioning sometimes. Just tell them that you want to cooperate but that you will not make a statement until you have had a chance to settle down.

  7. An important distinction here is that most checklists are designed with the intent of offering a bare minimum of information with the assumption that if you can add more to any given list it will enhance your situation and make it better. That IS NOT the case with this specific type of list; meaning that when it comes to legal matters the less information you provide the better off you will be – so stick to this minimum list.

    On a side note, the only thing I recommend Law Shield add to this list is to state whether there are any injuries thereby activating a medical response of the emergency reporting system. Do not state who is injured or how, but failing to at least activate the EMS could hurt your case in front of a jury by giving the appearance you did not have concern for human life.

  8. I would never identify myself as being armed or as having fired shots on a 911 call. Just say shots have been fired and if anyone has been hit. Be sure and describe what you are wearing and make it clear that you are either a witness or a victim.

    There are different opinions about whether to hang up or stay on the line. If you stay on the line, it would not be appropriate to yell out, “Come on sucker, make my day!” followed by the sound of gunfire.

    If the threat has been resolved, be sure your firearm is holstered and concealed before the police arrive.

    There are many tips on this subject – Google “five things to do after a shooting” for some of them. Here is one I like – http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/5-things-do-after-shooting.

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