Many CCW owners have a misconception that they will be applauded for using their weapon in a self-defense situation. When in all actuality you will be scrutinized by everyone from investigators, officers and even so-called witnesses. So you have to take precautions not only before using a firearm but also afterwards.
The next steps of what you do after shooting a gun can in fact be more important than what you do beforehand. Things that you say and do can be held against you. Therefore it is necessary to get an understanding now so that you will be prepared if the time ever comes.
Now I’m not a tactical defense expert or a lawyer. However, I wanted to give you the basics that every gun owner should know. I would highly recommend getting some self-defense and tactical training for a more thorough understanding.
5 Critical Actions to Take After Shooting Someone
- CALL THE AUTHORITIES!
This seems like a no-brainer. However, under a stressful situation many panic about taking the next steps. Don’t let neighbors or witnesses be the only ones who contact the authorities. It should be on record that you contacted the authorities after shooting someone. This way if charges are pressed and you are taken to court then they can use this audio that is recorded.
Then there is no suspicion of guilt that the prosecutor can use against you. You don’t want to wait until minutes later to take this important step. This should be done immediately!
- Secure Your Weapon
The last thing you want to have is police officers arriving at the scene with the gun still in your hand. This is unsafe not only for you but also the officers. They are there to secure the scene and that can’t be done with a weapon still in your hand. You should place the weapon in a holster on the ground before the officers arrive. Your handgun will be taken as evidence from the scene. Don’t panic because once it is proven that you used it in a legal manner then it will be given back.
- Obey the Officers
As a victim there is going to be the temptation or urge to explain yourselves whenever the officers arrive. There is a time for that. That is after the scene has been secured.
Shut up and listen to the commands the officers are yelling at you. They are not being disrespectful. Again they are simply there to secure the scene. Yes, you may get roughed up if they have to detain you with handcuffs. Suck it up.
If you try to explain yourself or argue with the officers then the situation is only going to escalate. Being that this situation already involves a gun the officers are going to be on edge. So do whatever the officers tell you. One small wrong move could be your last.
- Invoke your right to remain silent
Once the scene is secure it is the officers’ duty to investigate. Once they approach you then you will need to invoke your right to remain silent without representation. This doesn’t mean you are showing guilt. It means that you are being smart.
The Miranda rights state what we say can be held against us in the court of law. So every word that you say without representation will be examined with a microscope. We need to leave this responsibility with our lawyers because they speak the language of the law.
Don’t automatically assume that officers are going to be on your side simply because you defended yourself. They are trained to get all sides of the story. They are not trained to form an opinion and take sides. The information that is collected is passed along to those who determine to press charges and even given to prosecutors.
- Contact your lawyer immediately!
Unless you are a lawyer yourself don’t try to defend yourself. You cannot tackle the legal system alone. You will not be able to think or speak calm and collectively after being under such intense pressure of defending yourself. So much is going to be running through your mind very quickly.
This is why we have lawyers. They are able to approach the legal system without being under stress or emotional pressure. They are also very knowledgeable with the law unlike ourselves.
Now it is going to be challenging trying to find a lawyer who will defend your case. It is even more challenging to find one that is also familiar with self-defense cases. Then you will need to come up with the money for possible bail, lawyer retainers and on-going legal fees. This will easily add up to thousands of dollars.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a lawyer on retainer at all times then I would recommend becoming a USCCA member. Not only will they provide a lawyer from their network of experienced self defense lawyers but will also cover bail, retainers and court fees on an ongoing basis. This way you do not have the added stress. You can focus more of your time becoming clear minded and getting over such a dramatic experience. As a member all you will need to do is contact USCCA and they will take care of everything else for you.
Altogether these are the 5 critical actions that you need to take after shooting someone. Again these are just the basics that every gun owner should know. If you have any more suggestion or tips please leave those in the comment section below. Your feedback will better help the community to be more prepared to defend ourselves.
Photography by Mesa Tactical