[third in a series]
Now that you have decided to move through society in Condition Yellow (yellow alert) and have determined that you have the will to fight:
“What happens after you are forced to use your firearm and survive an encounter?”
In this instance you will almost certainly be full of adrenalin, shaken by the experience, in shock, sickened, scared, and/or remorseful. Any combination of these physical and mental states are not conducive to making clear, reasoned decisions. Therefore, more prior planning and pre-conditioning are required. Experts in the field of self-defense have slightly varied advice for what to do in the immediate aftermath of a self-defense shooting, but they all propose a general process after the shooting and a core set of guidelines to use during interactions with the police.
Generally, “He who first calls 911 gets to be the victim”. Never refer to yourself as the shooter: YOU ARE THE VICTIM. Give 911 a brief description of what happened: you were assaulted by someone, were afraid for your life and defended yourself; give the location and request an ambulance right away; describe the victim (you) and tell them that the victim is armed.
Make the 911 call after you have determined that you are safe (always assume that there is “another one” nearby with the perpetrator). Safely reholster your gun or put it down (practice reholstering an empty gun). The police know that someone was shot and are looking for a person with a gun – that is YOU. Stay on the line with the 911 dispatcher.
When the police arrive, DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO, quickly and as calmly as possible. You will probably be handcuffed, deal with it. When asked, tell them:
1. He attacked me.
2. I will sign a complaint.
3. There is the evidence.
4. I will cooperate completely after I consult with counsel.
Expanding a bit on each item:
1. You are the victim. Make it clear that the person who is shot assaulted you and that you feared for your life.
2. You are willing to sign a criminal complaint that the person attacked you. This shows a level of cooperation and presents you as a victim.
3. Point out the evidence: a knife, a pistol, a lead pipe, whatever the assailant used. Be aware that if the perpetrator fired at you with a semi-automatic pistol, there will be empty brass lying about. These empties are very light and can be blown away from the scene by the wind, especially if there is ice, can be washed away in the rain, or stick in the treads of people’s shoes or car tires. Point out the evidence early. Also, indicate any witnesses who may still be in the area.
4. It is a good idea to purchase a half hour with an attorney who can advise you and be available in the event you need counsel. For NRA members, NRA offers attorney referrals: http://www.nraila.org/legal/issues/fact-sheets/attorney-referrals.aspx The expense of an attorney is comparable to that of a fire extinguisher; you hope you never need it, but will be exceedingly grateful to have it available if you do.
Some advise you to say absolutely nothing, but the police need a bare minimum of information to process the scene. The above list is a very good starting point.
Further resources can be found at: USCCA and TheDemocraticUnderground (video below by Massad Ayoob, one of the foremost experts on self defense with a handgun)
Next: What handgun should you carry?
[The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. Always consult a certified NRA instructor for training in proper gun handling and/or an attorney knowledgeable of local and federal gun laws before making any major decision regarding concealed carry.]