After Shooting: Dealing with the Police

When it comes to defending yourself with a gun, things are never cut and dried. It is very rare to shoot a home invader and have him fall, with his own weapon clutched spasmodically in his dead hand, in the middle of your living room after leaving obvious signs of breaking in your door. In the real world, things are murky and open to interpretation. That means you have to get your side in clearly, emphatically, and repeatedly.

“I am the victim here! He attacked me and I had to defend myself!” That is what you assert to the police, the lawyers, the judge, and the jury if you ever get into a shooting, the one message you have to get across.

When the police arrive, you are a suspect. Unless the circumstances are so obvious that there is no room for interpretation, you will be disarmed, detained, and questioned. Remember, the police officer is not your friend. He has a job to do, to find fault and criminal conduct where it may exist, and to make the suspected criminal available to the courts for trial. He will use everything you say and do to do that job, and if you deviate from your position you could find yourself facing charges of your own.

So, cooperate, but only to a point. Answer their questions, but make sure that your answers support your basic point, that you are the victim here, that you had no choice but to shoot your assailant. Often, that is enough to get you off the hook. However, if the police arrest you, do yourself a big favor: Ask for your lawyer, and then stop talking.

Once you are in custody, the police will do what they can to get you to make a voluntary statement that they can then use against you. Regardless of how they make it seem as though making a statement is in your own best interests, do not fall for it. If they keep on, simply repeat your request for a lawyer, and keep doing it until they get the message.

Hopefully, you will never draw your weapon except at the range; but if you do, your assailant may be only the first of your worries. Keep cool, advocate your position in the incident, and remember and assert your rights if the law turns against you.

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