You Had to Pull The Trigger - Now What?

It seems we all practice and prepare for the a situation in which we have to use our guns in self-defense.  It is very important to be trained and know how to handle your gun and to control the use of your gun to protect innocent bystanders.  There is an aspect that is often not thought of and very rarely touched upon when it comes to the usage and training of hand guns....what happens after you pull the trigger?  I am not talking about when you are deer hunting or target practice I am talking about what happens if you have to pull the trigger and your round connects with the human target it was intended for?


When I teach concealed carry classes I do spend time on teaching the aspects of what happens after you pull the trigger in self-defense.  I know it is very rare that anyone that I ever teach will ever actually have to pull the trigger in self-defense.  In fact I have never met anyone in person that has actually had to pull the trigger in self-defense.  I know a few people that had to pull their guns in self-defense but that was enough to stop what was happening.  As an example - The owner of one of the gun ranges I frequent had a person break into their house in the middle of the night but was lucky enough that when the person found the home owner in the house armed that he decided to just sit down and wait for the sheriff to arrive.  This was a very lucky scenario. 

I receive the NRA magazine and USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association) magazine and every month I read the Armed Citizen sections.  When you think about how many people actually own guns and are license compared to how many stories are in the magazines each month it is a pittance of a fraction of gun owners. 

Now let's look at it from the other side.  It happened!  You were put in the position that you had to defend yourself and there was not other way except to draw your gun and shoot.  Now what?  What do you do?  You are probably hyperventilating with your adrenalin running so high you can barely think or even move. 

What happens next will depend on if you actually planned for the future and planned for the fact that, though rare, you may have to use that gun and if you do there will be repercussions both legally, financially, physically and emotionally. 

When I got my license to carry concealed the instructor told us that we should have a retainer with a lawyer just in case we would ever have to defend ourselves.  If you think about it if you are a gun owner you don't have to be a conceal carry you could end up defending yourself in your own home with your gun, shotgun, rifle or what ever you intend to use for the situation. 

In speaking with a DPS officer he actually told me that I should not only have a retainer with a lawyer but to make sure defending gun cases is what they do.  You do not want to wait until the last minute and try to rifle through a phone book to find someone to defend you.  What if it is in the middle of the night then what will you do?  What if it is a Sunday?  Have any of these thoughts crossed your mind?  Do you have a plan for what might happen? 

The first step will be to call 911 if you have not already done so.  When you do this do not give any more information than is absolutely necessary.  Remember you are not thinking clearly so you do not want to say something incorrect that can be used against you in the future either in deciding if they will pursue the case criminally or even possible civilly if they have family or if they live. 

Wow that's already a lot to think about in that kind of a situation.  Isn't it?  When you call 911 simply tell them there has been a shooting.  Then call your lawyer if you have one.  If you don't have one what will you do?  Have you thought of this?  What will you do when the police are standing in front of you asking you why you shot this person?   What exactly  happened.  Who was standing where?  Who said what?  It will be fast forward on the police questioning and slow motion as the horror of what happened replays in your head.

The psychological effects can't be helped they will be the natural reaction to the trauma you just went through.  However the rest of the situation could be different.  You could have someone on your side without flopping down 5,000 dollars up front or even ever.  I didn't know this for a long time but there are actually policies that you can purchase to help protect you in a justified situation.  That's right.  It's like an insurance policy only better.  

USCCA (US Concealed Carry Association) has such a play they call it Defense Shield.  There are probably other in specific states.  I know Texas has a great one - Texas Law Shield.  I liked what I learned about them so much that I actually have their coverage.  Seriously for the price of 2 meals at McDonald's a month you could have protection to cover you in that "what-if" situation.  It will give you a peace of mind.  The price for one year of coverage for a CHL holder is $131.50.  How cheap is that for peace of mind.  They have an actual attorney available 24 hours a day for emergencies.  They also have a multi-state policy available for a couple of bucks extra a month.

I will be up front with you.  I offer Texas Law Shield packets to the people that attend my classes.  I do get paid a small sum if someone chooses to purchases one but that is not why I do it.  I want them to be aware that such a service is available because many people do not know that even if criminal charges are not pursued, civil suites may certainly follow.  Imagine that.  You can be found in the right by the criminal law and yet the law still allows the person or the family of the person that caused the trauma to you or your family to sue you civilly.  I know that is a whole topic on it's own.

After the conversation I had with the the DPS officer I was really worried about the what if.  I kept telling myself the chances I will ever have to pull my gun and then the chance that I will have to actually use it are super slim to none.  But I carry my gun everyday and I carry it everywhere I go.  I don't go where my gun can't go.  So those two small fact increase the chances that I may be one of the very few people that could end up needing it some day.  I will say in my defense that I am super vigilant about my surroundings and try to never put myself in the situation to be a victim but the fact is sometimes they just find you no matter how vigilant you are.

You can hope that it never happens to you but in reality we can not control what the scum of the earth chose to plague us with.  Do yourself a favor and do a little research into what it would take for you to get some coverage or put a retainer down with a lawyer.  Don't be caught unprotected or unaware.

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