Like most everyone else, I drive a car and I have car insurance. Likewise, I own a home and so I carry homeowners insurance. We have health insurance . . . and on and on. Fortunately, at one point I came in contact with an organization that provides financial assistance with attorney fees to those who carry firearms for self defense, should the need arise to “lawyer up.” That organization is the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. The money for the legal defense of Network members is drawn from a legal defense fund. While not technically “insurance,” legal assistance is available from the Network.
I attended a fighting pistol class one year which was extremely educational and fun. At the end of the class, the instructor gave a talk about the merits of having a service of this type available to us. I came home from the class, looked up the web site and joined the network.
Let’s say you were just involved in a justified self-defense shooting; what would you do immediately afterwards? There is a proper procedure for this which includes a lawyer. You provide the police with minimal information and ask to have your attorney present when you make your statement of what transpired. You need the guidance of a lawyer when you make your statement so you do not use incorrect terminology or misspeak. You also want a lawyer that does this type of representation on a regular basis. You don’t want to go to jail because you misspoke and got yourself in trouble. Also, there is a very good chance you will end up in a civil lawsuit, even if you were not charged criminally. This is another instance where the Network comes in.
In the aftermath of a self-defense shooting — before making a statement — you will call the Network, explain to them that you were involved in a justified self-defense shooting, and volunteer no other details. The Network suggests you have a local attorney actually represent you, one whom you know and trust and are already acquainted with. The Network can also give you names of attorneys you might use if you don’t already have a relationship with one. The Network then forwards a retainer check to your attorney to start your defense. So, you make one call and wait. You are still not talking to police, just waiting for your attorney, okay?
When I received my membership package, it came with no fewer than eight DVDs containing full-length lectures presenting instruction on what constitutes a justifiable use of a firearm, what to expect after employing one, and how best to interact with the criminal justice system. I was astonished at how much I learned watching the videos; they were very informative.
Google “Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.” and visit their web site. In a nutshell, the following is what you receive for your yearly membership fee, which is quite reasonable. I have simply cut-and-pasted the following from their site:
Attorney and legal expenses paid after a self-defense incident, including:
Fee deposit paid to your attorney immediately after self defense for representation during questioning and other vital defense services.
Grants of further funding for legal defense expenses after justifiable self defense if criminally charged or sued in civil court.
Education: 8 full-length lectures on DVD so you know what’s justifiable, what to expect and how to best interact with the criminal justice system.
Guidance from our Advisory Board comprised of the recognized leaders in self-defense training: Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, James Fleming, Tom Givens, Emanuel Kapelsohn and Dennis Tueller, led by Network President Marty Hayes.
Access to a growing nationwide network of attorneys and legal experts. Monthly education and updates through our on line journal.
I have found the online journal to be fascinating — every month I add to my arsenal of knowledge about self-defense and concealed carry.
Pennsylvania does not require concealed carry permit holders to take a class or, for that matter, to even educate themselves at all. I will say I am still dismayed by this. This should not preclude you from seeking a class and educating yourself about the legal side of carrying a concealed weapon. Here is my suggested method of preparing yourself to carry a gun.
Take the NRA pistol class, which covers mostly firearm safety and includes some actual live fire.
Contact a school that teaches concealed carry classes. Many states require you to take a class like this before they will issue you a permit to carry.
Purchase an appropriate handgun and holster for carry use.
Join one of the local clubs and train so that you become familiar with your weapon and proficient in handling and shooting it.
Join Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.
Now apply for your carry permit. Someday you will be glad you took the extra steps to educate yourself and associate with a Network of legal allies.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. other than being a member. I am, however, friends with one of the company’s board members, Massad Ayoob. Massad is a world-renowned teacher, writer, and expert witness, just to mention a few of his credits. I have written about this service because I believe they are the best at what they do.