From the November 2013 issue of GunNews.
by John Naese
Illinois has finally passed a carry law, and you (I hope) are busily getting your ducks in a row.
You’re obtaining or choosing a firearm; you’re getting a quality holster or other means of discreetly carrying; you’re getting the required training; and you’re thinking about where and when and how you should carry.
Should you get extra insurance?
First the disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, an insurance agent, nor am I being paid by the organization I’m about to recommend.
Even if you legally, ethically, and morally use your firearm to defend yourself or another innocent from harm, lots of things can go wrong. Witnesses can see things differently than you did; you will definitely be questioned by the police, and more than likely arrested, at least initially, until things get sorted out.
What if they don’t get sorted out?
A legal defense can cost thousands of dollars. You will need a lawyer immediately, not after spending a month in jail. I recommend a membership organization called the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. They can be found online at armedcitizensnetwork.com.
From their website: “The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. supports Network members in their interaction with the criminal justice system after an act of self defense. The Network also educates members about the legalities of using deadly force in self defense and what to expect from the criminal justice system after defending themselves.”
They publish a 24 page booklet that is available as a free download at their website, or you can have it mailed to you. You can often find copies of this book at Guns Save Life meetings as well. This booklet, “What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law” should be required reading if you intend to carry a gun for self defense, whether or not you join their organization.
By joining the organization, you also become eligible for immediate financial help should you be involved in a self-defense shooting. They will send a check immediately to your lawyer, up to $10,000, to immediately get your defense going, so you will be represented during questioning, and the lawyer can begin an independent investigation. If you don’t have an attorney picked out before such an incident occurs, for example if you’re travelling away from your home territory, the Network also has affiliated attorneys that they can recommend to you on short notice.
Membership in the Network can be had for $125 per year, and renewals are only $85. A small price to pay for the peace of mind you get, knowing that legal defense will be immediately accessible to you, for criminal or civil cases, arising from your justified use of deadly force. If you are a member, you will not be bankrupted by an overzealous prosecutor.
Besides membership in the above organization, I recommend that you choose a lawyer now, before you ever need them. Talk to one or more; pay for a consult if necessary, to discuss your possible defense, should you ever need to resort to your tool of last resort. Retired judges and prosecutors often are good choices, or they can recommend someone who has defended actual innocent clients, and has handled legitimate self-defense cases. Ask them if they have handled such cases, and know the law regarding them. Ask them for their personal cell phone number; if they won’t give it to you, find another lawyer who will. When you’re about to be arrested at 3 in the morning on a holiday weekend, you don’t want to wait around until Tuesday for the answering service to call you back.
One more thing you might consider is an umbrella policy as a rider to your homeowner’s insurance. These policies can typically provide you with a million dollars or more of extended coverage for a wide variety of things you might be sued for, such as using force to defend yourself. Ask your homeowner’s agent what might be available and what it might cost.
The only good thing about using a gun to defend your life is that you survive the encounter. Almost everything else that happens in such an occurrence is bad. But you can mitigate some of the risks by using these suggestions. Like any insurance, it’s best if it never has to be used. But when you need it, you need it very badly, so make sure you’ve done what you can to help you have the best outcome.