While specific laws vary, it is generally accepted in every state in the U.S. that you have a right to defend yourself with lethal force. Whether you exercise this right legally is based on the "reasonable man" doctrine. In other words, would a reasonable person in the same situation be likely to use deadly force in self defense?
What is considered reasonable? Self defense expert Massad Ayoob says this: "Deadly force is justified only when undertaken to prevent imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent."
To make this easier to understand, most people look for three elements to determine whether the use of deadly force, such as a firearm, is justified.
The Three Elements: ABILITY – OPPORTUNITY – JEOPARDY
Did your attacker have the ability to cause death or grievous bodily harm? This usually means, did the attacker have a lethal weapon, such as a gun or knife.
Use of lethal force against an unarmed attacker may also be justified, such as when you are faced with multiple attackers or a single attacker who is causing you serious harm. However, as in the famous Trayvon Martin case, this can lead to a claim of "disparity of force" and make your defense more difficult.
Was your attacker close enough to carry out the attack? If the attacker was unarmed, he would have to be within arms length. If he had a weapon, he would have to be close enough to use the weapon against you. How close is close enough? It depends on the weapon, the circumstances, and what the jury or judge thinks about it.
Opportunity also means the attack must be here and now. Thinking that someone may harm you at a future date or at another place is not a legally acceptable justification for using lethal force.
Did the attacker intend to cause you harm? Was your life in jeopardy? Someone can have a gun and be standing right in front of you, such as a concealed weapons permit holder, but have no intention of causing harm. On the other hand, someone can run at you with a baseball bat screaming that they're going to kill you. In the first, there is probably no jeopardy. In the second, there probably is.
What it boils down do is this: Do you genuinely believe you are in mortal danger and is using a gun the only means of ending the threat? Assuming you don't initiate the conflict, you don't have a duty to retreat, and you honestly believe you are in grave danger, your use of a firearm may be justified.
law-abiding gun owners just
like you are forced to use a
firearm for self defense.
But for too many of these
innocent crime victims, the
aftermath of a self defense
shooting can be devastating.
You can be arrested, jailed,
sued, fired, and bankrupted,
even when you have legally
and justifiably used a gun in
Why take that risk?
Join Second Call Defense
today and enjoy peace of
mind knowing that fellow gun
owners will have your back
when it counts the most.
Citizens Tactical Unit ~ Firearms Training Academy has you
fully covered during the most trying time of life -
When you are forced to
***CTU*** Will Prepare you in the selection of your firearm
***CTU*** Will Train you to be proficient in your selection of firearm
***CTU*** Will Educate you in firearms laws
***CTU*** Will be there for you when you need us the most
***There Is No Substitute For Experience***
If you use a firearm in self defense, your first call should be to 911 to request an ambulance and law enforcement. Your second call should be to Second Call Defense.
As a member, you'll have immediate access to emergency resources and protection after you use a firearm in self defense. Available benefits include ...Insurance Protection - backed by the NRA Endorsed Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC
- Up to $1 MILLION Civil Suit Defense Protection - plus UNLIMITED Protection at the Ultimate Level
- Up to $250,000 Civil Suit Damages Protection
- Up to $250,000 Accidental Shooting Protection
- Up to $50,000 Criminal Defense Reimbursement
Financial Support - up-front money, no out-of-pocket costs, nothing to repay
- Up to $25,000 Immediate Cash for a Bond up to $250,000
- Up to $10,000 Immediate Attorney Retainer
- Up to $500/day Compensation While in Court
Rapid Response Team - immediate real-time assistance by legal defense experts
- 24/7 Emergency Legal Hotline
- Personal Crisis Manager
- Nationwide Attorney Network Access
- Local Attorney Referral within 24 Hours
- Emergency Contact Notification
- Expert Witness Coordination
- Gun Retrieval or Replacement
- Up to 40 Sessions of Psychological Support
- SHTF On-Site Assistance
Training & Education - expert information on legally exercising your Second Amendment rights
- Member Newsletter
- Self Defense News
- Online Classes
- Invitations to On-Site Training
Immediate, real-time protection after you pull the trigger
- No out-of-pocket costs. You get up-front money for retainer, bond, and more right when you need it.
- Good in all 50 states and U.S. Territories anywhere and everywhere it’s legal to have a gun, even when you’re traveling or on vacation.
- Covers all legal firearms, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
- Covers off-duty law enforcement and military.
- No concealed carry license needed to join.
- Convenient month-to-month membership. No long-term commitment. No big advance payment. Change or cancel your membership anytime.
Choose a membership level that's right for you and JOIN TODAY!
Here are answers to common questions about Second Call Defense
What are the risks of not having legal and financial protection?
You can be arrested for murder and bankrupted by legal fees. You can lose your home, savings, and personal property in a civil case. You can lose your job. You could spend years in jail. Without a proper legal defense and the money to pay for it, you could literally lose everything.
Why would I be in trouble for protecting myself?
It happens all the time. Self defense is not always black and white and not everyone understands the reality of self defense. For example, what if you shoot an attacker, and the moment you pull the trigger, he turns so that a bullet goes into his back? What if you're being beaten by three teenagers, you shoot, and one shot kills a 14-year old? What if an anti-gun prosecutor hopes to get publicity for convicting you?
Won't a public defender keep me out of jail?
Public defenders are usually competent and honorable people. But they don't always understand firearms or the use of lethal force in self defense. And their resources and time are very limited, which means even with the best of intentions, they can't provide the robust defense you may need. Something else to consider: the money available for a public defender comes from the State, the same State that is prosecuting you!
Will my homeowners policy protect me?
No. Most homeowners policies specifically exclude coverage for injury or damage intentionally caused by the insured. If your policy includes a "reasonable force" exception, you may have a certain amount of liability coverage, but the law prevents an insurance company from offering coverage for any illegal activity. In other words, you are considered the defendant and ineligible for any insurance coverage until you prove your innocence using the affirmative defense of self defense.
I have an "umbrella" liability policy. Is that enough protection?
No. It is against the law for any insurance company to insure you against illegal actions you may commit. If you are charged with a crime, your umbrella policy will not protect you. An umbrella policy may provide coverage for civil liability, but since civil suits generally follow criminal suits, you are unlikely to be covered.
My state has Castle Doctrine, so can I be charged with a crime?
In any shooting, you can be charged with a crime depending on the specifics of the case. Castle Doctrine protects the right of self defense in your home, but does not protect you from arrest and prosecution if authorities decide you did something wrong. Likewise, "no retreat" or "stand your ground" laws do little more than eliminate the requirement for you to prove you could not safely retreat before using your firearm.
What sort of firearms are covered?
All of them, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns of all makes, models, and calibers. If it's classified as a "firearm" and it's legal to own, your membership covers you should you be forced to use it in legitimate self defense.
Does membership cover knives or other weapons?
No. We wanted to cover all weapons, but it proved to be impossible due to the infinite number of possibilities. Because legal problems for law-abiding citizens who defend themselves are generally related to guns, Second Call Defense has been designed to deal with firearms only.
The 5 Stages of Violent Crime
Most people see violence as a random event. But actually, violent acts, and crimes in general, follow a fairly regular process.
Since the ultimate form of self defense is avoiding a fight altogether, understanding the crime process and spotting the signs of potential violence can help you stay safe.
There are different ways to describe the process of violent crime, but one of the most popular was developed by Marc MacYoung. It is used by the police and military as well as firearm and self defense instructors.
This process is divided into 5 stages. The first 3 stages are where criminals "set up" the crime, which is where awareness can help you avoid a violent encounter. The last 2 stages involve the physical attack, which is where self defense techniques come into play.
- Stage 1: Intent
- Stage 2: Interview
- Stage 3: Positioning
- Stage 4: Attack
- Stage 5: Reaction
Let's take a brief look at each of these stages.
Stage 1: Intent
When a criminal commits a violent act, it is always a voluntary choice. Except for those who suffer from a sever mental illness, people don't just snap and suddenly start waving a knife at you. Even when a criminal appears to act on the spur of the moment, the act itself is always planned on some level, consciously or subconsciously.
In addition, there is always some level of mental and physical preparation. It may be putting on a loose sweatshirt to hide a weapon, a decision to take money from someone who appears an easy target, or just a wish to take out frustrations on someone because the criminal is having a bad day.
In most cases, this preparation creates "tells" that broadcast the intent. It could be obvious, such as keeping one or both hands hidden to grasp a weapon, or it could be very subtle, such as slightly more rapid breathing or eyes scanning people as they walk by.
It's important to be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut when it tells you that something doesn't look or feel right about a person or situation.
Stage 2: Interview
The interview is a test to assess whether you're a good victim. It's called an "interview" because in many cases, it's actually verbal communication with you.
For example, the criminal might ask you a question, such as "Hey man, you got the time?" or "Can you spare a couple dollars?" How you respond provides a lot of information. How firm or weak is your voice? Do you make direct eye contact or do you look at the ground? Does your body language suggest assurance or fear? Do you look strong or weak?
The criminal is looking for someone who will provide little or no resistance and poses no threat. Even if there is no verbal communication, you could be telegraphing what sort of victim you might be just by how you're dressed, how you walk, your size and posture, and your level of awareness.
You don't have to be a 6' 5" Navy Seal with bulging muscles and a steely gaze to deter criminals and "fail" the interview. But you're less likely to be chosen if you appear to be in good health, self assured, and aware of your surroundings.
Stage 3: Positioning
Assuming the criminal has the intent to commit a violent act and has identified one or more potential victims, the next stage is to get into a position to launch the attack.
While you might think of criminals as morons, and in most cases you'd be pretty close to the truth, never underestimate the "street smarts" of those who routinely commit violent acts. Tactical positioning is something they understand and you probably don't, which gives them a big advantage.
Positioning involves several elements, including how close the criminal can get to you before you realize what's happening, whether you have an escape route, how many people are nearby who might render aid or call the police, etc. What the criminal is aiming for is to get up close and surprise you at a moment when you can't easily escape or effectively resist. He doesn't want a fight. He wants to overwhelm you.
Stage 4: Attack
At this stage, the criminal has chosen you as a victim and has made the decision to get what he wants from you. This could be a verbal attack or a physical attack or a combination.
For example, the criminal may yell at you aggressively to hand over your wallet. Or the criminal may throw a sucker punch to disorient you and gain immediate compliance for surrendering your wallet. Or the criminal may draw a knife threatening to stab you unless you give him your wallet. You'll never know what kind of attack is coming until it happens.
In the first 3 stages, you have a chance to avoid the conflict. But once you are the victim of an attack, you must focus on self defense and make a fast decision about how you will respond. Your response options range from trying to run away to drawing a weapon to stop the attack. Since every situation is different, only you can make this decision.
Plus, if you're properly aware of what is going on, you should be assessing the criminal just as he is assessing you up to the point of the attack. How much of a threat is he? Do you have reason to believe he is armed? Is he alone or does he have help nearby? How committed is he to doing you harm?
Stage 5: Reaction
This stage is about how the criminal reacts to the attack and to your response. Does he get a thrill from the attack? Does he escalate his violence when you resist? Does he retreat when he gets what he wants or does he want to prolong the situation?
Just as you won't know what sort of attack is coming, you won't know how the criminal will react once the attack is launched. You can't know what is going on in someone else's head, so this is where a simple mugging could turn into a murder or rape. You need to be prepared to respond effectively to both the attack and to how the attack develops.
By training with Citizens Tactical Unit we will examine some of these stages in greater depth. For now, just realize that crime is a process and is almost never random. As a crime is developing, you have a chance to spot the signals and avoid the violence. This is always your goal: to win the fight by seeing it before it happens and avoiding it before it starts.