By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
If you’re going to have a gun in the home, or carry in a gun holster for defense of yourself, then you had better be prepared for what happens AFTER the shot. Some people have fantasies in their head about how they shall nobly shooteth the bad man, be feted by the press, get a garland of roses, a victory parade and many other accolades.
If you think anything remotely close to that is going to happen, stop now.
First you call the police and tell them there’s been a shooting. Then, call a lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, you should at least be aware of whom might be called upon as a self-defense lawyer should you need one – though it’s not like you’re going to be able to find a “self-defense lawyer” in the yellow pages. The traffic laws of any given state are complicated enough; the subtleties of a shooting are much more complex.
How do you find one then?
There are a few different ways to get access to a self-defense lawyer if you don’t have one on retainer already. First is to purchase concealed carry or self-defense insurance that includes legal services as part of the coverage. Just like with car insurance, you call if you have an incident and need assistance.
Such services vary in how they work. Some products are essentially a legal subscription service, and your premiums buy you access to a network of lawyers on retainer for the “insurance” company. If you need services, you call the national hotline and they put you in touch with the nearest lawyer or office that they have on retainer. Other self-defense insurance products leave it to you to find a lawyer, but they will cover the costs should you need one.
However, if you don’t have CCW insurance, there are also some ways to find a self-defense attorney on your own, should you need one. Again, it isn’t as simple as cracking open the yellow pages and seeing what “self-defense lawyers” are listed because there won’t be any.
One way is look at the website of or call your state’s bar association. Bar associations will typically have directories where you can look up lawyers by location and by specialty, so you can find who is in your area and possibly who has the expertise you need in order to defend yourself in court.
Naturally, criminal defense is going to be the main area of expertise you’ll want to look for, but pay special attention to those attorneys that have experience in firearms law. These attorneys may have more knowledge about the laws pertaining to judicially excusable use of firearms than general criminal law practitioners.
Another top tip? Search for any self-defense cases in your area and especially those cases where the defense was successful. (Naturally!) See if the attorney’s name is mentioned. If so, then that may be the lawyer to hire. If you can’t find any in Google, try Lexis-Nexis or check to see if there are any law libraries in your area. Someone there may be able to point you in the right direction.
Another good resource is the NRA-ILA. The National Rifle Association keeps a database of attorneys that deal in self-defense cases and specifically in self-defense cases involving the use of firearms. The NRA happens to also offer self-defense insurance, in case you’re curious. They should be able to tell you who they are aware of in the area. They may not be aware of every self-defense lawyer in the vicinity, but they should know of a few that can help.
What you should look for specifically is experience and success, meaning a self-defense lawyer that has tried a self defense case and won. An attorney who has also successfully defended a client against a civil wrongful death case as well as a criminal self defense case is even better, as more than one person has been acquitted in criminal court only to face ruin in civil court for defending themselves.
As far as price…you don’t want to compromise your defense for the sake of a few dollars. Most attorneys are willing to work out a payment plan and it’s better to cut a check every month for the rest of your life than spend the rest of your life in a cell.
Here are some suggestions:
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.