The recent recounting by one of our student’s fight for his life with a gunman has reminded me of how very important it is to have substantive legal support in the event that you are forced to defend your life or property with a firearm.

Firearms are attractive to people for a number of reasons, most understand this truth intuitively if not consciously (as Samuel Colt once advertised) – God made all men, Sam Colt made them equal.

Today, the kind of equality Sam Colt spoke about is under attack. Don’t think of this as a political statement. Rather, think of this as reasonable minds contemplating the same Constitutional right in the context of today’s world with their own biases and world-views subtly skewing their thought processes. Some people, ignorant about handguns and how they work – citing statistics that fit their point of view – see guns as nothing but tools of destruction. Others see guns as insurance against the unthinkable.

In any case, the issue for today is what could happen when a legal owner of a registered firearm rightfully discharges his/her firearm in self-defense.

The truth is, nothing is cut and dry. Can you rightly use your weapon in self-defense and go to jail? You bet – everyday of the week.

If you shoot and kill someone, even in self-defense, you are in for a bumpy ride.

So it is vitally important to understand your rights as an American citizen in legal possession of a firearm. And it is, perhaps, more important to have qualified and capable legal advice should you ever have to brandish or discharge your weapon.

For this reason, I strongly recommend a legal defense program like CCW Safe or US Law Shield (known locally as Texas Law Shield)*. These companies are not legal defense firms, but membership programs which rely on a network of member attorneys across the country with expertise in firearms defense. For an annual fee both CCW Safe and US Law Shield provide an emergency hotline answered by an attorney 24/7, legal representation for both criminal and civil proceedings, and a host of other benefits.

US Law Shield, founded by attorneys in Texas, also offers a Law Enforcement Legal Defense Program to provide law enforcement officers with independent council in the event they face legal proceedings.

CCW Safe was founded by former police officers and attorneys. Two of the founders, Mike Darter and Stan Campbell, spent over 20 years each in law enforcement and have been victims of federal lawsuits themselves as a result of shooting and use of force incidents acting in official capacity as police officers. CCW’s basic package covers police, military and civilians in all use of force incidents (not limited to firearms).

Whether you are a private citizen or officer of the law, these services can protect your liberty and financial security, and are not influenced by the agendas of organizations with priorities other than protecting your legal rights.

Add this service to your Toolbox, and add piece of mind in the process. A responsible gun owner is prepared to defend him/herself both in the heat of an attack and within the justice system.

* NRA’s Second Call Defense, Patriot Legal Protection or USCCA (US Concealed Carry Association) Self-Defense SHIELD all offer member benefits that will cover legal fees if you are involved in a shooting.

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