You will almost certainly deal with the police after a defensive gun use. They will in all likelihood respond to the scene of the shooting, and they will treat it as a crime scene. They will treat you as a criminal suspect, until and unless they determine differently.
You will likely be handcuffed, you may spend a night (or more!) in jail, and you will most definitely need to explain and defend your actions to the criminal justice system: the police, prosecutors, and possibly a jury of your peers. How well you do that, and the resources you may or may not have at your disposal to help you through that process, will have a huge impact on the rest of your life.
Even the most justifiable shootings can be cast in a bad light by sloppy police work, anti-gun prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves by hanging your scalp on their belt, or by you yourself if you cannot convincingly articulate why you resorted to deadly force at that place and time. If the police or prosecutor decides criminal charges against you are appropriate, you must defend those charges.
Even a losing criminal defense is expensive, and even bad lawyers don’t work cheap! The usual rule of thumb for a criminal defense is $100,000 and it can be much more, depending on the nature and complexity of your case. While a defense of criminal charges may not be necessary in your case, it may well be, too. These things can never be predicted in advance, but they must be thoroughly considered before you decide to carry a gun concealed for self-defense and in advance of your pulling the trigger.
Assuming you survive the gunfight and your encounter with the criminal justice system, the criminal or his surviving family may sue you for using a gun to defend yourself! As a lawyer once told me while I was interviewing him about defensive gun uses in general, “If you shoot someone, you WILL get sued!”
If you are sued, you must defend the suit, or you lose by default.
The standard of proof required to win a civil suit is not beyond a reasonable doubt, like it is in a criminal trial. No! It’s by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard. That means even if you survive the criminal trial unscathed, you could still lose the lawsuit.
The full legal aftermath of a defensive gun use, with its range of possibilities and how to prepare for them, is beyond the scope of this article, which focuses on get- ting a concealed carry permit; but it is something you must consider, and consider well, as you think through and decide whether carrying a concealed weapon is for you.
In Civil court, even after you have been successful in criminal court you can still be made to feel guilty. The Self-Defense SHIELD will be there to protect you one step further. The USCCA carries the policy with each of the members the beneficiary. This means that a lawyer will be provided for you to defend your good name and your livelihood.
The United States Concealed Carry Association does not want to see you become a victim of the courts after you have made the decision to protect the ones you love. The USCCA has developed an insurance backed benefit (Self Defense SHIELD) that is set up to help you after a self-defense incident has occurred. Depending on your level of membership, the Self-Defense SHIELD will help you to hire an experienced attorney who will work hard to protect you. You can see more about it at