What to do if You Must Use a Firearm in Self Defense
From: MICHIGAN COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERS
Celebrating Twenty Years of
“Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” – 1996 – 2016
Frequently Asked Question
Occasionally we like to review what responsible gun owners should do in a self-defense situation. Most of us already know this. It is offered for the benefit of our new newsletter subscribers.
Q: What should I do if I ever need to use my gun in self-defense?
A: You should first be certain that the threat is removed before you lower your guard. Then, call 911 and say that there has been a shooting. Describe the immediate need for ambulance and police (and fire department if applicable). Tell the 911 operator where you are, how many people are wounded etc. Do not have your gun in your hand when police arrive unless you absolutely must hold someone at gun point. In either case, make sure that you describe yourself and your clothing. Fight the urge to start telling your story and stick to the relevant facts that the emergency responders need to do their jobs. Even if an individual was attacking you only moments before, once the threat is removed, you should do the responsible thing and promptly call 911 so that aid can be rendered. Remember that your goal is not to kill, but to protect yourself or others from a credible threat of death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape. If you effectively use your firearm, the death of the attacker(s) will probably be the result and a homicide investigation will be undertaken.
If possible, call 911 as the situation develops and create an audio record of any warnings that you give to your assailants such as “I have a gun, leave here now!” or words to that effect.
Since the expansion of the Castle Doctrine in Michigan, it is now far less likely that you will be arrested as a matter of routine. Whether you are arrested or not, there will be questions from police, whose job it is to determine what happened. Not surprisingly, I recommend that you exercise your 5th Amendment right to remain silent and also invoke your right to have counsel present during any questioning. You should answer basic questions asked in the interests of safety such as “Where is he?” “Where is the gun?” “What is your name?” “Are you hit?” etc., but I do not recommend that you discuss details until you’ve had a chance to reflect and calm down.
Even if you are not arrested, your gun and other items will probably be taken into custody as evidence. Eventually, your property will be returned to you. It should go without saying, but: do not, under any circumstances, tamper with evidence, or attempt to “stage” the scene in any way. As you are no doubt aware, any such efforts will probably be discovered and are likely to lead to disturbing questions about the legitimacy of any claims of self-defense.
If you are arrested, continue to exercise your right to remain silent until you have an opportunity to consult with a lawyer. I, personally, have family and very good friends who are law enforcement officers. I believe that most police officers are good people with tons of common sense. However, their role is not to be your advocate in these situations. Make sure that you have someone in your corner before engaging professionals in very serious conversations that could determine your future.
This information is provided by The Law Offices of Steven W. Dulan, PLC (www.stevenwdulan.com) This answer is intended as general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice for any specific situation or case. The facts of each case vary and you should consult an attorney whenever you have specific questions.
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“The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.” — Thomas Jefferson, June 5, 1824.