Look through the news and you’ll find no shortage of these stories:
Well-meaning “good guys with guns” going to JAIL because they made bad decisions.
A lot of the time, there are some trends, some common problems, that lie behind what sends these shooters to jail.
These are people falling prey to myths and misinformation…
…and now, instead of protecting their families, their lives are essentially ruined.
Recently I spoke with my long-time friend Peyton Quinn about this issue.
Here is a summary of what he had to say to me about it.
3 Mistakes Well-Meaning Shooters Make… That Could Land Them in Jail!
You probably already know that you should understand the laws that govern use of force where you are.
But how well do you really know how that translates to what you can and cannot do to defend yourself?
How realistically are you training for shootings in the real world?
The first legal mistake we’ll cover, then, is the most important.
That’s because all other mistakes flow from it.
That mistake is a lack of realistic training.
Apart from the legal problems this make cause, it can also, of course, get you killed.
1. A Lack Of Realistic Training
Simply put, most people have not been realistically trained, if trained at all.
They don’t know what they don’t know.
They don’t understand the real way shooting incidents occur or how the criminal element thinks and operates.
This is compounded by not understanding the law, in terms of using lethal force, or actually any force.
Some people convict themselves at the very scene of the incident.
In other words, the cops arrive and they say, “What happened?”
The person is like the famous “hockey dad.”
The hockey dad had to fight a guy who had six felony convictions.
Of course, the jury can never hear that.
When the cop came, the cop said, “Hey, you outweigh that guy by 85 pounds.”
The hockey dad replied, “I wasn’t afraid of him and he wasn’t afraid of me.”
Well, right there, in saying that, there was no way back.
If he was not in fear of his life, or gross bodily injury, then he was not justified in using counter-force at all.
It’s a key concept to understand.
It’s also the same legal concept that ties right into why you can’t just display your gun to avoid trouble.
Because if you’re displaying your gun, then you are not eminently in fear of your life or gross bodily injury, or you’d have drawn the gun.
It’s crazy, but that’s the way the law works.
2. A Lack Of Use-Of-Force Training
A second very significant mistake that shooters is make is that they are fuzzy — at best — when it comes to knowing the law about the use of lethal force.
As a result, they can be sent to jail for just displaying their gun, even if they don’t fire it.
Because really, the legal standard for displaying your gun as a deterrent is just a hair’s breath away from the legal circumstances that exist to shoot.
So it’s not a one-size-fits-all or clear cut deal, and you’re going to be under high stress.
What I’m saying is also that common mistakes and ignorance of the law can send good people to jail.
Let me go another step here.
There are no cookie-cutter answers, but if you present your gun, I mean even pull your coat back to show you’ve got it in your waistband, well, that can be construed as felony menacing.
Some people will freak out.
They might even be bystanders, and not even the guy who’s accosting you.
Then you’re going to have to justify why you displayed the gun, or the DA is going to charge you with felony menacing or brandishing.
Then he’ll offer you a plea bargain, of course.
3. Square-Range Bad Habits
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes well-meaning shooters make is that they spend all of their training time at the “square range” shooting static paper targets.
You can’t even shoot and move on a firing range.
Most firing ranges won’t allow that.
Some don’t even let you draw from the holster and fire.
That’s understandable, for safety reasons.
You just stand there and try to make good groups.
Just standing there, however, could be fatal in a gunfight.
Most people train for the wrong things, and not the true skill set you need to know in real-world attacks.
To survive a gun fight, both during and after (in the court room), you’ve got to be realistically trained.
You’ve got to know the law and you’ve got to understand use-of-force issues.
You’ve also got to train in more than just a static environment so you’ll be able to stay alive in situations like those… and keep your head so you don’t make a mistake that sends you to prison.