We love to hear stories about good guys with guns saving the day. Sure, we’d all prefer that not be necessary, but we’re realists. Bad guys do exist, and without intervening force, they do a lot of harm in this world. So, when an everyday citizen steps up and saves lives, we celebrate that heroism.
Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to some of these stories. In more cases than you might want to know, the good guys with the guns still end up in jail. It’s not because they were secret murderers all along. Instead, there are a number of ways the good guys can get a bad deal. These five ways represent the greatest danger to anyone who carries a firearm and has the will to use it.
It’s pretty simple. If someone is bad enough that they can force you to use a gun, there’s a good chance they’ll lie about what happened. Without strong evidence, this turns into a he-said-she-said situation.
That’s not good for anyone, especially if things go to trial. Juries can be swayed by emotional testimony or sympathize with the person who was shot more than the person who did the shooting.
Your best defense against this scenario is to back up your claims with solid evidence and have a good lawyer. As soon as it’s safe, call the cops, take pictures and verify that witnesses are willing to tell the truth.
On the flip side, you often don’t need anyone to lie to get you into trouble. Gun laws are beyond convoluted in this country. What’s legal in one state isn’t in another. Even worse, federal law can conflict with state law on federal land or property.
Even if your shooting is clearly a matter of self-defense, you can get into trouble if you aren’t legally allowed to carry on a particular premises.
Make sure you know your local, state and federal laws. Otherwise, an accidental infraction is only a matter of time, and unlike offenses involving drugs or border crossings, there is no forgiveness for having a gun when you aren’t supposed to.
You aren’t the only one who might get the law wrong. While we respect law enforcement for doing a difficult and dangerous job, they’re still people. As such, they are prone to mistakes. It’s not entirely uncommon for police to arrest people on incorrect or even nonexistent charges. If that happens, you could end up in trouble even though you didn’t break any laws.
Once again, the best way to protect yourself is to know the law and have a lawyer ready. If you haven’t taken notice, having legal counsel on retainer — which is usually provided by carry insurance — is important if you’re going to have a firearm handy.
A Bad Court
You just read about how juries sympathize with victims. That’s not the only way the judicial system lets people down. There are many places within the system where a single bad egg could ruin your life. An anti-gun judge could bend or break the rules just to go after you. A prosecutor might support an ignorant police officer for the sake of their working relationship.
If you live in a deep blue state, they’ll try to hang you just for uttering the phrase “Second Amendment.” In all seriousness, our system doesn’t always get things right, and a bad day in court can fail you even when you’re in the right.
You Messed Up
The final way for a good guy to go to jail is entirely his own fault. We’ve all read stories about retired cops or other concealed carry holders pulling when they shouldn’t. It’s a nightmare scenario, but it happens to people — many of whom have been genuinely good people their whole lives.
There’s a reason that every certification class emphasizes de-escalation. You have to know how to handle yourself before you can handle a firearm. Don’t carry until and unless you’re sure you can face intense situations without being the problem.
It today’s America, carrying a firearm (open or concealed) can feel like walking through a minefield. Liberals have placed plenty of obstacles in our way, and make no mistake; they are looking for any excuse they can find to lock us up.
Still, that’s not a reason to give up, and it’s not a reason to disarm. You can safely carry if you do your due diligence. Learn the laws. Train with your weapon. Know how to de-escalate. When you do it right, you’ll avoid the greatest legal risks, and you’ll be one more good guy out their protecting our country.