Know the Law

On the gun forums I use, and the one I moderate, there are continually postings that show the person making statements, or asking questions, is not familiar with the law that governs concealed carry and use of a weapon in their state. Unfortunately, states vary in their requirements for gun owners - perhaps someday this will become uniform, but I 'm not holding my breath. One one forum recently a poster stated that if a person who was in a self-defense situation and had to shoot someone, killed them and had to aim to do so, would be liable for a murder charge.

Seriously.

This, of course, engendered a bunch of back and forth on the forum, much of it heated and most of it uninformed, although not as bad as the original poster's bad information. Such incidents are best judged upon their merits, or lack thereof, and speculations about such a vague notion are merely that - speculations. However, there is a lesson here.

Know the laws of the states in which you will be carrying. Don't depend on internet chatter or advice. Every state now has its statutes online so getting to the real thing and reading them is no big trick. It is best to be informed and know your responsibilities beforehand so that you can stand a better chance of making a good decision if you have to.

One example. You are leaving your local supermarket with groceries when, in the parking lot two rows away, a nutcase starts shooting at people at random. You have an excellent opportunity to duck into your car and leave the scene. You are not in immediate danger of lethal harm. But, other people who are manifestly innocent (ordinary women, men, children) are. If you take care of yourself and leave you have not gotten involved hence are not legally liable, but, on the other hand, if you are legally armed for self defense, are you morally and ethically liable to come to the defense of innocent people? And, if you do so, what kind of legal liabilities and protections do you have?

I think it is best to know about, and consider such possibilities beforehand. In instances where these kinds of factors may come into play, there is no time for consideration of potential legal and moral questions. There is only time to act. It's best to know what you should do before you have to do it.

There are classes that discuss these kinds of issues and questions. I highly recommend them to you. You'll find my report on one such class in this blog - aftermath of defensive shootings. See what is available in your area. Considering the consequences, it will be both inexpensive and vital if you carry a handgun for self defense.