A Quick Note: I’m not a lawyer, this isn’t legal advice—just a list of considerations and ideas. Please use them as such.
When reading and researching personal protection, it’s easy to get caught up in guns, knives, holsters, and similar items. They’re both important and—let’s face it, fun. Many of us started as recreational shooters before we got into CCW, and a love of firearms comes with the territory. The problem is that this devotion can lead us to neglect other important aspects of self defense. Toward that end, let’s talk about the role of first aid in CCW and personal protection.
First things first—everyone needs first aid training. You, your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, everyone. It’s easy to find a basic first aid class near you, and I encourage you to do so. While you’ll learn a lot in any good first aid course, we have to remember that firearms and CCW present their own unique risks. Some excellent work has been written about building a first aid kit for your trips to the shooting range, and all shooters should check that out and plan accordingly. But just as you’re unlikely to carry your full range bag as part of your CCW/EDC, it’s not realistic to carry a full sized trauma kit. Even a smaller belt kit might not be feasible if you’re in a white collar setting. However, having it nearby—in your car, your briefcase, your desk, your purse, etc—is a necessity. And having some minimal trauma supplies on your person may be advisable.
But why do you need this stuff? While firearms accidents are relatively unlikely with regular CCW, if you ever need to draw your weapon it will be because something has gone horribly wrong. A bad guy is committing or threatening an act of serious violence; people may already be wounded. You yourself may get hurt, depending on how things unfold. In the aftermath of the incident, the ability to render timely and effective first aid may be what beats the Reaper, and the life you save may be your own. So gear up, train to deal with trauma, and keep those skills sharp. Just like shooting, they’re perishable.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the bad guy.
There’s a lot of debate about how to deal with the criminal in the wake of a self defense shooting. To my mind, we are each bound by our own moral compass, and as such I can’t dictate or question your individual ethics when it comes to rendering aid to the bad guy you just shot. Speaking for myself, I’m not sure what I’ll ultimately do if that dark day ever comes. I would suggest that, while discussing CCW issues with your lawyer, you get some advice about your state’s Good Samaritan laws and the implications for self-defense shooting. In addition to the legal considerations, giving first aid treatment to the downed baddie potentially puts you and everyone around you at risk such that some self defense experts discourage the practice. Again, a lot will depend on your own personal morality and the situation at hand, but taking some time to think things through in advance will make a big difference if you’re faced with that scenario.
Let’s hope you never need to make that choice. Be safe out there.