Across the internet, we hear a variety of opinions about what a concealed carrier needs to do directly after he uses his gun to defend his life. Law enforcement and legal experts may all have their own opinions based upon situations they’ve encountered or have advised others about. A lot will be predicated on state definitions of certain laws. However, in general, we find that a lot of gun owners and concealed carriers stay within the area of where they used their gun because they have a legitimate, moral desire to prove their innocence to police.
It’s something that’s been ingrained in a lot of people because, in vehicular accidents and incidents, leaving the scene of a crime is a crime.
However, defensive gun use is not like hitting someone’s car. In fact, the two have nothing in common other than life can be lost.
If you are attacked by someone, you have a moral and ethical imperative to defend yourself. This is made easier by a Second Amendment right that we naturally have as citizens. We can use a gun to protect ourselves. In a defensive gun use situation, the state has to prove its case that you were not justified in the use of deadly force against an aggressor. This means they must accrue evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt, to a jury, that you exercised deadly force against another person when your life was not threatened or at risk.
State law and prior court precedents will play a heavy role in that court decision. That’s not the focus on this article. And for the purposes of this and any future article you read about this type of subject matter, you should always defer to an attorney versed in the local laws of where you live and has a history of defending these types of cases. This is also why we usually recommend CCW insurance. We covered the exhaustive reasons for that in a separate article.
Subtracted from the act of you shooting and potentially killing another human being, you are defending your own life. Your life was placed in grave or imminent danger by the act of another person or persons. Your life doesn’t stop being in danger because you exercised deadly force. Even if you think you neutralized all your attackers or aggressors, you can’t be certain. As such, it may be necessary for the concealed carrier to retreat to a safe place. A safe place is a place that you deem the risk to your life is minimal in comparison to the place you just came from.
In a lot of news stories, we’ll see concealed carriers retreat to a nearby, well-lit convenience store or storefront until police arrive. There are witnesses there that can vouch for the concealed carrier’s presence. We’ve also seen, in other cases, where a concealed carrier retreats to his home or the home of a friend. This act is not ‘leaving the scene of a crime’. This is the act of a man, scared for his life, retreating to a place he has reason to believe poses little risk.
Once you are in a safe place — a place you deem poses less risk than the place you needed to exercise deadly force — contact your attorney and follow his instructions. In most cases, the attorney will then contact the police and give them pertinent details they need for their investigation. This may include a verbal or written statement by you, approved by your defense attorney, and even an appearance down at the police station. That’s fine. Your life is valuable enough where you deserve to be safe. But, this is also why, as a concealed carrier, you may feel the need to flee the scene where you exercised deadly force. So long as your first call is to your attorney once you have arrived at an appropriately safe location, you are not dodging responsibility for your actions. You are just making sure you are safe.
This website and its authors do not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.