These days there is insurance for everything. Insurance for your home, care, health and so on. But how about insurance for the defensive use of deadly force?
Every shooting, whether defensive in nature or not, goes to a grand jury. When law enforcement officers are involved in a deadly use of force, they generally retain legal counsel. Civilians should follow suit. This is because the legal system can be tricky to navigate; what you say will be used against you. The problem is that the legal costs can run into the tens of thousands. Not only do you have to defend yourself against criminal charges (proving that the legal requirements to use deadly force were met), but you may also face civil charges if the family of the deceased decides to sue.
So the question is, “If you are involved in a defensive use of deadly force, how will you clear your name?” There are opt-in legal protection programs that will ensure that you get the legal representation you need should you be involved in an incident. In fact, there are several of these programs. When deciding on a program (and we do advise that gunowners should opt in to a program), there are several key factors to consider to ensure you get the most value for your money.
Look for these key points when researching a firearms legal defense program:
Note: The laws concerning the deadly use of force vary from state to state. Research will be required to determine how the defensive use of force is handled in your state and which program will be best for your needs.
More particularly, you should look at the costs versus the benefits. Each of the legal defense programs offer different coverage and have a different process for how situations are handled (more on that later). Many of the programs also offer subscription tiers. For a bit more money, you may gain access to some helpful benefits.
Many services offer the option of spousal and dependent coverage. Usually for an additional cost, your children and spouse can have access to the same coverage and benefits. Not every provider offers this benefit. If you know that your children and/or spouse also carries, this is a useful benefit.
This is a very important consideration because you don’t want to wait very long after an incident has occurred before your legal representation gets involved. Some programs will route you through an answering service when you call and others offer a direct line to an attorney. Some may designate a period of time from when you call till when an attorney is assigned to your case. Keep in mind that the longer the response time, the longer you may have to delay giving a statement, which may mean waiting in detainment.
It is beneficial to know exactly what is being offered through your firearms legal defense program. Many times, a person involved in a defensive shooting may face both criminal and civil charges. Will the financial limits of a program be able to cover both? And will it also cover appeals if the outcome is unfavorable?
How Does the Program Cover Costs?
Pay close attention to how a program proposes to cover your legal costs. Some merely offer reimbursement which means you may have to pay thousands up front. Others boast no out-of-pocket expenses up to the program’s limits.
Each program has its own unique offerings. Some additional benefits to look for include:
- Coverage for use of force and weapons in addition to firearms
- Costs covered for psychological counseling
- Payment for court days (lost wages)
- Preassigned attorneys as opposed to attorneys that are assigned on a case by case basis
- Out of state coverage
That wraps up our list for what to look for in a firearms legal defense program. Remember that conducting your own research into these programs and their benefits can go a long way. You never know when you may have to defend yourself and your family. After you have successfully defended yourself, these programs can help you defend your freedom and your finances.