I carry an expensive Wilson Combat X-TAC Compact 1911. I do so because I have more confidence shooting the Wilson than any other pistol I own (or have tried) and it conceals better than any other pistol I own. A regular argument against carrying an expensive gun: the cops will confiscate the weapon after a defensive gun use. And? Once the job’s finished, I’ll deal with the loss. More importantly, I’m ready to tool-up with another trustworthy pistol. Because God knows I may need it. As does the El Cerrito homeowner above, whose post-DGU story below [via sanfancisco.cbs.com] is instructive . . .

A family member of a burglary suspect shot by an elderly El Cerrito homeowner showed up at the man’s door to confront him after the shooting.

The burglary suspect was shot in the head after he and an accomplice kicked in a back door to the man’s Cutting Boulevard home late Wednesday morning.

He was still able to run away but police caught up with him about 15 blocks from the home – with the bullet lodged in his head.

The suspect, 34-year-old Shawn Mulberry from Oakland, was hospitalized in stable condition. A second suspect got away unhurt.

The homeowner, identified only as “Harry” was later visited by on his front doorstep by a relative of Mulberry’s, according to police.

“It’s an intimidation of a witness,” said neighbor Neil Swendsen. “That’s all it is, pure and simple.”

The confrontation led police to station an officer at his home.

Shooting people pisses them off. Not just right then and there, but forever. And not just them (should they survive). Their friends, family and what we’ll euphemistically call their business associates. While your DGU will [hopefully] be fully justifiable for you and the legal system, the bad guy(s)’ acquaintances are likely to disagree. Perhaps violently.

We’ve talked before about the need to scan for threats in the immediate aftermath of a defensive gun use. I can’t stress enough the importance of remaining hyper-vigilant, not to mention the possibility of leaving the scene entirely – as you are legally allowed to do if your safety is at risk. Remembering to call the cops ASAP.

This is different.

If you divide potential attackers into three groups – opportunistic criminals, professionals and crazies – a post-DGU attacker could fall into both of the latter categories. That’s an ambush of not good. Professionals know when, where and how to attack. Crazies can be incredibly patient and psychotically violent. Combine those two characteristics and you’d be forgiven for watching your back for years to come after an incident. As well you should.

Take steps to protect yourself. Make friends with a police officer or prosecutor familiar with your DGU and gather information about your attacker – whether he’s assumed room temperature or not. If he’s incarcerated, keep tabs on his release date; a grudge nurtured in prison is a bad, bad thing. But above all, raise your situational awareness as high as it can go. Recruit neighbors as watchdogs. Change your travel patterns. Increase security. Don’t let your guard down.

Sad to say, a DGU can be the beginning of a nightmare, rather than the end. Keep calm and stay armed. No matter what. [h/t SH]

49 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Stay Armed, Vigilant After A Defensive Gun Use

  1. I would rather have two 600 dollar guns than one 1200 dollar gun. El cerrito is in CA. If the cops take your one and only pistol after a dgu you have a 10 day wait if you can afford a replacement.

    I have more firearms than I can use. But I still keep one handgun and amo stashed that I can retrieve even if all my guns are taken.

    But a lot of people only own one gun for defense. Better to have at least 2.

  2. Yep. After I stopped a gang banger from kidnapping and killing his girl friend, I carried two full sized pistols, a pocket .380 AND kept an under folder AK-47 near by in a back pack with me at all times for the next 6 months until the cops decided not to press charges.

    Now I just carry one full sized pistol and a pocket .380. Along with a knife, of course.

    But that’s why I don’t question someone if they carry more guns like the Rabbi. Their experience as to the level of threat might require a greater ability to send bullets down range than most of us experience.

  3. I suspect in California that after a defensive gun use the police will confiscate ALL of your weapons and not allow you to replace any while awaiting trial. Or ever.

    • The only way they could prevent you from buying replacements is to put you into the NICS system, which I don’t think they legally can unless they charge you with something. As for as taking all of them? Not without a court order, the only reason to take the one you used in a DGU is as evidence, none of the others are. “Oh, that one? I took that out into the Nevada desert one weekend and due to bad ammo I had a kaboom. Thankfully I only suffered minor bruising and did not require medical attention but the gun was totally destroyed”.

      Any lawyers care to comment?

      • It depends. Circumstances vary widely. There’s a big difference between what *should* happen and what *does* happen – particularly in CA.

    • It doesn’t take *any* gun use. San Jose CA PD confiscated all weapons in a gun safe owned by a wife whose’s husband was placed in a 72 hour psych hold. Husband does not have have combination, nor was psych hold related to anything gun related.

      See http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Jose-Woman-Sues-City-Police-for-Access-to-Her-Guns-322466031.html

      My inclination would be decline to turn over or answer questions about my firearm’s location after shooting a burglar until a warrant was served. Advice from those with CA law expertise?

      BTW, my neighbor emailed me earlier today that she was awakened at 3:00AM by motion sensor lights. A white man entered her backyard and she caught him peering through her bedroom window. Screams scared him off. Her boyfriend & I shoot at the same range; assume he keeps something at home.

    • Repeat after me: “I do not want to be shot”

      Being shot smarts, and it’s no fun. If you are lucky, you are shot with .25 or something and it’s tissue damage. If you’re not lucky, it’s not. Only 1 in 6 pistol shootings is fatal, but what isn’t talked about as much is that 1 in 6 usually isn’t survivable even if you are shot in the ER.

    • Back in the late 70’s / early 80’s, somebody robbed a bank with a .25 and a young eager LEO managed to get there just in the nick of time, they met at the door as the perp was leaving and the cop was arriving. The perp put one in the cop’s forehead and ran away. It either stunned the cop or knocked him out for a while but didn’t penetrate the skull after going through his trooper hat. Lucky for him the perp didn’t have a .22LR.

  4. Let them take it, its the least of ones worries to lose a 1500-3000 gun.

    Defense attorney might cost you easy 50k-100k, you might need to move etc.

    No biggie, you just carry a $500 glock, used sig, sw mp, xd etc.

    Losing a 2k gun to evidence locker is cheaper than a medical insurance deductible and losing two weeks wages and thats if you have a $500 deductible and make as very modest wage.

  5. I have asked many times, and I have never heard any answer, much less a satisfactory one. If someone is involved in a defensive gun use in their own home against an intruder, particularly in states (such as California) where it is presumed that the occupant/owner is acting in self-defense, why on earth wold the police confiscate the homeowner’s firearm. It is NOT evidence of a crime, and if the homeowner says, he broke into my house and I shot him, then it is not even relevant to any police inquiry, as the admission “I shot him” is all that is necessary to the proof of the act. Moreover, any other firearm in the house is not relevant to any possible inquiry and not properly served, as not one of any other gun is evidence of the commission of a crime.

    • Until the grand jury hears the evidence and no bills the homeowner, all parties are suspects. Just because you, as the homeowner, said it was so does not make it so. There is your side, the other side, and the truth. The responding officers only gather enough evidence to make a report that then goes to the detectives who flow up with an investigation. If something seems odd, then it goes to the DA who then may call for a grand jury hearing to decide if there is enough evidence to bring Mr./Ms. Homeowner to trial. Trust me, it is good to be released by a grand jury as that prevents further charges being levied later by an overzealous DA. Once the grand jury no bills you, the criminal part against you is done. Now, you can concentrate on the the civil suit that may hit you and also concentrate on trying to get your gun back. Your gun will most likely be held until you get a clean bill by the grand jury. Sometimes, you get lucky. The guy you shot has a history and you don’t. Then, sometimes, the police let you keep your gun—if you are lucky and it is allowed in your district.

    • Does California routinely confiscate all weapons from a person with a DGU ?

      If so, why is that not a blatant violation of their civil rights (the 2A) without due process?

      Smells like a class action suit by the aggrieved should be brewing…

    • It is a policy termed “backdoor gun control” and has been in effect in many urban areas in California since the late 80’s. Any opportunity or excuse the cops can use to take in the guns of citizens is used, then the gun is held and not returned under the idea that the cost to hire a lawyer to force the issue costs more than a replacement gun.

      The late Pete Kasler, JD, wrote several articles about this in the early 90’s.

  6. The second intruder got away, maybe the police, when nobody’s looking, can insert a finger in the guys wound, and learn all kinds of information about the missing dude.

      • In an article about a loony toon who is out on bail for attempted murder, they still have to say this about Zimmerman:

        “He is the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford in 2012.”

        —funny how the race of black shooters and white dead people are never mentioned once, but shoot a black criminal and the Sentinel will keep bringing it up for three years or more.

  7. Always have a back-up gun, especially when you leave town, even if it’s just a little mini revolver. If you have a CCW permit, and your state allows it, you should have a gun hidden in your car also. A Hi Point makes for a cheap hideaway gun. For less than two bills you can get some extra protection.

  8. I would imagine that even in a very gun friendly state you’re going to lose your gun for the time it takes to do the ballistics testing.

    That’s especially the case here, where the perp fled the scene. They need to match the bullet to the home invasion.

    Not sure about CA regarding seizing other guns.

    • Kalifornia?? Frau Feinstein may come knocking! If she does, Tell her you need to put a bag over her head before you can make eye contact!

    • In South Carolina, SLED confiscates your weapon, and engraves the case number on it. It looks like someone hired a 2yr old to do this job, if you ever have the displeasure of having to be the participant in a DGU here.

  9. Regardless which state you live in, I’d recommend moving to a new location ASAP. I’d also think about changing my phone number. Whatever the law allows (such as not going to another state) I’d be doing to make it as difficult as possible to exact retribution…

  10. If I shot an attacker in my home, the odds against me being prosecuted would be about a hundred to one. If ten of his relatives showed up at my door and started trouble and I shot all of them, the odds against me being prosecuted would be about a thousand to one.

    • I just shot your family member/homeboy and the cops ain’t seen fit to arrest me. How stupid do you have to be to show up at my front door to threaten me?

      Talk about a darwin award candidate. I’m from WV. On dad’s side of the family I am blood to the Hatfields. On mom’s side I’m blood to the McCoys. You want to discuss payback and feud with me?

  11. “… a DGU can be the beginning of a nightmare, rather than the end.”

    I have often thought about this possibility. It is disconcerting to say the least.

  12. There are quite a few reputable firms offering insurance for a DGU now. I live in PA and I found a rep for Texas Law Shield at a gun show. For less than 20 bucks a month, I have access to an attorney 24/7 in or out of my state. I think it is well worth the money for the peace of mind it provides.

  13. Well, this scenario is where even Czech gun-owner friendly laws fall apart in real world. One does DGU, and until one wins at the court, there is this between the guilty and innocent limbo of reality (of course, it’s not a part of laws, but the reality is then as such, forget “innocent until proven guilty”). All other guns are removed from the owner by the police, it’s kinda lucky if one manages to stay out of the prison cell during the investigation. A great time for the perp’s friend visit to have fun with the defender. 🙁

    • And also a great time to “borrow” a friend’s gun.

      In order to ensure that your friend does not face any legal liability, your friend should place his gun in a locked box, leave the key close by, tell you where the key is, leave you alone in his home/apartment, and then never look in the locked box. If you end up using that gun to defend yourself from the criminal’s family member at your home, your friend can claim that you stole it.

      • Ah, a good try, but I guess he’d be having an offence of not reporting the gun stealing immediately, and also the box will have to have some marks of brachial attempt to get inside. I wonder how the police would digest a story about how one stole a gun from his friend earlier that particular day he had the visit from perp’s friends and had to do the DGU again…

        it’s quite fine here to have fun with firearms here before anything criminal-looking happens. After that, it’s not so funny anymore.

        I guess this is why Czech Republic is still not better in gun laws than USA 😉

    • DGU itself is not a legal ground for temporary gun seizure in the Czech Republic. You must be charged first before the cops can come up and issue decision to seize your guns. Most DGUs in the Czech Republic are cleared without any charges being brought. Even if you do a bad DGU you would have to be one mean mo*****er to be remanded pending investigation and trial. The court must have a good reason to believe that you would either run away, continue criminal activity or influence witnesses.

      Otherwise, you are no safer from being Zimmermaned in the US than you are in the Czech Republic. In US, if you are charged, you will be typically on bail, and – anyone feel free to correct me if I am wrong – bail conditions in case of violent crimes (including unjustified use of lethal force) typically include being disarmed.

  14. this is why you need to have a gun buddy who either stashes an extra gun for you at their place or allows you to borrow one if necessary. or if there is civil insurrection (aka Ferguson). I let a friend borrow a full size 9mm with 3 mags of hollow points when the Ferguson crap first went down. They did not have a gun at home at the time and there were hours long waits at local gun stores.

    • If this was a reply to my comment at September 8, 2015 at 07:53, then unfortunately, if someone gave me a gun then under Czech laws:
      1) I would commit a crime of illegal weapon possesion (because my papers would be void too, at least temporarily)
      2) He would commit at least an offence (sorry, my lawyer english is very bad) of passing a firearm to a person who is not authorized to own and use such a weapon.

      So it is all quite bad after DGU. Legally one can only use contact weapons, tear/pepper gas sprays or firearms that could be purchased with legal age, e.g. black powder percussion guns max 2 shots and flobert guns. Or air guns. All quite not up to the possible visitor’s equipment.

      • Actually, Mintmar, black powder guns are far better than nothing. I imagine they are inexpensive so you could even keep two or three loaded and ready. Even if 20 of the criminal’s friends show up, they will not be very happy to attack you knowing that can kill at least one of them for sure and quite possibly more. And remember, a heavy bullet will easily go through two or even three attackers if they are in a crowd coming at you. (A popular black powder rifle caliber in the United States is .50 caliber which is 12.7 mm! A heavy bullet would be maybe 430 grains which is 27.8 grains.)

        Furthermore, you could keep wasp spray on hand. Not only will it immediately blind your attacker, it lets you blind them from 20 feet away. And if they keep coming, the wasp spray is highly flammable and you can set them on fire!

        Of course you could mix and match as well for maximum effect. Hold a can of wasp spray in your weak hand and a nice club/baton in your strong hand. Spray anyone who approaches and then club them if they keep coming. And a short sword in your strong hand would be even more effective than a club/baton. Better yet, hold a black powder pistol in your weak hand and a short sword in your strong hand. Shoot the first attacker who approaches and use your sword on the rest.

        The only down side: all of those “solutions” only work at home. You obviously would have a difficult time taking such items in public.

        • Yes, I guess black powder percussion gun is better than nothing, but it has some learning curve; not easy when you suddendly lose all your “modern” guns and have no prior black powder experience.

          I basically agree with all the other alternatives, and yes, they are harder in public, but most of them still require that the attacker is in contact range or quite close. But he can be further, with illegal but modern firearm, even near home.

          On the other hand, I guess it would be possible to carry two black powder 2 shot derringers even in public 🙂 But it needs the experience with black powder stuff. I currently have none, save one shot from a flintlock pistol that I got loaded and ready to fire to try out.

        • Mintmar,

          Black powder firearms are actually quite fun to shoot. I like the simplicity: pour in black powder, pack (compress) it, add wadding (piece of cloth) and a ball or bullet, and finally pack the bullet down the barrel. Oh, and I suppose you have to had a primer (percussion cap) which is super easy.

          They are dirty to shoot, but you can use soap and hot water to clean them and shortening (for cooking) to prevent rust.

          Oh, you do have to measure your black powder. Guessing how much to pour in the barrel (or chamber of a cylinder) could be very bad. You can purchase items that measure black powder of course. And there are many sources on the Internet that tell you how much black powder you need for a specific gun and bullet combination.

          Try it. I think you will like it.

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