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Your concealed carry firearm is the gun you’re most likely to use on another human being. God forbid you should ever need to do so. But if you do, rest assured that you will be subject to a grueling police interrogation and potential prosecution. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: don’t say anything to the po-po without a lawyer present, other than “I had to shoot. My life was in danger.” Meanwhile, there’s a lot you can do before a self-defense shooting that will help you emerge victorious from the second, legal battle. Have a lawyer with relevant experience on speed dial. Don’t leave strident remarks on forums, websites and blogs. And then there’s your carry gun itself. But first, a quick trip down memory lane . . .

Back in the day, I worked with a guy in Atlanta who had a huge sexual organ. I know this because his pride was proactive; he never missed a chance to show off his mammoth appendage. Men, women, friends and acquaintances. Parties, clothing stores, bathrooms. Anyone, anywhere and everywhere. I remember one of his friends telling him “You keep doing that and trouble is gonna find you.”

And so it did. When a girl accused the over-endowed twenty-something of attempted rape, his flagrant behavior came back to haunt him. I’ll never forget the day the cops asked us about his, uh, exhibitions. While we were sensitive to the seriousness of the charges, we thought it was hilarious. Not so funny for him. As I remember it, the man with the genetic anomaly eventually plead out, lost his job and left town.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Constantly exposing or even mentioning your concealed carry gun is not just bad from a tactical point of view, it gives a post-shooting prosecutor ammunition to paint you as a gun nut. Which you kinda sorta are if you turn to the cute girl at the video shop eyeing a shady-looking customer and say “Don’t worry, I’m packing.”

Do that kind of thing often enough and you’ll be packing for the penitentiary. ‘Cause you never know what a stranger thinks about concealed carry. It could be someone who views firearms from a pro-gun control perpective drop the dime on you even though you were legally exercising your Second Amendment rights and trying to reassure him or her about their safety.

More to the point, after a self-defense shooting, it’s open season on your personal history. If it’s a high profile case, the DA will assign someone to research both your background and your character. The more you blend into the background firearms-wise now, the better it will be for you later.

Here’s another preventative tip to make getting raked over the judicial coals slightly more pleasant: NEVER COCK YOUR GUN.

John Winston Allgood, 45, who gave a 607 Paddy Run Road address, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon for his role in the incident.

Allgood told police he took a trailer Saturday to a house in the 200 block of Tobacco Road to help someone move, according to his arrest warrants. Allgood admitted getting into an argument with a man, and said he then got a Glock 9mm pistol out of his truck and cocked it.

The victim told police he was “scared for his life,” and thought he was going to be shot, the warrant said.

You can’t “cock” a Glock. Perhaps meant to say that Mr. Allgood racked the semi-automatic pistol’s slide. Which is pretty stupid; why wouldn’t Mr. Allgood be good to go with one in the pipe?

In any case, racking a semi’s slide isn’t legally damaging. At least not in comparison to cocking the trigger of a revolver.

In the movies, cocking a revolver’s trigger shows that a character is REALLY SERIOUS about shooting. It’s a final warning. Real world prosecutors have another name for it: premeditation. With that one little move, a defensive shooting could be [more effectively] portrayed as an offensive shooting.

It’s not fair. Gun guys know that cocking the trigger of a revolver, changing it from double action to single action, makes the gun easier to control. Which makes it more accurate. And accuracy is a good thing, right?

Yes, well, cocking the trigger also makes the trigger less “safe.” A prosecutor who’s trying to put you (yes you!) behind bars wants to portray you as reckless and bloodthirsty. “Why would any responsible person want to make their gun less safe at such a critical moment?”

If you’re a revolver owner who buys the DCTT (Don’t Cock the Trigger) rule, then stop single-action action down at the gun range. Practice as you mean to fight means not shooting things in single action—lest you revert to your training in the heat of battle.

There’s plenty of ways to increase your odds of survival in a life-or-death situation where you’re forced to draw your weapon. Preparing yourself for the ballistics part of the program without considering the legal implications is a recipe for failure. For you and your family.

In short, don’t think like the U.S. Army: Haec Protegimus (“this we defend”). Think like the Coast Guard: Semper Paratus (always prepared).

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  1. Great theorizations, but since when am I compelled to testify against myself?
    Why would I even be on the witness stand? It is the prosecutor or plaintiff's job to build a case, and any expert testimony to refute his theories would come from my expert witnesses.
    You did not cite single case when any of this has ever been raised in a trial, not the outcome of the trial. You forgot the other favorite boogeyman: Don't ever, ever, ever use handloaded ammo in a defensive situation.
    I say, if all I have to use to protect my life is my target/play/hunting pistol/rifle/shotgun, then that is what I was forced to use by the actions of the person trying to take my life. If I have to use a sharp stick with mud on the end, I also will not ask the attacker if he has had his tetanus shot.

  2. Maddog, Damn. You're right. It seems that this "don't modify your gun because it can be used against you in court" rule is strictly hit and myth. While there is a potential for a problem, you're right: I can't find a single legal precedent. I apologize for accepting the gun gurus' advice without fact checking.

    Until I can find a lawyer who agrees with the no-mod squad, at the risk of post-modern irony, I'll modify the article now with a different rule . . .

    Thanks for keeping me honest.

  3. Just a quick legal point: The 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination only applies to criminal charges. In civil court you can indeed be compelled to testify against yourself, under oath. Typically it's in the form of a deposition but don't think you can invoke your 5th amendment rights if you're ever sued about a shooting (or anything else for that matter) because you'll be in for a rude surprise if you do.

    • Well, this article is about criminal proceedings.

      If I wanted to go to Law School and argue endlessly with people who get paid by the word, then I would quit my job, take the pay cut, and swim with the (mostly starving baby shark) lawyers.

      But fortunately, I live in a state where some sanity has been returned to the courts of law. If you are committing a crime, and get hurt, you cannot sue the person you were trying to make into a victim. If the DA no-bills me, then I have a great big boost to getting your chicken-shit predator lawsuit thrown out. Or not. Legal lotto, right?

      But since I will (never?) only use a firearm when in fear of my life, or the lives of those near and dear to me, and stay within my training, then I have a pretty good case for self defense. And I submit that this is regardless of the implement I am forced to use by the criminal who is trying to hurt or kill me. If I have to defend myself with an electric drill/saw/hedge-trimmer, will I get asked if it was fully grounded? If I use a knife/axe/knitting needle, do I get asked if it was sharpened to a razor edge/point? If I have to choose between a round log and a 2X4, do I get asked whether I choose the 2X4 because if the sharp edges, or the log because of the extra rough bark?

      Castle Doctrine and Tort Reform are beautiful things.

      And when did you quit beating your wife…? 😉

  4. Quick correction, on a double action revolver you are cocking the hammer, not the trigger. You can’t cock a trigger.

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