I recently did some research on services that offer assistance with the legal bills associated with any charges that might arise from a legal use of deadly force. Since many gun owners I have talked to do not even know this exists, I thought others here might be interested in what I found.
I went with the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org
) because it has immediate payout and comprehensive coverage and only costs $85 per year.
If you are legally carrying your gun and have to use it in self-defense, but for some reason you get charged, they will immediately provide up to $10,000 fee deposit to the member's attorney (can also help in finding a pro-gun atty). This gets paid ASAP to get the legal defense immediately underway (they have a 24hour phone number) so you can have representation during questioning. I think it also covers the use of a knife in self-defense.
They can also arrange for an independent investigation of the incident while it's still fresh.
They offer case review by a self-defense expert (Massad Ayoob and other experts of similar quality are available through the program) at no charge and they offer consultation about defense strategies when requested. So if you are not sure your lawyer is handling things correctly, they can help keep the defense of your case on the right track by offering him/her expert advice on how to proceed based on what has worked in other cases in which the defendant (you) is actually innocent (not something most defense attys actually get very often - if at all - and the defense of an innocent person gets handled very differently than the case of a guilty person that is saying they are innocent).
They can provide grants of financial assistance for members facing criminal prosecution or civil action after a self-defense shooting.
And they offer loads of educational materials in their members-only section, nice discounts on their books/DVD's, etc. and have a monthly journal that is packed with info.
Most of the other orgs I looked at offered potential reimbursement of your fees after a case review. Meaning you have to pay up front and if they think your case is justified, they *might* pay your fees. I also found info on line (message boards) from customers of one of the orgs that said that once you join, you get a lot of emails about other products and specials and "in your face" marketing that is hard to stop (which ACLDN doesn't do). I don't know if that's true or not, but more than one person said it on the message boards I found.
My husband and I have been members for a few months and I have been happy with the org. I have contacted them a few times with questions and they have been quick to respond, knowledgeable and easy to work with.
As with any "insurance" type policy, I hope I never need them. But I feel better knowing I can call on them if the SHTF at 2 am and I need legal representation in a hurry, no matter where my travels might take me.
I suggest everyone that carrys (or has a gun that they think they might use for self-defense) does their own research into what is available. The courts and legal system is really a mess and you never know what prosecutor will have a bug up their arse about gun use, even if it's as clear cut a case of self-defense as could be imagined. Just because you think it wouldn't happen in YOUR state/area doesn't mean you might not have a need to use your gun in another area (unless you're a hermit).
They cannot offer assistance after an incident has occured unless you were already a member. So don't wait to look into this unless you have thousands of dollars at your disposal for your defense.
Other than being a new member, I'm not affiliated with this org. I just wanted everyone to know it exists and what it can offer in the form of piece of mind and real help if/when you need it.
Anyone else have first hand experience with any of the other similar orgs?