Question from subscriber:

I was wondering if you can give me some information?  Where can someone get the rules for the concealed carry laws?

A friend of mine is asking me, “if you have a concealed carry license and you’ve put a restraining order on someone — if they come on your property and you feel threatened, can you pull your firearm out so they are aware your armed?”

~ Subscriber

My Response:

First, I’m not a lawyer and your friend should get legal counsel ASAP. They should tell the police that they have a fear that the restraining order may be broken.

Here is my OPINION –

You don’t brandish your gun, ever. You’ll give away a tactical advantage by doing so and it can certainly get you arrested if the person says you pointed a gun at them – it would be your word against theirs – and the cop may just arrest you both and let the courts decide.

If legal, always keep your gun concealed – but accessible, until you feel like you have NO OTHER options to flee, avoid, or walk away. The only time it should leave your holster is if you intend to use it to cause death or great bodily harm. It should always be your last option used. Remember, you have to live with killing someone for the rest of your life.

Guns are self defense tools, not deterrents to crime. Sure, there are videos on YouTube where the bad guy fled because he saw a gun, but that is the exception to the rule.

If you show your gun to scare a bad guy off or fire a warning shot in the air or into the ground, you only escalated the situation and opened yourself up to legal issues or worse.  If you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to use it to stop the threat. That may mean wounding or killing another person.  If you’re not able to make that decision in a crisis, your gun could be taken away from you and used against you or the bad guy could produce a weapon of his own and shoot you first.

If you or your friend have a license to carry, you should have already taken a course that explained the legal use of force. If you used your hunter’s certificate to get your license – GO GET TRAINING!

At a minimum, get a book and read the section on “The Legal Use of Force.”  I recommend: Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals by Michael Martin.

If someone has a restraining order and they fear that the individual being restrained may break the restraining order, there is definitely a potential for a violent encounter.

Your friend needs to think in terms of what if scenarios.

What if he comes to my yard?
– can I flee?
– can I call police?
– can I get inside and lock the door?
– what if he starts moving towards me rapidly or in anger?
– do I have kids or other people to protect?

What if he starts breaking through the door?
– are police on the phone?
– am I willing to shoot if he breaches the door?
– do I have kids or others to protect?

What if I’m at the store or in public?
– can I flee?
– can I call police?
– will others intervene?
– do I have kids or others to protect?

What if I’m in a car?
– can I flee?
– can I call police?
– can I drive to a police station?
– do I have kids or others to protect?

There are no perfect scenarios, so no one can’t tell you when to run, hide or shoot. Everyone needs to determine that for themselves based on the current conditions. Remember, you may only have milliseconds to decide what to do! That is why people who carry a gun need to predetermine their personal unlock codes – what they will do if…

If THIS happens, I will do THIS. If THAT happens, I will do THAT.

Cognitive training is as important as physical training. Play the scenarios in your head cognitively and practice them physically in private with an unloaded gun, knife or other weapon.  Be sure to practice your draw technique from different positions. Practice getting away fast – rapid retreats backwards, upstairs, locking doors. Practice verbal commands, “STOP!”, “HELP!”, “DON’T TOUCH ME!”, “GET BACK!” Get to the range and fire off at least 100-200 rds. in the gun you intend to carry!

If you do have an encounter requiring you to shoot, you’ll likely be tried like George Zimmerman and the prosecutor will try to convict you for murder.

If you draw your weapon, fire your weapon, shoot at or hit someone while shooting your weapon – what should you do?

Step 1 – If you have an encounter, call the police and give only factual information.
– I was attacked by __________ they have a restraining order.
– I am located at
– I am wearing _____________ and have a gun. Don’t shoot me!
– The weapon used against me was __________
– I am licensed to carry and fired 3 shots
– I need help (ambulance)
– They need help (ambulance)
– I am holding my gun on the suspect and will put it put it down when police arrive.  I will have my hands in the air.
– The attacker fled in ___________ direction. The attacker is wearing ___________.  I’m at __________ and have a gun drawn. I fear he may return. I will put my gun down when police arrive and have my hands in the air.

Don’t give more information that necessary.  Keep it simple, factual, and then SHUT UP!  Don’t talk to the police! Once they have the information necessary, get off the phone – hang up if necessary. Go to step 2.

(Keep in mind that police are coming into a dangerous situation with limited information. If they see you with a gun, you’re likely going to get shot. Put the gun down and put your hands up. Expect to be handcuffed and detained as they secure the scene. Don’t argue your rights at this point! Shut up and obey their commands.)

STOP Talking! Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. DON’T talk to Police without your lawyer!

Step 2 – Call your lawyer – tell them you’ve been in a shooting and that you’ve shot someone and need them NOW. Tell them where they can meet you. Don’t give any statements to police until they arrive. (If you carry a gun – you should have a lawyer on speed dial).

Step 3 – Call your family and tell them you’ve been involved in a shooting and police are on the way. Under NO circumstances should they talk to police or the media. Tell them to wait to hear from your lawyer before saying anything to anyone.

When police arrive – assert your rights to remain silent. When asked questions or to give a statement, say “I’m under duress and need time to process everything. I will give a statement when my lawyer arrives.”  You can point out the factual things mentioned previously, but keep in mind that any changes in your descriptions, timeline, or story will be used against you! The police are working for the prosecutor and building a case against you – they are not working for you.

I have 2 cards in my wallet – One has my lawyers information on it. The other has my rights written on it. If I’m freaked out, I can simply give the card to police and stay silent.

Below is an example card provided to USCCA Members.

Law Card

Review this video on Miranda Rights:

Never say, “I’ll kill you!” or “I’ll shoot you!” during a critical incident.

Imagine if a witness says, “Yes, moments before she shot him, I heard her say, ‘I’m going to kill you – you son of a bi-ch.’ which was then followed by 3 shots.” the jury is going to be told that you murdered him. They’d be the prosecutor’s star witness.

Be Aware and Alert | Color codes: White, Yellow, Orange, & Red by Jeff Cooper

Most people walk around ignorant of their surroundings. Potential crimes, dangers, and obstacles lay in wait for the oblivious.  Heads down, texting while walking, or talking on the phone. That describes the green color code.

Everyone should be in what is called yellow or Alert status. Not paranoid, but aware and engaged. Make eye contact with people, look around, see potential dangers and avoid them.

If you carry a gun, you should also be alert and aware of your surroundings and the people who are around you. You should maintain the Yellow or Alert color code. This should not tire you out emotionally or physically.

If you have a restraining order against a violent person – you may want to elevate to orange. Be extra careful. Avoid areas that typically would be no big deal, but you’ve got reason to believe someone may hurt you. Being in orange can be tiring or cause anxiety. It is not healthy to maintain orange.

Seek out friends or professionals to help you deal with the emotional stress. Use caution – people who are on depression or anxiety medications are being targeted by anti gun legislation and could lose their rights to carry or own a gun.

Red alert is typically the state you’re in during a critical incident. You’ll be hyper-aware and likely your training or lack-there-of will kick in to play.  You could be fleeing, calling police, diving for cover or concealment or drawing your weapon and firing – and this could be happening all at the same time.

Watch 2 videos:

Obligation of Carry

The Concealed Carry Protocol

Hopefully this gives you some things to think about as you prepare to carry your firearm everyday. There is a lot of responsibility in your hands when you carry a gun, both for yourself and others. As a concealed carry licensee, we hope to never have to take our gun out of the holster, but if it ever becomes necessary to defend ourselves in a critical incident, we want to both have a gun on us at that time and the skills to us it to stop the threat quickly and effectively.

Best of luck! Stay safe!

Train hard, carry deep, and carry often!