Grab a Gun: Responding When Danger Strikes

Avoiding a confrontation altogether is arguably the best way to win whenever a dangerous stand-off ensues. Remember, while having a gun is essential for most people, it’s best to use it as a last resort. Don’t make the mistake of using your weapon to resolve petty issues. You should only bring your gun into play if your or someone else’s life is in danger.

Have you ever considered getting a weapon for self-defense? Tons of people will try to tell you not to keep a concealed weapon. However, with the unpredictable time we live in, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Random acts of violence occur quite frequently, and having a sidearm could help you save yourself and others from such predicaments. It is never too late to grab a gun, as your safety depends on it.

Most of you reading this purchased a gun recently or have been mulling it over for a while. In most cases, people have several questions regarding gun ownership. Since most of them do not have experience using these weapons, they do not know how to respond whenever danger strikes. Luckily for you, we will discuss everything related to how to respond when under threat, and talk about some benefits of gun-ownership.

When Is It Okay To Grab a Gun and Shoot In Self-Defense?

Personal protection instructors, NRA training counselors, and defensive pistol instructors get this question several times. However, they will always tell you that the answer is not as simple as most think. Jurisdiction plays an essential part in determining the right situations to shoot. Since most people who are reading this belong to different areas, let us discuss this question to ensure you do not get into trouble with the law. 

Virtually every state, even the ones that enforce anti-gun laws, allows you to pull the trigger whenever your life or someone else’s life is in danger. It is not always about whether or not you have the authority to shoot for defending your life. The thing that matters the most is that the Attorney or DA thinks your actions were acceptable.

Attorneys can only get you off the hook if they believe they can convince the jury. Therefore, you must only pull the trigger when you are sure your actions will be justifiable. Recklessness can get you into a lot of trouble. Understand that situations like these are not black and white. There are tons of variables involved that could make or break the case for you. Juries consist of people with different opinions, particularly when it comes to guns.

There are no guarantees when a case goes to trial or the hands of the jury. Therefore, instead of thinking, “can I shoot in this situation?” ask yourself if not pulling the trigger would cost you your life or cause irreversible bodily damage.

Grab a Gun – Essential Considerations When Responding to Danger

You must consider four critical elements when it comes to shooting for self-defense. They will help you steer clear from trouble against the assailant and ensure that the District Attorney doesn’t press criminal charges. Here they are:

  • Ability
  • Opportunity
  • Intent
  • Preclusion


The person attacking you must have the skill to inflict damage on your or another innocent person seriously. Usually, the attackers have guns or other weapons, but in some instances, they don’t have anything. Not every attacker requires a firearm or any other object to cause you severe bodily damage. Some people are skilled enough to kill people with their bare hands.

Also, do not think that threats mean that the attacker has the skills to injure you. For instance, a person who uses a wheelchair most likely is not a threat, unless of course, they are carrying a gun. However, someone with extensive martial arts experience can inflict a lot of damage without using any weapons. Once again, every situation is unique, and you have to make decisions within seconds. As discussed earlier, always ask yourself if the attacker can kill you or injure you severely.


The assaulter should have the chance to cause you significant bodily harm. A firearm will always be a deadly weapon despite its range. A knife-wielding assailant, however, is not an immediate threat because of his or her distance. The distance between you and the attacker is a critical determinant of opportunity. So always ask yourself if the attacker poses an immediate threat. If the attacker is far away, it would be best to run away, retreat, and drive off if possible. However, if they come within your range and there is nowhere to run, you can grab a gun and defend yourself by pulling the trigger.

The District Attorney will ask him or herself all of these questions to decide if they should press charges against you.


You are in imminent danger when the assailants indicate through their actions or verbalization that they intend to seriously harm you or kill you and plan to do so immediately. However, in most cases, the assaulter may not express his intentions verbally. The intent is often a mental process, and it is usually about how you view your attackers that make you defend yourself with a gun.

Perception is everything in self-defense situations. If one has reasonable grounds to believe that their assailant plans to kill them, then using lethal force to defend themselves would be justifiable. Also, remember that this also includes situations where the attacker is threatening you with a fake or unloaded weapon. Why? Because you do not have any reason to believe that the gun was not counterfeit or unloaded.

Once again, the intent is a detailed thought process and proving it is not as straightforward as many people believe. However, if you have a reasonable belief regarding the perceived threat, you can justifiably defend yourself by firing your gun.


Preclusion is a reasonably uncomplicated term, which means that you had no choice but to shoot the attacker for protecting your life and that you considered every other option before pulling the trigger. The twelve people on the jury must know that you had no reasonable or logical alternative under the circumstances that led you to use deadly force for protecting yourself.

Making the jury believe that you practiced restraint and tried everything to avoid the situation can help you avoid legal trouble. There are a few states that follow “mandatory retreat laws.” Therefore, it is vital to remember your particular state’s laws before you take action. Usually, mandatory retreat laws apply to virtually every situation. The only exception is when the victims are inside their property.

Avoid Being the Initial Aggressor

The last thing you want when appearing in front of the jury is being the initial aggressor in a violent confrontation. If you initiated an argument that went sideways or someone provoked you and retreated afterward, but you chased them, people will view you as the continued or initial aggressor. It could land you in jail even if you considered the four elements mentioned above before taking action.

You must be innocent in every case. Deciding to use your gun or any other deadly force mostly hinges upon two opposing factors: restraint and risk exposure. Attorneys determine the result of civil court or criminal proceedings by persuading the twelve people in the jury, no matter what the law states. Your case must make them feel sympathetic towards you, and preclusion is the game-changer that helps to acquit people from legal scenarios where the cards may seem stacked against you.

The Advantages of Gun Ownership

Having possession of a gun, getting the necessary training to shoot it efficiently, and being responsible for your firearm is incredibly rewarding. Once you grab a gun, it is essential to enroll yourself in safety classes to understand the intricate details regarding gun use and the situations where you can use them. Consider participating in advanced training courses if you want to gain confidence as a shooter. At OnlineCHP, you can even get your concealed handgun certificate online.

Spend some time at the gun range to improve your marksmanship even if you are not learning advanced shooting methods or new tactical moves. If you are still on the fence and thinking whether you should buy a gun, here are some benefits that could convince you:


Firing a gun can be quite intimidating for first-timers, so it is crucial to make sure that your first experience is encouraging. Find a high-quality gun range and learn the basics of shooting. Learning to pull the trigger on time, aiming correctly, and knowing that you can defend yourself with a firearm can significantly boost your confidence.


A committed and responsible gun owner always takes the time to understand the physicality of using a firearm. From hand-eye coordination to practicing fine-motor skills, you will learn several essential physical disciplines that will help you stay calm and focused in front of an assailant.


Having a firearm is an exercise in being accountable and present. Gun owners should not have any room for mental vacations. You must always remember to lock your weapon and store it safely. Remember to maintain and protect your license too.There are tons of other considerations that you must take into account after you grab a gun. All of them make you a responsible person who cares about personal protection and the safety of others.

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