Could I be sued for NOT shooting?

I apologize if my question is moot or redundant, but, here it goes.

This question pops into my mind, given the “litigation happy” environment we endure- first, the scenario: a legal CCW owner is caught in a situation where the opportunity to extinguish a threat presented itself, but having an open shooting lane, for whatever reason, weapon drawn, they did not shoot. The criminal subsequently kills another at the scene, and then makes escape. It’s all caught on video. No criminal charges against the CCW owner are filed, but the family of the victim elects to sue the CCW owner because they feel their family member would not have died if they would have acted. Would the litigator be successful in getting the case to court? Would USCCA have their back?


The paid security officer at the Parkland shooting ran like a little child away from the scene and was not charged legally or civilly. He could have saved lives. So, I imagine as a private citizen you do not have any obligations to do anything either.
You are not a LEO. As CC owners we are taught and trained to defend, not go on the offensive. Not your circus, not your clowns.


I want to start by saying I’m not a lawyer and this doesn’t constitute legal advice. It is my opinion only… Thanks to the way our civil legal system is set up, you can be sued by anyone at any time. I could sue you for looking at me funny. It would be thrown out, but I could sue you. That being said, I’m unaware of a state in which a civilian has a “duty” to respond (There may be some, but I know for certain Texas does not), which means it is not your responsibility to get involved. In summary, could they sue you? Sure. Would it mean anything? Possibly, but you have no responsibility to act and thus are likely not going to have an issue.


No he did not get sued, however, he did get fired and at least down here he will forever be known as The Coward Of Broward.


Thanks for the reply. That’s my concern- I could get sued. If so, I would need to “lawyer up” to some degree which causes financial stress. Does USCCA still back me up? I may have to wait for a USCCA authority to jump into the conversation.


I would think that’d fall under the “Self-Defense SHIELD: Civil Defense & Damages Protection” portion of their system, but I don’t want to commit to that. Maybe @Dawn would have some insight?


… at any time… for anything… because someone has the will to do it and a lawyer who wants a part of the action.
As to USCCA’s actions, @Dawn can probably answer that.


For somewhere around $250 in Kentucky you can sue anyone for anything. You may be subject to sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit but you can still file suit.
But, to the essence of your question, @JustinK is in the right ballpark. In order to prevail in such a suit, the plaintiff would have to prove that you had a duty to act and you breached that duty. It is a relatively well known fact that you can record someone drowning in a pond and laugh about it as the person goes under and dies. With only a few exceptions, like if you are in a wreck you have a duty to render aid, even if that is just calling 911. Otherwise, there is no universal duty to render aid or even call the police. Under the current law, you should not be civilly (or criminally) liable under those circumstances.

As an aside, Kroger has been sued by the family of a man killed by a man with a gun about a year ago because they do not prohibit firearms and take no steps to prevent people from coming in their stores with firearms. Most recently, several patrons of the store have filed suit for the emotional trauma they suffered because of being at the store when the shooting occurred.

As previously stated, anyone can sue anyone for any reason or no reason if you have $250.

As always, I am an attorney licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The above information conforms with KY law and the law of many other states but I cannot provide legal opinions with respect to any states other than Kentucky.


If you haven’t done so go to and join me an MANY MANY others that are protected. Then, consult an attorney. It is very difficult to “plan” on what you may or may not do. However, I have certain situations in my mind that I would certainly help and situations I would not. You cannot tell if you will ever be sued or not (chances are you will at some point) but, as the others have said, many of these cases get tossed.

Let the USCCA help protect you.


Thanks, but I am already a member. An attorney outside the USCCA cannot answer this question. And, to refresh, the question is: if sued for not shooting, does USCCA protect me? @Dawn


The SCOTUS has ruled unambiguously that we have no duty to protect others, even police cannot be sued for failing to act.


Sheriff Israel finally got the boot as well a few months ago didn’t he?


As far as I’m concerned it’s long past time that we started seriously sanctioning people for filing such suits.


^^^^ That is a major issue in Louisiana…
So, when somebody actually NEEDS representation they can’t afford it, but the guy who disliked the defendants’ words and will sue for “emotional trauma.”

When I’m picturing a lawsuit, it should be about protecting “rights” medical malpractice, Bad faith and so on. Something that actually hurt the person.

Maybe my opinion is wrong, but even Louisiana is fighting to try and stop frivolous lawsuits.


Yes. I believe that they decided he gave the orders not to enter.


The way I understand it, he wasn’t the tactical commander that day but he was responsible for the policy that led them to not engage.


That is most likely the end story, and probably the truth, but when I stopped paying attention they were wording it as if he had given the order.

Possibly but the story I got was that the order to back off, hold, and wait for backup came from the female Lt that was the on scene commander.

As the story goes that was the policy of the department which he was ultimately responsible for.

Who knows, with events like this and all the blame shifting that goes on we’ll probably never get the straight story.


I was hoping one of the USCCA’s legal eagles would step in, but hasn’t happened yet. No definitive answer to my question. Oh well.

1 Like

@MikeBKY posted above, maybe we can get @Tom_Grieve to comment as well.