Threshold to be silent and wait for attorney?

Per the excellent article below: “Ninety-five percent of defensive gun uses involve merely brandishing a gun, and less than 1% involve the attacker being killed or wounded.”

Making some assumptions from this, I assume that 95% of the time just pulling out a gun is enough to make an attacker go elsewhere, 4% means shots fired but missed the target, and <1% is wounding or killing the attacker.

We all know the verbiage on our USCCA membership card: Say “I was in fear for my life. I will fully cooperate with law enforcement, but only with my attorney present”. This certainly applies to the 1% case above (wounded/killed attacker), but what about the 4% (shots fired and missed), and the 95% best case scenario, displayed weapon, no shots fired? At what point do you zip it and wait for an attorney in these cases?

Gun crimes grab most media attention, while gun use in self-defense gets merely a fraction: experts | Fox News


It may depend on the State, but your attorney should be present everytime the Police is asking questions about your firearm. Casualties present or not, shots fired, not fired, firearm displayed… doesn’t matter. All these cases may put you into jail.


Around here they look very dimly on bullets flying around, so in the case of shots fired and nobody injured I would certainly respond with “I was in fear for my life. I will fully cooperate with law enforcement, but only with my attorney present”.


To steal a lawyer-y phrase, “totality of circumstances”.
What event? What location? What players? What controversy or corroboration? Feeling lucky?

Something close to 100% of such incidents which get reported to police will get some kind of response, some kind of investigation, and some kind of report — which will lead to or point to some kind of conclusion. It is very helpful to end up on the correct side of all those steps, but the outcome rarely depends only upon your version of events.

Every defender wants the event to “just be over” and get back to what they were doing before. But there is a definite risk in just blurting your tale to one or more responding officers, witnesses, dispatchers, media reporters, etc immediately following the event. You don’t want an incomplete recollection of events, or multiple versions of your story, or an awkward choice of words to complicate or prevent your ultimate vindication. Other participant/witness statements and physical evidence will also be laid up against your statement (or statements).

Even if it all seems simple at the beginning, time for your brain to process events and to receive guidance from competent counsel may avoid problematic outcomes. But being immediate and direct may also avoid problematic outcomes. Ultimately — just like in plumbing — every person in each particular circumstance will have to decide whether to try a DIY solution, or to seek pro tools.


Win “the race to 911” first of all. What are you going to tell the operator? That you werent really afraid for your life, and just casually brandished? Surely, you see how following USCCA recommendation is wise.


Very interesting stats though, great food for thought.

My first instinct is learn the laws of the city, county, and state. If brandishing is also not legal, then my instinct is to be just as careful to wait for my attorney. At that very moment, I’m not going to try to differentiate whether or not I fired, God-Forbid I ever have to.

What if I travel across cities, counties, states; Since it is too much to study and memorize all the laws, I try to err on the side of caution, and “sit on my hands and K.I.S.S.”; Not to, is to my own legal peril. For me, better safe than sorry. Somehow I don’t think I will be penalized just for waiting for my lawyer.

Still, be very respectful and courteous to law enforcement.

For me, it’s a no brainer. But to each his or her own. :blush:


In the case I sat on the jury for, during testimony the prosecution brought up the fact that the defendant had “lawyered up” and had made no statement. The judge immediately admonished her and made a very clear point to the attorney and the jury that not making a statement had nothing to do with guilt or innocents, then warned the lawyer about stepping across “the line” of constitutionally protected rights".


This happened in the Rittenhouse trial as well, right?

Appreciate all the responses so far…great food for thought, keep them coming!

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Be reluctant talking to law enforcement without your attorney present.

A law enforcement officer typically has 24-48 hours to present the facts under advise from counsel after a weapon discharge. Therefore, a common citizen, without fear of flight should be given the same opportunity.


If “brandish” in the local code means “menace” then it’s probably never ok, but an assault.

If “brandish” in the local code means “display” then it’s probably always ok under circumstances when use of deadly force would be justified. I’m not aware of a rule where you are required to shoot the bad guy just because you got the gun out.

If brandish/display in the local code is allowed when the use of deadly force is not justified — say in response to menacing without imminence or a non-lethal threat — then there is probably no way to know ahead of time. (I believe this is the arrangement in Oregon.)

But in every case, in all of those jurisdictions, whether you are detained or charged is not going to depend upon how you perceive the facts of the display, but upon what an investigating officer or prosecutor concludes is most likely (or most politically advantageous). Heads up and brain on — situational awareness is as important after the event as it was before.


Great post. Lots of scenarios and legal points.

If when one brandished/displayed, would one call the police/911, immediately? What would your attorney say (in advance - posing that to him/her)?

Considering what the perp did to invoke one to brandish, could that be a reason in and of itself to call 911?

What if you brandished, but never called 911? Then later, someone called the cops on you?
Would you want to be the first caller, and report them first?

What do our local laws say? I need to review mine again.

If you carry, never leave home without your phone, phone number to USCCA, your attorney’s number, and your “American Express card” :blush:

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Louisiana does not have a ‘brandish’ law written… Although its considered, "negligent carrying of a concealed handgun.”

You might also get charged with "assault with a deadly weapon."

Please call the police as soon as reasonably safe!

That means, threat cease… Call police!

Haha I like that! I was a poet and didn’t even know it!


well… Maybe not… It sounded catchy!


I guess that means in LA brandish would fit into Flavor #1 — “brandish = menace”.

Easy rule to teach your 3rd grader for after s/he has the perp down.

But also :
Oh, and maybe dad, too. :grin:


I have run that race to the phone many times. You want to be first on the report form with PD the victim calls for help.