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Discussion with Don- Should I Pick My Own Attorney?

Kyle Sweet, General Counsel for CCW Safe, talks with Don West, National Trial Counsel for CCW Safe, about a question we get often about members picking their own attorney.  Don explains the benefit of being able to get a lawyer that has been vetted, who is experienced, and has the training needed to get to work right away.  


Aftermath of a Shooting- Part 6: Bail Bonds, Civil Litigation, and Long Term Effects

In this last video in the series of the Aftermath of a Shooting, Mike Darter, co-founder and CEO of CCW Safe, talks about bail bonds in the event that you are arrested, civil litigation, and long term effects.


    Typically, your bail will be set by a judge the following day at a bond hearing.  Now, if this falls on a holiday, or a weekend, it is possible for the bond hearing to be days later.  In one case we represented a member in a shooting, the bond hearing was originally set for a week later, which meant that they would have had to sit in jail for that long.  Luckily, in that case, we were able to press for a hearing and were granted one within a few days and were able to get our member out of jail.   At the bond hearing, lets say a judge sets bail at $500k.  You will have to meet the collateral for that bond, meaning that you will have to show the bondsman that you are capable of paying that amount, or have assets to cover that amount, bank accounts, property, house, etc. if you flee after you are released.  Once that is established, then you will be responsible for the bond fee, which is generally 10%.  Now, this fee can be negotiated, but in most cases it will be 10%.  That means that on a $500k bond,  you will have to pay $50k to get released.  This money will not be recovered, it’s gone. This is one reason we recommend the added bail bond protection on our accounts up to $1M.  You can be a standing member of society, act accordingly and be a legitimate victim and still be facing a large bond, especially if there are special interest groups or political motivation involved.


    Civl cases generally come last, if they come at all, in a self defense shooting.  Im sure many have told you that if you are involved in a shooting, you will be sued civilly, but it rarely happens.  In fact, I can only think of one case recently where there was a civil case from a civilian self defense shooting, and it was thrown out by the judge.  Most states have laws in place that cover citizens in certain areas like the Castle Doctrine, which exempts them from civil lawsuit if the shooting is justified.  Other states go so far as offering immunity on any self defense shooting if justified.  However, if you are wealthy, or the shooting occurs on property or in a location that could be the target of a lawsuit and have the means to pay off, then it could happen.  Civil suits, like criminal trials, are very stressful and can rehash the incident, and cause turmoil in your life.  You will get requests from attorneys on your assets, banking accounts, retirement accounts and college saving funds.  You are best off to let you attorney handle all of that during this time.  It can be emotionally, mentally and financially crippling, not only to you, but to your family.  There are ways  you can protect yourself and your assets, such as homestead acts, trusts and more, which we will cover in an upcoming video series.


    Taking a life is not a natural thing, trust me, and even though you may think you wouldn’t have and long term effects or problems with it, someone close to you might.  Relationships are the stress point when it comes to critical incidents, and can cause problems for everyone involved.  A good support system, I believe, is key in surviving the aftermath of a shooting.   This is another key advantage to CCW Safe.  Everyone at CCW Safe, from the founders down, have experience in these types of events, as well as our critical response teams, and can all relate to what you will be going through if you ever are involved in such an incident.

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The Aftermath of a Shooting- Part 5: The Investigative Process

In this fifth video in the Aftermath of a Shooting series, Kyle Eastridge, owner of Eastridge PI and former homicide detective, talks about the Investigative process of a shooting investigation. Kyle talks about Investigators, Crime Scene Technicians, and Medical Death Investigators from the Medical Examiners Office.

If you missed other videos from this series , you can watch them all here.  Mike Darter, co-founder and CEO of CCW Safe, also talks briefly about administrative actions.

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The Aftermath of a Shooting- Part 4: The Role of the Victim

In this fourth video of the series, Mike and John Risenhoover, Critical Response Coordinator for CCW Safe, talk about the role of the victim in a self defense shooting case, and the importance of identifying yourself as such.  Now, with all the physiological effects and confusion that is produced from them,  it would not be advised to give a full interview or statement directly after a shooting.  But by simply stating that you are the victim, identifying the suspect, and that you had to use deadly force to defend yourself,  immediately identifies you as the victim.  As we have seen in other cases, such as the Christian Gunter case in Sarasota, Florida, not doing so might result in spending a few days in jail.  Many will tell you that if you shoot someone in self defense you are going to go to jail, but that simply is not true in most cases.  One of the main reasons why Zimmerman was not initially charged was the fact that he cooperated with police and even did a walk through the next day.  That is not what I would have done in his case, but his actions did identified him as the victim to law enforcement.   It wasn’t until months later that he was arrested due to pressure from special interest groups and media.   Here is a timeline of that case up to the trial.

If you are a involved in a legitimate self defense incident, you are a victim!  That’s the one thing that gets lost in translation.  You’ve been attacked.  That within itself may be a significant critical incident, then add on top of that, you had to shoot someone.  Another critical incident…The problem is that within the criminal justice system, the fact that you were just attacked, sometimes gets lost in the latter investigation of a shooting, or homicide if the attacker is killed.  This is why we say to identify yourself as the victim.

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The Aftermath of a Shooting- Part 3: Physiological Effects

In this third video, Mike Darter, Co-Founder and CEO of CCW Safe, talks about the physiological effects that you may experience if you are involved in a shooting.  This is important to know, as they could affect your testimony.  Some of the effects that one may experience are:

  • Intense Second Guessing
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Auditory Exclusion
  • Temporary loss of time and memory
  • Temporary loss of motor skills

Dr. Alexis Artwohl, author of Deadly Force Encounters: What Cops Need To Know To Mentally And Physically Prepare For And Survive A Gunfight”, also joins the conversation and talks detail about Intense second guessing and why it is important to realize and understand that if you are being interviewed.  

If you missed the first two videos, you can watch Part 1 here, which talks about some things to think about once you decide to carry concealed, and part 2 here, which talks about the protocols that exist for police officers involved in shootings, and how they can be used in civilian incidents.

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Aftermath of a Shooting- Part 2: Law Enforcement Protocols

In this second video featuring CCW Safe Co-Founder and COO, Stan Campbell, and CCW Safe Critical Response Coordinator, John Risenhoover, talk about the protocols that exist for law enforcement when dealing with officer involved shootings, and the importance for those protocols.

These same protocols were used to develop our protocols when dealing with self defense shootings involving CCW Safe members.  As with officer involved shootings, the most stressful part of a self defense shooting involves the investigative process to determine if any legal or administrative actions will be taken.  Because of this, it is imperative to make sure that our members have similar service benefits, such as immediate attorney support, immediate peer support and a qualified attorney assigned as soon as possible.

In the next video, we will discuss the various physiological effects that people experience during high critical stress incidents, and why that is important to you if you are involved in a self defense shooting.  We will also hear from our panel advisor, Dr. Alexis Artwohl, as she talks about some of the effects.

Stay tuned, and if you have any comments, be sure to do so below, or on our social media page on Facebook or YouTube.  Be safe and enjoy!

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Episode 1 Follow Up Questions

We had a question from one of our members, Daniel, to expand a bit on our last video in reference to trigger modifications.  We had some other requests to expand on firearms and ammo selection, so here we go.

Firearms Selection

Firearms selection for concealed carry.  There are several things to think about here.  Performance, skill level, capacity, comfort.  First off, we recommend looking at your area law enforcement and what they carry.  Law enforcement has strict guidelines and policies on what they carry.  These are based on evaluation and testing on the function and performance of firearms in various conditions.  Police officers have to have firearms that are reliable and function properly.  Therefore, we highly recommend you look at reliable and proven firearms for your self protection.

Caliber is another question.  When I was a police officer on the street, I carried a .45.  Today, as a concealed carrier, I carry a 9mm.  The ammunition has gotten better, and 9mm is easier to conceal, and offers more capacity.  Whether its 9, 40, 45 or some anything else, I think this is going to be a decision that you will need to make based on your comfort.  Not only comfort in shooting and feeling confident shooting with it, but also physical comfort in actually carrying it.  If it’s not comfortable to you, then chances are you won’t carry it.

Ammunition Selection

Ammunition.  Like having a proven firearm to carry, I want proven ammunition.  We recommend you carry factory ammunition that is proven and reliable.  If you reload, that is fine, use them on the range, but for concealed carry, I would recommend some of the more proven factory hollow point ammunition.  Federal Personal Defense Hydra Shok, Winchester PDX1 Defender, Federal HST, Hornady Critical duty or critical defense, and Speer Gold Dot are a few that I would personally recommend. I would stay away from anything with Zombie Killer, or other similar verbiage.

Firearms Modifications

I think that trigger modifications are fine, especially factory options, if you are going to be shooting them at a range, or in some competition form.  On a concealed carry firearm, however, we don’t recommend it.  Just like in looking at law enforcement for firearms selection, we recommend the same with functional modifications.  Most police departments, if not all, dont’ allow any trigger modifications for on or off duty firearms.  Look at Santibanes v. Tomball, Texas and you’ll understand why.  It involves a $250k settlement on a justifiable shooting.

Thanks for your questions, and look for part 2 of The Aftermath of a Shooting coming next week.  Thank you for your time!

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The Aftermath of a Shooting Series

In this first episode, Mike Darter, co-founder and CEO of CCW Safe talks bout "The Aftermath of a Shooting", which is a sequence of events that may follow being involved in a self defense shooting incident.  This first episode talks about some things to think about before an event, like training and other things that may help you avoid one to begin with.  If an event is unavoidable, then he talks about some things you can do to mitigate your risk.  This is the first video in a multi part series.  

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