5 Things Every Reasonable Gun Owner Ought to Know – By a Defense Attorney

Arizona criminal defense attorney Marc J. Victor recently put on an excellent Trieste on the primary legal implications of using a handgun in a defensive situation. The article, published at LewRockwell.com is a long, but detailed and logical look at major criteria any firearms owner should know when it comes to the real use of a firearm.

The 5 things a gun owner ought to know include:

  1. Do not make statements after a shooting.
  2. Understanding (the criteria of) Self-Defense
  3. Lawyers Argue About the Facts
  4. Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  5. What to Think About When You Are Thinking of Pulling it Out.

As a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Victor is immersed in the system and he shows, in detail, how things that may seem like common sense to a layman, may actually get the gun owner into real trouble.

For example, the most poignant piece of advise is to “not talk to the police,” which to many may seem counter-intuitive, as after a shooting one wants to get their story out to avoid arrest (which Marc points out may happen anyways).

Some of the advise is limited to Arizona, but substance and procedures will be similar across most jurisdictions. Fair warning, the full read is about 20 minutes for the average reader, so make sure to read it during a break at work. 

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Phillip Cooper

    Come on, admit it.. it’s a viral blog for Saul Goodman, isn’t it? 🙂

  • TheNotoriousIUD


  • iksnilol

    What to Think About When You Are Thinking of Pulling it Out.


    That can’t be misunderstood at all.

    • Bill

      In so many different ways.

      • MR

        Vital decisions with important ramifications.

        • desert

          The important decision is “can I get my weapon pointed at the perp before he can get his weapon pointed at me?”

        • Sir TuberKopf

          I agree, vital decisions include your whole approach.

          I have significantly hardened locks, doors, and windows in my home. If someone is in my house, it is no accident, or misunderstanding, it is a serious incursion.

          To break in requires someone to make a significant amount of noise and effort. I should have a lot of time to react, and they will know they have lost the element of stealth or surprise. The fact that they are disregarding the noise and effort implies they present an extreme threat.

          My state has a castle law that protects you in the case of self defense, I’ve heard it said that the 911 operators recording should include your statement that, “a self defense shooting has occurred and that you were in fear of your life,” Describe who you are and what you look like. Make no further statements without a lawyer. In my state once you’ve made that claim of self defense you are protected from arrest unless they can prove otherwise, thus the need to make that claim clear. If it wasn’t a clear self defense shooting, don’t lie and make that claim. Just do as this lawyer suggests and keep your trap shut.

    • Don Ward

      Pulling out is for quitters!

      • Edeco

        Concealus interruptus

        • Major Tom

          Is that a Glock in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

          • DIR911911 .

            BANG!!! . . . . both, I need a hospital :/

    • Sianmink


      • Cal S.

        “Watch your phraseology, boy!”

    • Edeco

      Yeah really. I use the phrase “whipping it out” instead.

      • Don Ward

        Excuse me while I whip this out.

        • John Wisch

          Damn Negro, this is just getting worse & worse.

      • Jayste

        Lmao buncha crazy mfers

    • Hensley Beuron Garlington

      The power to create, and the power to destroy…

    • John

      Damn…I could’ve used this advice in high school…

    • Evan

      If you think about something other than the task at hand, you’ll last longer

      • iksnilol

        That is completely true.


    • Zebra Dun

      After the fact or before you put the condom on? ;^D

    • John Wisch

      Masculine Micro Aggression against women, tantamount to rape in California & New York !

      • iksnilol


        I need an explanation.

        • John Wisch

          You know how it’s working these days on college campuses and throughout the majority of CA & NY.
          If you held a door for a Girl, Lady or Woman, that’s sexist use to be a term that was used. Now every thing is a Micro Aggression against women or gays.
          Examples being, but not limited too.
          Complimenting a female on the way she looks, or on the fashion she is wearing, or her perfume choice.
          Using the word she, or her, as a descriptive adjective, instead of just saying they, them, or theirs when referring to females.
          My personal favorites are anything regarding a non direct reference to hetero sexual reference, sexual reference or anything referring to, or coded in masculinity reference, or penile reference.
          Those seem to be the worst of the worst offending speech.
          Hence, “whip it out” could be referencing taking out your penis.
          Major Offense there. They need a trigger warning on that one on campuses.
          In CA or NY that could violate a safe space and cause an emotional trigger that could disturb someone, and that kind of emotional or physiological trauma especially with a penis reference or a sex reference is almost like rape to these people. And that’s not allowed, or tolerated.
          So I like to use their stupid words & phrases against them so that it shines light on how stupid this crap is.
          That s it.

          • iksnilol

            Thanks for the explanation.

            I’ve met crazy people but I’ve yet to meet those levels of crazy. Worst I’ve met is brainwashed vegetarians who claim that eating meat is just as bad for the environment as cars. That and ultranationalistic Serbs (who’ve never been to Serbia) threatening me.

          • valorius

            I just tell them to go F themselves.

  • MR

    Riley was right.
    “I don’t talk to Poe Lease!” – Riley Freeman, “The Boondocks”

    • Gabe

      Not talking to the cops is just general good advise. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

      Take note how the above line mentions nothing about helping you in court. Officers only job when talking to you is to gather evidence against you, it does you no good to talk with them without legal representation.

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    1. Demand your attorney.
    2. Don’t die.
    3. …
    4. ???
    5. Don’t die.

  • kbroughton77

    For the most part very good advice, aside from the paragraph encouraging the reader not carry a round in the chamber. A proper carry method and KYBHOTBS ( keeping your booger hooker off the bang switch) should prevent accidental discharge just fine

    • iksnilol

      But the Israelis do it, and they are the tacticalest according to sources I can’t disclose (OPSEC and all).

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Good article on the practical aspects of using deadly force and it’s aftermath.

  • Anomanom

    0. Put the gun down and your hands up before the cops get there.

    • JamesRPatrick

      He mentions that in the article. “I strongly suggest you secure your weapon before the police arrive and make sure nothing you do could possibly be construed as a threat to the police. Make sure the officers can clearly see your empty hands.”

      • RICH

        Good advice ! ! ! Don’t pose a threat of any kind.

      • Anomanom

        Hadn’t read that far yet, but yeah, that’s pretty much the idea. Doesn’t help

        to defend yourself, and then get blown away by the police.

      • Zebra Dun

        YES! remember an active shooter situation means anyone with a displayed weapon becomes an active shooter. If you ain’t Po’Leece you will be viewed as a shooter.

    • Cymond

      Hypothetical question: what do you do if the attacker surrenders to you? Putting your weapon away could give him a chance to resume attacking.

      • Mcameron

        if it were me….and someone was intending to cause me great bodily harm……i draw on them….and they surrender…….i would keep drawn on them, and call the police and slowly back away as far as i can, putting as much distance as possible between me and them, all while scanning the area for other threats….my gun wont go away until the police arrive, or im certain im no longer in immediate danger.

        • Mcameron

          but calling the police first is important…..because you can tell the dispatcher that you are in a confrontation, and you have a gun drawn on the attacker……you can give a description of yourself and of the attacker……..that way the police have a glimpse of the situation before they arrive and are less likely to shoot you immediately on arrival.

          stay on the phone with the dispatcher until police arrive, and follow all police commands when they give them.

          • Anomanom

            My general idea was to make sure that you are absolutely, definitely not a threat when the police come. Doesn’t do much good to defend yourself if the police decide you’re a threatening person and kill you anyway.

          • mcameron

            well you have to weigh the risk of your attacker killing you vs. the police killing you.

            most police wont rush to shoot you if they know that this is a SD encounter and you are not acting erratic or pointing a gun at them.

            that is why calling 911 is important

          • Bill

            We work at picking up on things like that pretty quickly. Just don’t point it at me. I tell the same thing to other cops.

          • Norm Glitz

            This assumes the 911 operator will tell the police on the scene any of what you told 911.

        • Sulaco

          And if they turn and run?

          • mcameron

            good, even better…..let them run.

            the idea is to eliminate the threat……well if the suspect runs away, that threat is pretty well neutralized….

            im not a cop, im not going to arrest or detain someone……my job is to survive the encounter, not clean up the streets.

            if they turn and run, ill give their description to the police and let them handle it.

          • Bill

            We have 25 year old and K9s that love a good foot pursuit. I’ll be in the car.

          • Sulaco

            Ya our dogs loved fast food!

      • Sulaco

        Self defense is always an option as the situation develops but mostly as a citizen you can not use a gun to stop him/her from fleeing the scene, (see comments of body cams above). Some states give citizens the right to “arrest” for felonies commited in their presence, BUT you take on all the civil liabilities involved in detaining someone by force or threat of force as an officer would without the coverage of your departments lawyers and state laws on civil liabilities covering officers for acts of good faith.

  • HKGuns

    Advice, not advise.

  • JamesRPatrick

    Good read.

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    Trieste? Do you mean “treatise”?

    • Ken

      Dang, beat me to it.

    • smartacus

      good catch.
      Trieste is a picturesque port city on Italy’s Adriatic Coast

      • Zebra Dun

        It’s also a DEEP DIVER Submarine.

  • bobthenest

    Best advice I’ve ever heard was in Mas Ayoob’s MAG-20 Classroom session. I gladly paid for my sons’ attendance, too.

  • ltulrich

    Great article.

    Horribly depressing.

  • noob

    Given that anybody can buy a body camera these days or may already own a go-pro or dashboard crash cam on their private motor vehicle, is it worth recording your life in case you have a self defense incident?

    Can your own video be seized and used against you?

    Does having video (which may not show everything happening especially threats that are out of the frame) violate rule 1 “remain silent”?

    • Marcus D.

      All physical evicdence is subject to seizure and may be used against you, nad yes, that includes photos, videos, gopros, home security systems, computers and computer cameras, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

      • noob

        hmm that makes it complicated. I like the idea of a dash-cam for my car in case somebody hits me, but I don’t want it to bite me in the ass because something happened that I saw but the camera wasn’t turned around to see.

    • USMC03Vet

      Numerous states have laws against recording people without their consent. Also recording people secretly is creepy.

      • Sulaco

        The laws against recording without notice like my state of WA mostly do not apply in 1. public and general recordings like a crowd, and recording visual without audio is completely legal in all public places like roads and sidewalks although specific conversations are covered. MMV in your state 2. criminal actions are not covered even when the recording was made illegally, for instance you record a blackmail threat over the phone without telling the caller/suspect…

  • Oldtrader3

    Trieste is a city, Nathan. Treatise is a paper which may be presented to an audience by an expert?

    • Cleophus

      No, the Trieste was a big long tubular object that liked to in go really deep. It once went deep into Mariana’s trench. Everything went great, and the Trieste came out without dropping it’s load.

      • Sulaco

        Actually it dropped a load of iron ballist pellets on the bottom in order to come up with its tubular tank of gasoline which was used for flotation….It was very old but workable tech at the time. Interesting fact the outer glass observation pressure window on the manned steel bubble slung under the gas tank cracked during the first desent but they continued on anyway. Massive steel b)*LLs involved here..

        • B-Sabre

          They could of used those for ballast instead.

          • Norm Glitz

            “could have”

  • Was once on the wrong side of the law during undergrad during some frat hijinks. Told the LEO’S that I did not understand my rights well enough to speak without consult, but would comply with all other orders. Surprisingly, they were moderately cordial with that expression. Still threw us in the car and brought us to overnight lockup, but eh….

  • hbrigiii

    High school motto, ” When in doubt, whip it out”.

    • Rock or Something

      Old Army motto too, if you are insure from a distance if an officer is approaching.

      Whipping out a salute I mean.

  • Marcus D.

    There is a very good youtube video on the same subject that has been around for a number of years, and rule number one is don’t talk to the police. It can’t help you and most certainly can harm you.
    Moreover, you are right smack dab in the middle of a massive adrenaline dump (or the after effects of same); you are in no condition to think clearly. Police officers in most jurisdictions are given 24-48 hours before they are required to make a statement, and they have their union rep or attorney present.
    Instead tell the police the minimum amount of information necessary, such as your name and address, and then tell them that you decline to answer any further questions until you have had time to consult with an attorney. They HAVE to stop asking you questions once you’ve invoked, although you may be taking a trip to jail. If you wish, you may also request a medical examination (and you should have done a self-check anyway, since under the stress of adrenaline you may not realize that you are injured), and/or tell the officers that you are very stressed and confused, and therefore cannot give a clear statement at the current time.
    Finally, move slowly and keep your hands visible at all times. On a “shots fired” call, the police will be very nervous and you do not want to get shot. Most definitely do not have a firearm in your hands unless the circumstances demand it, because you will most certainly have guns pointed at you with orders (shouted and sometimes conflicting) telling you to drop the weapon and move away from it with your hands in the air. (I have seen more than one video where one officer is yelling one thing, and another, or even multiple others, are yelling something else. This situation will easily get you killed if you do the “wrong” thing.) When first on the scene, the police have no idea who is the good guy and who the bad, so they automatically assume that everyone is a threat until further notice.

  • Erik Davis

    I think the word you are seeking is “Treatise”, not “Trieste”, which is a city in the far northeast corner of Italy, formerly of the Austro-Hungarian Empire…not that I pay attention to this stuff or anything…

    • john huscio

      Also the namesake of the world’s first deep diving submersible if memory serves.

  • claymore

    Pretty good advice but his defense lawyer side pops out just a tad LOL. He confirms what I posted in the other thread yesterday.

  • nick

    So, all humor aside ( and I agree, perhaps a different way of suggesting it gets whipped out may be better…but the fun never ends so..)
    I’m Canadian, and a range officer for a private club, so much of the legal is different, but the common sense sure applies. but here’s the question.
    If one trains a certain way , say LE, Military combat arms, 3 gun, or such, and you get into an unfortunate encounter where a firearm is used to “stop / neutralize the threat”, would that very training be used against you. i.e. you are not farmer bob (ette) with a double 12 protecting themselves from an immediate threat, but a military trained etc. guy with a black gun …(in Canada…the colour makes it scary…)
    In Canada, you can use a firearm to protect yourself, but the window is very small at the best of times, so I realize this question boarders on the hypothetical, but I’m curious on your thoughts of training (applicable to another item on the TFB today, that’s where I got the idea)
    thanks in advance !

    • Rock or Something

      Just speaking generally because, again, laws differ from state to state, but the LEOs are going to be more concerned about the facts regarding the actual self-defense shooting. In best case situations, it doesn’t matter if it was billy bob defending his farm with a old fashioned 12 gauge break open shotgun or John Q tactical highspeed, low drag former DEVGRU Special operator who fired on a home intruder with his 10.5 inch tactical carbine fitted with lasers and red-dot sights. But murky circumstances can add problems, especially if the incident isn’t clear cut. The only time character or training may come into play is if the circumstances are so questionable, that you end up going to trial and the prosecutor is trying to build his or her case against you. In a sense though, a highly trained individual or defense lawyer could make the case that the training and experience is what helped him or her survive in the first place.

    • Sulaco

      Courts and PA’s that will review the actions and decide if chargeable crimes were commited, in the US the legal standard is the “reasonable man” standard that is what you did what a reasonable man faced with the same situation would have done within that range of actions. It is also based on what the “reasonable man” knew or did not know at the time of the incident. Can’t claim he was a bad man after the fact if you did not know at the time. There is more wiggle room for civilians in general then cops because they are supposed to have had the training that tells them what to do and their training standards are applied to their actions. The same standard could I guess be used against you if they thought the shoot was bad and they would argue you with your training should have known better. Always best to not talk about your actions or background until your lawyer arrives…be aware that especially now politics will weigh heavy on decisions unfortunately.

  • Bob

    What I found interesting was his advice on the phone call after a shooting. I have been previously told that it is important that you call, as another person may put a bad spin on it so to speak, and the law often views the first to call as the victim. You certainly don’t want someone else to call and claim you were the aggressor, that looks extra bad.

  • Cory C

    Nathan, I think your autocorrect / spellchecker changed “treatise” into Trieste. Just a heads up.

  • Mike Wasdin

    The reason why an attorney suggests you have someone else call 911 if possible is because they don’t want you to make any statement that might be used against you. It’s better someone else make the call. If there is no one else available, say only what is needed. For example: There has been a shooting, here is the address, send help….bye. Many people will say things that will be used against them such as, “I just shot someone, I think I may have killed him.” This is why it’s best you don’t say anything if you do not have to.

  • tom o.

    I think you mean this is a Treatise.

    Definition of treatise: a systematic exposition or argument in writing including a methodical discussion of the facts and principles involved and conclusions reached

    Definition of Trieste: A city in NE Italy, the largest port on the Adriatic and capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region; population 205,341 (2008).

  • Zebra Dun

    Self defense with a weapon. It is not simple.
    Think ahead.

  • iksnilol

    They call me Turk. Pretty funny how some of them are willing to die for something they’ve never seen.

    • John Wisch

      I don’t know ya, but you seem good to me !!!
      You can get a reasonably good sense about people whom you read their posts often enough.
      I’ve read your posts often.

      • iksnilol

        Thanks, you don’t seem bad either 🙂

        Not hard to read my posts, I post maybe way too much 😛