Now there will likely be a lot of other opinions and contrary views, but I've been thinking, reading, askin' questions, and studying on these matters for a couple of decades and while I don't have all the answers, there are some things the gals and I have determined that we, and you, should consider and implement after you draw your gun, but be advised... I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY. Back in my days working in law enforcement, I was in a much different situation drawing my gun when the need arose... as opposed to being a citizen drawing my gun... I don't like that there's a difference, but there is.
Seems like when I teach the NRA Basic Pistol course and we get to the non-NRA part about Ohio Concealed Carry and Self-Defense law, we look at the State of Ohio's thoughts on legal use of a gun for self-defense, castle-doctrine, and I'd bet that a barrel of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors couldn't come to a consensus on almost any part of it at any given time - PRIOR - to someone drawing their gun.
Now you'll notice that I've talked about drawing your gun and not shooting your gun. Deciding to draw your gun is the first step. From what I've read, seen, and heard... if you've done all you can and avoided trouble, yet still find yourself in a position where your life or the lives of your loved ones are in danger... often, drawing the gun can eliminate the problem without actually pulling the trigger.
Sometimes I've met folks who want a gun or want to get their license to carry a concealed handgun (as Ohio calls it) just so they can scare someone who threatens them. A self-defense gun isn't for scaring someone and it's not for wounding someone... a self-defense gun is for killing someone (and in Ohio it is defined as deadly force)... or in politically corrected terms, for stopping them... we don't shoot to kill, we shoot to stop... police don't shoot to kill, they shoot to stop. HOGWASH!
We don't practice shooting arms, legs, or the bad guy's gun hand. You only draw your gun if someone is threatening you with serious bodily harm or death and you shoot to kill! I believe that if you don't have the mindset or beliefs and you're not willing to take a life in defense of yours or your loved ones... then DON'T CARRY A GUN!
Now at some point if you're using a firearm for self-defense, you may have the unfortunate situation that requires you to draw your gun. Now we're not going to spend much time on discussing training and preparation in this post, but you should be training and preparing yourself. If you have to draw your gun, one of two things occurs next... either you pull the trigger or your don't. Either way, you need to contact law enforcement and as I always tell my concealed carry classes... we are in a day and age that if you carry a gun, you should carry a cell phone 'cause Superman can't find any phone booths to change in these days.
Here's the basic plan the gals and I intend to follow after you draw your gun:
1. Call law enforcement and ask for EMS if needed.
2. Identify yourself when they arrive and state:
"That man (woman, they, etc.) attempted (threatened) to kill me,
I acted in self-defense and I want him (her, they, etc.) arrested."
3. "I don't want to say anything further
until I've spoken with my attorney."
4. Don't answer anymore questions,
but comply with all other law enforcement requests.
1. Call law enforcement and ask for EMS if needed.
Typically, the first person to call is the "victim" until determined otherwise. Let's say you pick up some carry-out dinner and you're walking back to you car around the corner of a building and a man approaches you holding a knife and demands your wallet. Let's assume you have no other choice so your toss your food at him and draw your gun and seeing the gun causes the mugger to tuck tail and run off.
Call law enforcement, because if the jerk runs over a street and dials 911... "Yeah, some guy in a green coat just pulled a gun on me in the parking lot at...", then the police arrive, see you in the green coat... ask you if you have a gun... and now that they confirmed the mugger's story... you're in handcuffs for the ride downtown trying to tell police the mugger had a knife (which he tossed after running off from seeing you with your gun so the police find no knife on him) and that the mugger is the real criminal - real story.
2. Identify yourself when they arrive and state: "That man (woman, they, etc.) attempted (threatened) to kill me, I acted in self-defense, and I want him (her, they, etc.) arrested."
If you draw your gun and pull the trigger, then call and ask for the police and EMS (ambulance). Keep it simple... "I need the police and EMS at 123 Elm Street, a man tried to kill me and I shot him in self-defense, please hurry!" Repeat it if necessary, but I wouldn't answer too many more questions on a recorded 911 call as the 911 dispatcher is going to begin a game of twenty questions... they're trained to.
Why do we prefer to say he attempted to kill us? We could say we were in "fear for our lives" and may say that instead, but it's just not what most folks say in these parts. Folks around here don't say, "a car crossed the center-line and I was in fear for my life." Here 'bouts they say, "a car crossed the center-line and nearly killed me." If you don't sound sincere or if you sound like you're giving a memorized or made-up line... the police will sense that. By the way... don't ever lie of fudge the facts, they can usually figure that out pretty quickly from the evidence.
You can stay on the line and give the dispatcher updates, "The guy who tried to kill me just crawled behind the blue car...", but be careful what you say because if you're angry and say, "that jerk just tried to kill us, I hope he bleeds out and dies slow." Guess what, "I hope he bleeds out and dies slow" is going to be played about ten times at your trial by the prosecutor.
If you've holstered your gun by the time police arrive, keep your hands up and in plain sight. Personally, I don't recommend holding the criminal at gunpoint unless the criminal still presents an immediate danger to you or others. It there is no immediate danger and the criminal wants to run, crawl, or hobble away... let them... the police can track them down. If the criminal is down either due to submission to your requests or because you shot the idiot... DO NOT approach him... he may be armed with an additional weapon or try to take yours.
When the police ask you what happened, respond and say, "That man threatened to kill me with a knife, I acted in self-defense, and I want him arrested." This makes your mindset clear... you thought he was going to kill you... your were in fear for your life... not in fear that he might hurt you or mess up your hair or clothes, but kill you.
3. "I don't want to say anything further until I've spoken with my attorney."
There's an old attorney saying that they've never had to defend anyone against something that wasn't said. When the police start to question you further about what happened, just simply say, "I don't want to say anything further until I've spoken with my attorney." Now if there is something immediately pertinent, let them know such as, "the one that was shot is right there, but the other two ran that way... they were wearing..."
This is not the time to begin thumbing through the yellow pages looking for the firm of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe. If you are carrying a gun for self-defense and do not have an established relationship with a good attorney that knows or practices criminal defense - yes, criminal defense - and knows self-defense related law, then that should be on your list of things to do this week.
4. Don't answer anymore questions, but comply with all other law enforcement requests.
At that point, cooperate with law enforcement or they can make your life pretty miserable. "Where's the gun?" let them have it if they ask - and they will... "Please wait over here" you should... "Do you have any identification on you?" give it to them... "What was the mugger wearing when he ran off?" tell them. These are the folks who will be writing the initial and possibly additional reports. Of course, they may not like that you won't answer more specific questions about the actual incident, but it's your right not to... and if you're otherwise cooperative with them, they'll remember that.
Now I know that some advise you to identify witnesses, but in the first few minutes after a shooting you may have other concerns on your mind. Also remember, you might identify a witness who you think saw everything and their statement reads, "I heard a shot, looked up and that guy in the green jacket (you) was shooting the dude that's dead." Wait, he didn't see the knife that was first pulled by the mugger?
There are a lot of books and even DVDs on this subject and I own pretty much all of them. I agree with some, pull advice from others and disregard some. Massad Ayoob is one of my favorite authors on the subject, but you'll notice our four steps don't completely align with his. Ayoob says you should tell the officer "you'll sign the complaint", but most folks around here just want the perpetrator "arrested". One book I read last year indicated that you should call your attorney first and have your attorney call 911. If you do that and end up in front of a jury on a man-slaughter or murder charge, you better enjoy windows with bars... 'cause the jury will think you're the most callous jerk they've seen... IMHO.
I have not had to shoot anyone in my lifetime. There are numerous times I've had to draw my gun during my law enforcement days and a couple of times it was pretty close, but currently as a citizen I may have to as I'm armed most of the time and everyone who has made the decision to arm themselves or carry for self-defense needs to consider these matters so you'll know what to do. We're still re-thinking this all the time... so what are you going to do... after you draw your gun?