The ‘Race’ to Call 911? What You Should Do When Reporting a Self-Defense Incident

“Be your own first responder.” If you’ve been involved in the online self-defense community for a while, you’ve probably heard that phrase. But usually, you hear it as an encouragement to carry a gun, get training, stock emergency first aid gear, and so on. You rarely hear it mentioned in another context that’s just as important: being the first to call 911 after a self-defense incident.

No Shots Fired?

To understand the importance of being the first person to call 911, imagine the following scenario: You just used your gun in self-defense, but you didn’t have to shoot. (Some researchers believe that this is the most common defensive encounter involving a firearm, and anecdotal evidence appears to back up that claim.) Let’s set the scene: You’re leaving your office, located in a busy strip mall. As you lock up, you see a suspicious male approaching. When you turn to face him, he produces what appears to be a knife from inside his clothes and demands your money and keys. Thinking quickly, you hurl your keys at him as a distraction and skillfully draw your concealed firearm. Your assailant recognizes that you have a gun and beats a hasty retreat in the other direction. The incident is over, and you never had to fire a shot. As you assess the scene before holstering, you notice a woman who was about to get into her car staring wide-eyed at you and your gun.

Why Should You Call 911?

Now, think about how that scenario plays out if, once you are secure, you immediately get your phone out and call 911. You tell the dispatcher, “Send help; someone tried to rob me at knifepoint outside of my office.” In the minds of the dispatcher and the responding officers, you’re the victim. That perception can influence officer behavior and how you’re treated on the scene. Provide the dispatcher with the information they need: your name, description, location, and any injuries. Then call your lawyer; if you’re a U.S. LawShield member, you’ll call the AttorneyResponse 365™ hotline and connect immediately with a real attorney, 24/7/365. That sounds like a win, right?

You Didn’t Call First?

Now flip the script. The woman getting into her car whips out her phone and calls 911 in hysterics. “There’s a guy with a gun outside the Northside strip mall, and I think he’s going to shoot the place up!” That is not the phone call you want officers responding to when you’re “the guy with the gun.” You’re going to be treated like a hardened criminal, not a victim until the police can sort out the scene.

Just the Facts

Calling 911 first can create an important perception in the minds of first responders. Calling 911, period, also creates a permanent record that could be used for or against you, depending on what you say. That’s why it’s essential to keep your 911 calls short and to the point. Here are some things you should tell the 911 operator:

  • Your name;
  • Your location;
  • That you are the victim of a crime;
  • What services are needed (such as police, EMS, or fire);
  • A general description of what you are wearing to avoid any confusion by police when they arrive (“I’m a 5′ 8″ female wearing a blue shirt and pink pants”); and
  • Essential logistical information that you may need to convey (“I have the intruder held at gunpoint in my living room”), avoiding unnecessary details as much as possible.

Confirm your address with the operator, then get off the line and call your attorney. The importance of having an attorney cannot be overstated, which is why U.S. LawShield offers its members the AttorneyResponse 365™ program. No matter when you call, you’ll get a real lawyer on the phone, not a call center operator. Even if you only defended yourself or someone else, you should never give a statement to law enforcement without consulting an attorney. Good folks can say the wrong thing, or forget to say something critically important, and wind up a victim for the second time—this time, a victim of the justice system.

Calling 911 first can help you avoid being held at gunpoint by the police. It also creates an important record when you tell the operator that you are the victim of a crime. If you’re lucky, none of that will matter, and your self-defense moment will be clearly justified. But you don’t carry a gun because you believe in luck, do you?

For more information on how to protect yourself, join U.S. LawShield today!

About the author: U.S. LawShield Our organization traces its roots to 2009, when a group of pioneering lawyers became fed up with the hostility and abuse in the legal system directed towards responsible gun owners. They saw innocent people suffering the terrible consequences of someone else’s choice to commit crime. And to make matters worse, those people were tied up in the legal system, struggling to defend themselves. Innocent people were experiencing financial duress, bankruptcy—or worst of all, going to jail.The Second Amendment states “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” And yet, every day, our founders saw innocent, responsible gun owners experiencing mistreatment in the legal system—as if they were the ones that had done something wrong. To fight these injustices, our founders chose to stand up for the rights of the American people and become a champion for good and the voice of justice. That’s when the idea for our company was born: the first concealed weapon legal defense program to truly provide Legal Defense for Self-Defense.Our business was born in Texas and continues today from our headquarters in Houston, Texas. For many years, we provided our program to law-abiding residents of Texas and was known as Texas LawShield®. Demand for services existed well-beyond the state of Texas and our team expanded to other states. Along the way, we took on the name U.S. LawShield®.Today, we are serving members in the majority of states. While we are honored that our focus and mission have really resonated with so many people – literally attracting hundreds of thousands across the country, we will never forget what brought us together, why we exist to serve members and we will always stay close to our Texas roots. It is said the people of Texas have some unique customs and traditions like independence, self-reliance, a can-do spirit, and a big heart (caring for one another). We work to convey this in all we do for our members.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Peter Brown March 20, 2021, 4:13 pm

    Lawyers are not inexpensive, highly valued at times or not. What is the cost in terms of dollars and cents per month?

  • John Boutwell March 19, 2021, 10:42 am

    I’ve been with US Law Shield for 4 years, never had to use it but glad it’s there.

  • Kane March 19, 2021, 10:20 am

    I have USLS which offers more than one level of coverage for that can be temporarily added and later subtracted depending on travel plans et cetera.

  • Rex Dickerson March 19, 2021, 9:37 am

    CCW SAFE is another great concealed carry legal service organization to consider.
    I’ve been covered by them since their founding. Don West, lead counsel for George Zimmerman, holds the
    position of National Trial Counsel at CCW SAFE. If you carry, get protection. Hopefully you’ll never need the service but without coverage you’re at the mercy of the court.

  • Robert Lee March 19, 2021, 9:14 am

    Part of EDC… don’t leave home without it if you carry.

  • kim March 19, 2021, 8:24 am


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