Such persons will enroll into a qualified Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class ($150), pay the requisite CPL Application Fee ($105), purchase a suitable defensive handgun ($400 - $800), and acquire a litany of accessories (e.g. holster, practice and defensive ammunition, cleaning kit, and etc.) that can escalate the total "cost of entry" into this new lifestyle into a figure north of $1,000 with little effort.
There are a few costs, associated with personal protection and self-defense, that aren't discussed much. This post will discuss those potential costs as a cautionary exercise to drive home the central themes of responsible and lawful firearm ownership into the consciousness of prospective CPL-holders.
In Michigan, the usage of lethal force is authorized for self defense under a narrow band of circumstances. Thus, it is lawful in Michigan to stop threats from assailants as long as the victim is:
somewhere he has a legal right to be, is not breaking the law, AND has BOTH a reasonable AND honest belief that he or some other third person is facing an IMMINENT threat of severe bodily harm, sexual assault, or death.
All instances of utilized lethal force will be investigated by local law enforcement. As such, there may be a circumstance under which a person, who has used lethal force, may be charged with a crime. This outcome occurs because either the County Prosecutor, the local police department, or both feel that the "victim" overstepped legal boundaries while defending himself.
One potential cost of self-defense would be those necessary expenditures to defend oneself against criminal charges. In the aftermath of a self-defense shooting, the "victim" may need money to post a bond, if available, to be released from custody.
Furthermore, a criminally charged victim will also need money to hire an experienced lawyer to prepare a defense against levied charges. Costs could escalate even further if expert testimony is required: ballistics expert, blood splatter analysis, and etc.
A criminal defense case can be costly. In most cases, a criminal defense case could cost as much $20,000. In the recent past, it was a common practice for homeowners to refinance their mortgages to raise the necessary monetary funds to prepare a defense.
Today, that option (i.e. refinancing real estate) for many people is not available, as home property values have plummeted and have left little home equity to withdraw from their residences. As a consequence of today's economic reality, a victim may need to sign over a deed to a home, to sign over a vehicle title, or to cash in other property such as stocks or bonds.
Also, a survivor of a violent encounter may require counseling, which may not be available from his health care plan. Toss in the very real need of possibly needing to take time off work, a financial hardship could easily become a reality. More money could be potentially leaving the household budget while less income is being received.
Additionally, there may be a psychological cost. Many people do not relish the necessity of defending one's life, even if the assailant presented a clear and imminent danger to their safety. A firearm is a defensive tool of last resort. If a law-abiding citizen uses lethal force to defend his life, there may be some emotional difficulties and realities that may cause additional hardship.
If the investigation into the shooting results in a criminal case, the victim's life can be put on hold for an indefinite period of time. With his future in limbo, the sheer uncertainty could exact a heavy psychological toll. Further, the victim will literally "play over" in his mind the recalled circumstances of the shooting and wonder whether twelve jurors will rule that his actions - shooting the assailant - were justified.
Finally, the third potential expense of self-defense is the actual physical cost of being imprisoned. If a defensive user of a firearm oversteps legal boundaries, he could face as much as 20 years, if not more, behind bars.
In a case I have blogged about often, a 34 year-old Detroit CPL-holder was recently found guilty of both Manslaughter and Felony Firearm charges. Due to the actual circumstances of the case, he was only sentenced to three years of probation on the Manslaughter charge but was sentenced to a mandatory two year prison term on the latter charge.
Carrying a concealed firearm for personal protection, in my humble opinion, has become a necessity in the metro-Detroit area. Crime is out-of-control, local police department budgets are being slashed to the bone, and the state is closing prisons and releasing violent criminals early. The choice is clear: make plans for your safety or face the real risk being a victim.
For those persons who choose to apply for and receive the privilege of carrying a concealed handgun for personal protection, they also have implicitly agreed to stay within the boundaries of law. Failing to do so can incur the very real possibility of going to prison.
Thus, it is imperative for those folks to enroll into a bona fide and legitimate class in which they are going to be taught the law and how to protect their rights in the aftermath of a shooting. In many cases, being charged with a crime and being forced to justify the legality of one's actions in a trial can be avoided if a person not only knows his rights but exercises them.
Please do not be fooled into thinking that there are any guarantees in fully justified shooting. If an armed law-abiding citizen is attacked, he'll still have to deal with the psychological trauma of shooting a bad guy and the whims of the local County Prosecutor.
However, in spite of all the potential costs of self-defense, a victim can prevail on all fronts. Doing so is going to require not only being armed with a suitable defensive handgun but also possessing full knowledge of the law and protecting your rights.
If you're going to carry a handgun, get the training you need from a professional and credible Personal Protection Trainer. It will make a very real difference in your future.
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Classes training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit. Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Gun Digest, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, WJLB, WGPR and the UrbanShooterPodcast.
For more info about Personal Protection and Detroit Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:
Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit