Owning a firearm is certainly a strong measure of insurance against an undesirable outcome in the event of a home invasion. But should you need to discharge your weapon to stop a deadly threat, what is protecting you from potential criminal and civil penalties in the aftermath?
Self-defense insurance has become as indispensable to a firearms owner’s safety arsenal as trigger locks and gun safes. Most homeowner policies do not — in fact, cannot — provide you this type of coverage.
“It is illegal for an insurance policy to cover a criminal act, so if a prosecutor is alleging that you committed a crime — say by not retreating — then it would be illegal for your homeowners insurance to cover it,” explains Gilbert Ambler, Northeast regional manager for U.S. Law Shield, a sponsor of the third-annual NJ SAFE Conference in Princeton on Sept. 23.
An added measure of protection is therefore possibly the only thing standing between you and the loss of your savings — or your freedom — if you exercise your Second Amendment right to defend your life with a firearm.
While there are several options for self-defense insurance, including the NRA’s Carry Guard and plans offered by the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, only U.S. Law Shield offers the exclusive services of NJ SAFE speaker and renowned weapons rights attorney Evan Nappen.
“We are a membership-driven program and offer start-to-finish legal coverage after any self-defense incident with a lawfully owned weapon,” Ambler says. “The membership in New Jersey is $10.95 a month and provides Evan Nappen and his law firm for your legal defense when something happens. Notably, in New Jersey we also cover possession offenses. If you get pulled over coming home from the range, and the police officer wants to arrest you claiming your firearm was not properly stowed, we would fight that case for you.”
An oft-repeated mantra of the weekly Gun For Hire Radio broadcast from their Woodland Park range and studio is “New Jersey gun laws are designed to make you a criminal.” Even the most novice New Jersey gun owner is aware of how vigilant one must remain to stay out of trouble.
“Worst-case scenarios in New Jersey are unfortunately all too common,” Ambler cautions. “New Jersey does not offer civil immunity to someone in a self-defense action — even if they were found to have justification. If the prosecutor is also anti-gun, then you likely will face an uphill legal battle, where every action you took on the night in question is placed under immense scrutiny.
“Did you have a drink before you went to bed? Did you get up to investigate a sound? After realizing there was someone in your home, did you attempt to find an avenue of escape? Was the person actually threatening you when you acted, or where they just trying to steal your property? There is an almost endless list of questions the prosecutor will pose, trying to make it look like you wanted to kill someone. And in New Jersey, even if you win that case the person you acted against or their family can, and likely will, turn around and sue you.”
For Law Shield members, “the legal defense costs after a shooting in the home are $0,” Ambler says. “For someone without some sort of plan, such an incident would likely range on the low side, if everything was done perfectly by the homeowner, from about $50,000 up to well over a half million dollars in cases where everything is not perfect.”
Furthermore, Law Shield has no lifetime limits. “It does not matter if the case takes one year or 10, you have an attorney with you.”
Visit U.S. Law Shield’s website for more information.