Living in an area that’s prone to violence can be an issue of great concern. Furthermore, if you may feel the need to protect yourself, your property, or your loved ones or just to enhance your security for whatever reason, you may apply for a license or permit from your state police department and buy self-defense firearms. However, there’s more you need to know in the event that you’ll have to use a firearm.

What To Know Before Using A Firearm 

Celebrities, politicians, business people, and other prominent public figures often experience threats that may push them to acquire self-defense firearms. And due to the prevalence of crime, anyone can buy a firearm, through legal or illegal means.

However, remember, as a law-abiding citizen, the issuance of a firearms license is controlled and you need to have no criminal record for you to qualify for one. You also have to undergo thorough firearm safety and handling training, and some states may even require you to get a psychological exam before issuing you a permit. If you live in the State of Virginia, you can visit this website to know how you can acquire a self-defense firearm.  

For the purpose of educating, say you were involved in a self-defense shooting incident. First responders will always ask you if you have a permit, collect eyewitness accounts, and may even take you to the precinct for questioning. However, some things must be satisfied when you’re pressed with a lawsuit for the shooting. For one, you must prove your innocence and that the danger was imminent. Furthermore, the following circumstances below must be proven by any law-enforcement agency in self-defense shooting incidents: 

1. Ability 

Beyond any reasonable doubt, you should be able to prove that your attacker could cause serious harm to you, your loved one, or an innocent person. Mostly, this can be justified when your enemy was in possession of a weapon to harm you, though some without weapons can equally cause serious harm to you. However, threats alone from your attacker don’t mean that the attacker can harm you. 

Someone who is in a wheelchair would mostly be unable to harm you unless they possess a weapon. You can quickly run away to save your life instead of using a firearm. On the other hand, someone who is a martial arts expert can critically injure you, even without using a firearm. Thus, sober judgment between the two circumstances should be done before using a firearm. Because an attacker can harm you within a split second, you need to make your judgment extremely fast.

2. Opportunity  

Since a firearm is usually the last resort in self-defense, your attacker must have the opportunity to harm you for you to shoot. An attacker with a pistol can shoot you from any distance; thus, the use of a firearm for self-defense might be appropriate. But in a situation where your assailant is 30 yards away from you and has a knife, that may not be regarded as an immediate threat due to the distance.

Opportunity considers whether the attacker is in an effective range to inflict injury on you. If the attacker isn’t an immediate threat, other forms of defense like retreating, running away, or getting off with a vehicle should be your first options. All these factors may be put into consideration by your accusers, in case you are taken to court for using a firearm.

Woman hiding gun behind back outdoors

3. Imminent Jeopardy 

When your assailant threatens to kill or seriously hurt your body, either verbally or through actions, it’s considered as ‘imminent jeopardy.’ In many cases, your attacker may not give you verbal cues of their ill motive, so their actions will tell you that they intend to hurt you. You can make a quick judgment so you can defend yourself to avoid being attacked. You’ll have to rely heavily on perception in such situations.

When you identify the ill intention to harm you, then you may use your firearm. This applies to situations where the attacker was using a fake or unloaded firearm. It’s impossible to know whether the firearm is fake or unloaded, even when the attacker is acting carelessly.

4. Preclusion  

This is a situation where all options available wouldn’t have helped you, except to shoot and protect yourself. Your accusers in court must be persuaded that under the circumstances you were in, there wasn’t any other logical alternative but to use lethal force in defense. Your actions should be perceived as restrained, reasonable, and fits into the last option of using deadly force.

Make sure that you’re not the initial aggressor in a situation that causes you to use a firearm. For instance, you shouldn’t be the person who started an argument that caused an ugly scene or your opponent retreated but you followed them. These actions may land you in jail.  


Always keep in your mind that a firearm is your last resort. It’s not used for petty differences with others. You need but use it when you’re defending innocent lives and there’s immediate danger. When seeking to purchase a firearm, consult with your lawyer about what the law says concerning firearms in your state. There’s more that you need to learn like justification, state and federal laws, and the physiological impact before, during, and after the shooting.