- Ian T. Mena-Wieland
Prior to a defensive use of force event, it is important to remember that there may be a legal battle in addition to the fight for your life. For these circumstances, it is prudent to secure some sort of insurance that can help cover legal costs or reimburse you for legal fees.
The three biggest providers of insurance and legal compensation are: The Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, US Law Shield (USCCA) and the NRA Carry Guard Insurance. All of these options have some benefits and detractions, but they may offer the coverage you need.
Armed Legal Defense Network: $135/year, $95 renewal
The ACLDN is a network of firearms instructors, attorneys, law enforcement officers and citizens that is designed to get you legal counsel immediately after a defensive use of force. The founder, Marty Hayes, designed the program to immediately dispatch legal counsel or offer retainer fees for your own counsel. In addition to the coverage for pre-trail/trial fees and bail assistance, the ACLDN also sends an introductory packet that included training DVDs, and books to ensure that you know the law of self defense. Also available is access to firearms trainers and attorneys to answer your questions.
US Law Shield (USCCA): $10.95/month, add on coverage available
US Law Shield operates much like the ACLDN, giving you access to attorneys and pretrial assistance for both criminal and civil proceedings. The USCCA offers a good amount of information on concealed carry education as well as legal information and a legal hotline for questions. One disadvantage to the US Law Shield is that it is not yet offered in all states.
NRA Carry Guard: Tiered coverage, monthly payments
The NRA is, of course, nationally recognized with deep pockets to cover your legal needs. They also offer differing options for insurance, where you pay less for a lower coverage amount, and more for a higher amount. Like both of the previous offerings, there is a questions hotline and training videos provided. As a side benefit, you also receive a 1-year NRA membership for each year you are a member. The disadvantage to this insurance is that it is like traditional insurance: the payout is only after an acquittal or dismissal of your case, so the payment is not paid up front.