What to Do After Using a Gun In Self Defense?

When the worst comes to worst and you need to use your gun against an attacker, what should you do after using it in self defense?

No one would want to be put in this situation in the first place, but still you must prepare not only to train using your firearm properly but also to be aware of the next steps to take after firing your gun to defend yourself.

What to Do After Using a Gun In Self Defense?

Call 9-1-1!

Be sure to phone 911 immediately once it’s already safe to do so like when there is no immediate threat to you.

Once you are already safe, call law enforcement right away particularly if you or another person close to you has been harmed.


All calls to this number are recorded even before someone picks up the phone. Think carefully about what you have to say to the dispatcher who answers your call.

While it’s hard to compose yourself after the shocking situation, it’s important to remain calm when sharing the details. Do not OVERSHARE information with the operator.

  • State your name and location.
  • If needed, request emergency services like an ambulance or EMS.

Then, say that you’re the crime victim. Put the phone down. Just provide the first correct and initial response with the operator.

Remember, what you have to say during the call will play an important role in the crime’s aftermath.

Don’t say that you used deadly force, shot, or killed someone. In short, don’t share the details about the self-defense shooting that took place.

Over sharing could have a negative impact on the case, so be careful and be very selective about what you share.

At this point, the law enforcement still has no capacity, with the lack of information yet, to determine the criminal or the good/bad guy.

Think about how the police will see the crime scene

As the law enforcement only has limited and basic information before arriving at the crime scene, you must think about the next action to take or else you’ll appear to be a threat to the police, like when they arrive and see you holding a gun while someone’s lying shot on the floor.

If you could, you must holster your gun or put it down where it’s not in your hands.

Avoid pointing your gun towards the entrance or to the responders. This might escalate the already tense situation and it breaks gun safety rules.

Remain calm and make your hands visible. Don’t make the police officers be cautious of you because they wouldn’t initially know if you’re the bad guy here.

Remain silent, while still being polite. After the shooting incident in self-defense, exercise your right to remain silent at this point no matter how confident you are with your story. In this tense situation, you might spit out so much information that could be used against you in court later – and that is something you might regret.

Share only necessary information – only the basics AS IS information.

Don’t touch the evidence or try moving things around. You must leave the scene as it was and wait for the law enforcement to arrive. Otherwise, tampering the scene and any evidence might make you appear suspicious.

When law enforcement arrives

Don’t leave the scene, or you will make yourself look suspicious, trying to hide something. And again, don’t touch the evidence.

Be sure that the gun isn’t in your hands when the police arrive, too.

Before they arrive at the scene, be sure to place the weapon in a safe place or re-holster it.

You won’t look good having the gun in your hand when the police arrive at the scene.

Follow the law enforcement commands (e.g. put your gun on the floor).

As they don’t know the whole story at this point, they are likely to put you in handcuffs.

You will surrender your gun, as evidence, to the police.

However, this doesn’t mean you’re guilty, because it is just part of the operating procedures that they collect the evidence.

Provided you have fired the gun at someone in self-defense, you won’t be in handcuffs for long nor will you be arrested.

Call your attorney

Being a responsible gun owner, you have probably prepared for this especially that self-defense cases are difficult.

Another important step to take after using your gun in self-defense is to contact an attorney. Their number should be on the speed dial, so it would be easier.

Your lawyer will help you talk to the police and defend your rights to achieving a positive outcome in the best way that they can.

They will be able to ask you important questions about what happened and what force degree that the criminal used, if there was any, etc.

They’ll help you come up with an official statement to the police or law enforcement.

You don’t need to worry because your attorney will not share any information you shared with them about the shooting.


After using your gun in self-defense and the officers have arrived at the scene of the crime, they’ll start asking questions in order to piece together what happened. They’d ask you things like what made you discharge your gun or who you were with.

Tell them that you’re not answering their questions about what happened without an attorney by your side. They should stop asking questions until your lawyer arrives.

Only discuss the case with your attorney

When put in jail, don’t discuss your case with anyone except with your attorney. Remember that.

You must contact your attorney to post bail if you were taken into custody. However, this may depend on the circumstances. You may or may not be able to post a bail or you might have to pay a high bail.

Wrapping Up

No one would want to be put in a situation when they’d have to discharge their firearm and shoot someone.

But being a legal and responsible gun owner, you must be ready when this event ever unfolds.

Know what to do after using your gun in self-defense, including calling 911, practicing your right to remain silent, and calling your attorney right away to help defend your rights.

Related Post: