October 29, 2021
While most Firearms News readers buy the best guns they can afford, take excellent care of their firearms, train regularly and understand any number of self-defense techniques, many often overlook a critical aspect of armed self-defense—namely what might happen legally immediately after a self-defense episode.
Fact is, a person using a firearm for self-defense often finds him or herself in custody of law enforcement, facing trial and sometimes even being convicted of crimes, even though their defensive episode is completely justified under law.
That’s just the kind of situation that spawned U.S. LawShield (then Texas LawShield) back in 2009. At that time, a group of passionate attorneys interested in Second Amendment rights saw innocent people suffering the terrible consequences of someone else’s choice to commit crime. Lawful people were experiencing financial duress, bankruptcy, or—worst of all—going to jail.
While many people don’t know it, even though you might be abiding by the law when protecting yourself or a loved one doesn’t mean you won’t get held up in the justice system, according to Gary Ramey, chief commercial officer for U.S. LawShield.
“A great example is the shooting in the Texas church where Jack Wilson stopped an attack on worshippers,” Ramey said, referring to the incident where Wilson can be seen on video drawing his handgun and ending the rampage with a single shot to the attacker’s head. “Jack is one of our members. It took nine months to clear him. He protected the entire church from this guy with a shotgun who killed two people. And it still took nine months to get him cleared.”
Obviously, paying nine months of attorney’s fees is something many gun owners can’t afford without facing financial ruin. But U.S. LawShield has created a comprehensive legal defense for self-defense program that is very affordable, offering full attorney services for only $10.95 a month.
“A lot of times you see that the criminals have more rights than the people defending themselves and their family,” said Kristi Heuring, director of partner relations who oversees the communications for the company. “When U.S. LawShield was formed it was done to protect just that—the law-abiding gun owners protecting themselves or those they love, but then they, in turn, get treated like a criminal.
“When you have an incident, the first thing you do is call 911. Then you immediately hang up and call the emergency hotline on the back of your membership card. As soon as that phone is answered you are talking to an attorney. From that time, your conversation is privileged information and cannot be used against you in a court of law. And then that attorney will take care of you throughout your case.”
U.S. LawShield’s model is so simple that it is growing by leaps and bounds. Latest numbers show some 720,000 members—all law-abiding citizens ready to protect themselves and their families, but not wanting to navigate a complex legal system by themselves. That makes the company the leading provider of self-defense protection in the market segment.
Of course, the hotline number provided to members is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. And if a member needs to make that call, he or she will be speaking directly to an attorney, not a call center representative.
In addition to the $10.95 per month, U.S. LawShield features a number of add-on membership types tailored to specific needs of different groups of people. For frequent travelers, multi-state protection is available that covers members in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico for an additional $2.95 per month.
Other add-on opportunities include adding a secondary member, minor children coverage, and bail bond and expert witness coverage. The company even officers two kinds of specialty coverage—gun owner identity theft coverage and coverage specifically crafted for hunters and anglers for legal issues they might face.
Also, members can access information they might need on a number of issues relating to firearms—all for no charge with their membership.
“A good example is, let’s say you just have a question,” Ramey said. “You know, you’re getting ready to travel and you want to know what the rules and regulations are regarding state lines. You have access to legal advice on those kinds of questions. It’s not always when you have a problem. We’re really big into education and taking care of our members.”
In fact, education is an important part of U.S. LawShield’s services to gun owners. The firm offers a number of educational workshops ranging from must-know gun laws 101 to making deadly force decisions to emergency first aid for gunshot wounds. The company even has a series of state-specific gun law books that contain critical information that every gun owner should know.
Interestingly, U.S. LawShield covers members involved in self-defense episodes even if they don’t use a firearm. Coverage extends to any legal means of self-defense, whether EDC knife, fists, a baseball bat or other objects.
As for Ramey, it’s important that prospective members not only understand what U.S. LawShield is, but also what it is not.
“People need to know that we are not an insurance refund program,” he said. “Some companies present themselves as having a program for you. But then when you have an incident, you’ve got to go find your own attorney and you have to apply for an insurance refund to be reimbursed for your legal expenses afterward. With us, everything is taken care of with your monthly fee.”
And, Heuring said there is another critical difference many people might not understand between U.S. LawShield’s services and those offered by most competitors.
“One of the main ways we are different is, like I mentioned, when you call the hotline you are talking to an attorney immediately with U.S. LawShield,” Heuring said. “That is not the case with the competition. You’re going to be talking to a call center first where that conversation is not privileged or confidential, and it can be used against you if you were to go to court.”
Both Ramey and Heuring predict continued strong growth for U.S. LawShield. The fact that America added several million new gun owners over the past 18 months makes even more potential clients for the company.
“We’re growing so fast,” Ramey said. “We’re trying to manage that responsibly and expand our reach to more and more customers and continue to build the brand.”
For more information, visit USLawShield.com.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.