Marty eJournal column pixby Marty Hayes, J.D.

As I start this month’s column, I am flying home from a planning meeting for next year’s season of Best Defense TV, shown on the Outdoor Channel. This will be my fifth year of discussing legal issues on the show, and I feel very proud that the show endures and has become a fan favorite on the Outdoor Channel. A big thanks to Michael Bane (the show creator), and co-hosts Michael Seeklander and Michael Janich for accepting me. Last season we won the Golden Moose award for the best shooting show on the Outdoor Channel, and we are hoping that we at least get nominated again this year. It will depend on the viewers, or course. I will let you know when nominations are open!

Network and Massad Ayoob Group

While there are many fine instructors and attorneys across the country that are teaching use of deadly force along with defensive handgunning, when you draw up names on an “A-List” of trainers, the name Massad Ayoob always appears on that list. I am fortunate to have worked with Mas for 26 years now, and this year is no different.

The below photos were taken at a Use of Deadly Force Instructor course held at my shooting school just before this journal hit the cyberspace.

Why are those hands up? Those are Network members and Affiliated Instructors, all who are part of the Network. We crammed as many into our classroom as we could and still be comfortable and spent a week dissecting the discipline of justifiable use of force in self defense. It is a program Massad and I have taught in years past, but it had been seven years since the last one. If you are interested in bringing this program to your area, Mas and I would be interested in discussing that with you. You can contact me direct at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express an interest.

Network Status Update

Membership enrollment in the Network is still increasing, and we are thrilled that things are going so well. Currently we have no active member-involved cases and that is always nice. But, we remain ever ready to come to the assistance of any member who is forced to defend themselves, whether it be by gun, knife, empty hands or even a golf club (as one of our members did).

Now, having said that, we continuously get calls from non-members who are unclear as to what we do, and want to sign up for membership so they can access our Legal Defense Fund to pay legal expenses to defend an existing incident. I hate to be Ebenezer Scrooge, but we would quickly go broke and be unable to assist our members if we used the Legal Defense Fund to defend gun owners who waited to join until they needed attorney fees paid. In the same vein, I got an email from a new member, who wanted to make us aware of a military guy being prosecuted for an act of self defense, and wanted to know if we could help him. Again, it just isn't our mission, and we want to jealously guard the Legal Defense Fund and keep it strong for our members.

Why Are You a Network Member?

I asked this question recently on our Facebook page and was tremendously pleased with the responses I received. Here are just a few of the responses:
– “It gives me peace of mind and the ability to relax and do what I need to do within the law to keep myself and my family safe without the hesitation caused by worry regarding potential aftermath.”

– “The most important part to me is the education aspect. If you watch the videos and read the newsletter it will dispel a lot of the ‘common wisdom’ that is neither when it comes to armed self defense. Education trumps ignorance and getting it from experts instead of Facebook and/or YouTube ‘not quite’ experts is best. The fact that if you are involved in a self-defense incident they have your back is to me almost a bonus. Just the DVDs and monthly content are worth it. My wife recently got her CHL and I added her to the plan.

Oh, and they aren’t constantly trying to upsell me or get me to buy other things (*cough* like other self- defense insurance groups, one of which I joined five years ago and then left for ACLDN *cough*).”

– “As a new member and affiliated attorney I can say that the materials you receive alone pays for the price of admission. Plus the wealth of resources available to you including the newsletter, experts and discussions. Of course, if that wasn’t enough, the funding is not result based if you are ever in the unfortunate position to have to defend yourself or your loved ones.”

– “There are three main components of the Network and together they provide a solid foundation of legal protection if you’re involved in a self defense incident.

Educational: The educational component is key. You will learn from the DVDs and the newsletter things you should and shouldn’t do long before the self-defense incident occurred in order to minimize your chances of being charged or convicted. Many self-defense cases are lost long before the incident occurred. The DVDs will also help educate you on how to interact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system if the situation does occur. The poor actions and interactions after a self-defense incident are another very common cause for wrongful convictions that should otherwise have been deemed legitimate self defense. Another benefit of the educational component of the Network is that the material should be admissible to be used in your defense. For example, unless you can otherwise show you learned how to identify pre-attack indicators or how you learned of the Tueller principle, you may not be able to use that information in your defense. With the educational DVDs you almost certainly will (particularly if you keep a log of when you watched and re-watched each DVD).

Financial: By joining the Network you will benefit from an up-to $10,000 deposit paid to your attorney immediately after a self-defense shooting. This is key to ensure that you quickly get representation when you need it the most and can initiate an independent investigation of the incident. If you do need to engage in a more protracted legal defense (criminal and civil) you can apply for assistance with legal fees from the Legal Defense Fund.

Expertise: With the Network you have access to a wealth of expertise to help you in your criminal and civil legal defenses if you should need it. You’ll get access to Network affiliated attorneys who specialize in self-defense cases, you’ll also have access to some of the best court-recognized legal experts in the country and you’ll be able to tap into their expertise. Having the right experts during the trial can make or break your case.

I don’t know of any other program that offers all three elements of the Network. Some offer the financial component or the educational component but I don’t know any that offer all three. By properly leveraging the Network you’re A) less likely to be involved in a self-defense incident; B) if you are involved in a self-defense incident, your education and actions make you less likely to be a “desirable target” to any prosecutor; C) if you do get un-meritoriously charged you’ll have access to the resources to build a strong legal defense team to win the aftermath.”

There are many, many posts like the ones above on that thread on the Network’s Facebook page. In discussing the future of the Network yesterday with one of the students at the academy, I explained how for me teaching firearms use has taken a backseat to building the Network and developing it into what it is today and what it can grow into. I expect to spend the rest of my working life on the Network, and have no plans to retire. How could I, with what has been said above?

Click here to return to August 2015 Journal to read more.