Red Flag Laws and Network Assistance
by Marty Hayes, J.D., President, Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.
A question commonly asked is whether the Network will pay legal expenses on behalf of our members if they are “red flagged.” Despite considerable pressure from the buying public, we remain solid in our decision to not promise assistance for members who are served “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO or Red Flag order).
There are two major reasons that the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. does not extend any benefits to our members to assist if they are served with an Extreme Risk Protection Order.
Please understand that the Network is not selling insurance. You see, being served an Extreme Risk Protection Order is an act which is out of your control. Any plan that provides assistance for “an out of your control” action (a contingency) would likely be deemed to be providing “insurance” for that contingency. If we are to remain in business and continue to pay our members’ legal fees after self defense, we must not expand into services that constitute insurance coverage. We have developed our business model around the fact that the Network voluntarily provides assistance to members after the member has voluntarily and intentionally acted in legitimate self defense.
For over a year, the Network has been embroiled in a legal battle against the Washington Office of Insurance Commissioner, which alleges that the benefits the Network extends to our members constitute insurance. The definition of “insurance” in Washington State according to RCW 48.01.040 is: “Insurance is a contract whereby one undertakes to indemnify another or pay a specified amount upon determinable contingencies.” The key parts of that definition are the words “determinable contingency.” In simple terms, if the Network will not indemnify or pay a specific benefit that is based upon the occurrence of a determinable contingency (for this discussion, being served with an Extreme Risk Protection Order), because that would constitute insurance and we stand firm that we are not offering insurance.
Since any request for assistance from the Network hinges on a voluntary act by the member–an intentional act of self defense–we do not come under the commissioner’s jurisdiction. That is because our benefits are not linked to a determinable contingency. Consequently, and primarily because of this, we will not assist a member who has been served an ERPO.
In this determination, the Network is not alone. Of the five remaining self-defense protection plans (other than ourselves), three are in line with the Network on this, and two say they will provide assistance, but don’t specify exactly what help will be given. Speaking frankly, I would recommend the best course of action is to study your state’s laws regarding ERPOs and make sure you do not commit any acts that might allow someone to make a case to take away your guns.
Studying one state’s example gives good overview of the national situation. The State of Washington has had its version of Extreme Risk Protection Orders in place for a couple of years now (RCW 7.94.010 https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=7.94) and while there’s been considerable commentary and erroneous reports about its use, it is interesting to read news stories about it now that the politicking has calmed down. Examples at https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/extreme-risk-seattle-police-have-seized-43-guns-from-people-deemed-to-be-a-danger-under-year-old-law/, https://q13fox.com/2019/10/21/washingtons-red-flag-law-allows-authorities-to-seize-neo-nazis-guns/ and https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/us/gun-seizures.html are just a few stories about ERPOs during the Washington law’s history which spans several years. I would urge the reader, whether or not a Washington resident, to read these varied stories. Doing so will give you a clearer picture of the issue. For additional study, members may recall that in 2019 an Attorney Question of the Month gave our Network Affiliated Attorneys a chance to discuss Extreme Risk Protection Orders with their commentaries published at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/april-2019-attorney-question and https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/may-2019-attorney-question.
In conclusion, the Network membership benefit of paying legal expenses is reserved for members after legitimate use of force in self defense as described more fully at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn/membership-benefits. From our beginnings in 2008, our mandate has been to reserve the Legal Defense Fund for legal defense of use of force in self defense. If we funded legal counsel to fight incursions against members’ gun rights, we would deplete the Legal Defense Fund and find ourselves no longer able to accomplish our original mission, that of fully funding the fight against malicious prosecution.
For that reason, we do not pay attorneys to help members with concealed carry license denials, to fight gun possession restrictions imposed against someone who rents their housing, or argue against restrictions enacted against spouses during a bad divorce, as a few examples of legal fights we have been asked but declined to fund. There are a lot of unjust restrictions and in spite of the difficulties they cause, the Network must reserve the Legal Defense Fund for defense of self defense so that we remain well prepared to vigorously fight murder, manslaughter or assault charges brought against members who defend themselves.
Network Services to Members Sets It Apart
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
President, Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.
In 2008, we established the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. as a membership organization to fulfill two core missions: first, to help members in the legal fight after they justifiably use force in self defense by paying for the services of attorneys, expert witnesses, private investigators and other professionals essential to mounting a vigorous legal defense of self defense on behalf of our members. Our second mission is educating our members (and to some extent, the gun-owning public) in the law governing use of force in self defense and how armed citizens can protect against unmeritorious prosecution. Let me explain how we do this.
What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law
We'd like to send you your own copy of this concise, little booklet packed with critical information for American gun owners.
What is the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network's Mission?
Our mission, indeed, our entire focus is the preparation, education and legal defense of Network members who defend themselves and their families, then face unmeritorious prosecution by the criminal justice system.
The Network is an organization of gun owners pooling their strength to protect one another when a member comes under scrutiny of the legal system after acting in self defense. Just as the earliest labor unions were mere groups of workers joined together to prevent abuse of individual workers, Network members have joined, not because they expect to use deadly force in self defense, but because they are well aware of the abuses the legal system can enact against the innocent man or women forced to defend self or family.
Our members recognize that an individual may not carry much weight against the legal system. The Network's strength, its experts and the fund amassed from 25% of all membership dues, provides vastly more power to protect your legal rights and legal survival.
A Network member is probably the least likely gun owner to be involved in a shooting or otherwise use deadly force. This is because of our aggressive educational program that starts when you join the Network. A 235-page book plus an informative series of nine educational video lectures is given to each new member. Our member education committment ensures that your understanding of use of force in self defense is first class. Our content-rich on-line journal carries on that mission each month.
The Network is a membership organization with a variety of services for members. Using the links to the right, you can browse through information about what you get with your membership, an introduction to the Network leadership, media coverage of the Network, why our members have joined, and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Firearms Press is Talking About the Network
Word is getting out about the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc. We appreciate the publicity the firearms media and authors give the Network as they spread word of the Network and its mission.
Get to Know the Network Leaders
The Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc. is a privately-owned, for-profit corporation led by President Marty Hayes, Vice-President Vincent Shuck and Operations Manager Gila Hayes. Brief biographical sketches of each follow.
The concept of the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc. is the idea of the Network’s President Marty Hayes, who, after founding and running a successful firearms training business (The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc.) for many years, chose to address the issues of post shooting legal issues. In 2003, Marty decided to pursue a law degree with the expectation of working in the legal arena, and during this time, the idea of the Network was born. Upon graduation in 2007, he set out to form the structure of the Network, along with working with other top firearms training professionals to ensure the success of the Network.
Questions most often asked about the Network include...
If considering joining the network, you undoubtedly have questions! We've compiled a fairly comprehensive list of those we've been asked.
If you don't find the answer to your question, please contact us by clicking the "Contact" link above.
Why Should I be a Member of Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network?
The membership benefits alone can pay for your yearly membership dues!
First, We Believe Education is a Priority!
Network members receive a 235-page book plus nine educational videos featuring leading instructors and legal experts teaching:
• The legal parameters of use of force for self defense.
• Handling the aftermath of using force in self defense.
• Post self defense legal concerns.
• Articulating pre-assault indicators and how they influence the self defense decision-making process and more.
Members have access to educational articles, interviews and updates through a monthly journal published online.