Becoming an Expert Witness

nra 22 hayesRecently, I received the following e-mail: 

Good day. I read an article written by Mr. Hayes titled ‘Call the Experts’ in Gun Digest. He encouraged people to inquire about becoming a court recognized expert in self-defense cases. Will you please forward my inquiry to him as to how best to proceed on this matter? Thank you for your consideration.

[Name Withheld For Privacy]

I responded that it was a great question, requiring an answer that is way too extensive for e-mail. I promised to instead write an article for the Network eJournal, as others might be interested, too. 

I first learned about testifying in court as an expert witness back in 1990, when I attended Massad Ayoob’s Lethal Force Institute. During the classroom presentation, he spoke about several instances where he testified in court and saved the bacon for the armed citizen or police officer. I remember thinking, I would really like to help people who are wrongfully accused of a crime after an act of self defense.

It turns out there were not that many cases in the greater Seattle area, and besides, I was spending all my time trying to develop my shooting instruction business, so I didn’t get my first case until 1992. One day, I got a call from the Seattle Public Defender’s Office. The attorney, who found me in the Yellow Pages, asked if I could help figure out the firearms evidence in a case. I told her I could try, and so she sent me the discovery, which included the police reports, autopsy report, shooting incident photos and the defendant’s statement to police.

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President’s Message

Marty Hayes

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

Report from the NRA Annual Meeting

We did not actually attend the NRA members meeting or board of directors meeting, because in the past when I have attended them, I found them to be overly choreographed love fests with no real information presented, and virtually no input from NRA members allowed. So, I will only report from the floor of the exhibit hall.

The 2023 show was smaller than past shows, and a major player in the industry, Smith and Wesson, did not even bother to attend. I would guess only about half the number of members were milling around the floor as we have seen in past shows. Could it be that people are a little disgruntled with NRA leadership? I know I am, but in spite of that, we signed up a lot of new members and got to greet and shake hands with even more of our current members.

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Attorney Question of the Month

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Armed citizens commonly believe that if they use force in self defense, they are certain to be sued. That has not proven true in the Network’s experience of assisting 29 members who defended themselves and their loved ones since we started the Network in 2008. None have been sued. Nonetheless, fear of a lawsuit is of great concern to most Network members. In this Attorney Question of the Month column, we asked our affiliated attorneys for their opinions and comments on this question:

If a person uses force in self defense, are they likely to be sued for damages? This is a pervasive fear amongst armed citizens many of whom believe that it is a near certainty. What is your opinion?

Have you had a client or clients who were sued after self defense? How did it turn out?

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News From Our Afilliates

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by Gila Hayes

It is starting to heat up down in Florida already and with the change in seasons, Jeff and Robyn Street are wrapping up the winter offerings of their popular Scoot and Shoot range sessions. The Streets’ Step by Step Gun Training has been affiliated with the Network for ten years, and in that time their level of outreach has never failed to impress. I think their adaptability and the way they tailor their instruction to the needs of their students plays a big role in their success. The Scoot and Shoot program illustrates what they do so well that I recently called Jeff for an end of season report.

Scoot and Shoot is enjoyable for shooters of all skill levels. When starting a session, Robyn is alert to first-time shooters and can take them aside for introductory instruction in gun safety using blue guns and disassembled firearms. Beginners can borrow loaner guns, UpLULA magazine loaders, and even holsters and magazine pouches to get started right.

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Video Review

Paul Howe: Combat MindsetHowe Vid

Media Format: DVD ($9.99) or streaming video ($1.99-$15.99)

Panteao Productions

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

For this month’s review, I studied an older video produced by Panteao Productions in 2012 that features Paul Howe. This instructor has been influencing military, police, and armed citizen training for many years. His experience includes 20 years in the U.S. Army, ten of which were in Special Operations, including the Battle of Mogadishu and other combat. He’s written several books, and teaches through his company Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT ) .

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Editor’s Notebook

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by Gila Hayes

Over half of our crew, four of our seven staff and owners, traveled to Indianapolis in mid April to represent the Network at the NRA annual meeting. We enjoyed our time there, meeting new and long-time Network members, talking extensively about the Network’s efforts and our work to fulfill the mission that no Network member stands alone after legitimate use of force in self defense. It was a great three days. Now that the Network is in its 15th year, it should come as no surprise that a large number of visitors to our exhibit booth were existing members coming by to visit, with their numbers augmented by a handful of lapsed members returning to start their memberships back up. Of course, we met many wonderful new members, as well.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.

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