Including...    • January 2011 State of the Network ReportAuthor Interview: Kathy Jackson of the Cornered CatTraining the Weak Hand Network Affiliated Attorneys Explain Concept of "Attorney on Retainer"

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State of the Network: Going Forward into 2011

by Network President Marty Hayes

Each year that goes by sees dramatic forward progress for the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC. This past year was no exception, as it was full of positive movement toward the long-term viability and success of the Network. With that in mind, I want to share with you our Top 10 Successes of 2010, and a look into what is ahead for 2011.

Fifth DVD Introduces Advisory Board

We started 2010 with an idea to interview each advisory board member about some aspect of the use of deadly force in self defense, and then sharing that information with our members in our fifth DVD. We began in January by interviewing John Farnam about the stealth lifestyle, and then I met up with Tom Givens in Tulsa at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference, where we discussed commonalities in armed citizen’s shootings. In the spring, we interviewed Dennis Tueller and Massad Ayoob, discussing the Tueller Drill and the furtive movement shooting. We then wrapped up that DVD program with a discussion between Vincent and Gila and me, talking about the success and vision of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network.

Television, Internet and Print

In the gun industry, the communications media and the private sector feed off each other, with the gun media supplying much-needed exposure for the businesses, while the latter supply content to write and speak about, along with advertising dollars to keep the media outlets profitable. We were fortunate in 2010 to have several media outlets tell our story, and we really appreciate the exposure. It has helped us grow without costing us resources that we can use to implement programs for our members. Our thanks go to Roy Huntington of American Handgunner, Dave Workman of GunWeek at Second Amendment Foundation, Michael Bane of the Outdoor Channel’s DownRange TV, Kathy Jackson and Tim Schmidt of Concealed Carry Magazine, Rich Lucibella of SWAT Magazine, Massad Ayoob writing in Combat Handguns, Gail Pepin’s Pro-Arms Podcast, and lastly, Rob Pincus of Personal Defense Network and ICE Training. (My apologies if we missed anyone). We are hoping to re-connect with these folks and other industry leaders at the SHOT Show this January to further expose the Network to armed citizens across the nation. Additionally, we have already filmed a series of TV spots for next year (see related article in this journal).

Network Affiliated Gun Shops

The vision of the Network is to truly be a NETWORK of armed citizens, including folks who make a living serving the armed citizen. From the beginning, we believed it likely that gun shops would join us in promoting the Network’s vision. In 2010, we started an outreach campaign to encourage gun shops to join the Network and help spread our message to their customers. We are about halfway through the task of sending complimentary copies of our booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self-Defense Law to 15,000 gun shops across the nation, inviting them to join the Network and asking them to share our booklet with their customers.

As I write this, we have printed over 75,000 booklets, with over 150 Network affiliated shops distributing them. Eventually we want a Network Affiliated Gun Shop in every community in the nation. One thing that each member of the Network can do this winter is to introduce the Network to their local gun shop. Download and print the booklet at, and go share it with your favorite gun shop. If the gun shop has one of their own customers come in and discuss the Network with them, it really influences their willingness to share the message of the Network with their customers.

Jim Fleming Appointed to Advisory Board

Since our inception, it has been our goal to recruit an experienced criminal defense attorney to join the Advisory Board of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation. Many local attorneys are my friends and my students at The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. and they share our vision about defending armed citizens. I was afraid if I asked one of them to serve, we might become too inbred (a common problem in organizations). So, I forewent asking my attorney friends, and waited until I found the perfect individual. That perfect choice actually found us when, early on, he joined us as a Network Affiliated Attorney in Minnesota. Jim Fleming (see editorial) recently agreed to serve the members of the Network in this unpaid advisory capacity to the Foundation. One factor I weighed in asking Jim to serve is his willing work helping get the Continuing Legal Education side of the Network off the ground. We have been putting the pieces of this valuable aspect of the Network together for the last two years, and expect to teach our first CLE courses in 2011.

Corporate Sponsors

In the same vein as the Network Affiliated Gun Shop program, we also became more active in approaching industry manufacturers and convincing them it would be valuable to donate merchandise to the Foundation to auction as fund-raisers. Early on, Galco Leather signed on as our first corporate sponsor, breaking the ice and we really appreciate the support. In 2010, three additional friends of the armed citizens also donated merchandise items for auction to help raise money for the Foundation. Safe Direction, Crimson Trace and Cor-Bon Ammunition all contributed items and helped raise over $3,000, which went directly into the legal defense fund to assist you, our members, in the event you are wrongfully charged. We sincerely appreciate this support and look forward to expanding corporate sponsorship in 2011.

Affiliated Attorney List

While we are not yet in possession of a fully formed Network Affiliated Attorney list, we have made some great advances, and I believe that progress is important enough to qualify as one of our top ten successes of 2010. As you know, we have struggled to get this important aspect of the Network fleshed out, so this year, our operations manager, Gila Hayes, took it upon herself to follow up on recommendations for progun attorney leads from a number of sources. We sent them a letter introducing the Network and asking them to affiliate with us. Thanks largely to her effort, we now have more than 120 Network Affiliated Attorneys in 40 of the 50 states of the Union.

This is in excess of a 100% gain for the year and while we have a long way to go, we are heartened by this progress. Our goal is to have a Network Affiliated Attorney in every county in every state in the nation. We will achieve this goal by first locating attorneys in every state, then in each major metropolitan area of each state, and eventually in each county.

When we kick off the CLE training courses, we will start adding attorneys by the bunch, so it is important that the CLE training classes get underway. If you have been waiting for us to get an attorney in your area, check the Network Affiliated Attorneys section of the web site to see if we have achieved that yet. And remember, if we don’t yet have an attorney for you, we are working on it. We also have the Boots On the Ground program (http://www. - link requires member login) in place and ready to assist if needed.

Larry Hickey Acquittal

After two trials and the involvement of Massad Ayoob and me, Larry Hickey is walking free today with no possibility of further criminal or civil action against him. If you are a new member reading this edition of the eJournal, and have not yet read the riveting account of Larry’s ordeal which started two years ago (click here to download the PDF) you really need to read the story to understand why we here at the Network view this case as one of our greatest successes for 2010.

What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self-Defense Law

Sometimes I think I have good ideas, but when they ultimately are put in place, they fizzle out. Fortunately, this booklet was not one of those, but instead, has become an instant hit with our members and has worked to our advantage in pursuing new members. From the beginning, I’ve said that I wanted to change how armed citizens learn about the legalities of self-defense law. Previous to the Network, only a few private trainers really put forth an effort to teach the legalities of armed self defense. I am proud to say I was one of them, as were the other private trainers on the advisory board. Because this is so critical, we determined early on that one of the underlying premises and goals of the Network was education of the armed citizen on the legalities of armed defense. We are educating Network members through our DVDs, and the general armed citizen populace through the booklet, along with keeping the web site and eJournal open to the general public. By the way, we have another booklet in the works, and it should be available by the time we start renewals for members who have been with us for four years.

Doubling Membership

After reading #10 through #3 of the top ten successes of 2010, you can see why it is no wonder that we were able to DOUBLE Network membership in 2010. In 2008, we enrolled roughly 500 members and formed the Foundation. In 2009, we doubled that membership, with an additional 600 or so members, while retaining a very high percentage of our first-year members. And last year, we were able to grow membership to over 2,800 members, which is just fantastic.

There is strength in numbers and we are growing stronger each day. My five-year goal for the Network is, and always has been, 10,000 members. At 10,000 members, we will have an income stream to fully fund the defense of anymember involved in a justifiable shooting, and to do it more than once. Given the exponential nature of our growth, we will in fact achieve this goal, if we all work hard. Remember, this is OUR Network, yours and mine. Obviously, Gila, Vincent and I have a vested interest in making the Network financially successful, but still, the overriding principle guiding the formation and development of the Network is the concept of an association of armed citizens, refusing to allow themselves to be victims of either the criminal element in our society, or of the criminal justice system itself.

Legal Defense Fund Exceeds $100,000.00!

The legal defense fund of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation, managed by the advisory board consisting of Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Jim Fleming, Esq., Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller and ex officio members Marty Hayes and Vincent Shuck, has grown from zero to over one hundred thousand dollars in three short years. I am still amazed by this success. It is absolutely the number one success story of this year.

By the end of the 2010, the total of 25% contributions and corporate donations had exceeded the $90,000 mark, so the Network officials, Gila Hayes, Vincent Shuck and I, chose to donate the additional money from the Network’s working capital to reach the $100,000 milestone. Although I realize that the $100,000 is a somewhat arbitrary number, this is huge folks. But, here’s the deal: many defense attorneys, knowing they may need to hire investigators and expert witnesses to defend a murder charge, will start their retainer request at $50,000 for a major felony defense. Now, we have the ability to fund that large of a commitment, if necessary. Funding decisions are ultimately up to the Foundation Board of Advisors, but it has always been my intent to recommend not spending more than half the legal defense fund on any one case, in order to conserve assets for a second case, if needed. With a hundred grand in the Foundation, we can now do this. Some people have complained that the $85 yearly membership fee is a little on the high side, but please remember that 25% goes in to the Legal Defense Fund, and that is like setting aside money for your own legal defense.

Where we go from here?

I am more enthusiastic than ever about the future of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. In three short years we have grown from a mere idea into a serious asset upon which our members can rely in the event of a self-defense shooting and resultant prosecution. God bless those first members, who shared our vision and joined up to help get us rolling.

As I work in this field, I see more and more cases where lawfully armed citizens who do nothing more than use appropriate force in defending themselves are charged and prosecuted. Being on the receiving end of one of these prosecutions really sucks. I have seen the tremendous stress and heartache it puts on the family.

I know that many times, good lawyering simply isn’t enough. When the freight train of a determined prosecutor starts lumbering down the tracks towards a criminal trial, it is almost impossible to get it stopped. Even when your defense team outlines logical, understandable selfdefense concerns to the prosecution, instead of recognizing that this WAS a case of self defense, the prosecution simply starts looking for ways to defeat your argument. If witnesses are set to testify against you, it is amazing how the stories change just enough to cast your evidence in a questionable light.

If we are going to have the resources to fight this abuse of the system, we need to increase the membership of the Network even more. Can we double the membership again in the next year? I don’t know, but we are sure going to work hard to do so! We have the financial resources to launch a large membership drive. We are going to conservatively but aggressively work to promote the Network, and to do so we need YOUR help. We currently have about 2,800 Network members. If each one of our members recruited one additional member (or even added a household member on the household membership plan) then we would exceed my goal of 5,000 members by the end of 2011. Each member who renews next year will receive membership recruitment brochures in their renewal package. Please give these to your friends, leave them at your gun club, put them up on the bulletin board at the gun shop or otherwise use them to spread the word about the Network.

If you are one of our Network Affiliated Instructors, are you doing the most you can do to help promote the Network among your students? Are you giving the What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law booklet to each student? Do you need more booklets and brochures? Do you have friends in the industry who are also instructors but are not members of the Network? If so, please tell them about the Network.

Are you one of our new Network Affiliated Gun Shops? If so, welcome aboard! PLEASE pick up the phone and give us a call asking for more booklets and brochures to hand out to your customers when you run out of the initial supply (you can even do it after hours and simply leave a message on the phone).

And lastly, are you someone who keeps saying to yourself, “One of these days, I have to join?” We know from our Internet statistics that we have many more eJournal readers than we have members. If YOU are one of these readers, why haven’t you joined? Please go to http://www. and get the process started. It takes just a few moments, costs only $85, and by doing so, you will become a valuable member of a network of gun owners who come together to provide support against unmeritorious prosecutions.

Just yesterday, I spoke by phone with a California man who said that he had been thinking about joining the Network, but before he joined, he was involved in a self-defense incident that resulted in HIS arrest, not the arrest of the person who was threatening assault. He understood that as a nonmember, the Network would not help him financially, but wanted to know if we could recommend an attorney. As it turns out, we had no attorneys in his local area, but if he had been a member of the Network we would have activated the Boots On the Ground program and I would have hopped on a plane and been in California a few hours later, where I would have assisted him in locating an attorney and getting his legal defense started.

Please don’t let this happen to you. Join the Network today. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 members by the end of 2011.

President’s Message

As I write this it is Christmas morning. The house is quiet, except for the white noise of the computer on my lap and I glance up and see the Christmas angel hanging from a place of honor on the tree. Instead of killing electrons for warmth today, I think I will start a fire and do my part to add to the world’s carbon emissions, saving those electrons that might be better spent doing something more productive, like running a video game!

I am taking this morning’s quiet to reflect back on the year, and to look forward to the next. I will share with you some of these reflections, a personal look into my life.

I spent an exorbitant amount of time this year working on the Ronda Reynolds case, which I have written of before. It’s been going on for a long time, but this year’s activity came about because the death and botched investigation was the subject of a true crime novel by Ann Rule, called In the Still of the Night. Set in rural Lewis County, WA (my home), the book strips off the veneer of competency that shields the local coroner and law enforcement, exposing a tarnished image of misfeasance of office. Because of this, those involved in this case felt they had painted a target on their backs, and all now live a little more cautiously. When a book tour began, both author Ann Rule and Barb Thompson, the mother of Ronda Reynolds, asked me to accompany them locally to watch their backs. I enlisted the aid of a friend who is a retired state trooper who isn’t cowed by local law enforcement to watch MY back. Things went well and there were no incidents.

Additionally, I spend quite a bit of time, energy and even a little money helping to elect a new Lewis County Coroner. Warren McLeod, a transplant from the Las Vegas (Clark County) Coroner’s office moved to Lewis County a few years ago when he took a job as a forensics professor in a local community college. When he read about this case and realized that the local coroner’s office really was in trouble, he stepped into the race for coroner. Do a Google search for Lewis County Coroner to understand what we are up against. Warren was running against a well-connected law enforcement insider, and if Warren lost, I felt things would not change much. Fortunately, Warren won the job of coroner here in Lewis County. 

It seems like a year cannot go by without losing a family member or friend. This year was no exception, with the death of my stepfather, Donald Cederblom. Don was a good man, a fine role model to me and my brothers, and good husband to my mother. Rest in peace, my friend.

This year also saw a change in my training business. In years past, I was the main instructor for the school and had a staff of instructors who would assist me in teaching classes. This last year, I shifted the workload to the staff, as I step back from day-to-day operations to free up my time to devote to the Network. It worked out fine, and it is a sublime pleasure to watch people I personally brought up in the world of the gun, now filling the role as an instructor.

I have a couple of very fun hobbies that I try to enjoy as often as I can. One is motorcycle riding. This last year, I was able to get away for some good riding. In April, I rode to Tucson, AZ to help with the Larry Hickey defense. I was a day late for the start of the trial, as I ended up in Weed, CA, snowed in. The last snowstorm of the season came through the Siskiyou Mountains about the time I crested them, and I began looking for a warm, safe place to wait out the storm. While frustrated that I would miss jury selection, I actually really needed a day of down time, so me and my Valkyrie motorcycle (the world’s greatest touring motorcycle, by the way) spent a restful day in a Motel 6. I napped seriously, read a book and got caught up on some computer projects.

Besides seeing Larry’s criminal charges eventually dismissed, one of the real highlights of the trip to Tucson was meeting and sitting through the trial alongside Larry’s mom, Callie. A real drawback to working in the legal system as I do is that when an expert takes on a case, they really stay disconnected from the family of the defendant, in order to remain impartial so their testimony stays factoriented. The role of the expert is to explain evidence that often times is misinterpreted or otherwise needs explanation, and not to advocate for the defense. This is better done at an arm’s-reach distance from the defendant, and often, the expert never even meets the defendant. When I testified in Hickey’s first trial, this was basically what occurred, but since I wasn’t expecting to testify at the second trial, but instead work integrally with the defense, I was allowed the luxury of getting to know the family much better. I am enriched by the experience. We in the legal profession must never forget that our cases have real people attached to the names: people who laugh, cry and otherwise live and breathe each moment of the trial. The stakes are very high, and we must remember that always.

Anyway, back to my hobbies. While I got quite a bit of riding in, the one who really suffered in this department was my wife and Network Operations Manager, Gila. On her last trip of the summer (mid-summer, no less) a rock kicked up from the front wheel of her bike, shattering the kickstand kill switch and breaking the starter motor housing. I was riding ahead and for a few very concerned minutes of backtracking, I seriously wondered if a really bad thing happened to her. I really breathed a sigh of relief when I saw her standing by the road with the bike. After a little emergency wiring and making a starter cover from a Diet Mt. Dew bottle, we were back on the road. That pretty much killed the rest of her riding season, until I was able to find a replacement starter and get it installed on the bike. The last half of the summer here wasn’t that great for riding anyway, but next year, we are hoping for many more miles.

The other enjoyable recreation I participate in is what Mark Twain once called, “A good walk spoiled.” That is, of course, the game of golf. I took up the game in childhood, and was once good enough to make the college golf team. In all honestly, we had a pretty bad team but nonetheless, I did play NCAA golf for a couple of years. Then, as it happens so often in life, priorities change and we give up what we once enjoyed. It was only a decade ago that I decided to pick up the game again. I have struggled mightily trying to get back to where I was in college, and a couple of years ago, was making some pretty good headway. But, last year was a complete golf bummer. I doubt I played over ten complete rounds of golf, and my handicap remained solidly in the double digits. One of my goals in life is to play to an honest single digit handicap (only the dedicated golfers out there understand what I am saying, and that’s okay). With more weekends free next year (I am not going to teach so much) I vow to play more golf.

We’ll call that my New Year’s resolution-play more golf! On a more serious topic, I recently worked as an expert witness on a murder case, where the defendant shot an attacker in the back. Generally speaking (and certainly not speaking about this specific case, as it goes to trial again in the spring), the following is what occurs when a legitimate use of force results in a person being struck in the back.

The dynamics of the situation are such that one person might be twisting, turning, running or falling at the precise moment the other is deciding to shoot. There is a delay between making the decision to fire, and the actual shot being fired. Remember when Vice President Dick Cheney shot his hunting buddy? As I understand the story, Cheney was tracking a bird and before the bird got out of range, he decided to pull the trigger. In the time it takes the mental impulse to fire to reach the trigger finger and pull the trigger (usually a quarter of a second or longer), Cheney had swung his shotgun at his hunting partner. You will remember that no charges were filed against the Vice President, and without knowing all the details, I surmise that this was what occurred. The fact that he was the Vice President probably influenced not being charged with a crime in the shooting of his buddy, but I frankly cannot find much fault in his actions, either.

We are going to explore this, along with related issues in our next Network DVD, which I have tentatively entitled Dynamics of Violent Encounters. I look forward to getting to work on it soon after the start of the New Year.

Well, three hours have passed since I started writing, the dogs are pacing wanting to be fed, the fire is roaring in the wood stove, and I am ready for my third cup of coffee and to make a little Christmas morning breakfast for us. I hope you enjoyed sharing Christmas morning with me, as I enjoyed sharing it with you. 

Vice President’s Message

Using the Weak Hand We frequently attend a class in which the use of the weak hand is demonstrated and practiced. In fact, we often use the weak hand during the class qualification test, then graduate from the course with a sigh of relief thinking we won’t have to use that hand again, at least until the next class. All marksmanship and tactical skills are perishable but those gained with the weak hand are arguably more vulnerable than the ones earned with the strong hand - keeping the weak hand in the game can be a challenge. Recently, I had the need to remind my weak hand of my learned skills and I thought my experience might encourage you to keep your weak hand proficiency up to speed.

I needed some out-patient hand surgery on, guess what, my strong/dominant hand. Fortunately, the recovery has not been particularly complicated, but for two weeks or so I wore a bandage and a plastic splint on my dominant hand and wrist. Even as I prepare this column, I do not have the ability to make a full fist or grip, so my capability to carry and use a firearm is limited to my weak hand. My surgery was elective so I saw what was coming. Thus, I rekindled my interest in getting ready for this interruption to my normal life’s travails. I also realized that a bandaged hand could signal to a bad guy that a “weak” member of the flock was available as a selectee for her/him. I wanted to be prepared if that happened.

In getting ready for the inevitable I pulled out my holster for my left side carry and conducted some weak hand dry practice. If you want a review of some dry fire practice ideas, review one of my previous columns linked here. Of course, spending an hour of dry fire practice using the dominant hand should help the skills of that hand, but if we forget about the need to practice with the weak hand, nothing happens there. So, make sure your dry fire practice includes the use of both hands. And, what about that holster box you have at home – does it have at least one weak hand holster for your use and practice? I think it should inasmuch as there is a lot of difference between drawing and firing weak hand only and practicing by transferring the firearm from your dominant hand into your weak hand and then practicing the weak hand trigger press. When conducting weak hand exercises, make sure you mirror image what you do correctly with your dominant hand, including a high grip, trigger finger placement and trigger press.

Speaking of holsters, pocket holsters are usually ambidextrous, so no major adjustment is needed, except you need to practice the draw from the pocket and the manipulation with the weak hand.

Then I thought about reloading. Yes, I have practiced one hand and weak hand reloading drills, but I didn’t like this option and ordeal during my recovery. I considered several choices and decided on the “New York reload,” where you draw firearm number two if your primary handgun runs dry. Of course, number two needs to be with you to be of any value and that’s where I ran into a couple obstacles. Carrying number two on my off-side hip wouldn’t work inasmuch as that hand was not in shape to grip and fire the handgun. I could carry a snubby or other small-framed firearm in a pocket, and that seemed to work. However, I did see the chance to use an ankle holster, but I only had a strong side model that I could wear on my left leg. I could draw the firearm with my weak hand, but this situation has put me in the market for a weak-side ankle holster that I can use. This will give me several future options, including a place for a second or third gun as I see fit when I get my dominant hand back into the game.

In summary, practice the nastiest-you-can-think-of scenarios and become competent with your techniques and procedures to deal with them. Seek assistance from one of the Network’s affiliated instructors. Most have their 2011 schedules posted; you should be working through your class attendance options and selecting your training for the coming year. Get the equipment you need in advance. As I mentioned, I was able to plan ahead, but accidents do happen and a sudden injury to your dominant hand could be compounded by the lack of equipment to support your Plan B carry option.

Network President on The Best Defense TV Show

Network President Marty Hayes was whisked to Tulsa last October to film a series of TV spots for the Outdoor Channel’s hit TV show The Best Defense with host Michael Bane and featuring Rob Pincus and Michael Janich. In each of thirteen episodes this season (which started airing this week), Hayes will appear in a one to two minute spot discussing aspects of the legal issues surrounding use of deadly force in self defense. This exposure, while working to educate a large audience of gun owners, will at the same time expose the Network to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of potential members. The show airs Wednesday night on the Outdoor Channel, and is one of Midway-USA’s Wednesday Night at the Range feature programs.

“We started watching the Outdoor Channel many years ago, when the first of several shooting shows, Shooting Gallery, began to air. Since then, if we get a chance to watch a little TV on Wednesday night, it is usually tuned to The Outdoor Channel,” comments Hayes. The association between The Best Defense show and the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network is a natural association, he believes. “When host Michael Bane called me last fall and explained that they wanted to take The Best Defense in a slightly different direction this year by adding discussions of the legalities of using deadly force in self defense to their regular format, I immediately said I was in,” Hayes notes, explaining the birth of the project.

Making the discussions visually interesting for the TV audience was one of the filming challenges. Consequently, instead of producing just one or two longer segments featuring “talking heads,” they settled on a short discussion aired with each of the season’s episodes, based on one of the topics of the booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self Defense Law, which the Network published last year.

The Network appreciates this opportunity to reach the Outdoor Channel’s viewers and we hope our members will tune in to The Best Defense and enjoy the programs. 

Affiliated Attorney Question of the Month

Thanks to the generous help of our Network Affiliated Attorneys in this column, we introduce our members to our affiliated attorneys while demystifying aspects of the legal system for our readers. This month, we posed the following question to our Network affiliated attorneys—

Many callers ask the Network, “Should I pay an attorney a retainer now so he or she will help me if I’m in a self-defense shooting?” Most aren’t sure what a retainer is or what paying a retainer to an attorney might do for them, especially in light of the Network’s membership benefit of a $5,000 deposit against fees, sent immediately to the member’s attorney after a shooting.

Could you explain what “having an attorney on retainer” means, and answer their question, “Is having an attorney ‘on retainer’ useful for an armed citizen?”

John West
John H. West Co., LPA
6650 Pearl Rd., Ste. 202, Cleveland OH 44130
440-884-4844– This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In my law firm, a retainer is a deposit with the law firm for future legal services. When a retainer is paid, my law firm agrees to represent that person on a particular legal matter which has already occurred or which may occur in the future. The benefits of having an attorney on retainer are that you have an attorney whom you have already interviewed, know his/her qualifications, feel confident with and whom you know will represent you in the prospective legal matter. This alleviates the problem of hurriedly trying to find a qualified attorney during a crisis situation.

With regard to your specific question, “Is having an attorney on retainer useful for an individual who is an armed citizen?” rather than being on retainer, my law firm would handle this as a consultation with a prospective client. (Other law firms may handle this differently.) If someone is concerned about having an attorney for future legal representation arising out of their future use or ownership of a gun, that person could contact my firm for a consultation. There would be a fee for the consultation as “an attorney’s time and advice are his stock and trade.” At the consultation the person can ask the attorney any questions he/she might have and receive legal advice related to the laws regarding use or ownership of guns. During this consultation the person can make a determination as to whether he/she would want my law firm to represent him/her and we can discuss whether we would be willing to represent him/her should the need arise. My firm would charge for the consultation but would not require a retainer.

Erik R. Guenther
Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C.
33 East Main Street, #400, Madison, WI 53701-1528
(608) 257-0945–This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Within legal circles, the term “retainer” is often used to refer to a deposit toward expected legal fees, generally placed into a lawyer’s trust account.

This is not a true retainer. A true retainer is an agreement that an attorney will represent you in the future and will not knowingly undertake any matter that would conflict with you.

A true retainer is not related to hours of expected work. Rather the amount of a retainer considers the expected difficulty of future legal needs, the possibility that representing you may preclude the lawyer from accepting other clients or cases because of a conflict of interest, the results that you hope to achieve and the experience, reputation and expertise of the lawyer.

If you want to have an attorney on call for you, then having a lawyer on retainer may be a good idea. The member benefit will go into place toward legal fees, but only after you have hired a lawyer.

Having a lawyer on retainer means that you have taken the time to select a lawyer who you believe will be best to serve your interest in an emergency. The lawyer can be on call for your spouse, as well. In an emergency, a lawyer on retainer can quickly meet with you, assist family in arranging for bail (if needed) and make sure that you make no statement to law enforcement. Additionally, a lawyer on retainer can potentially intervene early with law enforcement and the prosecution to attempt to prevent a criminal charge from being filed against a citizen acting in self defense or in defense or their family or property.

In other words, obtaining a lawyer on retainer means that you can interview and select an attorney at a time when you are not in an emergency. It also means that you can have the peace of mind that you have a lawyer ready to protect your interests and rights, if needed. In addition, it is probably less expensive than you think.

Elizabeth Powell
Attorney at Law
535 Dock Street, Suite 108, Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 274-1518

A retainer is one way an attorney gets paid. The other ways are fee and cost advances, hourly as billed, contingencies or flat fees. A retainer means that the attorney is paid a certain sum and the exchange is that the attorney agrees to be available to assist the client when and where needed. It is like reserving the attorney’s time in advance.

A fee and cost advance means the client is expected to make what amounts to a down payment on the work the attorney and the client have agreed to undertake. In a family law matter, there is frequently a filing fee, the cost of paying a process server, fees that have to be paid to a guardian ad litem, which are all checks the attorney writes to some other entity on behalf of the client. Those are costs. Some of the fees the attorney earns are generally included in that initial fee and cost advance. When the fee and cost advance is used up, the client will get a bill for the remainder of the charges incurred. Possibly more than one bill.

A contingency recovery means that the attorney agrees to be paid at the end of the matter presuming the suit is successful. Most commonly seen in tort cases, such as car accidents. If the attorney is able to secure a favorable verdict or settlement, then the attorney is paid a percentage of the gross recovery.

A flat fee is most common in criminal matters. A criminal defendant pays a flat sum to their attorney and the attorney does whatever is necessary to secure dismissal of the charges. Most attorneys who charge this way want most of that fee up front. The Bar says “all fees must be reasonable.” Most attorneys I know would say that if they had charged a $10K retainer for a felony charge and were paid that amount, and the prosecutor two days later dismissed the charges and indicated he was not going to refile, then $10K for ten minutes on the phone is patently not reasonable and the bulk of that fee should be returned to the client.

We appreciate the contributions our affiliated attorneys make to the Network, including their interesting responses to questions in this column. Contact information for our Network affiliated attorneys is linked at Member log in required.

Affiliated Instructor Question of the Month

One of the Network’s great strengths is its affiliation with firearms instructors and attorneys. With the goal of introducing more of these professionals to Network members, in this edition, we are delighted to continue the Question of the Month feature with a question that generated so many great answers that we continue it forward from last month’s journal. We asked:

Now that summer is over, many students of shooting who trained this summer, may be facing a slow down in classes and competition as winter’s cold looms. Many patronize indoor gun ranges where they can work on pure shooting, but are usually prevented from drawing from a holster or even shooting faster than a glacial shot-per-minute rate. When students ask you how they can keep defensive shooting skills sharp, what advice do you give?

Jim Crable
1810 Marion Street, Madison, IN 47250
812-265-2358–This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When indoor ranges with restrictive shooting are the only things available, I suggest shooting from low ready and varying the distance. I also suggest increased dry practice at home. Along with this trigger practice, plastic dummy rounds will facilitate practicing reloading and clearing malfunctions.

This home practice takes discipline and is easy to put off. Making a written schedule and check lists helps to motivate oneself. We are creatures of habit and getting into a scheduled routine will help keep up the practice. It also feels good to check off a task. 

Jon Abel
Be Safe With Guns
Rochester, MN

As an instructor I also face the same issues as most of my students do in the winter months, especially in Minnesota where even guns can freeze up.

The first point I would want to make in context of this topic is that bad guys don’t take the winter off and neither should you. Subsequently we all need to be able to stay safe in our environments and safe with our gun handling. Given the fact that we will have more clothing on that could interfere with or obstruct our firearms manipulation, we should be diligent and mindful of the change in seasons. There are actually quite a lot of things that we need to adjust to and or make allowances for when choosing the armed life style in cold climates or even just changes in seasons.

With any cover garment, some things to watch for are strings and or cords that can get caught in the trigger, wrap around the holster and obstruct the draw or tangle with your hands. A person’s ability to raise their arms enough to draw a firearm can be restricted by layers of clothes. Getting the cover garment unzipped, untied, unbuckled, unwrapped and out of the way can add another “layer” of challenge. Now, keep in mind you may have gloves or mittens on that may react differently with other material making things more “grippy” or even slippery. How is that simulated lack of fine motor skills treating you as you try and unzip, untie, unbuckle, unwrap and get clothing out of the way with gloves or mittens on? Now visualize the added real adrenalin dump on top of that! 

Now that you have spent some time getting used to the change in clothing, take it to the range and make sure it works. No not the indoor range: get out in the elements and experience the glare of winter sun in your eyes, the numbing of your hands, the fogging up of glasses and practice the all important “lateral movement” of defensive shooting with the added clothing. Consider how your profile has changed in the use of cover and concealment. Hats on heads and bulky jackets may be harder for you to conceal and easier for threats to see.

I have personally experienced more gun malfunctions in extreme cold. Oil does not freeze but it gets very thick. Make sure your firearm functions properly in the cold weather and consider getting away from oil by using one step CLPs (products that clean, lubricate and protect) like Gunzilla, Break Free, and or Hoppe’s to name a few. It is also a good time to consider the nuances of your chosen firearm. Can you manipulate safeties and decockers, perform reloads and malfunctions with gloves on? Do I look at a different firearm? Do I look at different apparel? Don’t forget we now have a bunch more pockets in which to lose our stuff so find something that is consistent, stick with it and practice it. On the subject of gear, remember we are now operating with significantly fewer daylight hours and low light tactics become even more a factor. If you have never gotten training in low light tactics, now is the time.

Getting to the range is an important part of defensive shooting, but visualizing, understanding the circumstance under which we shoot and knowing how to react under given situations is the real key. Part of visualization is being creative in your training and avoiding road blocks in your regimen. Fight through those challenges just as you would keep fighting in a real encounter. Build the mind set to prevail and you will. If you find yourself relegated to a range that does not allow drawing from the holster, work from a proper ready position incorporating lateral movement, scan and assess and do all the things you would normally do if drawing from the holster. Get some good reps in working with reloads, malfunctions and keep good combat accurate hits a priority as your attackers will have the same bulky clothes on and target areas may be obscured by clothes. Remember, you can Be Safe With Guns!

Nick Bolton
Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc.
P O Box 400, Onalaska, WA 98570

Winter is a great time to practice and hone your gun handling skills: reloads, the draw, stoppage clearances, weak hand drills (and more).

Ammunition is not needed, though well-marked dummy rounds can be an asset.

Go somewhere where the neighbors cannot see you and call SWAT, make sure of safe backstops, remember that all the safety caveats and dry fire ritual apply, and then work on those skills in the comfort of your home.

I think practicing in front of a large mirror enhances the practice. It provides a good-looking, realistic target, it draws the eyes to the target like a real threat would, and it lets you monitor what you are doing and helps you to critique your performance. You will be surprised by the things you see yourself do. Start slowly, go for perfectly executed rather than fast and then build speed, when your speed is outstripping your ability then back off 10% and start again. Don’t overdo it, little and often is the way to go. 

W. Alecs Dean
International Firearms Safety, Inc.
NRA Certified Training Counselor and Instructor
3835 Arlington Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33901

The answer to this question is really short and simple. Probably the shortest and simplest of any: DRY-FIRE. That is THE way to practice, year round. You don’t learn to play football during the Super Bowl. You don’t learn to shoot free throws during the game.

I’ve always been amazed at those that have spent $10,000 and 20 years at the range, and not spent $0.01 (the penny on the front sight) nor three minutes to practice dry fire, and they wonder why they haven’t gotten any better. Instead, they say, “Something must be wrong with the gun.” Anyway, I’m sorry I don’t have anything more profound to offer as an answer; but that IS the way to practice. It’s the way to practice drawing from a holster: in front of a mirror with a dummy (blue) gun. Have someone watch you, or video yourself so you can make improvements.

Anthony P. Colandro
Gun for Hire, LLC
75 Rutgers Street, 2nd Floor, Belleville, NJ 07109

Dry firing is the key. I recommend to all of my students that while indoors they can practice the art of dry firing at no cost. In the privacy of our own home we can replicate all of the motions of garment clearing, holster draw, weapon presentation, target acquisition, and dry firing. This can be practiced after the firearm is checked to make sure it is empty and making sure there is no live ammo in the room.

The best place to be is in a room that allows you enough room to move freely and in front of a cheap homecenter dressing mirror. You should stand in front of the mirror and pretend to see a threat and go through your entire routine as stated above until you are very comfortable, smooth and safe in your address. This is a great way to really burn in those gross motor skills during those cold winter months.

Some Thoughts on Safe Dry Fire

by Gila Hayes

Many of the Affiliated Instructors answered this question of the month by recommending the practice of dry fire. They’re right: dry fire is a powerful training tool for the dedicated shooter. Dry fire’s potential benefit has to be balanced against its potential pitfalls, though. Safety has priority over skill development. That requires that we dry fire only when it can be done with no safety compromises.

When dry firing, keep the practice period brief enough that your mind remains 100% on the practice. Do it only in a time and place free of distraction and commit yourself entirely to practice.

Unload the practice firearm, remove all ammunition and any other guns from the room. Triple check to be sure the practice gun is entirely unloaded.

Choose a safe aim point: one that would stop a bullet if your foregoing precautions fail. If possible, use a device like Blade Tech’s dry fire barrel replacement, a Safe Direction ballistic containment pad, or a bullet proof vest.

When the dry fire session is over, return the gun to its usual daily condition (loaded, unloaded, holstered or in the safe) and do not handle it for several hours since the dry fire practice has accustomed you to lining up the sights and pulling the trigger, which will be disastrous once dry fire is over! Practice dry fire, but practice safely! 

Training Report

by Ed Lovette

I had the privilege of working with John Benner at his Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio on a program he has recently introduced entitled Active Shooter/Killer for Civilians. John is uniquely qualified to teach this class as he is one of the early proponents of the lone officer response to the active shooter threat for law enforcement and we have had him as a presenter on this topic at TREXPO. For the last several years he has been working on an active shooter response program with NASRO, the organization for school resource officers.

Given the rapidly increasing number of CCW holders John recognized that they are more and more likely to be present during an active shooter incident. This is a really critical observation as these events usually last eight to ten minutes and are over before the officers can get there, with the shooter frequently killing himself. The best and quickest solution is someone already at the scene who is armed and has received the appropriate training. In fact John’s research shows that 75% of the time the active killer problem is solved by citizens, as opposed to law enforcement.

John defines active shooter as “a person or persons who intentionally kill or attempt to kill multiple innocent people generally at a location thought to be safe for them to do so.” He further identifies them as follows:

Level 1: Single person, possible multiple firearms
Level 2: One or two people, prior planning involved and may create obstacles and/or use IED’s
Level 3A: Lone terrorist on a personal jihad, unlikely to commit suicide, will fight
Level 3B: Full blown terrorist incident

The training is a combination of classroom, range exercises and Airsoft scenarios that train the student when to engage and when not to engage an active shooter. Terrorism and the homicide bomber are discussed. Also traditional active killer statistics, mental preparation, fears of the responder and the time line of response are covered. Options of response, both armed and unarmed, are discussed and practiced in live fire and force-on-force scenarios. The course includes “battlefield pickup” weapons and medical treatment of traumatic injuries. The final day is predominantly force-on-force scenarios which expose the student to all of the above active shooter possibilities.

Considering the times in which we live, I strongly believe that this is one of the most useful training programs being offered today for the armed citizen and I greatly appreciate your giving me the opportunity to share this information with the other Network members.

About the author: Network member Ed Lovette is the author of The Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard. Now retired from government service, he continues to write about and teach firearms and personal defense skills.

Author Interview

The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry

Whitefeather Press
3170 52nd Street, Hamilton, MI 49419–269-838-5586
ISBN: 978-0-9822487-9-9 – $19.95

Interview by Gila Hayes

The latest women’s gun book is a refreshing deviation from the usual who, what and how approach commonly seen. The new book, The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry explores—and demands that readers analyze—personal beliefs about using guns for self defense. Oh, the basic subjects are included: discussions of technique, guns, holsters and much more, but interwoven in every element is the challenge to know ones self and address discomforts that slow or interrupt preparation to defend oneself or one’s family.

Kathy Jackson, editor of Concealed Carry Magazine is the author of The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry, a book based on content she has posted on her web site for the past seven years. From a modest online collection of articles about women, guns and learning to shoot, that labor of love grew into a 140-plus-article tour d’force to which even experts like Massad Ayoob regularly refer female students seeking solutions specific to women.

Concurrent with the development of the web site, Jackson undertook a variety of writing assignments in the self-defense arena, covering flashlight innovations for Doug Ritter’s Equipped to Survive web site, and gun reviews and articles about children and shooting for Women & Guns magazine. Though she started as a contributing author for United States Concealed Carry Association’s Concealed Carry Magazine, she became its managing editor about three years ago.

We spoke recently with Kathy Jackson, exploring questions pertinent to Network members and their female loved ones and how it all fits in with her new book.

eJournal: How did you decide to transform the web site’s content into a book?

Jackson: Because of the web site, I get a lot of e-mail from people, either saying, “I love the site,” or asking a question. When people asked me if I had a book for sale I always said, “No, but thank you very much.” One day, the light bulb went on, and I thought maybe I should take it seriously when people asked if they could get a book.

After the publication of Lessons from Armed America in 2009, which I wrote with Mark Walters, I realized that I really needed to turn Cornered Cat into a book, as well. Truthfully, if Mark hadn’t come along and said, “Write this book with me,” I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten the courage to move ahead with it, so I owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

eJournal: How much does Cornered Cat the book deviate from Cornered Cat the web site?

Jackson: I substantially rewrote all of it and I also added a lot of new material. Some chapters remained very close to the web site; with other chapters, literally the only thing that they share with the web site is the name. Though there are only a few chapters that I can point at and say this chapter is entirely new, there are a lot of chapters with new sections and new material added to them.

eJournal: I compliment your use of humor to defuse readers’ worries and fears. What was your strategy in blending topics that demand serious-mindedness with amusing anecdotes and word play?

Jackson: I consider defensive firearms use to be a very serious topic, but it is also very life affirming. People think of it as a threatening topic. When people get threatened or feel negative emotions, they have a lot harder time remembering or focusing. You’ve seen it in classes. The people who are most uncomfortable are also the least able to absorb what you are teaching them. I want what I am saying to really stick with people.

Some look at self defense as if it is all about killing bad guys, as if it is about becoming a fantasy warrior, as if it is a fantasy thing or as if it is a negative thing. There’s no place for humor there. But I believe the study of self defense is tremendously life affirming, and I think sometimes we forget why we are doing it. Just putting in those little touches of humor brings people back to why we are doing this. We are doing this because we love life!

eJournal: In my opinion, there are plenty of how-to books about shooting, so let’s explore something to which you allude in nearly every page – how beliefs, feelings and attitudes influence self-defense preparations.

Jackson: I think a lot of people have an almost blind spot where their own attitudes, beliefs and feelings are concerned. I’ve always thought if we could get to the heart of the matter–protecting innocent human life–that learning the practical issues becomes much, much easier.

If you have not settled the ethical or emotional questions, then you’re going to have a whole lot harder time dealing with the practical questions, like which gun and how to carry it. The back part of your brain is going to be putting the brakes on. At some level, you don’t want to find those answers. As long as you have something practical to blame it on, like saying I can’t carry a gun because I can’t conceal it, you never have to go back and answer those deeper questions. I really work hard at forcing people back to the deeper questions as often as I can, simply because if you start there, everything else is easy. If you skip that part, everything else is difficult. eJournal: Is the resolution of the emotional component more challenging for women? Jackson: I think it affects everybody, but men and women deal with it in different ways.

eJournal: That reminds me of your chapter What Will I Tell My Mother? Is resolving those kinds of questions key to becoming comfortable carrying a gun for self defense?

Jackson: Yes. Discomfort comes in all different flavors. People would rather be comfortable than uncomfortable, whether that’s physical comfort or emotional comfort or social comfort. The easier we can make it on ourselves, the more likely we are to do what we need to do in order to stay safe. 

eJournal: In one chapter you wisely advise against telling everyone you know that you carry a gun. Do you find the need to “tell all” a uniquely feminine burden?

Jackson: That depends on your personality more than your sex, I think. But if you are the kind of person who reaches out to others and gets your strength from people around you, then you are going to be a lot more likely to tell your hairdresser, and your mom, and your sister, and your cousin, and your cousin’s best friend who is always hanging out with her. Soon your entire social circle is going to know what you are thinking about because, historically that has been the way that you have dealt with major life decisions. With firearms, that is not necessarily the best way to go about making those decisions.

eJournal: A lot of books cover the topic of concealed carry, lavishly illustrating holsters and even types of concealment clothing. Your approach is different. Why?

Jackson: I wrote the book this way because when my readers finish this book, I want them to be equipped to make their own decisions and choices. If I gave them a list of ten great firearms, well, next week some company is going to announce the latest and greatest thing. It will be on the cover of every gun magazine and everybody will be talking about it, but it won’t be in the book because the book was written before that product came out. But if instead I have equipped the readers to make their own judgments about what is good for them and what will work for them, then it doesn’t matter how much the industry changes, what new products are introduced or what old ones go off the market. The reader will be able to make choices for herself. And that is what I am all about. I am all about equipping people to make their OWN choices, their OWN decisions that fit into their OWN lifestyle.

eJournal: Your personal safety chapter, Dying of Embarrassment outlines ways people ignore evident dangers. Can you summarize your warning in a few sentences?

Jackson: Sometimes you have to be brave enough to be cowardly! Be brave enough NOT to ignore the fire alarm when it goes off. In the book, I talked about a friend of mine who had literally sat in a restaurant that was on fire with a whole roomful of other people while the smoke alarms were going off. They could all hear the fire alarms very well, but nobody was going to be the first one to stand up and be embarrassed to pay attention to it. They were all going to play it cool.

Getting serious about self defense means being willing to do whatever it takes to defend yourself—and that starts with being willing to ignore social rules if that’s what it takes to get out of trouble before it starts.

eJournal: In your book, you challenged misconceptions about self defense that may plague people with a strong religious background. Because religion is such an intimately personal question, why did you choose to address it?

Jackson: You said it: Because it IS such an intimately personal thing. You cannot talk about matters of life and death—and self defense is a matter of life and death— without facing what you believe about life and death. That is what religion really is: What do you believe are the origins of life? What do you believe happens after somebody dies? Why are you here? Where are you going? All of those questions really influence how you think about how much work it is worth to put into protecting a human life. There is no way to separate the two.

There is a reason I spoke about Christianity as opposed to other faiths. I chose to address Christians in that chapter because that is my own background. I can’t speak with integrity from any perspective other than the one that has so influenced my life. I think all of us have had the experience of reading a book or article written by an outsider who thinks they understand or can explain a religious view in the same way that an insider does, but it’s a rare writer who can do so—and almost no one can do it honestly. I was not going to disrespect my readers by trying to be something that I wasn’t. I’m not non-religious and I’m not of any other faith. But I can speak about Christian belief, so I did.

eJournal: Is your web site still actively evolving? Are you adding new content to it these days or did the book finish it?

Jackson: [Grimaces] That is such a sore subject! For more than a year I have had material on my desk for the web site and I’ve been cheerfully telling everybody that we’ll be updating the web site, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

I get a little frustrated with the need to update. I understand why people want to see something new and read something they’ve not seen before, but the best material on the web site won’t suddenly expire. For example, the basics of how to fit a handgun to your hand, that information is as fresh now as it was when I wrote it. It hasn’t changed. So I’ll be adding fresh material, but the material already on there really is still trustworthy and still reliable and still good stuff.

eJournal: was well established by the time you became Concealed Carry Magazine editor. Might additions to the web site reflect your exposure to the many products for concealed carry?

Jackson: Absolutely! I have an article sitting on my desk about how to choose a concealed carry purse. Some of that material made it in to the book, but I have a lot more that just did not fit between the covers. Turns out that writing a book is a lot more difficult than writing a web site because the binding is not made out of elastic. At some point you have to say this is enough! I can’t put any more in. But I have a lot more material about choosing and using a purse holster. I’m going to be exploring that topic more in real life in the coming days and I know that will make it on to the web site as well as showing up in other places.

eJournal: I know you also share your accumulated knowledge about holsters and concealed carry in another venue. Please tell us about your holster classes – and about anything like them you have scheduled.

Jackson: For the last couple of years, I have taught a one-day holster selection seminar just for women. It has been difficult to keep them just for women. It is amazing just how much the men want to batter down the doors and get inside and find out what is happening in there. I come in with a huge pile of holsters that are definitely not specific to women, but the holsters help us talk about all the different choices that go into finding a concealed carry system that will work for you.

My goal is to educate people so they understand the differences between IWB or OWB or between an extreme cant or an FBI cant or a muzzle forward cant. Now, I just used a whole lot of words that somebody who is not an insider wouldn’t necessarily understand. The goal is to get these different holster types into people’s hands so they understand the differences and know what they are looking for when comparing holsters. And then later they can confidently ask holster makers about their work, and have a less awkward time finding and ordering their own holster.

A lot of times, people new to concealed carry immediately move to the alternative methods of carry and skip right over the standard, mainstream methods. I educate people that alternative methods may work, but they are alternatives for a reason. I like to discuss the benefits to these methods that everyone sees and then address the drawbacks that newcomers might not see. And I also show them some ways they might overcome the drawbacks or at least minimize them.

eJournal: Aren’t you also introducing longer classes?

Jackson: I’ll be teaching in Arizona on President’s Day weekend this February. I’m taking a very scaled down version of the holster seminar to them in the classroom, and then will follow up with range time to develop fundamental skills such as drawing from concealment, moving to safety, and shooting from a variety of positions. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope to work with many more women in these traveling classes over the coming year.

eJournal: It should be excellent! A class seems like a natural result since you have already written the textbook. Thank you for telling us about it and elaborating on some of its points, as well as telling us how to learn more.

Jackson: Gila, thanks again for the opportunity to talk to Network members about Cornered Cat and about what I’ve tried to do with the book, the web site, and the class. Please let your readers know they can contact me through my e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if they’d like to know more about any of the things we talked about.

Editor’s Notebook

There is so much good content in this month’s journal that I’m going to only offer a few comments to close this edition. Both topics focus on the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Foundation, which is the recipient of all contributions we receive as well as 25% of all dues, with every cent going to build up a fund from which Network members can receive financial assistance if defending a self-defense shooting in court.

The first good news from the Foundation is the addition of Jim Fleming to the Foundation’s Advisory Board. Fleming is a Minnesota attorney who has served as a Network Affiliated Attorney from our early days in 2008.

Formerly a law enforcement officer, Fleming has been a practicing trial attorney for 27 years, conducting well over 250 trials and presenting a number of appeals in both State and Federal courts. He is also president of Mid-Minnesota Self-Defense, Inc., a training firm offering both basic and advanced instruction.

Network members will recognize Fleming’s name from his occasional contributions to our Attorney Question of the Month column, as well as the insights he offered into the story told in the book The Bison King, which we reviewed in the August 2009 edition of this journal.

While the Foundation’s other Advisory Board members contribute their extensive knowledge from their law enforcement and court-recognized expert witness experiences, Fleming brings the unique perspective of a defense attorney, one who has frequently gone into battle to seek the best outcome for his client. He is also the Network’s continuing legal education director of curriculum development, and the Network is finding his contributions to meeting its goals in this effort invaluable.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to make Fleming’s acquaintance during his participation in a Lethal Force Institute class hosted at our training facility. I believe it is an outstanding stroke of good fortune to have Fleming’s participation in the Network, as an Affiliated Attorney, helping us develop a CLE program, and now as a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

Also regarding the Foundation, we are thrilled to celebrate the fund’s growth beyond $100,000. In preparing the bank deposit that took us beyond that landmark amount, I noticed that the balance when I made the first Foundation deposit of 2010 was just under $31,000. That means that the Foundation’s account has grown by nearly $70,000 in just 2010 alone! With continued work, the sky’s the limit!

2010 was a year of growth for the Network and subsequently for the Foundation. While our dayto-day efforts on behalf of Network members focus on member education and increasing membership, it is extremely encouraging to see strong improvement toward being able to fulfill our long-term goal – that of crushing unmeritorious prosecution of one of our members after a self-defense shooting. Though we have passed a landmark figure, we still have a long way to go. Please tell all the gun owners you know about the Network and why you are a member.

Happy New Year, everyone!