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Knife Tactics for Survival and Court Defensibility


An Interview with Michael Janich

by Gila Hayes

Several months ago, the Network’s journal started a discussion about courtroom defensibility of self defense with pocket knives. Last month, an industry convention provided the opportunity to further explore this topic with knife and self defense expert Michael Janich, a lifetime martial artist, knife skills trainer, and author of books and DVDs on the topic. Let’s get right to what Janich advised during our interview about knife defense tactics and training.

eJournal: We feel considerable concern about Network members using pocket knives for self defense when they are not able to carry a gun. We emphasize the need for training on any weapon system one carries, but that leaves members wondering, “What should I study?” Not only must the defense techniques be effective so the member survives the fight, the techniques used need also to be readily explainable to a judge and jury as legitimate self-defense actions that any reasonable person might undertake under similar circumstances.

I am especially pleased with the opportunity to interview you, having recently read Contemporary Knife Targeting, a book you co-authored with the late Christopher Grosz, which made a scientific study of knife stopping power, and also addressed legal concerns about knife technique. Linking the justifiability of WHERE we apply the defensive knife is rarely taught—even in law enforcement.

Janich: What is amazing about law enforcement is that we have officers who carry guns, Tasers® and batons for which they’ll have training doctrine and use of force requirements. Everything is plugged into the use of force continuum. They have very finely structured application of force for everything that they carry EXCEPT THE KNIFE. It is the one lethal weapon in their kit for which they have not accounted.

eJournal: Are you ever asked to write use of force policies as regards knives?


Janich: I’ve only done it a couple of times. Most departments don’t want a knife policy, because as soon as they quantify it, then they have to train people and like shooting, they have to be able to maintain that skill. What they do instead is lump the knife into officer survival. Look at documented cases where an officer beat somebody to death with a radio. They don’t teach them how to do that, but we get into that grey area where all the standard tools and skills are not working, so we are in the grey area where anything goes.

eJournal: Perhaps law enforcement also views the knife, as do many of us, as a last-ditch weapon, brought out only after every other defense has been stripped away.

Janich: That is very much a parallel. 

eJournal: Nonetheless, I had hoped for standards from which we in the private sector could borrow, as we do when we pursue comparable firearms training and maintenance, or train toward shooting a high score on a qualification.

Janich: That is what I looked for in law enforcement standards, as well, and it simply is not there. I think that its absence is purposeful, because first of all, they would have to do the research to figure out what is worthwhile. Anyway, I think most knife programs are inconsistent with law enforcement use of force.

eJournal: But your book Contemporary Knife Targeting, which we reviewed in January, was a team effort with Christopher Grosz, who was a law enforcement professional.

Janich: As far as law enforcement goes, Chris was the exception to the rule. He was an exceptional guy in many ways.

eJournal: It is too bad we lost him. OK, if we can’t borrow from policing, what do you think armed citizens in the private sector need to know about self defense with a knife?

Janich: The most important thing to understand is that what you are trying to achieve with a knife is exactly what you try to achieve with any other weapon: stopping power. Accept that you will fight with what you actually carry. If you base your knife tactics on what Jim Bowie carried a couple of centuries ago or what would work with a Renaissance dagger, none of that matters if what you have in your hand is a folding knife with a three-inch blade. The effect that it will have on different types of bodies is very different. If you take a three-inch blade and try to hit a really big guy in the heart, it is not going to work. But it can cut the quadriceps above the knee to fell him just fine. Working the limbs is the equalizer.

You have to look at the attributes of the weapon and say, “This is what I am actually carrying. I need to accept that and all my tactics have to be based on that.” The next step is to quantify the destructive power of what you are actually carrying. “If I have a three-inch blade what can I actually do with it, what kind of damage can I actually cause?” Then overlay that on the human body. Based on a realistic, scientific understanding of human anatomy if I can cause this amount of damage, what parts do I need to cut to create effective stopping power and predictable, reliable stopping power?

Anteroir Lower_Arm-wb

eJournal: Let’s also bear in mind that there are cities in which we’re restricted to under three- or more likely two-inch blades. Agreeing that these are a far cry from Bowie knives, what CAN we realistically expect from so small a knife?

Janich: Again, you have to understand human anatomy. Muscles pull on tendons to move bones. If you cut flexor tendons, essentially what you are doing is mechanically disconnecting the muscles that power the fingers so the hand can’t close and whatever is being held in that hand falls out.

eJournal: How hard is that degree of targeting? Isn’t a tendon a fairly small target?

Janich: The great thing about it is, if you are fighting somebody with a contact distance weapon, he’s got something in his hand with which he is trying to hit you. He is going to extend what ever is in his hand toward you, to try to hit you, stab you, or make some kind of contact with that weapon against you. He is going to literally extend the best target you could possibly hope for.

eJournal: So I cut the tendons. If I am in pursuit of stopping power, have I stopped him as quickly as possible? Am I going to wish I had attacked organs in the torso instead?

Janich: If you block and attack his torso as is commonly taught–stab, stab, stab, stab, and stab until he falls–you will still not have solved the primary problem. You have to wait to shut down the entire body structure for that arm to stop moving.

eJournal: With firearms, we face the same problem that there really is no instantaneous stop either, and it is harder to hit a moving target.

Janich: Accuracy is actually easier with a blade, because he is giving you the target. When you think of firearms, if you tried to shoot somebody in the forearm, delivering that level of accuracy is very difficult, but where somebody extends the limb toward you [extends arm], would it be hard for to you cut that with a knife?

eJournal: Oh, we have a larger target area than just the wrist above the joint?

Janich: Yes, literally from the flexor tendons to about mid-belly of the muscle. Maybe on the average guy and area of about 20 square inches and it is not that hard to hit. People in my seminars do that all the time.

eJournal: In Contemporary Knife Targeting, I noticed the illustration and explanation of flow drills from one target to another.

Can you tell us more about moving from one target to the next?


Janich: The basic targeting progression would be flexor tendons to break up the grip on the weapon, and then attacking biceps and triceps. So if you think of somebody wielding a weapon, being dangerous to you, if you take away the bicep, they can extend their arm but they can’t retract it to extend it again, so you’ve taken away that repetitive motion. 


If you take away the triceps they can’t extend their arm to be able to swing it on you. They may still have shoulder mobility, but they really can’t wield the weapon effectively without the ability to bend the elbow.

eJournal: If the assailant wears heavy clothing or is heavily built, how vulnerable is the upper arm to the smaller knives we carry?

Janich: It depends upon what he is wearing, but it also depends on how you cut. There are several styles of cutting.


One is ballistic cutting where the blade is in motion before it makes contact, the other is pressure cutting where you basically place the blade, get your accuracy, and then you can cut with a lot more force with a smaller knife.

eJournal: Does pressure cutting work under highly dynamic situations with everybody moving?Quads-wb

Janich: Yes. What you do is you control the arm first. You’d trap the arm and control it, limit the mobility to one joint, and then cut the bicep. But the real stopping target for us is the quadriceps muscle, just above the knee, about the first six inches.

eJournal: Why is the quadriceps an important target?

Janich: The mobility kill. Historically, look at the use of the medieval sword and shield. One of the tactics was to clash shields, because it was easier to lift the other guy’s shield so you could cut him across the quadriceps. Look at the records from early medieval battles where historians went back and excavated many of the graves of the people that fought there. The skeletons have deep, deep grooves where they had suffered those cuts across the quadriceps.

The quadriceps is analogous to the triceps; it extends the joint. The knee is a hinge joint and when the quadriceps contracts, it extends the knee and allows the leg to straighten and to support weight. You would cut the quadriceps, especially in those first few inches above the knee where it narrows. If you go higher on the leg it becomes very wide, so it is hard for a small knife to be effective.

Also, think about this: if you have a jacket, where will it hang down? Somewhere along the upper thigh. All the keys and coins and what ever else you happen to have in the pocket essentially acts like armor against the knife. In the first six inches or so above the knee, there is typically only a single layer of cloth (unless he’s wearing Carhartts) that is stretched tight across the knee in any kind of an athletic posture. You are cutting one layer of material and cutting muscle that essentially is going to drop him like a rock.

eJournal: That addresses proximity concerns about self defense with contact weapons. The quadriceps cut even seems like something mere mortals could accomplish, unlike some of the complex maneuvers we sometimes find in martial arts.

Janich: A few years ago at SHOT Show, a lady and gentleman–they are both paramedics and paramedic trainers by trade–came up to me in the Spyderco knife booth and said, “We can’t thank you enough for your videos, we really appreciate all the information.” So I said thank you for your kind words, and as I shook her hand she wouldn’t let go, so I thought, there is something going on here. She said, “You saved my life.” She had been raped, the evidence was screwed up and the attacker went free and continued to stalk her. She moved out of state, but he tracked her down, and attacked her a second time and separated her shoulder.

Her now-boyfriend was a shooter, and she learned how to shoot, how to defend herself and was studying all the different aspects of self defense. When she came to the knife, she studied some of my videos. Coming home to her apartment from the gym she went to as part of her recovery from her shoulder injury, she noticed black roses on the doorstep and a note from her attacker on the door saying, “We’ll be together one way or another.” She turned around, and there he was. The gym had a strict no firearms policy, so she couldn’t have the gun with her. She had her knife in her pocket and she pulled her knife out and opened it up. She brought the knife across the quadriceps and it dropped him. She told me it saved her life.

eJournal: Thank goodness! Now, I sincerely hope they did not prosecute HER, but under less well-defined situations, we DO have to worry about defensibility. The muscle targets you’ve described sound a lot more defensible than cutting or puncturing vital organs as in some knife tactics in which it is suggested that you get a quicker stop by attacking a blood-rich organ. First, is that accurate? Next, if the attacker is far more likely to die, how is that going to be received in court?


Janich: Go back to my early work with Chris Grosz. He first came to me and asked, “What do you think about Fairbairn’s timetable of death?

We began studying the whole issue of blood loss, comparing the approaches to stopping power. There are a lot of ways of achieving it. You’d have a psychological stopping power if you can pull a knife and the guy loses interest and backs away. You cannot predict that. You can have exsanguination, but it doesn’t happen nearly quickly enough.

All of Fairbairn’s figures were way exaggerated. The idea that you cut somebody and they’ll be completely unconscious in a few seconds is not going to happen. Any one in the medical community or any paramedic will tell you that. So that leaves the muscular structure and the connective tissue–the tendons, or the nervous system, that’s really the only way to shut people down, effectively and quickly.

A lot of my research is with the medical community. When I badly cut the tendons in my finger and had to go through extensive physical therapy and reconstructive surgery, I had a really good physical therapist. While we were doing exercises, I started asking questions like, “Have you ever had anyone who had their biceps cut?” He says, “Well, yeah, I had this guy who was in an industrial accident where a blade came down and cut there.” From that, a lot of my research into muscle and tendon damage came from industrial accidents. I was talking to orthopedic surgeons, talking to physical therapists, and drawing from their experience. I’d ask, “If I cut to this depth at this location, would this kind of harm happen?” And they’d say, “Absolutely. I had a guy who worked on a saw, so this happened,” and so the doctor could validate all of this.

eJournal: Beyond the tendons and muscles you’ve identified, are there additional targets?

Janich: My secondary target is the brachial nerve. The nerve gives the arm directions from the brain and is sending information from the hand back to the brain. The more you harm the nerve, the more you disrupt the mechanical function of the arm because you take away that connection through the nerve, and it literally loses communication. If you cut the biceps and cut the brachial nerve, basically that arm is crippled and probably is never going to be the same, but that does not necessarily have to be a life-threatening injury.

eJournal: Shouldn’t we worry about bleeding from the brachial artery?

Janich: With the brachial artery only being 10% of the blood flow, can somebody bleed to death from that? Sure, people have, but limbs have been severed, and they’ve survived, too. Applying a tourniquet, applying Quick Clot, rendering first aid if the artery is cut, can certainly make it survivable. And, in my opinion, that is automatically evidence of exercising restraint.

eJournal: What problems are in play when someone who defended him- or herself using a knife has to explain those actions in court?

Janich: The biggest problem in the application of the knife in this way is that it is very rare. The court system more frequently sees people who used knives feloniously in the commission of a crime, and if knives ARE used in self defense, they are typically not used well.

eJournal: If you defend yourself with a knife, what information is important to give, starting with your first contact with police, detectives, and up into the courtroom?

Janich: “I was in fear for my life. I was forced to defend myself. I used the knife to defend myself and I used it to stop the other person.”

These are all the same things you will say if you defend yourself with a firearm.

eJournal: What if they ask, “How many times did you cut him?”

Janich: “I cut him here; I cut him here, and here. I cut him to try to make him drop the weapon and to stop him.” It is a whole lot harder for them to establish intent to kill if I purposely cut his arm. If you stick the knife in his gut, the investigators say, “We don’t know what happened here but it looks like you were both involved, but YOU stuck the knife in him, and HE died.”

eJournal: It looks like mutual combat and since you are alive, you are blamed for the death.

Janich: Unlike if I say, “I cut him here, and here,” [pointing at his biceps] though they may argue that those are defensive wounds. The turning point for me was a case in which a guy was attacked by his employer with a knife. He deflected the knife, but the employer threw him down and started choking him. The guy grabbed the knife and started stabbing his employer. They fought for five minutes; it was horrible. He was stabbed over 50 times and finally his throat was cut. He grabbed the knife back from the guy who was attacking him and they wrestled over it. The employer had a couple of little cuts on his fingers from when he was choking the guy, when the victim brought the knife up between them to try to get the hands off of him. The coroner’s conclusion was that the wounds on the employer’s fingers were defensive wounds.

eJournal: I don’t know how you could establish a timeline to show when cuts happened during the exchange of the knife between the two.

Janich: Why would there be so many stab wounds that are all active bleeders? You had a bunch of stab wounds that were all clustered close together. The explanation is that the employer was pretty preoccupied with what he was doing, and that stab wounds didn’t register immediately.

eJournal: That underscores the need for solid education to counter erroneous conclusions from authorities. Do you have a website about your classes and DVDs? Earlier, you mentioned the lady who learned through your videos. If you were to recommend one of your many instructional videos to the average gun owner who also carries a knife, which one should we study?

Janich: Martial Blade Concepts the Enhanced Version from StaySafe Media or if you go to my website it is on the book and DVD page. It is the first volume of what is now a five-volume series on my knife system. It lays out the logic that we talked about here. It talks about fighting with the knife you actually carry. It talks about a knife’s destructive power, stopping power and all the basics you need to know. If you studied that and practiced those techniques it would give you all the critical skills with which you need to equip yourself.

eJournal: Outstanding! I think that people are better at getting in their firearms practice because they enjoy going to the range. I’m afraid a lot of people carrying knives don’t even know how to get started acquiring the knowledge and skill or do skill maintenance to use a knife well in self defense.

I really appreciate the excellent introduction you gave us today on why to focus defense with a knife on the assailant’s extremities. It is a relief to hear that these methods are effective in terms of getting through the attack AND in explaining your actions in the legal aftermath.

Janich: If you will go with that targeting, not only is it more likely to incapacitate the person, but also in articulating your actions, you can say, “Look, I could have cut his throat. Instead, I targeted his biceps.” If they say, “You cut his arm, you tried to cut his radial artery,” you say, “No, I tried to cut the muscles to make him drop his weapon so he would not be dangerous to me.” If you cut his quads and they say, “You tried to cut his femoral artery,” you can say, “No, I didn’t. I cut the quads to take away his mobility because I needed to get away from him because I was in fear for my life and I had to defend myself.”

You could argue that during all of those actions, you had access to life threatening targets you could have used to kill that person. You could have stabbed him in the heart, face, eyes, or the throat, whatever. You can say, “All those were accessible to me, but I purposefully focused on the limbs to stop him.”

eJournal: I really appreciate your clear understanding and explanations of our need for good defense tactics that are court defensible. Thank you so much for the time you have given us today to increase our understanding.


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President’s Message


The Biden Protocol

Marty-eJournal column pixby Marty Hayes, J.D.

Recently Vice President Joe Biden was discussing home defense with Parent’s Magazine readers when he was asked about gun control. He stated:

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” he said. “Have the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun and I promise you — as I told my wife, ‘Jill, if there is ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever is coming in is not going to.’”

According to news accounts he implied that a double-barreled shotgun was more effective than an AR-15, because the AR-15 “is harder to aim; it is harder to use. … Buy a shotgun,” he advised.

Allow me to address the VP’s remarks directly.

“Well, Joe, let me discuss for a moment why your advice, to put it politely, misses the target.

“First off, I imagine everyone in your neighborhood knows you and Jill and where you live, and now everyone knows your self-defense strategy. They know you have counseled your wife to grab the double barrel and fire two shots out the window. Then what, Joe? You say the thugs will run off, but what if they don’t? Why should they, knowing that your wife is now holding an empty shotgun as her means of protection? I hope you have taught her how to reload that duck gun quickly.

“And, what about the consequences of firing a gun off into the neighborhood? Are you really that reckless? Where do the pellets land, Joe? Or don’t you care?

“And about the claim a double-barreled shotgun is easier to shoot than an AR-15 rifle. Oh, please!

Sure, the AR-15 is a little more complicated, but you and the Pres just authorized mothers, wives, girlfriends and daughters to go into combat armed with the military equivalent M-4 rifle.Surely your wife, too, is smart enough to learn how to shoot an AR-15! And what about the recoil? I actually teach both weapon platforms and know the AR-15 is MUCH easier on the shoulder than a double barrel shotgun. Much easier.

“Tell you what, Joe, in contradiction to your apparent beliefs about Jill’s mental acuity (I think you’re wrong–from what I have seen of her she strikes me as a pretty sharp lady), I would be happy to teach her and the rest of the wives in your neighborhood how to use AR-15s for home defense.”

On the other hand though, we now have no less of an authority than the Vice-President of the United States of America advocating reckless warning shots. Can we now call the reckless firing of a warning shot or two “The Biden Protocol?”

RangeMaster Tactical Conference Underway

At this moment, Tom Given’s annual tactical conference is underway, and I am attending as a presenter again, after a year’s absence. Readers who took part in the 2011 conference in Tulsa remember helping me film for a Network DVD. We still plan to do that program, but we put it on the back burner when other priorities took over our time. I hope to work on it this summer, and perhaps we can get it completed before 2014. In the meantime we have the eighth DVD coming out later this summer that deals with legal issues surrounding use of non-lethal force in self defense.

Back to the present: the RangeMaster conference is a gathering of some of the top minds in the industry and attending always re-charges my batteries. This year, I will be shooting my old standby gun, my Glock 23L. 23L? Yes, a Glock 22 which has been chopped to take Glock 23 magazines, and then slimmed to fit my hand better, a modification I made over 15 years ago.

Until about five years ago the 23L was my daily carry gun, but I was seduced by the 1911 by friend and colleague Chuck Taylor. I’ve been having an affair with John Browning’s best design for the last five years. I believe that the human body best responds under stress with whatever tool it’s been using. Since I am back to competing with a Glock, I had to make the total switch and carry one, too.

Ammo Shortage Continues

Last month, I showed you a picture of my local gun shop’s handgun ammo shelves. Yesterday when I checked, they had nothing more than ten boxes of 10mm Auto ammunition. That was all! When I spoke with the clerk, he suggested mining the lead and copper from ranges, smelt it into usable material, get it to the bullet manufacturer, and into the supply line. No doubt the supply chain has dried up and no one knows when it will be restored.

I just talked to a friend in the ammo business who did not know when the current crisis will end. Last October, I recommended that you buy ammunition before the election. I now recommend waiting to buy ammo unless you absolutely need it. Let’s let whatever meager supplies are available go to those who really need ammunition, not be sucked up by hoarders. As prescient as I was regarding this coming shortage, I feel just as strongly that the supply chain will fill back up again pretty soon if we all just relax a little.

Boycotting the Government

In response to recent changes in liberal states’ laws regarding the right to keep and bear arms for self defense, several gun manufacturers and suppliers have indicated they will stop shipping product to these states. More will follow as the momentum builds. This is a natural reaction to the passage of unconstitutional laws, such as New York’s recent ban on most semi-auto handguns and a reaction I fully support.

In addition to New York, gun bans are also being either passed or contemplated in California, Colorado and my home state of Washington. I have strong views on this, which I try to keep under control.

I will comment on what is likely to happen if these laws, or a national assault weapons ban, takes effect. I call it the Law of Unintended Consequences. In a state where such draconian laws are passed, what will happen if the industry simply quits supplying ammunition, guns and accessories to government agencies? Here is my rationale: if we, the lawful, constitutional gun owners of America do not want to help government agencies enforce unconstitutional gun bans, why would we sell them the instruments they would use to enforce unconstitutional laws?

Next, what about places to train? Most law enforcement agencies do not own their own gun ranges, conducting their training instead at gun clubs and private ranges. The income from law enforcement agency range use is typically a drop in the bucket for most ranges. What would happen if ranges shut their doors to local law enforcement? I own a gun range, The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. If Washington State passes laws infringing on the rights of law abiding gun owners and substantially affects our gun rights, I will cancel/rescind the dozen or so range use contracts with local government agencies. I urge others similarly situated to join me.

I will also strongly support with my purchasing dollars companies that have taken this righteous stand, who also refuse to do business with states that have passed unconstitutional laws. The situation highlights a problem in our industry, mostly from ammunition manufacturers, who supply government contracts, as well as the private sector. Many large companies are owned by stock holders, who deserve profitability and returns on their investments. These manufacturers are likely not in a position to support boycotts and I understand. I ask you to understand that I am specifically not calling for a boycott of ammo companies who service government contracts. These circumstances can, however, create opportunities for smaller companies that want to cater to the private sector and really enhance their standing in the gun community.

That’s all I have for this month. Let’s all take a deep breath and if you are a praying individual, say a prayer or two for the continued survival of this great nation.

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A Thank-You to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network

By Massad Ayoob

One thing you expect from any well-constructed organization is networking. It’s one of the things ACLDN provides. My old friend Richard Davis, the armed citizen who invented the Second Chance concealed soft body armor which first “bullet-proofed America’s police,” was always fond of saying “No one person can do it alone.” I was reminded of that in a murder trial during the first week of February 2013.

In November of 2010, a physically huge man who had threatened the life of an average-size guy came to the latter’s house in an angry and argumentative mood. Before he told his wife to get their two little boys into a safe room, the homeowner tucked a .45 into his waistband. He then stepped out onto the porch to meet his uninvited “guest” and hopefully calm him down.

It didn’t work. The unwanted visitor told the homeowner, “I’ll beat the life out of you,” and punched him in the face so hard it knocked his partial dental plate loose. Reeling backward, the armed citizen drew and fired to slidelock, so fast that his seven shots sounded to one witness like “a string of firecrackers.” The attacker fled, collapsing some 40 feet away at the end of the house. He died at the scene; one of the bullets had pierced his heart. Some twelve minutes after police arrived, they arrested the armed citizen for Premeditated Murder, a charge which carries with conviction a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole in that jurisdiction.

The state’s theory of the case was that, since five casings were recovered near the porch the night of the shooting but two more were discovered the next day near where the decedent collapsed, the defendant must have run after him and fired two more execution shots. By the time I arrived to testify as expert witness for the defense, we had long since been prepared to show that this was physically impossible.

However, during a trial which began on Monday, February 4, the state presented on Wednesday, February 6 a medical examiner who testified emphatically that a man shot through the heart with a .45 could not have moved more than ten feet before dropping.

I was scheduled to go on the stand the following day, and had to rebut that. Conflicting expert opinions can

turn into “he said/she said” if not supported by authoritative citations. I had some with me, but – not anticipating this turn of events – had not brought along a copy of Dr. Vincent DiMaio’s authoritative text, Gunshot Wounds. I recalled from that book a documented case of a man whose heart was shredded with a much more powerful weapon, yet he ran a considerably greater distance before collapsing than did the decedent in the instant case. The trial was taking place in a small community in the Appalachians, and there was no hope of getting a copy between the close of court on Wednesday and the following day.

Fortunately, there was ACLDN. It was after hours, but I reached out to Marty Hayes at ACLDN headquarters in Washington State, and ACLDN CLE (Continuing Legal Education for practicing lawyers) instructor Jim Fleming in Minnesota. Defense lawyer Brian Abraham and I were just sitting down to dinner and final trial prep when, two minutes apart, Hayes and Fleming were emailing me the critical commentary from the DiMaio text.

The following day, called to the stand by Abraham, I was able to deal with this issue with a series of quotes from three master forensic pathologists. I finished with the quote from DiMaio, and it was the piece de resistance. It deflated, finally and most dramatically, the erroneous allegation that the defendant’s account was impossible, and showed that instead, it was totally plausible.

That, coupled with other evidence, clearly showed that the state’s theory of the case was simply impossible: it violated the laws of the time/space continuum, and required anyone who believed it to disregard the entirety of the testimony of some seven eyewitnesses and earwitnesses.

Conversely, the actual evidence fit hand in glove with the account the armed citizen gave to police the night of the shooting: an extremely violent, unprovoked attack by a man whose physical disparity of force was so great it was the equivalent of a deadly weapon, which authorized the defendant to use a per se lethal weapon in self defense.

On the afternoon of Friday, February 8, the jury deliberated for some three hours and returned a verdict of Not Guilty. A man who would have been remanded to prison and, under the laws of that jurisdiction, would have died there, instead went home to his wife and his two young boys as a free man with a clean criminal record. Defense attorney Brian Abraham had done a brilliant job of bringing Truth to the courtroom, with Justice resulting.

Neither attorney Abraham nor his client were members of ACLDN. Fortunately, the expert witness he retained was a member, and that allowed extremely fast emergency access to the ACLDN think tank to get the critical information into court, into the record, and in front of the jury in time to save an innocent man.

This is one of the many reasons I am active with the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network…and it is why I say now:

Thank you, ACLDN!

Editor’s Note: Massad Ayoob has generously provided considerable support to the Network, so it is a pleasure to have been able to assist him in return. In addition, our Network President Marty Hayes, contacted and recruited Attorney Brian Abraham, who is now our newest Network Affiliated Attorney in West Virginia, so our members in The Mountain State have another good attorney to whom they can turn.

Letters from Network Members

As intended, Network President Marty Hayes’ lead article in the February edition of this journal stirred up a lot of commentary.

While we received a number of comments from folks who are not Network members, since this journal is dedicated to our membership, we will use the comments our members submitted as discussion points. Here are some of our member’s thoughts on the topic—

Great article Marty, Thanks!

Another bit of info supporting citizens’ need to own semi-autos and/or multi-round magazines…law enforcement does their best to “respond” to an incident in a timely manner, but as facts have shown, most violent acts are well over by the time police arrive on scene!

We should never lose our right of suitable self-protection.

Thanks again,
Tom in Oregon


Looks like we see eye to eye. Thanks for writing.


They are NOT assault weapons! I think that if you look up the history of this term ESPECIALLY the recent history (last 20 years) this is a term coined by the left, the media, and those against the Second Amendment of the Constitution use to help demonize certain LOOKING weapons.

I do know that most people you ask to define an assault weapon (fully auto) can’t and most do not even come close! We need to stop allowing the left, the media, and those against the Second Amendment of the Constitution (don’t let them get by with being called anti gunners or similar terms that they like to be called; call them what they are!) to get away with using this term!! We need to fight this word, soften this word and put it forth for what it actually is!!

Every time a pro-Second Amendment person does an interview and the word assault weapon is used they need to correct the conversation right then and there.

They need to state that if you want to talk about the highly regulated, fully automatic, need special licenses, must be registered, etc. assault weapons okay let’s talk about them. Now if you want to talk about the SEMI automatic sporting rifles used for competitive shooting, self defense, etc. then okay let’s talk about them BUT let’s not confuse the two!

Paul in Florida


Items are named whatever society decides to name them. If the “assault weapon” label is given to semi-automatic rifles and pistols which hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition by a good portion of our society, then that is what they become. Having said that, you will recall my reason for using the term was to catch the attention of people who might have otherwise not read the article. If we ignore the logic of why these types of weapons are necessary, and instead argue terminology, then I believe we are on the way to losing the argument. But, I appreciate your thoughts, thanks for writing.



While I appreciate Marty Hayes’ point of view on the gun control issue, I’m afraid his article, “Why American Citizens Need Assault Weapons” is not persuasive. It’s true that an objective of the Second Amendment was to enable Americans to resist a tyrannical government but it didn’t take long before a majority of the people formed a common understanding that they themselves, the people, were the sovereign government and therefore no right of rebellion against the government existed. Thus, when the Whiskey Rebellion arose in the early 1790s and thousands of participants engaged in violent tax protest against the government, proclaiming their right of rebellion, President Washington enjoyed overwhelming support among the people at large when he raised a federalized militia of 13,000 men and rode at the head of this army to easily suppress the insurgents.

Similarly, when President Lincoln put down what was called the War of the Rebellion–what we call The Civil War–he eliminated once and for all any right of forcible rebellion against the government.

Then, too, to argue as Marty does that a rebellion of “the people” against the government might actually succeed, comparing 100 million gun owners against only several million military and law enforcement personnel, he assumes the people would fight as one. There is no basis for this assumption and it is almost certain that the people would divide into factions, some supporting rebellion, many more supporting “law and order,” and not a few remaining neutral. Further, the military has extraordinarily powerful weapons: bombs, planes, tanks, etc. at their disposal, weapons that would easily overcome any number of high cap AR-15s.

Marty’s remaining argument, that the people need high cap “assault weapons” to defend against criminals similarly armed is more plausible, although it’s my impression that criminal use of such weapons is mostly against a relatively few rich targets such as banks and commercial establishments. The vast majority of citizens who encounter, say, a burglar or a thug on the street are much more likely to be matched up against someone with a handgun.

Again, I think Marty’s heart is in the right place and I applaud his willingness to speak out on this issue.

Frank in California


I guess I don’t share your viewpoint, as I firmly believe we armed citizens of America (also known as the Militia) possess the ability to resist enslavement and tyranny. I am not going to go into tactical details of how this could and likely would be accomplished, but suffice it to say that I believe an armed resistance to gun confiscation would be quick and successful. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, and at this writing, it looks like the winds of reason still favor the Second Amendment. I am also not concerned about the government using their bombs on the American citizens. But, this is just my opinion, and I value yours, too. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts.


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Affiliated Attorney Question of the Month

Reasonable steps toward providing for one’s own protection are more complex than getting a gun and learning how to use it. Understanding the laws applicable to using deadly force in self defense is critical, as is preparation to interact with the criminal justice system after self defense. Having an attorney to call for representation is one preparatory step, and ironically, it is one of the most challenging for most armed citizens, since attorneys and the criminal justice system are often an aspect of modern life that many will never encounter.

The Network encourages members to have an attorney in their home area on whom they can call should a need arise. To facilitate finding a gun-friendly attorney, the Network affiliates with attorneys all across the nation, not with the intention of making a judgment or recommendation about the attorney’s expertise, but rather to provide members with a starting place for their attorney search. In addition, several Affiliated Attorneys have asked if they could affiliate to be available to assist with pre-incident or post-incident financial concerns, so the Affiliate list represents a variety of skill sets. If the member already has an attorney, the Network never interferes and Network benefits of the deposit against attorney fees paid for representation after self-defense actions will be sent to the attorney the member designates, whether or not that attorney is affiliated with the Network. The choice of attorney ultimately rests with the member, which is only right.

The attorney a member engages to represent them in the days following a self-defense incident may or may not be the attorney or one of the attorneys on their defense team if criminal charges or civil suit results from the situation.

In providing resources for the member’s trial, the Network may well make a recommendation that the local attorney associate with an attorney who can contribute trial experience defending cases with similar issues, as well as expert witnesses or other resources to strengthen the member’s defense. As the Network’s Legal Defense Fund grows larger and stronger, the resources available for these efforts increase.

The way affiliated attorneys manage their interactions with Network members is left entirely up to the individual affiliated attorney. Because these pro-gun attorneys are influenced by their own experiences and how they practice law, there are differences in how the various affiliated attorneys prefer to interact with Network members, including even a few who do not concur line by line with Network recommendations about getting to know an attorney prior to having a serious need. In the end, considering all the varying opinions make us stronger, encouraging individual members to think about their needs in legal representation, not just blindly accepting a dictum from the Network, if indeed, the Network was in the habit of issuing dicta!

Periodically, this journal discusses consulting with an attorney you can call for representation after a self-defense incident. We’ve found that one of the most interesting ways to get input is asking our Affiliated Attorneys how members can most effectively contact them or other pro-gun attorneys. As you might expect when we polled our 275 Affiliated Attorneys we got a tremendous variety of answers that we hope you will find as interesting and instructive as we did. The response is large enough that this discussion will occupy this column over the next several months.

Here is the question we put to our Affiliated Attorneys and some of the answers we received–

“How do you recommend a Network member connect with an attorney for a brief consultation to be sure the member understands their state’s self-defense laws, as well as assuring themselves that the attorney is someone whom they want as their counselor after self defense?”

With this edition of the eJournal we will start a series spanning several months to share their answers with you.

Kevin E. J. Regan
The Regan Law Firm, L.L.C.
1821 Wyandotte St., Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64108
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I believe that anyone charged with a crime involving self defense requiring the use of a firearm needs an experienced practitioner with a long-term track record of victory in cases of this nature. The desired attorney should have several jury and/or court trial verdicts of not guilty or judgments of dismissal in cases of this nature before being asked to handle the Network member’s case.

I would not recommend a young lawyer riding in his first rodeo for these types of cases when a client’s life and future are on the line. The lawyer who did your will may not be your first round draft pick, either.

Years ago, I was asked by another attorney to help him represent a client who had shot a man numerous times with his pistol during an altercation. I agreed to take the case, thoroughly investigated it, and brought in local and national experts in the areas of ballistics and use of deadly force. The prosecutor’s initial plea offer was two (2) life sentences. We thoroughly prepared the case and gave it our best shot at trial.

After closing arguments, the jury went upstairs to the jury room and voted not guilty on the way to the jury room. The bailiff told the jury that they couldn’t vote so quickly, since the judge had ordered them pizza. The jury waited on the pizza, ate the pizza, voted not guilty again and the case was over. This type of result did not come easily, but was the product of years of training and experience of all involved. I would not have been competent to handle such a matter right out of law school or without the trial experience I received as a state and federal prosecutor and in private practice.

The relevant question, then, is how do you find this particular attorney?

In larger cities, there may be several practitioners who meet these qualifications. In a smaller community, there may not be such a practitioner and the member would need to look outside his/her jurisdictions for competent counsel.

In our community, there are several attorneys that have won these types of cases and their names are fairly well-known in the legal community. However, in smaller jurisdictions, that may not be the case.

When I try and find a good attorney to associate with in cases of this nature, I call the local prosecutor, sheriff, public defender in the jurisdiction where the new case is pending and ask for a referral of an attorney that is competent, honorable, ethical and experienced in the trials of self-defense cases involving the use of firearms. Sometimes, well-respected shooting instructors have knowledge of these individuals, as well.

I try to get a list of two or three attorneys to speak with and learn of their credentials, reputation in the legal community and results achieved in similar cases.

Often important to the client is price. I believe it is important to find out if an attorney works by the hour or charges a flat fee. Some attorneys charge way more than others. Some attorneys’ fees are way too high in my opinion. However you do not want to go with the bargain basement person that has no experience. Sometimes, attorneys will work with the referring attorney in reducing fees or reducing the retainer that is initially due.

I suggest you meet with the attorney in person before committing to them. Some people look better on paper than they actually are.

It is important to get all legal fee agreements in writing so that there are no unpleasant surprises when the case is over. Be careful of attorneys who promise you a positive outcome, as that is not ethical. 

Beware of attorneys that have no experience in this area. Beware of attorneys that have no experience with firearms and do not know a revolver from a semi-automatic pistol. A good attorney has competent experts at his/her disposal in the field of ballistics, tool mark examination, medical issues, drug and alcohol issues and use of deadly force types.

Sometimes it is prudent to have your personal attorney associate with the more experienced attorney so that your personal attorney can keep you informed locally, if you are trying a case outside of your hometown.

Good places to look for referrals would be through the Best Lawyers in America or the American College of Trial Lawyers.

These individuals have been vetted by objective outside criteria and have been deemed extremely competent by others in the field.

Be sure to look past the claims of an attorney’s website. These promotional sites are put together to advertise and get business for the firm. The claims on these sites need to be checked out.

I would use the same care and effort in choosing an attorney in a case of this nature as I would for a surgeon in an important time of medical need in my family. All the due diligence possible should be used in making the selection. If, early on, you realize you have chosen the wrong attorney, you should get out of that situation as soon as possible and seek new counsel.

Richard H. Seaton, Jr.
Seaton, Seaton & Gillespie, LLC
410 Humboldt, Manhattan, KS 66505
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Easy, at least in my office. Tell the person you were referred by ACLDN and leave a message. Either my staff will then call you back to make an appointment or I will do it personally, usually within 24 hours.

William J. Powell
Jackson Kelly PLLC
310 W. Burke St., Martinsburg, WV 25401
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Go to the reputable firearms dealer in your area. I expect they have had to deal with an attorney or two on firearms issues. I volunteered to teach a class on self-defense law, the dealer provided some space, and the interest was overwhelming.

Those who came learned something and could get a recommendation on lawyers who were knowledgeable in that area of the law. The dealer benefited by having a good many people in the store, several who bought merchandise while they were there.


Morgan Allison
Allison & Allison
7836 Park Ave., Houma, LA 70364
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It seems to me that if you call and ask for an appointment, you should get one. If you can’t, then you might consider finding another attorney. If an attorney won’t return your calls from the beginning, then you can’t count on him to do so when the chips are down.

The attorney might charge for the appointment, so be aware of that. Their reluctance to return calls or set appointments may be because they are assuming you want a free office visit. Ask about a consultation fee when you call just to get that issue out of the way.

My personal policy is never to charge for that kind of initial visit. I consider it a “marketing expense.” But, other attorneys are different and always charge for every meeting.


J. Michael Edney
Law Office of J. Michael Edney
1509 Haywood Road, Hendersonville, NC 28791
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I would recommend calling the attorney’s office and set up an appointment. Some attorneys charge a consultation fee, others (including myself) do not.

I also recommend e-mailing questions. It allows the attorney to reflect on the question before answering.

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

My secretary knows that she is to schedule appointments for people calling with gun rights questions including self-defense issues. Consequently, I haven’t had any issues with scheduling Network members for a consultation regarding gun rights issues.

When calling an attorney related to a gun rights consultation, my suggestion is that Network members advise the attorney or his/her secretary of the following:

1. He/she got the lawyer’s name from the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network.

2. Ask if the lawyer does criminal defense work and specifically gun rights defense.

3. Ask if the attorney is willing to be placed on a retainer for potential self-defense issues.

4. Ask for an in office consultation with the attorney related to self-defense issues.

5. Advise the secretary or attorney that he/she is willing to pay a reasonable consultation fee.

This information should be more than enough for an attorney who is interested in defending people in gun rights defenses to schedule an appointment with the client.

The above information should be included for consultation on other gun rights issues such as criminal charges arising out of failure to follow state statutory conceal carry requirements, possessing a weapon under disability, expunging criminal records, etc.

This discussion continues next month, so check back for more attorney opinion from all across the country.

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DVD Review


Fighting Folders:

Janich DVD_Cvr-wb

The Definitive Guide to Personal Defense with Tactical Folding Knives
Written and co-produced Michael D. Janich
© 2000 Paladin Press
Gunbarrel Tech Center, 7077 Winchester Circle, Boulder, CO 80301
75 minutes length

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

When interviewing Michael Janich recently I asked which of his considerable number of books and DVDs would provide the best foundation for ordinary folks wishing to better understand the defense use of folding knives. Fighting Folders was his unhesitating response, so as a companion review to this month’s lead article, we will study that training program.

Fighting Folders explores knife model options, how to get a folding knife open and into action quickly, plus Janich’s techniques to maximize what he calls this “potent weapon.” Concerns highlighted include knife carry for a predictable orientation and quick accessibility and positive, one-handed opening methods. In addition to using the thumb holes or studs common on folding knives, Janich explains gripping the flat edge of the knife blade, snapping the wrist, and letting inertia open the knife. This method relies only on gross motor skill, so is supported by research showing that under stress, the human is much better equipped to execute large movements instead of small ones. For the inertia opening, it is important to hold the knife at the pivot point, and put the entire arm behind the task, Janich demonstrates.

Do inertia opening knives run counter to laws prohibiting gravity knives?” Janich asks, quoting the common language forbidding knives that open with a “flick of the wrist. He does not think so, because, “You can take me into any knife shop anywhere in the United States or anywhere else, and open 95% of all the knives in there with a gravity opening.”

He compares the practice required to attain this skill, to that of exhibition shooters who can fire even single action revolvers at tremendous speeds. Naturally, that does not make a single action revolver into a submachine gun, and in the same way, he concludes, ability to open a knife using inertia shows hard work to develop an extraordinary skill, but does not change the knife into a gravity knife.

As Janich further explores opening technique applied to various knives, he urges use of training knives with dulled edges and rounded tips. The likelihood of being cut during opening practice is very real, he stresses. While some train with castings of knives that are already open, that sacrifices opening practice, he explains.

The goal, of course, is to get the knife opened and into the grip taught by your style of knife use. He demonstrates several common grips before moving on to discuss knife carry and draw methods. Janich prefers clipping the knife to the top of the trouser pockets, because it is easy to just tuck the thumb inside the pocket with the hand’s fingers on the outside, covertly in position over the knife, concealing it from view and ready to deploy if needed.

Janich points out dangers of carry modes that require a lot of adjustment of the hand on the knife to get it into use, adding, “Combine access, draw, opening and application into one fluid series of movements,” clarifying his preference for tip up pocket clip carry to limit how much the knife has to be moved to attain the grip. In addition, the knife should also be accessible to the weak hand, Janich demonstrates, stressing that carry location and method needs to be consistent throughout all of your modes of dress. If you wear trousers without pockets, for example, move the carry location to the waistband and carry it there consistently.

Grip is a critical element in using a handheld weapon, Janich stresses. A good knife grip is one that allows you to hang on to the knife during the fight, permits effective cutting and thrusting, and does not shift under impact. Too many knife styles just practice the strokes into empty air, so the practitioner has little idea of the impact involved when the blade contacts the assailant.

Hitting a belt buckle or bone is likely, Janich stresses, so you must “manage impact shock” through an effective grip to avoid being cut with your own knife. He prefers the Pilipino grip, with the knife across the palm at the base of the fingers and fingers curled around the grip, with the thumb on the back of the handle or blade, for maximum grip strength. The thumb “guides the blade wherever I want it to go,” he illustrates.

Janich next identifies zones of defense, followed by three defensive responses to simplify the number of techniques learned and practiced. He illustrates and explains passes, follows and meets as applied to the various zones, focused on cutting the arm with which the attack is made. Most attackers bring a hand-held weapon to bear against you, so disabling the arm wielding it is a primary concern. These are the principles Janich outlined in greater detail in the lead interview to this journal.

The knife is a compliment to your natural body weapons, not a replacement, Janich urges, demonstrating checks and strikes with the hand not holding the knife. Indeed, knife flow drills provide a basis for empty hand defenses, he teaches. This is important, because if the assailant starts the attack with a weapon in hand–something that is likely–you’ll need techniques to buy time to draw out and open your knife. If your first response is to go after your knife, you’ll be injured before you can ever deploy it, he stresses.

Just as shooters practice delivering multiple shots, knife techniques emphasize flowing from one target to another. Elemental to this ability is the knife hand’s chamber position, introduced as Janich stresses, “We have to be prepared to follow up.” The chamber position sets up the next strike to an open target, essentially playing “connect the dots,” from one target to the next, he illustrates.

In follow up tactics, the live (non-knife) hand can open up targets and move the opponent’s limbs as needed, Janich demonstrates.

Progressing skills will create these natural combinations, he encourages. Avoid practicing with a partner who freezes at the point of the first strike, which won’t happen in real life, where the assailant will react to your cuts.

If he stops, you would not continue cutting, but if he does not withdraw you will need to flexibly adapt your response to “what he is doing at that time,” he explains. Practice making cuts flowing from one body target after another, adjusting with the training partner’s natural responses, he urges.

Several flow drills are offered for practice to develop distance, judgment, accuracy and timing in both practice partners, who switch from aggressor to defender, increasing speed and dynamic movement as skill grows. Flow drill benefits include perceiving attacks and responding with a conditioned reflex and ability to adapt responses to a wide variety of circumstances, he explains. As skill grows, learn to vary responses, practicing to make an instantaneous decision when the attack is underway. Still, “Don’t get lost in the drills,” Janich urges. Remain aware of the combat applications and the spontaneous responses the drills engrain. Dissect the drills to understand the reasons behind techniques. When practicing flow drills, “Look at the component pieces and use them to your advantage,” he encourages.

In closing, Janich explains that the skills demonstrated and analyzed in the video are intended to give an introduction to foundational skills to add to our existing self-defense techniques. He urges use of safe practice equipment including eye protection, wrist guards and blunted training knives, as well as starting practice slowly, to develop the techniques so they can become “a valuable addition to your self-defense repertoire.”

This training program on DVD flows smoothly through an introduction to the topic, into explanations and demonstrations of defensive skills, giving reasons justifying the use of the techniques shown, and outlining ways to practice to gain proficiency in the techniques. The instruction is seamlessly presented, and the 75 minutes of playing time races by in what seems like half an hour. The instruction is presented very professionally without the bellicose verbiage so common in self-defense video programs, so that every minute of viewing is teaching or reinforcing a lesson. The time spent watching the program as well as the cost of the DVD and its shipping is a valuable investment in personal safety.

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by Brady Wright

Can it already be March? I just barely got the Christmas decorations down and already it’s nearly time to put them back up. Makes a good case for just leaving them up and saying to heck with it. I mean, I have other important things to deal with, like waiting for delivery on the two new guns I decided to afford, and organizing the safe and …well…you get the picture.

While some of our politicians and other bottom-feeders seem bent on tearing down our legal and Constitutional rights, there are plenty of great, civic-minded members, here at the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, who are doing great things to help keep folks protected in the event of an incident. Here are a few!

Our good friend and roving promoter Phil Smith reports that while attending a conference in North Carolina, he toured the Gibbs Racing Team facility. They have several laboratories in the facility to test every part that goes into their team cars. He managed to flush out a couple of handgun enthusiasts and pass along a Network card. At a follow-up meeting, and after an hour of discussions on the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamic and calibration of probes, he asked them what they liked to do when they were not calibrating equipment. The first guy was a young man of about 22 who stated he liked IDPA competitive shooting. Well, that just stated a firearms dialog that lasted for hours, as everyone at the table owned handguns.

Phil passed out the Network business cards to them and later brought down a stack of brochures for them. Other people gathered and the booklets on the table raised questions and were soon gone. Phil does this sort of thing a lot and tells us it’s just that easy to make new friends and get people excited about the Network!

Galen Krebs is one of our affiliated instructors in Pennsylvania. He tells me he has limited space available for Concealed Carry Weapons Class to be held March 2 and 3 at the Green Springs Rod and Gun Club in Hanover PA.

The cost is $65 per person and he takes applications on a first come first served basis. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request an application. If this comes too late, Galen holds many classes and you can always catch the next one!

Long time member Gene Leary wrote to share that he is a Utah concealed carry instructor and a NRA Training Counselor. When he requested an additional supply of booklets and brochures, he told me that he is also now president of a NRA affiliated gun club. He passes the Network information on to his students and to the club members. He says that the Network booklets sell students and members on our organization and benefits. Three gun store owners in his area have agreed to place our information in their stores. Gene says, “Getting the message out is something serious to me. Any help would be appreciated. Keeping up the fight in California.” Thank you, Gene. We appreciate your work in the bottom left corner of the country.

Speaking of the booklets and brochures, the newly reprinted brochures are out and they really look great. If you want to give them out in any of your classes, at work or at your business, or as a conversation starter, just email and I’ll make it happen.

Another upcoming event you should try to take in is coming on March 6, 2013. The Illinois State Rifle Association will conduct its IGOLD day again. In past years, Larry Pyzik, one of our first members, brought along some of the Network brochures and asked Don Moran (the President) if they could be distributed to members at the sign up table. We made sure that Larry had a good stock so that he could have them distributed at the event again, to increase ACLDN membership.

As usual, if you need any Network materials to give to clients or customers, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and also let me know if you have news to share about an event or happening that people should know. There are so many things going on in all parts of the country that there is usually no shortage, but I’ll do my best to get you information in the column. If I receive your information, celebration or brag by the 22nd of the month, you have a great chance of getting in the upcoming column. More to come next month. Stay safe out there!

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Editor’s Notebook

by Gila Hayes

The Network growth continues strong, with an extra heavy membership renewal phase currently underway. We are so grateful for the continued participation of our members, some of whom came to the Network over the past several years, and others who joined earlier when the Network was a fledging organization. To all, we say a heart-felt, “Thank You!” What a tremendous community of armed citizens has come together to make the Network the solid, supportive, multi-faceted organization into which it has grown.

During our five years of operation, we’ve seen look-alike organizations introduced then quietly disappear. Sometimes folks call and ask if we know how to contact “Firm X and Z” or wonder what we can tell them about “the competition,” apparently expecting us to provide the “cons” for a “pros” and “cons” list they may be constructing as they try to decide how to protect themselves in the aftermath if ever they must use a gun in self defense. When the caller is receptive, we offer instead a brief synopsis of how the Network provides for member needs after self defense, and most promise to read our website or let us send them additional information.

Another frequent but unanswerable question comes, oddly enough, from policy holders in the several self-defense insurance products on the market. These policy holders wonder if we know what they can expect from their insurance, and we have to politely advise them that their question can really only be answered by the organization to which they wrote the check.

If pending legislation in several states to require firearms owners to buy liability insurance prevails, we’ll brace for even more calls about insurance. Of course, this wave of legislation may look like a rich payday for insurance companies and their sales agents, but even so, given that liability insurance generally applies after an accidental occurrence, it is hard to understand how conventional insurance intended to restore damages after accidents could be accessed after an intentional act of self defense with a firearm.

Is this the ultimate in criminals’ rights legislation? Sue to access the mandatory insurance policy held by the intended victim who shot you as you were knocking them down and were beating their head into the sidewalk?

The idea is so ethically bankrupt that it is hard for me to believe the legislators’ sales pitches aren’t being laughed down. “I believe that if we get the private sector and insurance companies involved in gun safety, we can help prevent a number of gun tragedies every year,” comes from a MA state representative, who apparently has not seen or does not believe the statistics showing that accidental injury with firearms is at its lowest point ever. What a twit.

It is surprising how many people buy an insurance policy and even sometimes buy a Network membership without first forming any clear idea what their money has purchased. At the Network, we have radically changed our membership packet, replacing the friendly “Welcome!” or “Welcome Back!” letter with a double-sided sheet outlining in considerable detail what the Network member receives during membership. We hope this will prove helpful to you, since it just does not make any sense to pay to participate in an organization without knowing exactly what you get.

Dispelling Ignorance

As members know, the Network does not rely on conventional advertising to recruit members. We work hard to educate armed citizens about justifiable use of deadly force and about self-defense aftermath issues, with the side-effect of establishing the Network as the go-to organization for post-incident services and bringing in as new members armed citizens who already have a rudimentary understanding of the serious issues involved in acting in self defense.

Over the past few months, requests for the Network’s 24-page booklet, What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law have increased as the Network Affiliated Instructors, who give booklets and Network brochures to all of their students, have enjoyed a big growth in attendance at their classes and at gun shows in which they participate. We are proud to be part of these grass-roots level instructors’ efforts to help gun owners learn about legitimate self defense, use of force, and what to expect after acting in self defense.

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About the Network’s Online 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.

In addition, material presented in our opinion columns is entirely the opinion of the bylined author, and is intended to provoke thought and discussion among readers.

To submit letters and comments about content in the eJournal, please contact editor Gila Hayes by email sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. receives its direction from these corporate officers:
Marty Hayes, President
J. Vincent Shuck, Vice President
Gila Hayes, Operations Manager

We welcome your questions and comments about the Network.
Please write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or PO Box 400, Onalaska, WA 98570 or call us at 360-978-5200.