Gun owners taking extra precautions in case they need to shoot an intruder

Stephanie Graham, Tom Murray

Gun owners taking extra precautions in case they need to shoot an intruder

CREATED Jul. 24, 2013

MILWAUKEE - In a recent PSA, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told people to get a gun and take action if they need to.  Have you ever thought about what would happen if you actually had to shoot someone in order to protect you and your family? 

Imagine it:  Someone breaks into your house, you find your gun, and you shoot.  We've seen the cases right here in Wisconsin.

Last year, a man in Slinger shot and killed a young man he thought was breaking into his home.  Then, just this past weekend, a man chased and shot at an 18-year-old burglary suspect near Wauwatosa.

The state's Castle Doctrine protects homeowners who shoot intruders during a break in, but what are the real consequences if you pull the trigger? 

There are services out there to help homeowners if the unthinkable happens.

Take Nazir Al Mujaahid.  He is a husband and father to 8 children.  He explains, "I have to live and breath in order to protect my family."

Nazir is also a proud Milwaukee gun owner.

"My family has a tradition of having firearms for shooting and self defense purposes, so the key was really education more than anything else," he says.

He used that education when he took out his gun at an Aldi store a couple years ago, and shot an armed robber.  "No one expects these types of things to happen," Nazir recalls.

But they do happen--both in public and in people's homes.  Brian Dorow is Associate Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College.  He teaches people how to practice the 2nd Amendment safely.

"It's a huge responsibility.  It's your right, but at the same time, the training is what will take you a long way," Dorow says.

He says even if a homeowner shoots an intruder in self defense he or she could face some scrutiny.  "You may satisfy all the legal requirements, you may be completely justified, but ultimately you may still be subject to some civil litigation, or a civil lawsuit."

That's where services like Second Defense Alliance, or SDA, come in.  It'a a new group that helps handle the legal, financial, and emotional risks of shooting a home invader.  Tim Brennan is the COO of SDA.  He says, "The biggest thing is people just don't think about what they would do after they defend themselves with a firearm."

For about $11/month, a legal gun owner can become a member.  SDA will take care of all the messy cleanup of a home shooting.

"We'll be there, we'll make sure your attorney is there to represent you, and then after that we're making sure that all those other services that you're gonna need are in place," Brennan assures.

Dorow says it's a good idea for gun owners to make sure they're protected in some way.  "My recommendation is just check with your insurance agent to see how you're covered, and in what capacity you are covered."

If you aren't covered it's recommended you get some sort of protection.

"I would advise people if they are looking to shop around and be a smart consumer," Nazir says.

SDA says the thing that sets them apart is an emphasis on paying for counseling if a homeowner has to shoot an intruder.

"The average citizen has nothing, there are no support services out there.  They're gonna experience the same things a police officer does, like certain types of post-traumatic emotions, and they really should seek out counseling," Brennan says.

Nazir hopes he never has to use his gun again, but if he does, he's glad he has the right to use it in self defense, and that he's protected.

"It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it," he says matter-of-factly.

Second Defense Alliance started services last September, and so far the company has about 2,000 members across the U.S., including about 15 in Wisconsin--so it's still a relatively new business, and a relatively new concept. 

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