Deadly Force in Defense of Others

An Interview with James D. “Mitch” VilosVilos

Interview by Gila Hayes

Scarcely a week goes by without a caller asking if the Network will pay their legal expenses if they use a gun to defend someone else. “We will if your actions are legal,” we respond. “Of course, my shooting would be legal,” comes the indignant retort. “I would only use my gun if I thought someone was about to be killed!” Unfortunately, life is rarely that simple, although these calls do underscore that many harbor mistaken beliefs about use of force in defense of others. With that in mind, we began an exploration of the principles behind use of force in defense of others and found, to no great surprise, that the laws addressing defense of third persons vary considerably from one state to the next.

Fortunately, I knew exactly whom to ask for more education on the topic. Network Affiliated Attorney James D. “Mitch” Vilos and his son Evan Vilos wrote the first edition of Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States nearly ten years ago, releasing a new edition in 2013 and thereafter updating it as needed on their website Mitch Vilos agreed to speak with us about self-defense law applying to defense of others. We switch now to our Q&A format to share Vilos’ comments on this subject.

eJournal: Thank you for helping us understand how armed citizens can comply with the law and still, if the necessity exists, step in to keep another from being killed or crippled. There are some pretty big legal risks in misunderstanding state laws about self defense, so I’m looking forward to learning from you about how to stay legal. To start off, what is the right terminology?

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

 Network Members Training Network Members

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

This past July was unique in the sense that my other business, the Firearms Academy of Seattle, held a series of training courses, taught by many of the top trainers in the country (all Network members) and they taught over 100 Network members in those classes, too! The vision that I had 10 years ago, where we were a group of serious armed citizens banding together to be strong when one of us is selected for prosecution for nothing more than exercising our God-given right to self defense has come to fruition. For my President’s Message this month, I will tell you how these classes went.

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Attorney Question of the Month


This month's question continued over from last month’s journal, and was posed by a Network member who is also a firearms instructor. He asked--

If a Network member is accompanied by a friend or family member at the time of an armed self-defense incident, is it preferable that the 9-1-1 call be made by the associate? Why or why not? What information should the associate provide to the police dispatchers?

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Book Review

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

How Most Self-Defense Training Will Put You into Prison or the Ground

by Marc MacYoung and Jenna Meek
$17.99 Paperback, 6x9, 199 pages
Carry On Publishing/NNSD. Kindle Edition at
ISBN: 978-0692130537

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

This month I read a wide-ranging book written by two self-defense instructors that encourages honest analysis of your self-defense training strengths and weaknesses. In it, authors Marc MacYoung and Jenna Meek start by explaining that much of self-defense training focuses on just one small fraction of self defense–the physical skills. They wrote this book to help readers learn “to mentally shift gears and think of an incident as more than the final physical aspect” and thus avoid danger or be able to justify using force in self defense.

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Editor's Notebook


Defense of Others

by Gila Hayes

The May 25 intervention of two armed citizens in Oklahoma City after a deranged man shot a woman and children who were at a restaurant for a birthday party has spawned much discussion. Several months earlier, it seemed like everyone was talking about the Sutherland Springs, TX firearms instructor who shot the man who shot and killed over two dozen worshipers attending the First Baptist Church near his home. While we’re amazed that these positive gun uses made the news, we don’t find it surprising that American citizens stepped in to prevent the deaths of more innocent church goers or families attending a birthday party.

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About this Journal


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

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