"Talkin' to America" Show


Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959

When is the Right Time to Shoot in Self-Defense?
an interview with author Chuck Klein

Interview in MP3 format


TRANSCRIPT: JPFO Nation radio interview. Taped: 5 Aug 2005 (25 Min)

JPFO: Chuck Klein is the author of 8 books and hundreds of articles, columns and stories many of which relate to or are about self defense tactics. One of his most significant and widely distributed books is KLEIN'S CCW HANDBOOK, The Requisite for those who Carry Concealed Weapons. Chuck, how did this book come about?

Chuck Klein: As a gun writer, I was concerned that so much was being written about how to shoot, what to shoot and just about everything else about shooting - except when to shoot.

JPFO: So this book is about when to shoot?

CK: Yes. But it's also about when NOT to shoot and the impact or ramifications of using lethal force. Just winning a gun battle, doesn't necessarily mean you've won the war.

There are worse things than dying. To some, it's spending the rest of their life in prison. And, if you don't understand and comply with recognized use-of-force rules, jail time - for you - might be the final outcome of a shootout with a bad guy.

In other words, just because some thug has or is about to commit a crime, doesn't necessarily mean you have the right to use lethal force against him.

JPFO: You mention use-of-force rules, Chuck. What are these rules?

CK: There are 5 criteria that must be met for the successful use- of-force.

JPFO: Successful in addition to surviving the fire-fight?

CK: Right. You, of course, must survive the fire-fight - which is where your training and equipment come in. But, even before the shooting starts you must not violate any of the 5 rules-of- engagement.

JPFO: What are these rules and where can our listeners study them?

CK: They, along with details about when lethal force is forbidden, warning shots, shooting to wound and dealing with the media are in, my handbook, which is available from Accurate Press 1-800-374-4049. We'll get to examples and specifics later.

JPFO: Why is this book important. Why would any decent law- abiding citizen want or need this book?

CK: The importance of this book is to protect the decent, law- abiding citizen who needs to carry a concealed firearm to protect him or herself or their family from not only criminal charges, but also from the civil suits that usually result in any shooting. Any time someone is injured - by any means, but especially by a firearm, the police and prosecutor will look at the incident with the intention of charging the survivor with a crime. In addition, the victim - or his or her family - will be retaining an attorney with the intention of bringing a civil suit against the other party - you, the survivor.

In any court action, it's not who's right or wrong, but who can prove or disprove who's right or wrong. This book will prepare our fellow decent, law-abiding citizens to survive the legalities of a lethal force incident.

We are living in very dangerous times with ever increasing drug dealing shootouts, gang warfare battles, disgruntled murderous employees, psychotic killers, stalkers and robbers with no feelings for human life, and politically motivated fanatics venting their rage with lethal force on a daily basis. Adding to this escalating violence is the multiplicity of super-predators or just plain bad guys that are now carrying guns. The proliferation of firearms in our social makeup has made being proficient at hand-to-hand defensive techniques academic. Today, guns are the rule. And, if you don't have one when one is needed, you're at a distinct disadvantage.

JPFO: Who uses this book? Is this written for the end user - the guy who carries a gun for protection or is this something for lawyers?

CK: Though I'm not a lawyer, I do have a Bachelor of Laws degree, but I don't - can't - write legalese. The book, however, has been edited by a licensed practicing attorney, who is now a court magistrate, J. Stuart Newberry. He was kind enough to check over my statements, positions and advice to make sure they were in line with sound legal practices. This book is written for - and by - the person who carries lethal force with him or her on a regular basis.

Of course, there are many firearm training organizations that purchase the book in bulk for distribution to their students, but the book is available, individually, direct from the publisher at $5.95 post paid. Again the number is: 1-800-374-4049

JPFO: Carrying a gun on a regular basis? Do you mean by people like police officers?

CK: No. Cops come under different rules than civilians. Police have a duty to intercede - to take action - to arrest perpetrators. This is written for the civilian who carries a gun for self protection or protection of his family.

JPFO: Do you carry a gun?

CK: I have, as a police officer, a private investigator and as a ordinary citizen, carried a gun or had a gun close at hand for most of my adult life. I wouldn't be talking to you today if I hadn't had a gun with me on more than one occasion.

When I went through the police academy - a long time ago - one of the trainees asked the Lieutenant in charge, "Should we carry a gun off-duty?" The Lieutenant's answer made such good sense and was so succinct, that not only have I lived that advise, but I have taught it to my students and included in my writings. The Lieutenant said: "One either never carries or one always carries, but one never sometimes carries."

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. For example: Even if you always carry, you would not want to be packing when going out drinking alcoholic beverages or visiting your child's school. On the other hand, if you never carry and your ex says he or she is going to kill you the next time he or she see you, it might not be prudent to go about your business unarmed. The danger in this last scenario, is if you don't normally carry, you might not be sufficiently trained in the use of lethal force.

In other words, there's a huge difference between someone saying they are going to kill you and actually making the attempt. The difference is measured, not only in who lives or dies, but in who goes to jail or is sued for wrongful action. This is what my book, KLEIN'S C.C.W. HANDBOOK, The Requisite for those who Carry Concealed Weapons, is all about.

Carrying lethal force on your person, changes your persona. You will act and react differently when you have in the back of your mind that you are prepared to deal with deadly threats.

JPFO: You mention domestic violence, which is a real issue in every city and town in America. The media, which tends to be very anti-gun - anti-self-defense, tout that potential victims should keep a cell phone handy and seek protective court orders to protect themselves. Do you support this or have any comments on this common issue?

CK: Sure. I think it's a good idea to have a cell phone and to take advantage of court issued protection methods. But, paper tools or time sensitive methods are of little value at the point of confrontation. A perpetrator who is in your face is not going to be deterred by a piece of paper. In relation to cell phones - during that critical period of time it takes you to call the police and their actual arrival on the scene - assuming they respond at all - KLEIN'S 2nd LAW OF SURVIVAL will apply: "All the rules, statutes, restraining orders, 911 calls, hand to hand combat technics, aerosol spray Mace or other pseudo protective measures will never equal the effectiveness of a firearm when faced with an unwarranted and deadly criminal attack."

Let me say this again: "When faced with an unwarranted and deadly criminal attack, all the rules, statutes, restraining orders, 911 calls, hand to hand combat technics, aerosol spray Mace or other pseudo protective measures will never equal the effectiveness of a firearm."

JPFO: I mentioned the media and their inherent bias against guns and self preservation. Do you have any observations of this?

CK: You're right about the media, per se, being very anti-self- defense and this is a serious problem in America today. This powerful force has the ability to, and does, mold public opinion. The question is why would they be anti-gun? There are a couple of reason:

First off, lets define "the media." They are the executives and editors - not necessarily the reporters and other "grunts" who actually do the work. It is these top level people, many of whom have lost touch with reality and have been so indoctrinated by their superiors as they worked up the ladder, they can't relate to the regular guy on the street.

In addition, most all media personnel are graduates of American universities which, as careful study has shown, is over- whelmingly comprised of liberal - read anti-gun - instructors and professors. They teach conflict resolution and other "feels good" methods of dealing with persons with whom you have a disagreement. This works fine when the parties are educated and the issue is something mundane such as who's the best baseball player or should the city install cameras on every corner.

But when you're dealing with some bozo who's bent on doing you harm, polite conflict resolution is not something he not only doesn't want to hear, but can't comprehend in the first place.
My contempt for such fool-hardiness is in KLEIN'S 5th LAW OF SURVIVAL: "If you believe that psychological verbiage will enable you to bluff your way out of a dangerous situation, you might be wrong...dead wrong. Super-predators - losers with nothing to lose - can't be bluffed."

The second reason the media tend to ignore the benefits of armed defense is, they all live in safe communities, drive cars that aren't prone to breaking down on some deserted roadway, they conduct all their business in safe neighborhoods or when covering a news story in a dangerous area always go in groups. In addition, they run in the same circles of like educated and employed people. These well-intentioned citizens live in alarmed homes and work in offices that have security guards - conditions that isolate them from the rest of us who are at a much greater risk of being confronted by violent persons.

JPFO: Chuck, You mentioned a couple of truisms of KLEIN'S Laws of Survival. How many are there?

CK: Seven. I've composed or coined seven truisms that apply to surviving self-defense incidents. These, and other non-related "Laws" can be found in my book or on the JPFO web site, JPFO.ORG, click on UNPOPULAR SPEECH and then enter KLEIN in the search box.

JPFO: Tell us more about the book and what's in it.

CK: This is a very short book - a booklet, only 44 pages. It's filled with the information you will need to prepare for and survive lethal force situations. Obviously in only 44 pages there's not a lot of extraneous or overly descriptive wording. Just the facts in outline form. There is no long winded narrative or redundancy.

I'll try to give a run-down of each chapter and a short description or actual section:

The first instructive chapter is 2.0, COURT TESTS, which covers the prudent man rule and how you can become a prudent person. This is important if you are involved in a shooting and the prosecutor or plaintiff's attorney, if you are sued, can show your background and/or actions were not prudent - you might be in a world of hurt. Other sub-headings in this chapter cover the duty to retreat. Now, I know what you're thinking: Florida just passed a law saying you don't have to retreat when faced with a deadly threat. There's a lot more to it than that simple statement.

Chapter 3, CARRYING FIREARMS; begins, as in all chapters, with a statement of purpose, it reads:

"Though it is assumed that the reader is not a novice, inasmuch as he/she has the basic understanding of firearms and their inherent dangers, this chapter is dedicated to safe and prudent carrying of concealed weapons."

Under Chapter 3, section 2, PREREQUISITES: "Regardless of all the rights to carry a concealed firearm, if you can't, in all honesty, kill another person then you have no business packing a weapon. Brandishing a lethal weapon and being unable, for any reason, to use it could result in that weapon being taken away and used to kill you, your spouse, your child or another innocent person. This worst case scenario, if you survive, could later be judged your direct or indirect fault thus costing not only the mental anguish of your foolhardy bravado, but may ensue civil as well as criminal action against you."

JPFO: Let me interrupt for a moment. That's a strong statement.

What you're saying is that if someone knows deep down inside that they couldn't take the life of other, then they are better off not keeping a firearm close at hand?

CK: Exactly. Not only do you have to know how, and when, but you must have the mental makeup that allows you to put this training and knowledge into action. Too many people think that saving your own life is a simple matter. It is and it isn't. You might be an excellent shot, fully understand the rules of engagement, but if, at the actual moment of truth, you hesitate - all that training and knowledge will be useless.

JPFO: Okay. Go ahead with the outline of the book. I think you were into Chapter 4?

CK: Yes. Chapter 4.0 is a C.C.W. CHECKLIST. There are seven headings covering actions you should get in the habit of when carrying a firearm. An example of one of the headings is: UPON ARRIVING AT HOME: Under this heading are five sub-headings. Some of these observations seem kind of simple, but not following them could not only result in your being suprised by a intruder, but you won't be doing much for establishing yourself as a prudent person. The sub-headings read:

"A) Does the premise look secure?

"B) Unusual sounds?

"C) Is everyone home that should be?

"D) Being careful not to point your carry weapon in an unsafe direction - place it in its regular secure location.

"E) Remove holster to help retain its shape."


"The purpose of this chapter is to define when LETHAL FORCE may be deployed by civilians in self defense scenarios. Nothing in this chapter is to be construed as sanctioning the use of LETHAL FORCE in violation of any local, State or Federal laws or court decrees. The rules of engagement outlined herein are not set in stone and may vary from state to state - check with your attorney or county prosecutor.

"Section 5.2 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: This is the chapter, as noted earlier, that explains when lethal force can and cannot be used. There are FIVE criteria that must be met to justify the use of lethal force.

"a) In order to justify the use of lethal force, i.e., establishing the defense of self defense, the discharge of a firearm at another person shall be instituted only when ALL of the following apply:

"1) YOU WERE NOT AT FAULT OR DID NOT CREATE THE SITUATION THAT GAVE RISE TO THE TAKING OF ANOTHER'S LIFE. You can't start the fight or egg someone on so that when they attack you, you then bring out the hardware. In the event of a traffic accident or other confrontational incident you must remain cool at all times. Should the other party start name calling or issuing threats it is imperative that you back off, apologize if that's what the other party is demanding, and quietly wait for the police. Traffic accidents are subjective and have the potential to escalate into violence.

"Lest you later be deemed the aggressor in a court of law it is always better to save your explanations for the police. If you find yourself in a shouting match that seems headed for violence - withdraw and say words to the effect that you are capitulating. This restores your right to self defense. If during an affray your adversary becomes disabled, walks away or indicates that he has had enough and the threat is no longer real the right of self defense loses its necessity. Because you're carrying the ace-in- the-hole you must never be the aggressor."

That's the first rule and in addition to this rule and the other FOUR criteria, other headings in this chapter include: WARNING SHOTS, LETHAL FORCE IS FORBIDDEN, SHOOTING TO WOUND and SHOOTING

If you're involved in a lethal force incident and you DON'T comply with these well established precepts, you could be facing prison and/or civil suits - even if you were a good guy and the loser you took out was a bad guy.


"PURPOSE: This chapter is intended to describe some of the conditions and results of utilizing lethal force."


Chapter 7.0 THE DEFENSE OF SELF-DEFENSE. This section drives home the point that - should you be charged with a crime - the defense of self-defense places the burden of proof on you. You must prove you had to use lethal force. In other words, if you are forced to shoot someone to defend yourself, the admission that you were the
shooter, is all the state needs to prove the crime of felony assault - or murder if the perp died - because you admit to
purposefully shooting him. It will then be up to you to prove you were justified in doing so and if you didn't comply with ALL of the rules of engagement, as outlined in chapter 5.0, you're in deep trouble.

Chapter 8 is a GLOSSARY of terms related to firearms and use of force and can be very helpful in describing a use of force incident to the police, the media or your attorney. Using the incorrect term could paint a different picture than the one you intended.

Chapter 9 is an series of blank spaces where you, as a prudent person, can document your personal information about licenses, training, practice sessions, firearm courses you've taken and related books that you've read.

JPFO: Chuck, we're running out of time. Do you have any final thoughts on solutions to the problems facing American gun owners and those who feel the need to carry concealed weapons?

CK: Yes. I'm concerned that there are far too many restrictions placed on the decent law-abiding citizen who wants or needs to own and carry firearms. Not only that, but these laws, statutes and court decrees are confusing and not universally applied. Even our 2nd Amendment - our beloved 2nd Amendment - is subject to subjectiveness by persons who have the power to enforce restrictions.

There are people out there who are working everyday to pass restrictive firearm rules and when they can't muster legislative support they connive to twist and usurp what legal, plain language protections we now have.

Citizens who carry must not only be aware of local as well and national laws, but they must have the wherewithal, the grit to defend themselves in a court of law should some police officer or prosecutor, well intentioned or not, charges them with a gun related crime. Belonging to some of the gun rights organizations, is one way to keep abreast of the intricacies of firearm related legal rulings.

JPFO: Anything else?

CK: Yeah, until the world becomes that better place, study my book - it might keep you around until then. Call 1-800-374-4049 to order the book, $5.95 each 1-800-374-4049. See ya on the range.

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