Nope. Or rather, not entirely. Even though the “say nothing” strategy works as a good general rule of thumb in most interactions with police, immediately after a shooting the good person who engaged in legitimate self defense should take a slightly more nuanced approach to the responding officers.
Here’s an excellent, excellent video on that subject from attorney Andrew Branca. Branca is the author of The Law of Self-Defense, a reference book I can strongly recommend. In this video, Branca tackles that popular lecture we’ve all seen telling people to say nothing to the cops, and he explains how and why such advice does not apply to people who use guns in true self defense.
Branca advocates a “say little” strategy when interacting with police immediately after a self-defense incident, a strategy he refers to as a judicious use of the 5th Amendment. “If we’re attacked by someone on the street, we don’t simply shoot everybody on the street,” Branca says. “We use defensive force judiciously, only against the person who is the aggressor attacking us, even under the threat of life threatening attack… In the same way, we can talk to police judiciously, using informed judgment even in the aftermath of a life threatening attack.”
If you’ve ever wondered how to call 9-1-1 without messing up your legal defense after a shooting, this is the video for you.
The video runs for about an hour, so I suggest sitting down tonight to watch it with your significant other. (Yes, even if your significant other is not a gun person.) Why? Because if you ever need to use the gun in self defense, you’ll really want to have people supporting you who understand what you need to do and what you need to happen right after the shooting. Talking these things over with your loved ones in advance can help prevent some very uncomfortable relationship issues from popping up during the critical hours immediately after a violent encounter.