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Man in Jail National Firearms Law Institute

You’d Better Be Sure You Are Right Before You Resort To Deadly Force

It is critically important to make the right judgment before you resort to deadly force and all too often you will be forced to make that judgment in the blink of an eye.

Worse still, nothing guarantees that the legal system will concur with you that deadly force was necessary.  As the two stories below demonstrate, all too often, the end result has little to do with right and fair.

“Virginia’s urban areas are populated by gun-hostile judges and prosecutors … .”

There are many examples out there of individuals who faced deadly force attacks, appropriately used a firearm in self-defense, and were wrongly convicted of murder or manslaughter.  I always come back to the Marvin Hines case in Norfolk, Virginia, which should have been treated by the prosecutor and the courts as a clear-cut case where deadly force was used lawfully in defense of another.  Instead, the case went badly awry once the legal system took over, and it required five years and a Virginia Supreme Court decision to establish that Mr. Hines acted lawfully.

Man in Jail National Firearms Law Institute

You can see the details of what happened to Mr. Hines at the following link:


A simpleton can see that Mr. Hines was well within his rights under Virginia law to use deadly force to defend his wife (and himself), even if he had to leave the room to lay hands on the firearm he used to stop his neighbor’s aggressive, inebriated, deadly force attack. The Hines case shows that even in Virginia, left-leaning prosecutors and judges make brutally stupid mistakes, driven by deep-seated anti-gun biases, and just don’t care about your safety in your own home or your right to defend yourself or your family.


Now that the courts in Virginia’s urban areas are populated by gun-hostile judges and prosecutors, if you or a loved one is faced with a deadly force attack, all you can do is make the best judgment you can, in a frighteningly short moment of time, in deciding whether to go to guns and shoot.  And if you rely on firearms for your personal safety or home defense, our course on the lawful use of firearms for self-defense in Virginia is the most important course you will ever take.  Part I of the course teaches you in simple, straightforward terms what you can do, and when you can do it, under Virginia’s law of self-defense.  It enables you to make the best decision you can at the moment of truth when your life or another’s and your freedom hang in the balance.  We can’t guarantee that the choices you make will pass muster from a legal standpoint, because almost every self-defense shooting has its own strange wrinkles, but taking the course will significantly improve the odds in your favor.


Being right and proving it are two different things.  And the cost of proving it will ruin most folks.  Take the case of young Bryce Fortier in Snohomish County, Washington.  He was attacked and beaten repeatedly by a violent crowd at a drunken Halloween house party. Fearing for his life as the beatings continued, he shot and killed an attacker who was on top of him.  With witnesses telling conflicting stories about the event, he was charged with second degree murder.  Between defense counsel, forensic experts, a private investigator, and a crime reconstructionist, it cost just shy of $148,000 to get Bryce acquitted at trial.  The criminal prosecution was followed by a civil lawsuit for negligence and battery filed by his attacker’s estate.  Bryce was cleared of wrongdoing in the civil suit as well, but only after another $110,000 in legal fees and expenses.  Five years and $258,000 after that Halloween party, Bryce is still paying for his use of a firearm to save his own life.

Part II of NFLI’s Virginia law of self-defense course equips you to deal with the legal system, both in terms of how you handle yourself after a self-defense incident, and how you can obtain the financial resources you will need to defend your actions against criminal prosecution and civil suits.  What you say and do in the immediate aftermath of a self-defense incident will have tremendous effects on how the legal system treats you.  If you say or do the wrong things – which you are very likely to do without some training – you can turn a lawful act of self-defense into a criminal prosecution and even a conviction.  We will teach you the best way to extricate yourself from the legal system after a self-defense incident and how best to protect your legal rights until your attorney can step in to defend you.

In addition, we have carefully and objectively studied the products that are now available to pay your legal fees and cover civil damages awards against you.  A couple of these products are quite affordable and actually work as advertised.  Most of them are insufficient to the task and some, while expensive, are essentially useless.  Choosing the right one can save you from the financial ruin that awaits you if you haven’t prepared properly to pay for your legal defense.  Part II of our course is the single best source out there of all of this information and is not to be missed.


Stephen L. Sulzer
Mr. Sulzer has been practicing law in Washington, D.C., for 40 years and has been a partner at some of the city’s most prominent national law firms, including Steptoe & Johnson and, most recently, California-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. In fall 2013, Mr. Sulzer broke away from Big Law to found his own law firm, and after much planning and preparation, expanded his practice to encompass firearms-related matters. He is particularly focused on criminal and civil defense work for clients who have had to use firearms in self-defense. He has also expanded into matters involving federal and state firearms regulation, as well as Second Amendment-based litigation. Mr. Sulzer has an AV Preeminent Peer and Judicial Rating from Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal skills and professional ethics. Mr. Sulzer is pleased to have been selected as a referral attorney for both the United States Concealed Carry Association and the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. Mr. Sulzer has developed a two-part training course entitled “The Legal Use of Firearms for Self-Defense in Virginia – When the Defensive Use of Firearms Is Permissible and How to Win the Legal Battle That Will Follow.” For the past five years, Mr. Sulzer has taught the course regularly in northern Virginia at the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly and Fredericksburg (through Historic Arms Corp.’s Firearms Training Store), at Silver Eagle Group in Ashburn; at Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Manassas; and at The Gun Dude in Falls Church. The course has received enthusiastic reviews from the northern Virginia shooting community and has become the gold standard for those who carry concealed or rely on firearms for home security and self-defense. Mr. Sulzer is now offering the course live online through the National Firearms Law Institute. He is also developing an online version of the course covering the law of self-defense in several mid-atlantic and southeastern states and will ultimately cover the law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Sulzer has also expanded NFLI’s course offerings with a new course on Virginia’s 2020 gun control legislation and a short course on insurance coverage and other programs available to protect your finances if you are involved in a self-defense incident. Mr. Sulzer has been active in the shooting sports dating back to the mid-1990s, when he began shooting service rifles in competition against the Marine Corps Rifle Teams and the Army Marksmanship Unit. He began his competitive shooting career with the M1A and transitioned to the AR-15 in 2000. He competed in three position “across the course” iron sight matches at distances of 200, 300, and 600 yards, and has also competed at 1,000 yards. When Mr. Sulzer retired from competition in 2005, he was shooting Master level scores. He still shoots handguns (particularly M-1911s) avidly, has held a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit since the late 1990s, and is an NRA-certified pistol instructor.
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