New York Firearms Attorney Peter Tilem has been named to the Critical Response Team of the United States Concealed Carry Association. The USCCA Critical Response Team is an exclusive community of qualified attorneys that are committed to defending the rights of responsible gun owners in New York State and throughout the Country. USCCA is an organization that promotes firearms education, training and insurance to law abiding gun owners. The insurance covers members who are involved in a self-defense shooting and provides benefits for both legal defense and coverage in the event of a civil suit. The USCCA provides a list of pre-screened attorneys to its members. Mr. Tilem, who has been on the list of pre-screened attorneys for a number of years was recently named to the critical response team to provide 24 hour assistance to members in the event of a self defense incident.
Mr. Tilem joins the USCCA Critical Response Team with extensive experience handling assault cases where the defense of “justification” or “self-defense” has been used. As a former senior prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Tilem was often called upon to investigate shootings and stabbings involving self-defense claims and has continued during his 25 year career defending those accused of assault but many of whom were acting in self-defense.
Mr. Tilem is well aware of New York’s expansive defense of justification which goes way beyond using physical force including deadly physical force to defend ones self and others against violent attack. Article 35 of the New York State Penal law includes a variety of situations where an individual may use physical force and even deadly physical force to: defend premises and to terminate and prevent or prevent a burglary, (See Penal Law sec. 35.20); use physical force to prevent a larceny and/or criminal mischief, (See Penal Law 35.25); use physical force including deadly physical force by a civilian to effect the arrest of a person who has committed certain violent offenses, (Penal Law 35.30).
Each one of the provisions or Article 35 are very specific and citizens, especially those who choose to carry a firearm, need to be educated and trained in the lawful use of force. It is especially important for individuals to be aware of the difference in New York between physical force and deadly physical force (See Penal Law 10.00 (11)) and when each is permitted. It is also very important to be aware of the very limited nature of New York’s castle doctrine. (See Penal Law 35.10 (2)(a)).
It is also critical to understand the nature of justification or self-defense as a defense. A defense under New York Law must be disproved by the prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt. (See Penal Law 25.00 (1)). That means that once raised, the prosecutor must disprove self-defense beond a reasonable doubt.
Training and education are critical. The USCCA can be an essential part of that process. However, no one should leave their home with a loaded firearm without a full understanding of the self-defense laws in their state. Carrying a loaded firearm is an awesome responsibility and one that comes with the potential for deadly consequences. The laws of self-defense are different from state to state and no one should assume that they no what the laws are. We have written extensively about knowing firearms laws before you travel to another State but one must also no the self-defense laws not only in their state but in any State in which they may travel.