Protecting Gun Owners

U.S. LawShield provides education and legal support for lawful gun owners

Protecting Gun Owners

As the number of people exercising their concealed and constitutional carry rights grows, so does the need for education and understanding of the law.

P.J. Hermosa is the Chief Executive Officer of U.S. LawShield, a national legal defense for self-defense program with over 700,000 members. Hermosa has been with U.S. LawShield since the early beginnings. He started out as a sales representative for Texas LawShield when the program was available only in Texas, then worked his way up to national sales director, heading up the massive expansion of the program into 46 states. Hermosa moved into the role of chief executive officer in 2017, and under his leadership, U.S. LawShield has taken its place as the leader in the legal defense for self-defense space. 

Shooting Sports Retailer recently had the opportunity to speak with Hermosa about self-defense laws, the state of the industry and the importance of legal protection when the need for self-defense arises.

SSR: What’s the history of U.S. LawShield and how it was formed?

Hermosa: U.S. LawShield was formed in 2009, when a group of pioneering lawyers became fed up with the hostility and abuse in the legal system directed toward responsible gun owners. They saw innocent people suffering the terrible consequences of someone else’s choice to commit crime. And to make matters worse, those people were tied up in the legal system, struggling to defend themselves. Lawful people were experiencing financial duress, bankruptcy, or — worst of all — going to jail. 

The Second Amendment states “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” And yet, our company founders saw law-abiding, responsible gun owners experiencing mistreatment in the legal system — as if they were the ones who had done something wrong. To fight these injustices, our founders chose to stand up for the rights of the American people and become a champion for good and the voice of justice. That’s when the idea for our company was born: the first concealed weapon legal defense program to truly provide legal defense for self-defense.


SSR: Tell me a little more about the role you fill within the industry. 

Hermosa: U.S. LawShield provides legal defense for self-defense. We encourage all gun owners or anyone who wants to protect themselves and their families to make sure they’re protected legally should they ever be in a self-defense incident. As a gun owner, you’re going to make sure you have the right firearm, ammo, optics, holster and safe. You’ll also make sure you have the proper training to operate the firearm or to get your concealed carry permit. Why would you not want to make sure that you’re covered legally and financially if the worst were to happen? Just like you would purchase auto insurance for your car or homeowner’s insurance for your house, you should have the necessary protection if you ever have to defend yourself or your family. 

It may be surprising, but most people don’t consider the act of self-defense a “crime.” Chances are all parties involved will be part of an investigation and charges against either side may result. In an instant, you may have protected the ones you love only to find your freedom is at stake. In that moment, you will immediately need to find, contract and pay for a local criminal defense attorney.


SSR: Can you give me an overview of what you provide your customers? 

Hermosa: The U.S. LawShield mission is ‘Preserving Freedom for Good.’ Through the program, we educate our members in self-defense law, empower them to handle critical, life-threatening situations with confidence, and protect them from potential injustices in the legal system after acts of self-defense. 

Founded by attorneys in 2009, U.S. LawShield protects and defends law-abiding gun owners from the legal fallout of using a firearm to defend themselves. The company works with firearms dealers, instructors and ranges to add value to members by providing gun owners education and knowledge on state-specific self-defense law. 

In their greatest time of need, U.S. LawShield members will have immediate access to an attorney when they have an emergency, for only $10.95 a month. That’s anytime — even if it’s 3 a.m. on a holiday morning. No answering service and no call center. With us, you’ll be talking to an actual attorney who is critically important to you in gaining timely professional advice with attorney-client privilege. 

Our 700,000-plus members will have all attorneys’ fees covered for self-defense. Their membership stands with them throughout the full legal process. In some cases, the nightmare doesn’t end with your acquittal in criminal court — there may be appeals, retrials, or even a civil lawsuit brought against you. U.S. LawShield protects our members in both criminal and civil court with no out-of-pocket expenses beyond the membership fee.

SSR: How has the concealed carry and self-defense landscape changed over the past couple decades? 

Hermosa: The landscape has changed dramatically just over the past couple years. You now have 21 constitutional carry states with more already being proposed in state legislatures. The increase in constitutional carry states means that fewer gun owners are getting their concealed carry permits, which results in less training and less knowledge about their state’s gun laws. Crime rates are increasing in every major city in America. There is civil unrest. More people are wanting and needing to protect themselves and their families. We encourage everyone to defend their families, their freedoms and their lives, but we also encourage them to remain law-abiding by getting the necessary training and legal education. In today’s world, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.


SSR: What do you think is the biggest misconception among practitioners of concealed carry? 

Hermosa: I believe there are more misconceptions among practitioners of constitutional carry. Most people tend to assume that constitutional carry means they have the right to carry their firearm anywhere they want, but they don’t know or understand the legal limitations within most constitutional carry states.


SSR: What role does education play in your business model and mission? 

Hermosa: A major focus for U.S. LawShield is legal education. We keep our members informed and empowered through our state-specific book series on gun laws, online resources, legislative updates and in-person programs that feature experienced attorneys, firearms instructors and self-defense experts. It is our goal to become the trusted source in self-defense law and to keep our members on the right side of the law.


SSR: What do you think retailers can do to better inform their concealed carry and self-defense customers? 

Hermosa: It comes down to education. Most gun owners (especially LTC holders) will say they’re law-abiding gun owners, but what does that really mean? Do all gun owners understand the nuances of the myriad of gun laws in our country? Through U.S. LawShield, retailers can offer numerous workshops and seminars to their customers that break down the law. That includes the justified use of deadly force, what to expect when law enforcement arrives, explaining new gun laws such as constitutional carry, teaching emergency first aid for gunshot wounds, providing insight on interstate travel with firearms and instruction regarding active shooter or road-rage situations.


SSR: How does U.S. LawShield work with firearms retailers to address these issues? 

Hermosa: We strive to support retailers and ranges as the go-to resource for self-defense legal education in several ways including access to U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorneys across the country and legal training for instructors. We also send U.S. LawShield representatives to visit retailers and speak with their customers through events and seminars.


SSR: Do you work directly with retailers in other ways? 

Hermosa: We make it very easy for ranges and retailers to work with U.S. LawShield. There are no capital investment, upfront costs or advertising fees. We provide classroom and in-store materials as well as revenue-producing opportunities based on the number of member sign-ups generated from your facility. We also provide hosting assistance for your educational events at no cost. Partnering with U.S. LawShield allows retailers to reach our member base of over 700,000 through our exclusive Member Perks Program.


SSR: What’s on the horizon for the company? 

Hermosa: As I mentioned, education is one of the key strategic initiatives at U.S. LawShield. In line with U.S. LawShield’s mission to better serve, defend and educate our more than 700,000 members, we have been exploring several initiatives that will improve the way we communicate with and educate those members on a regular basis. Through it, U.S. LawShield anticipates changing the nature of discourse and understanding the right and practice of self-defense in the United States. 

In addition, we are constantly evaluating ways to bring more value to our partners. Our teams are building programs that will provide ranges and retailers with valuable tools and resources while giving them the opportunity to increase their revenue and grow their business. 

We have many exciting things in store, but our mission will never change. We believe in empowering our members through knowledge, education and a self-defense mindset. You’ll find we challenge the status quo regarding the affordability of legal defense. And we exist to support and protect our members’ fundamental legal rights in a potentially hostile legal system. Our higher purpose is to create a united community of responsible individuals who believe in liberty and the inalienable right of self-defense.


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