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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Personal Protection

Posted by on in Legal

bglogoDoes Jaime Caetano, a homeless woman, have the right to use a stun gun to protect herself from her ex-boyfriend, the violent man who is the father of her children?  She didn't even have to hit him with the stun gun.  According to a report in the Bostog Globe, all she had to do was show hm that she had it, and he left her alone.  If only the police could have done the same.

 The Globe reported, "The same stun gun, however, landed Caetano in the middle of a legal battle about the weapon and the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. She was convicted last year under a state law criminalizing the possession of stun guns by private citizens. Caetano is challenging the law in court, saying it violates her rights under the Second Amendment to defend herself."  See the full article here.

 She is now appealing her case, attempting to get her conviction overturned, based on two argements.  First, that the Second Amendment covers "arms" that are not firearms.  Second, that US Supreme Court decisions have implied a right to carry outside the home.  Also at issue is the question of whether a homeless person has the same rights for self-protection as a person who has a home.

 Caetano's case was brought to AWARE's attention last August. AWARE was asked to provide an amicus brief for the court.  An amicus is a “friend of the court” document that isn’t required to be part of the case, but that provides the court with relevant expert information they might not be aware of.  AWARE did file a brief, giving arguments why many people have good reasons to choose stun guns as self-defense tools, including religious or ethical compunctions against killing, being psychologically unwilling to shoot, women who need protection against a violent ex but don’t want to kill him, and firearm owners who want to have a reliable but less lethal alternative available. The brief also also explained why the legal right to keep and bear arms extends beyond firearms, and therefore should automatically include carrying stun guns outside the home.

 You can see the full text of AWARE's brief here.

 We await the resolution of this case with the greatest interest and will keep you informed of what happens to Jaime Caetano, and when, if ever, we can legally have those less-lethal weapons in Msassachusetts.


Tagged in: Personal Protection
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Posted by on in Concealed Carry


Most shooters know of the Tueller Drill.  It established that 21' is the minumum distance that an attacker with a contact weapon an run while a defender can draw and fire.  "The 21-foot Rule" is widespread.  But your distance will vary, hence the concept of your PERSONAL Tueller distance.  We'll show you a simple method to find it.

The question Dennis Tueller, police firearms instructior, was trying to answer was "how close is too close with a contact weapon?"  At what distance should an officer be drawing his or her gun, in order to have enough time to shoot if the attacker came any closer?  Police, with quite a bit of training, can, on average, draw and shoot in about 1.5 sseconds.  So, what Tueller had to establish was how far someone can run in that time.  The results showed that 21 feet was typical.

Even Mythbusters got into the action, doing a variation of the Tueller Drill in a show called "Duel Dilemmas" and pretty much confirmed it, but found that 24' was about the right distance.  They also noted that although the defender could draw (from an open holster) and shoot the attacker, the attacker would also get close enough to use the club or knife before or just after being shot, sos in fact both parties would end at least injured, if not killed.

In a recent interview with the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Tueller said,: “It goes back to the issue of reaction and response time. The more time you need to physically access your defensive weapon and put it into action, then you need to have that much more distance that an adversary with a contact weapon would have to cover. The thing to do is to find out how long that is.”


Your “reactionary gap” will be different from that of a typical police officer and different from other people with concealed carry licenes.  So, how can you use your personal factors (reaction time, concealment method, and so on) to figure out how far away from YOU an aggressor is dangerous?

A future article in Women&Guns magazine will detail three different ways of measureing your personal Tueller distance.  The one we present here is probably the simplist to carry out.

Although there are many unpreidctable thjings that can affect your persona Tueller distance in a real event (your attacker can run faster or slower than average, vissibility might be good or bad, you might be able to retreat or not, the ground might be easy to move on, or hard, and so on) the one consistent, most predictable factor will be the time it takes you to draw and fire . 

Most of us don't have that 1.5 second time to draw and fire.  Even competition shooterss, who go much fasster than that in competition will be slowed down in the real world.  In your real world, you carry in some concealed place quite consistently. 

What you need to find out is how long it takes you, on average, to draw from that concealment and fire.  For this test, you need to wear your real clothes, not range gear.  A coat, if it is winter.  You will need a shot timer, or a friend with one.  With a target at about 7 yards, usijng the timer as an unpredictable start signal, draw and shoot once.  Don't be standing facing downrange with your hand positioned to reach you holster.  Write down every time for every shot.  Notice the spread; you probably have some nice short time and some longer ones you wiuld like to forget about.  Calculate the average, and then take a look at the following table to see your personal Tueller distance.


Time in Seconds Approx. Distance in Feet
1.5 20
1.75 23
2.0 27
2.25 30
2.5 33
2.75 37
3.0 40
3.25 43
3.5 43
3.75 50
4.0 53


Are you shocked at how big your persosnal Tuellar distance is?  Most of us will be, but that knowledge is invaluable.  Even with this knowledge, your mileage will vary.  Consider your personal Tueller distance the minimum for a distance that might help save your life.


 Picture credit: Shutterstock/Alexey Grigorev


Tagged in: Personal Protection
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Posted by on in Women




Only a few lucky people were able to see the premiere of the documentary film A Girl And A Gun, a by Cathryne Czubek at the Coolidge Corner theatre in Boston.

Now, however, everyone can see this amazing film in the comfort or your own home.
From the film’s website:
Breaking through stereotypes, A Girl and A Gun reveals America’s diverse and far-ranging female gun community. It depicts how this community is portrayed by the media and targeted by the gun industry; and shows, through personal stories, how guns change women’s lives. The intimate and graphic portrayals in A Girl and A Gun are of women who’ve carved themselves a home in the gun community, but their personal journeys in one way or another reflect the same issues every woman faces today.

It is getting reviews like these:

“Neither overtly pro- nor anti-firearms, “A Girl and a Gun” explores the many ambiguities, real and symbolic, surrounding gun ownership, even as its feminine focus entirely changes the terms of the debate. Czubek’s documentary excels at exploring contradictory facets of her subject.”-Ronnie Scheib, VARIETY

“Shines light on a worthy subject… anyone who walks out not aching for a discussion wasn’t paying attention.”-Maitland McDonagh, FILM JOURNAL

Three Stars! “Director Cathryne Czubek’s well-researched, incredibly lively chronicle of the way guns are marketed to, coveted by, and portrayed with women is a vital glimpse into a cultural phenomenon.”-Joe Neumaier, NY DAILY NEWS

It is fast paced, beautifully edited and constantly entertaining or informing.


Check your favorite pay-per-view system:  Comcast xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-Verse, CableVision, iTunes, RCN, Barnes&Noble.com, Cinemanow, GooglePlay, Mediacom, XBox 360 Live, DirectTV, VDU HD Movies Playstation Network, Dish Network, Amazon Video, Blockbuster On Demand, Cox, BrightHouse, Charter On Demand, Zune, Shaw, Rogers On Demand, and  Insight all have A Girl And A Gun now.  

Cathryne, the film’s director and producer, strived to make the film non-political, focusing on real portraits of real women and their relationships to guns, good and bad.
Two AWARE people are in this film, Robin Natanel is featured as one of the women getting a gun for protection and Lyn Bates, Robin’s instructor.

Hits: 7389

Posted by on in Women

Safety Signs

 If you are being stalked, or if your life is being threatened, if someone who harmed or threatened you is being released from prison, or if you live or work in a highly dangerous environment, AWARE is available to help you find the resources and training you need to keep yourself alive. Some AWARE board members have first-hand experience with situations like these. We can help evaluate the danger you are in, and assist you in developing a personal protection plan that is suited to your specific situation. Don't ignore what might be real danger!

Are You In Danger?        Yes

If you are in extreme personal danger, you should contact your local police immediately. Your highest priority should be to keep yourself safe, which includes finding a safe place to be, such as a police station, a safe house, a domestic violence shelter, or even a very public place.

If you are being stalked, AWARE has specialized stalking services and information to assist you. We can help to evaluate your situation, and work with you to develop a personal protection plan.

AWARE does not purport to be a substitute for law enforcement, legal advice or therapeutic intervention. If you need such services, contact your local police (911), the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800-799- SAFE), RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (800-656-HOPE), a local domestic violence counselor, or your local bar association.  

Then contact AWARE, too, so we can help.

Are You In Danger?        No

Consider yourself very fortunate. However, violence can come your way when you least expect it. Every woman should learn how to protect herself from the most common problems women face (rape, street crime, domestic violence). AWARE courses are an empowering way to learn how to take care of yourself.

Take our Safety Quiz to test your reactions in a variety of situations.

You might also want to check out our website’s information on specific crimes, or tools and techniques for general information on what works and what doesn't for various situations.

Are You In Danger?        Not sure

Uncertainty can be agonizing. If you are concerned enough about a situation to feel that you might be in danger, you should take those feelings very seriously.
You should consider getting assistance, from AWARE or other sources, to assess your situation. If you are at high risk for a potentially violent situation, or even just a dangerous one, there are many steps you can take to prepare yourself.

You might also want to check out our information on specific crimes, or tools and techniques for general information on what works and what doesn't for various situations.  Search our web site for terms related to your situation. Contact AWARE for information and advice.

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Posted by on in Legal

Mug shot of Sandra Layne

A 75-year old woman named Sandra Layne recently endured a jury trial because she shot her grandson.  The shooting was never in dispute, just her claim of self-defense.

Here is some background, gathered to support her defense.  Sandra Layne and her husband, Fred, had agreed to take into their Pontiac, Michigan home their 17- year old grandson, Jonathan Hoffman for his final year of high school.  Jonathan had been living with his parents in Arizona, but depending on which story you choose to believe, his parents were divorcing, or his sister developed a brain tumor and so his parents needed to devote most of their time to her.

Jonathan was not an easy teenager to deal with.  He used drugs, not just marijuana but something hallucinogenic that required hospitalization at one point.).  He brought people his grandparents didn’t know, and doubtless would not have approved of, into their home, without their permission.  He didn’t respect or listen to his grandmother.  He swore at her.  He demanded that she give him money. He had an awful temper, and hit or kicked  things.  In short, he was completely unmanageable.

She bought a gun, a Glock, because she thought Jonathan’s friends might be dangerous.

A few days before his death, Jonathan had failed a drug test that put him in violation of his probation.  He wanted to get away, out of Michigan before he could be jailed, and he wanted his grandmother’s car and money to carry out his escape plan.

Sandra Layne said he hit her during a huge argument about money, and that she was afraid of him.

She sounds quite sympathetic, doesn’t she?  If you had been on her jury, would you have believed her claim of self-defense and acquitted her?  Would you at least have reduced her guilt from first degree murder charge to manslaughter?

Let’s look at a few more facts about this situation.  Maybe that will help you decide.

Layne fired 9 shots (from a Glock 9mm) and hit him 5 times.  Better accuracy than many people in that kind of situation would have had, you might be saying.  But what if I add the fact that the 911 call showed that those 10 shots took place over 6-minutes? Yes, 6 minutes, not 6 seconds.

Layne shot him, and walked out of that room.  Apparently he called 911, kept the 911 operator on, then she returned to the room where he was lying on the floor, and shot him again.  If a fight had been continuing, the 911 call would have picked it up.  The 911 call did pick up Jonathan saying, "My grandma shot me. I'm going to die.”  A few minutes later he said,  “Help. I got shot again."

Another telling point, Layne never asked for an ambulance for her grandson.  

Layne was examined at a hospital right after the incident, but did not appear to be injured in any way, undermining her claim that Jonathan had hit her.

Does that change your opinion of what the verdict should have been?  The jury in this case had the 911 tape in the jury room, and played it over and over.  It helped them reach their verdict: guilty (first-degree murder).  That poor woman will spend at least 14 years in prison, if she lives long enough to complete her sentence.

Everyone suffers in a tragic situation like this.

You can read more about this story here:


Photo Credit: West Bloomfield Township Police Dept.

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Posted by on in Pepper Spray

FoxOC 2 inchPepper spray is also known as OC, short for its chemical name Oleoresin Capsicum. One of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever developed, most police in the US carry it.  Decades of street-use by law enforcement have proven it safe and effective.

What does pepper spray do to someone?  It inflames the skin and mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat.  It causes intense pain.  It makes the person sprayed in the face close their eyes, cry cough as if chocking, and be unable to speak.  It makes them feel that they can’t breathe, though they really can.  The effects can last from about 15 minutes for breathlessness to over an hour for the skin sensation of burning.

There are dozens of different sprays on the market.  To find the right one for you, consider: OC concentration, Schoville rating, canister size, and spray delivery system.  Oh, yeah, and price.

Police pepper spray is usually in the 5-10% range. Higher percentage of OC might actually not be quite as good as the lower ones, because it is harder for the larger quantity of pepper to atomize in the spray.  Also, above about 10%, having more OC in the can doesn't make it work faster, and doesn't hurt the attacker more; it just makes the effects last longer than an hour.  Since you won't need nearly that much time to get away and call for help, a product in the 5-10% range is most appropriate, and less expensive.

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Posted by on in Pepper Spray

how-to-use-pepper-sprayPepper spray is one of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever.   A previous blog discussed the various types of pepper spray products.   Here we will discuss how to use what you have purchased.

An extremely powerful tool for many situations, it pays to have your hand already on it, unobtrusively in your purse or pocket, whenever you are around someone who makes you uneasy, or whenever you are going to or from your car or home.

Quick review of the effects of pepper spray:  It inflames the skin and mucus membranes, causing much pain.  It forces eyes closed, makes one cry cough uncontrollably, and be unable to speak.  The effects can last from about 15 minutes to over an hour.  Effects more than four hours might need medical attention.

When properly used it does no permanent damage.  So, what’s proper?

For starters, you might not want to carry pepper spray if you have asthma, or use on someone you know to have asthma. Although many asthmatics have been sprayed without ill effect, a few cases have been serious enough to risk death.   Also, the safety of using pepper spray around very young children has not been established....

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