If you are an armed citizen practicing concealed carry, you may also want to consider purchasing concealed carry insurance as getting involved in a shooting incident - regardless of whether it is self-defense or not, could land you in trouble with the police, law enforcement and long court trials under the criminal justice system.
Lawsuits and court proceedings are by no means cheap as the legal expenses can quickly rise by the hour as you need to pay for attorney fees, expert witnesses fees, bail bonds, etc. This is where a CCW insurance can step in to provide assistance to their network members by supporting them financially.
With so many companies offering
If you are seeking for more options, you can check out our reviews on different CCW insurance here.
What is Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network?
Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) was founded in 2008 by the association’s current president Marty Hayes and is assisted by vice-president, Vincent Shuck and operations manager, Gila Hayes. The organization is a member-funded civil and criminal defense pooling program that collects membership funds as corpus to be used to support the legal, lawful defense of a member whenever required. In deciding case funding, the company has an advisory board with a few renowned names in the concealed carry firearms industry to assess each individual case.
The Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network currently has more than 17,000 network members (a relatively small amount of membership compared to the others) and provides services to American citizens throughout all 50 states in the U.S. Since its establishment, the association’s legal defense fund has quickly grown over two million dollars today that will be used to help their members’ self-defense court cases. On top of membership fees, the association’s source of income mainly comes from dues allocations, corporate donations, personal donations, and bequests.
One thing that you need to note is that the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network is not an official insurance association nor a pre-paid legal service plan like most service packages available on the market. Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network only finances your own legal defense efforts and since the association does not have a partnership with attorneys, you will have to find and handle your own lawyer. This may be an advantage for those who already have a trustworthy attorney, but it may not be the best choice for those who do not have any experience with legal defenses.
Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network is a for-profit membership organization and does not offer insurance benefits. The company’s official website clearly expresses its goals as below:
To help network members in the lawful fight after they justifiably use force in self-defense by paying for the services of attorneys, expert witnesses, private investigators, and other professionals essential to mounting a vigorous legal defense of self-defense on behalf of our members.
Educating our members (and to some extent, the gun-owning public) in the law governing use of force in self-defense and how armed citizens can protect against unmeritorious prosecution.
The Cost: How Much Does ACLDN Cost?
Unlike USCCA with multiple membership tier, Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network offers a basic and membership only policy that costs $135 per year for the first year of subscription and $95 for subsequent years. On top of that, members can even opt to have additional coverage for one additional member for $60, two for $120, or three for $180 to protect your wife, children and family.
Not only that, but members can even opt to go for a three-year or ten-year membership due all at once. The three-year plan costs $296 and $255 renewal fees every three years, whereas the ten-year membership costs $790 upfront payment and $750 for renewal. All membership plans by Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network allow you to add one, two, or three extra members for the same price as the base plan mentioned above.
The Coverage of Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
In the event of a self-defense incident, the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network Inc membership will provide a legal defense support of up to $25,000 upfront fees that covers either civil or criminal defense attorney retainer and other related expenses. However, this value may be less as it depends on your specific case, circumstances, and requirements. The association may also provide more money for legal protection, but this will depend upon a panel review of the case.
Other than that, the association also provides a maximum of $25,000 upfront bail bond funding in terms of financial reimbursement. Not only do you have to fork out your own money first, but this is a cap limit and no further charges will be borne by the association. Unlike many of its competitors, Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network will even cover the legal expenses of members that are found guilty, up to a maximum of half the value of the legal defense fund (which is $2 million, as of today). However, this membership does not cover any civil damage charges levied on the member after the court case.
Furthermore, as a member, you’ll be eligible for the following:
- $10,000 paid to your attorney for defense cases
- Payment for an in-network expert to review your situation
- Access to use of force experts
In addition to financial support, the association even grants you access to a 235-page educational book, eight DVDs with educational lectures and a monthly newsletter for regular updates and information that explores every angle of self-defense and the laws surrounding concealed carry firearms.
The organization even has some of the most recognized and respected self-defense experts on call to assist them with training. On top of a renowned firearms instructor and expert witness Massad Ayoob, Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network’s advisory board is made up of a team of well respected firearms instructors and professionals from around the nation that includes John Farnam, James Fleming, Tom Givens, Emanuel Kapelsohn, and Dennis Tueller.
These experts do not only work to offer advice during a worst-case incident, but they also provide educational support and assistance to the organization’s members.
Notable Membership Benefits
As discussed in the section above, if you do elect to subscribe to the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, you will be able to enjoy the following membership benefits:
In the event of a self-defense incident, the association will help you with:
- Retainer fee for the attorney of your choice.
- Arranging bail.
- Access to additional funding for criminal or civil suit defense actions.
- A starter packet that includes a 325-page book titled “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense” by Massad Ayoob, a noted teacher, author, and instructor.
- Nine DVD set of educational DVDs from legal experts and instructors.
- Online access to educational materials which include relevant articles, interviews, and a monthly journal for gun owners.
The book and education firearms training videos will make sure that you will have learned all the legal parameters in accordance to the use of force (such as a firearm) for self defense, how to handle life after using deadly force, and any other concerns that can and will arise in the aftermath.
The monthly journal subscription that is posted online for members will also cover interviews with industry-leading experts, updates, and provide further education to people on the details of self-defense and investigation process.
As a member of the organization, you also get to enjoy the benefits of their network-affiliated lawyers and attorneys that specialize in firearm usage and defense as well as legal experts and use of force experts that can help you defend yourself in court.
Again, it is important to remember that ACLDN is not an insurance but it is a Legal Defense fund made up of 25% all member fees and 100% of any corporate sponsorship funds which is used to provide membership benefits.
Before any fund is paid out by Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, they will first review the facts of the self defense incident to determine if the circumstances meet the criteria outlined in your agreement.
The Pros and Cons Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
As part of the review, we will not go into the pros and cons of the organization’s subscription to give you a better idea on whether it is a suitable choice for you.
ACLDN only has one basic membership with only a limited number of features and upfront payment. The addition of other members into the program is an add-on feature but at a discounted rate. Members also have the option to enjoy longer subscriptions with a relatively significant discount compared to the monthly payment but will have to make an upfront deposit.
Ability to Choose Your Own Attorney
While ACLDN is working on an attorney network, the organization lets you choose your own attorney to act as your legal representation during a lawsuit. This way, you won’t have to worry about misplaced priorities by your own counsel representative.
Education and Resources
ACLDN provides a comprehensive list of education and training materials related to self-defense situations and legal technicalities that gun owners can benefit from. Not only that, but you even get online newsletters and other digital training material along with great videos.
Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network provides upfront payment for all legal costs incurred during the trial, which is a great benefit as it means you don’t have to arrange or spend up all your savings, or get a loan. Additionally, all legal charges don’t even need to be reimbursed in the event that you are found guilty.
ALCDN covers their members in all areas across the U.S.
Emergency Hotline and All Weapons
ALCDN has an emergency hotline that members can use to speak out to an emergency representative for help and further instructions. On top of that, the organization does not just cover guns but also includes all use of force and legal weapons for self-defense, such as other weapons of opportunity.
Low Level Protections
ACLDN provides very low protection and compensation to its members. Although further expenditures can be covered by them based upon a board review, you still get a very low level of protection for things like bailing you out of jail and criminal defense. The organization also offers a very low amount of civil damage protection. Not only that, but they also do not include other features like theft protection, record expungement, and handling permit retrieval matters.
Spouse and Family
ACLDN only covers their individual members. For spouses and kids, you’ll need to purchase separate memberships for them at a discounted rate.
Our Final Thoughts
Despite an impressive legal defense fund, ACLDN provides very limited features and assistance for a gun owner. Not only does ACLDN provide financial services for your lawsuits, they also offer great educational products such as their book, video course by instructors with years of experience in the gun and firearm industry, discussions, forums, and monthly newsletters for their community to enjoy and to improve their awareness in terms of latest changes to policies, laws, tips, as well as recommendations on how to handle questions by police.
On top of their already very low price point, the organization offers special discounts for long-term subscription. This makes their packages very affordable and worth considering.
However, their financial aids have tight caps and you should not expect a pay-out of up to hundreds of thousands.
This is a great package to consider for a minor impound, but that rarely occurs, especially for events that cause many civil damages and issues. Although the organization leaders are working on building a network of attorneys for you, for now, you will still need to find a suitable lawyer for yourself.
In conclusion, Armed Ctitizens Legal Defense Network offers adequate benefits to help their friends in times of need such as when one of their members has fired off a gun during a self-defense matter. ACLDN will help you kick start your defense lawsuit by providing monetary reimbursement. In fact, members even get to enjoy educational updates provided by ACLDN that a gun owner can read through to understand their firearm rights and in preparation for any future emergencies that may land them in trouble with law enforcement.
All-in-all, if you are someone who needs only a basic premium that is easy on the wallet, then you should definitely take ACLDN under serious consideration. Hopefully today’s Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network review provides you with enough info and answers to any possible questions or concerns/problems you may have to help you make an informed decision.