Protect and Defend

WSVN — Nat: “Somebody’s tried to break into the residence. He had a gun.”In the few minutes that this story will be on TV, 21 homes across the country will be broken into.

Nat: “When somebody’s in your house like that, you’re going to be terrified. I was just very lucky to get out.”

In many cases homeowners will be there, and have to defend themselves.

Nat: “I had my gun in my hand and I just shot at him.”

Residents have had to pull out their guns in South Florida over and over.

Nat: “She defended herself.”

An armed homeowner, pulling the trigger when the crooks break in. And with the intruder wounded or dead, the spotlight turns to the person who defended themselves.

Augusto Luna, Stone Hart’s Gun Club: “It never occurred to me what happens if you shoot somebody defending your family, defending your home.”

For the homeowner, the days after pulling the trigger can be a nightmare.

Tim Brennan, Second Defense Alliance: “We’re there to help them. All they have to worry about is their family, get back with their family.”

Tim Brennan runs a company called Second Defense Alliance. It helps members after they shoot someone breaking into their home.

Tim Brennan: “Immediately you’re going to need an attorney. They need counseling. If you are taken away and have to post bail, we will post that bail to get you back with your family.”

John Blake is a South Florida gun owner who joined Second Defense Alliance after he saw what a neighbor had to go through when he shot a burglar in his house.

John Blake: “Short term incarceration, having to put up a bail bond, hire a lawyer.”

For $11 a month, Second Defense Alliance pays for a lawyer, medical care, even a clean-up crew to remove the intruder’s blood.

Augusto Luna: “You shoot somebody, and what happens after?”

Augusto Luna owns a gun range in South Miami and is encouraging people to join Second Defense Alliance.

Augusto Luna: “You have to deal with a lot of issues that you’re not familiar with because you think you’re never going to use your gun.”

Now, if you own a gun and are watching, you may be thinking, “If I catch someone breaking in my home and I shoot them, I don’t need help. I have homeowner’s insurance. They will cover everything.” But check your policy; maybe not.

Tim Brennan: “Homeowner’s insurance covers unintentional actions. Protecting yourself is an intentional act, so that’s how they get around covering any kind of home defense, self-defense shooting.”

That puts you back on your own, and Second Defense has limits to its coverage: $50,000 in legal fees, $20,000 in medical costs. And if you shoot a neighbor or a landlord, you aren’t covered at all.

Ralph Page, Broward County Crime Stoppers: “It’s an interesting concept, but read the fine print.”

Ralph Page is a veteran law enforcement officer and the head of Broward Crime Stoppers. He isn’t sure a law-abiding taxpayer needs to sign up for a program like Second Defense Alliance.

Ralph Page: “Each law enforcement agency has a victim advocate, someone specifically assigned to deal with victims. You have the Crime Victim Compensation Act in the state of Florida. You have psychological treatment that you can get through many, many different agencies in Florida. So you can reach out to these people.”

The Alliance clearly isn’t a perfect plan, and in a perfect world you wouldn’t need to defend your home. But we don’t live in a perfect world.

Susan Howell: “God forbid we don’t want to have to use it, but in the event that we need it, we know that we have some support there.

Support in case Susan is one of the 21 people whose homes were broken into while this story was on the air.

I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

For more information on the Second Defense Alliance visit: http://myseconddefensealliance.com/

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