Lawful Self-Defense Includes Time to Responsibly Disarm

Why I Am Suing The Governor of Virginia, iStock-1055138108
DC Court of Appeals: Lawful Self-Defense Includes Time to Responsibly Disarm iStock-1055138108

The rule of law and due process apply to everyone, even people with long criminal histories.  Even people who have bad reputations in dangerous, gang-infested, drug-dealing dystopias. In 2016, Saeve Evans was involved in a gunfight. A 16-year-old girl was killed. Saeve Evans’s legal defense was self-defense.

Saeve Evans has had many interactions with DC police. There was the D.C. kidnapping and murder case. Saeve has prior felony convictions.

Below is a DC Police Department post on X, formerly Twitter, of the recent incident in which Saeve Evans was involved. Saeve must have been released pending the appeal of the 2016 case because the video incident happened on August 1, 2023.

Saeve Evans is still a citizen of the United States. He is protected by the Constitution.

On November 25, 2016, Saeve Evans was in a gunfight during which a 16-year-old girl was killed. During the gunfight, he was briefly caught on surveillance video with a gun in his hand. The defense argued that Saeve Evans had fired the gun in self-defense. Evans is a convicted felon who had been shot multiple times before this incident. Saeve Evans surrendered to the police on November 29. Evans demanded a jury trial. The jury found Evans not guilty of everything but the illegal possession of a gun.

DC law allows even violent felons to use guns for self-defense as an exception to their more general ban on possessing guns.

The video shows Evans had the pistol in his possession for at least three seconds after the gunfight was over. The police were not able to prove Evans had the pistol in his possession before he could legitimately use self-defense. The people on the other side of the gunfight were never identified. The judge ruled the three seconds were long enough to convict Evans of illegal gun possession.

Evans was convicted. Evans appealed to the DC Court of Appeals. The opinion was rendered on November 16, 2023. It was a split decision on basic self-defense rights.  From

DEAHL, Associate Judge: The otherwise illegal possession of a firearm may be justified, so as not to be criminal, if the weapon is held in lawful self-defense. This case presents the question of when precisely that legal justification ends—whether it is the instant a person realizes the threat has subsided or if it instead extends to a period allowing the person to reasonably relinquish the weapon. The trial court instructed the jury, as the government now maintains, that the justification ends the moment the person appreciates that the threat animating the right to self-defense has subsided, so that they must effectively drop the gun in that instant or otherwise lose their justification defense. In appealing his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, Saeve Evans counters that the justification defense logically extends to a short period after the person realizes the threat has subsided, so that they have a reasonable opportunity to promptly dispossess themselves of the weapon. We agree with Evans and reverse his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Even convicted felons with long histories of interactions with the police have the right to defend themselves from those with homicidal intent.

The DC jury was unclear how long would be acceptable for Evans to hold onto a firearm he had just used to defend his life. The judge in DC said no time at all. Two of three judges on the DC circuit said some time must be allowed for the defendant to reasonably disarm. In this hard case, two judges on the three-judge panel came down in favor of self-defense.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Who among us would disarm ourselves the very instant the final shot was made? How could anyone possibly know it was the “final” shot? If you didn’t make a complete visual sweep of your surroundings to verify your own personal safety, you would be careless in the extreme. If you did that in three seconds, you would be not just careless, but stupid, too.


fascinating set of circumstances and interesting legal arguments.

How long do you need to determine that a threat has been neutralized or that a new threat isn’t on the horizon? That takes time far longer than three seconds.


It’s just a number that someone pulled out of their rear end because they think it sounds good, and it has ZERO relevance to anything, like a ten second warning period before bashing in someone’s door in a raid, or an 80% completed portion of a gun. They feel that they must provide some kind of a justification for committing their crimes, and so these ridiculous numbers come streaming out of their anus.


The felon-in-possession law is as ridiculous as the rest of the gun prohibitions. A person who shouldn’t have a gun- felon or not- will get one. If a felon has done their time and is off paper, give ’em their rights back. The current law is just one more way of piling on charges, forcing a plea deal, removing a right, and threatening an otherwise law abiding citizen.


Once again, it comes down to where is his written guarantee that he would actually GET a fair trial located, so he can read it for himself? The legal system is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, so why do we still allow it to reign over us? Once a crime of any amount or nature has been discovered, the criminal instantly loses their illusion of power and authority over anyone or any place. How can it be otherwise?? Is there really some law or mechanism that says we must defer to criminals for any reason? If the legal… Read more »


Let’s follow the logic here. If a convicted felon has the right to possess a firearm during the moment of a legitimate need for self defense, doesn’t it follow that he has the right to have a firearm accessible in case a need for self defense arises? Or do we only allow him to be armed if a firearm magically appears for him to pick up? Self defense is a life and death issue. Once someone has paid for a felony crime, the government ought to have to show that a person poses a specific and particularized danger of harming… Read more »


No, the 2Am doesn’t have ANY conditions written into it, not even just one! If someone is acting badly with a gun in their hands, then they better be prepared to take the consequences and penalties!!


Sounds like a problem easily avoided by simply applying a standard of reasonableness. Unfortunately, it seems one prosecutor, two judges, and twelve jurors acted completely unreasonably here.

Or just maliciously biased against firearms.

Glad it eventually got overturned, but in the first place, this shouldn’t have been prosecuted, and failing that, should have been thrown out by the trial judge, and failing that, should have been refused by the jury.


You can’t have a “standard of reasonableness”, because what is reasonable is not uniform across the boards! What is reasonable for thee may not be reasonable for me! Reasonableness cannot be counted upon, because we are not capable of measuring it in any way! No two fake judges are necessarily going to come to the exact same conclusions! This is why we cannot ever be guaranteed that we will get a fair trial, there are too many unknowable variables stuck into the equation! Is there some reason that you cannot see this?


So you don’t like an arbitrary number (your other comments), and you don’t like judgement calls… how then?

Reason pervades the law. You can and will be judged on the reasonableness of your actions so long as there are judges and juries.

Bit of a moving target at times? Yep, though not really in this case. And much better than snapping a chalk line.


“Even convicted felons with long histories of interactions with the police have the right to defend themselves from those with homicidal intent.” Sir, most conservatives on here and many of your coworkers do not support Liberty, like you suggest in the above article. They say it perfectly okay for a socialist enforcer to safely endanger their fellow countrymen with being safe at enforcing illegal gun control laws. Conservatives have made it to where we armed Citizens have to fear a socialist cop safely harming us for carrying or using our guns, that we don’t carry in certain places, which endangers… Read more »


What are you babbling about?


I understood what he meant, why can’t you?


Not sure what you are getting at. Most of us on here believe once you serve your incarceration and probation you should get your rights back if you are not a violent felon.


Please show me where it says that in the 2Am. That is some B.S. that criminals who want to disarm us concocted.


wrong on so many points. all libertarians and true conservatives, not rino’s would say that once time is served your rights should be restored. no one should live the rest of their lives without the right to defend themself. that would be inhumane and immoral, a more progressive attitude.


Whom are you referring to as being wrong, and on what points?


All I can add to the stinging rebukes you’re receiving is this, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to talk (post) and remove all doubt!”


Does that shoe fit on your foot too?


A rather long winded way of saying it for the average reader here, but I followed your logic just fine! Well done, Sir!