Here's what some folks just either don't get, don't accept, or have been too charmed/sheltered to have experienced. . . .
I'm a pilot and airplane owner. If you are a smart pilot, you are a member of Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association. It goes without saying that it is analogous to being a smart gun owner and being a member of the National Rifle Association.
One of our benefits that is offered to AOPA members is Legal Services. It costs something like an extra $29 per year in addtion to your normal dues.
In the event that you run afoul of the FAA or local aviation rules/regulations and you get notice from the government that they are coming after you for administrative or punitive action, you call up AOPA and they will supply you with an experienced attorney who specializes in aviation law. For free.
I've been flying for I don't know how long and have never needed this. But knowing the damn government the way I do, I pay this extra legal fee on my membership gladly and without hesitation every year when I renew my dues.
I wish the NRA had a similar deal.
What RR and Stage2 fail to disclose is that prosecutors are political animals and that most Americans live like an ostrich--our heads are either stuck in the sand or up our butts most of the time when it comes to the reality of how things are all around us.
And rather than accept and prepare, we choose to believe "That stuff won't happen to me, it always happens to someone else."
If THAT'S the case, then why do so many of us choose to carry a weapon when our statistical odds of EVER needing it are remote?
One thing IS FOR CERTAIN, and hear me out because I'll guaran-damn-tee you that I know this FIRSTHAND better than almost any one of you participating in this discussion--
When/if you have to use your weapon, you want every available resource ON YOUR SIDE WORKING FOR YOU! I cannot emphasize this enough.
As I said earlier in agreeing with Mr. Ayoob, self-defense doesn't end when you draw your gun and fire it to save yourself or someone else. In most jurisdictions, that's when TRUE self-defense is just beginning, thanks to our f'd up legal system.
As far as the marketing hype? I honestly don't see it as "hype." In fact, I rarely even see it. Granted, I do not subscribe to any gun rags other than Handloading and the NRA publications, but I'm trying to recall the last time I saw Mas Ayoob's smiling countenance peering at me through an ad or TV commercial or billboard, or even through some junk mail (which, before I retired from that industry, I would call "direct marketing").
And if anyone does see it as marketing hype, so what? I would see it as a natural extension of having more and more law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons, and thus, wanting to be more fully prepared for the entire process of self-defense.
And isn't that a good thing?
If every single gun owner belonged to the NRA as well as their respective state rifle/gun association, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today.
So to those of you who are members of neither, thanks for nothing.