Tag: Gun safety

Running Out of Guns and Ammunition

 

Gun sales are through the roof. And so is the sale of ammunition. With the violence that has broken out across the country, Americans are making use of their Second Amendment rights. Many of us feel that we can no longer trust our legislators to protect us, as they tie the hands of law enforcement and regularly denigrate police departments.

The immediate problem is that the gun retailers are running out of products. Gun sales have been on the rise since 2,000, but they have increased significantly in the past year:

Hillsdale College Defends the Constitution and the Second Amendment

 

Hillsdale is a remarkable college in Michigan that was established in 1844. More of its students went to join up for the Civil War than any other western school. And it is known for offering a Classical education and teaching the Constitution. It also takes no money from the Federal government. And is highly celebrated for its requirements and high standards.

But much less well-known are their shooting range, shooting workshops for adults and students and now, programs for high school students. How did they pull this off in the state of Michigan?

The Gravity of Owning and Carrying a Gun

 

On my walk this morning, I was wearing a neon pink t-shirt. As often happens, I approached two women with their dogs; we always exchange pleasantries and I get my dog fix (scratching dog ears). Suddenly one of the women looked at my t-shirt and said, “Isn’t Smith & Wesson a gun company?” I answered yes, and followed with my first stupid comment, “Yes, I own a gun.” She responded, “Oh, you were the last person I would expect to own a gun!” Second stupid response: “I promise not to shoot either of you,” as I walked away.

Okay, okay, I made some foolish comments in a record period of time. First, wearing the shirt publicly wasn’t the best idea, although I often wear it to my workout facility where no one has said anything. Second, after answering that Smith & Wesson was a gun company, I could have smiled and walked away. (Hey, it was 7:00am!) Or I could have said, “Yes, why do you ask?” and been open to a careful but friendly conversation.

What to Look for in a Firearms Trainer

 

I constantly see signs by freeway exit ramps advertising concealed carry permit classes for ridiculously low prices. While I completely understand how money (or the lack thereof) can affect buying decisions, when you’re choosing a firearms instructor, you are choosing someone to teach you how to potentially save your life and the lives of those close to you. So, choosing the cheapest one available makes as much sense as choosing the cheapest skydiving instructor.

The minimum amount of training needed to teach concealed carry in many states is instructor certifications in NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home. This is the bare minimum, though, and a good instructor will have many, many more hours of classes beyond this. Aside from this minimum, what else should you look for in a good firearms trainer?

  1. Someone who lists their sources. I’ve taken classes from major training centers that never mention anyone other than the people associated with their school. They taught the Color Code without mentioning it was Col. Jeff Cooper who came up with that idea. They also taught the Weaver Stance without saying who invented it, giving their student the impression that everything we know about firearms training was their idea. The fact of the matter is everyone who trains people in the safe use of firearms owes a huge debt to those who have gone before us, and acknowledging that debt is a sign of a trainer who is interested in imparting knowledge, not creating followers.
  2. Someone who has multiple sources. The broader the trainer’s knowledge base, the more options they have to diagnose and correct a student’s issue with learning to shoot well. Also, trainers who have a wide variety of sources tend to come up with more innovative and effective training techniques because they are not hidebound to one way of thinking. Also, look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group, because that introduces an element of intellectual rigor and accountability into their teaching process.
  3. Someone with relevant training. I have nothing but the greatest respect for our military and law enforcement, but the jobs they perform are different than the job I have. The firearms training they receive, therefore, is to accomplish a different task than the task I need to accomplish. If the firearms instructor you’re considering has combat experience or is a seasoned police officer, that’s fine. Just make sure they also have training that augments what they’ve learned in the service and helps translate that service in a way that is useful to we armed citizens.
  4. Someone who competes on a regular basis. Nothing will show what is working and what needs improvement than shooting a practical pistol match. Even some of the most elite troops in the Army have learned that performing a simple task like hitting a target 10 yards away becomes a Herculean feat under the simulated stress of a timer and the gaze of your peers. Competing in a practical pistol match helps you apply what you learn in shooting class to a situation that more closely resembles the street because, as noted trainer Massad Ayoob once said, a shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight is most definitely a shooting match.
  5. Someone who encourages wider training. Simply put, any instructor who doesn’t encourage you to train with other trainers has his own best interests at heart, not yours. No one firearms instructor has this all figured out, and if your trainer is not comfortable with you learning from other instructors, he’s more worried about repeat business than the growth of his students.
  6. Someone who is also committed to learning. If the last class your instructor took was during the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), their techniques are probably not the ones you want to learn. An instructor who has recently taken classes from another instructor will have more current, effective teaching methods that use more modern theories of instructional learning and firearms technique.

Lastly, your instructor should focus on the teaching the students who are in his or her class, versus standing up in front of them and going through the motions. A firearms instructor who’s committed to excellence will also be committed to instilling that drive for excellence in his or her students, making them safer, more prepared gun owners.

Concealed Carry Dojos

 

Imagine how popular boxing would be if there was no such thing as shadow boxing, the heavy bag, or the speed bag. Instead, rather than have future boxers prepare outside the ring, boxing trainers would plop a pair of gloves onto anyone remotely interested in the sport and toss them into the ring for three rounds the first thing someone set foot in the gym.

Oh, and there’s no coaching from the outside the ropes either, because that’s a penalty for the boxer and coach if that happens. If our neophyte boxer is lucky, he/she will have a chance to watch a few other boxers go at it for a few rounds and figure out the rules of where to punch and what the pre- and post-match etiquette, and if they’re really lucky, they’ll have an experienced pugilist give them tips and pointers before their bout.

Other than that, it’s “Hey, welcome to boxing, kid, now go get into the ring!”

The Rules of Gun Safety Are for Everyone, Not Just Gun Owners

 

GunLet’s begin with the obvious: The senseless, stupid tragedy of a 73-year-old Punta Gorda, FL volunteer being killed was caused by a cop and/or a police department who thought it would be a good idea to point an actual firearm (loaded with blanks or not) at a person and pull the trigger.

Period, full stop.

For reasons that are sure to come out at a later date, they thought that breaking the fundamental rules of gun safety in order to set up a poorly-design “active shooter” drill was a good idea. They’re the ones who broke the fundamental rules of gun safety, and so they need to be rightly excoriated for what they did.

Gun Safety vs. Gun Control

 

shutterstock_258067133If you’re not for gun control, at least you should be for gun safety. That’s a line you hear a lot these days. Sometimes the distinction serves a tactical purpose of trying to reframe gun control in a politically less threatening way, as when Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group styles itself Everytown for Gun “Safety.” But many people do see the two words as meaning different things, with “safety” standing for a seemingly less controversial set of objectives such as preventing accidental misfirings, storing guns in such a way that unauthorized persons can’t get at them, making it easier to trace stolen weapons, and so forth.

But one trouble is that it’s extremely difficult it is to reliably improve these latter kinds of gun safety except in ways that gun owners might themselves be persuaded to adopt. And if goals are obtainable by persuasion, why should legislation come in?

For example, of the steps announced by President Obama last week, probably the most significant is one that will tighten legal pressure on persons who sell guns in small or incidental quantities but who do not currently register as gun “dealers” with the associated license fees and regulatory requirements. One example given of this in-between class are persons who liquidate estates. While some of these persons will (as intended) register as dealers, others will simply offer to handle the sale of the rest of Uncle Harry’s estate but not his small gun collection, which, the family not being sure what to do with it otherwise, may accordingly languish in an attic or the back of a closet. Is anyone actually confident that the risks of theft or misuse from leaving guns in the hands of family members unfamiliar with them is lower than the risk of allowing them to be resold through an intermediary to persons who have consciously chosen to own guns?