Monday, June 20, 2011

Us. v. Us

I stopped by the local bookstore to see if there was anything interesting in the cheap books section.  Not finding anything there, I wandered over to the firearms section to browse the books.  Since I was open carrying, I caught the attention of a man standing there and we starting talking about guns.  This man mentioned that he was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.  A few moments later, a third man came up and joined the conversation.

The conversation quickly steered toward training.  At first, we just spoke of the importance of training versus just reading.  Soon, however, both men spoke of the need to get specialized, tactical training, of the type offered by several military contractor schools.  One of them said that those who carry firearms without that specialized training scare him.

At this point, not having engaged in such sooper seekrit takticool training, I just listened.  They went into some detail regarding their training, even going so far as to say that the training offered to mere civilians is inferior.  The only training that matters, according to them, is the training given to law enforcement and military.

This just reeks of the idea that only those with specialized training should have guns.  So, who decides what that specialized training is?  I'm sure that for our two bookstore gun scholars, that level of training is anything less than they have had.  What if someone decides, as I'm sure someone will, that even that level of training is not enough?  Where do we draw the line?  What level of training is sufficient to exercise a Constitutional right?  What level of training will be sufficient to turn criminals into law abiding citizens?  Some states already require waiting periods, classes to buy, classes to own, classes to carry, etc... (things criminals ignore anyway), and it has done nothing to prevent crime.  And yet, some gun owners have no problem restricting rights because, to them, the alternative is "scary."

Look, training is important, no doubt.  But the moment we start thinking that our particular level of training should be the minimum required to exercise our Second Amendment rights, we become no better than those who would seek to take that right away.  What about the elderly lady who was raped in our neighborhood.  What if she wanted to buy a gun for defense now?  What type of class do you want her to sit in?  Will you only be happy when you see her in 5.11 gear crawling in a prone position to get to the target?  What about the single mother, hoping that a restraining order will be enough?  She doesn't even hope for child support any more, let alone think of paying for a week-long class.

Absent someone else's generosity, and a more cooperative schedule, I can almost guarantee that I will never take a military or law enforcement level training class.  It's just not likely to happen. And yet, by some definitions, that "shortcoming" means I should never be allowed to carry a firearm, nor should I depend on one for defense. 


Rev. Paul said...

Well said.

Ed Skinner said...

I support training requirements and a concealed carry permit because, once acquainted with the likely financial requirements of having to defend my use thereof, I know that even if justified in the use of a firearm to defend myself, the knowledge of the consequences has given me a strong incentive to avoid an armed response unless there is no other possible alternative.
Those who carry without that knowledge *may* be less inclined to avoid armed conflict -- I've had more than one discussion with individuals who are under that erroneous impression that, if they are justified in using a firearm to defend themselves, that they won't then have to pay anything to defend themselves in court.

Eric said...

You (LWAG) are correct in that their should not be a government hoop to jump through to exercise your right to self-defense with any kind of arm, fire- or otherwise.

If I read your text correctly, neither of your new bookstore friends actually said otherwise.

But if you are going to tote a gun around, yes you do have a responsibility to train and keep yourself current, just as you do (I assume!) with continuing education in the law, which of course you should do even if your state does not require it.

I would heartily disagree with your bookstore buddies that military/leo training is superior. There is plenty of crappy training by military and LEO oriented schools, government or private ones.

But even more important, they are not really teaching what a citizen defender needs. Military and LEO training is oriented to organizations that field teams of armed people, backed up with logistical, legal, and medical support. This teams, especially the military ones, are offensively oriented.

The most likely situation for the citizen defender - e.g. you -- is going to be pretty much reactive, all on your own, both during and (presuming you survive) after the fight.

You need to look for training that supports that.

Lawyer said...

Ed: I have no problem with requiring training. I agree that it's an important aspect of carrying a firearm. On my list of things to do is to become an NRA instructor. My issue was that they turned it into an issue of snobbery. Within a few minutes, they keyed onto the fact that I had not had such training, and suddenly, they were superior. Any training I might have had was inferior.

Eric: I agree. I think as responsible owners, we should be encouraging training. However, with their attitude, it just reinforces the idea that owning a gun should be reserved to an exclusive club.

TOTWTYTR said...

Training is important and I encourage everyone to at least take a basic safety course. There are other courses for self defense carry that I think are valuable and that are not inordinately expensive.

Still, financial barriers are variable and what might be reasonable to me is out of reach for someone else.

If I had to make a choice between being able to attend a formal training class and being able to afford ammunition so that I could practice on my own at a range, I'd pick the ammunition.

Training is nice, but practice is more important.

Considering the short ranges at which most self defense shootings take place, learning how to hit a steel plate at 100 yards is hardly that important. Being comfortable with your firearm and able to shoot at short ranges is far more important.

Lawyer said...

TOTWTYTR: You said it better than I did.