Know Who You Are Protecting If You Walk Around With A Gun? Nobody.

If there’s one favorite Gun-nut Nation idea that I can’t stand, it’s the notion that we should all be out there protecting ourselves and everyone else by walking around with a gun. And a certain mystique has now developed about what is sometimes referred to as ‘citizen protectors,’ and while the concept has a certain cultish element involved in its spread, the truth is that it’s just a scam marketing strategy developed by the gun industry and promoted by scam media influencers to sell more guns.  And the reason I call all this self-protection with guns a scam is very simple; not a single one of the outfits which promote the idea of everyone becoming a ‘citizen-protector’ has ever backed the idea that carrying a concealed weapon should first require a proficiency test of any kind.

torso-target           Of course all these newly-anointed defensive gun-use instructors will tell you that it’s important to train, train and train. And they all back up this message about the importance of training with live training courses, online courses, CD-ROM courses, you name it and there’s a training product out there for you to buy.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that people who walk around with a legal gun in their pocket represent a threat to themselves or to someone else. Gun owners in general tend to be very law-abiding; gun owners who apply for a carry-concealed license (CCW) even more so. What I am saying is that letting gun owners walk around thinking that they can protect anyone without first proving a high level of proficiency and then renewing that proof on a regular basis is nothing more than a fraudulent appeal to the most ignorant emotions that humans possess.  And when I say ‘proving’ proficiency, I’m not talking about letting someone stand in front of stationery, paper target and drill a few holes.  I was doing that at a Coney Island shooting gallery when I was twelve years old.

I currently teach the handgun safety course in my state that is required in order to apply for a license to own a gun.  The license without any additional coursework of any kind also allows concealed-carry of a gun.  So you can get a license, buy a Glock and stick it in your pocket without actually having fired your pistol, not even once.  And a most states grant CCW without a proficiency test of any kind.

I have a small range in my gun shop and even though the course does not mandate live fire, I make all the students shoot a pistol so that at least they will better understand the safety issues involved in handling a gun.  First every student fires a magazine of 22-caliber ammo with a Ruger SR-22.  Then they move to the other lane and shoot two rounds with a 9mm Glock.  They shoot the Glock on command and have two seconds to put at least one of the two shots within a 9-inch circle on a torso target fifteen feet away. If they get one of two rounds into the circle within two seconds they pass; otherwise they fail.  They still get their course certificates even if they fail this drill because, remember, my state grants CCW without proficiency certification of any kind.

Of the 131 students who have done this drill so far, 4 have passed.  That’s right, three percent of the folks who will be able to carry a gun around to protect themselves and others have demonstrated the most minimal ability to use a gun in self-defense. And the target that most of them missed completely was standing still.

So the next time that someone tells you that concealed-carry is a good thing, ask them how come the NRA and everyone else in Gun-nut Nation is opposed to these citizen-protectors having to prove their competency with a gun.  Oh, I forgot. Allowing the government to decide anything about how I use my guns is a violation of my 2nd-Amendment rights.

11 thoughts on “Know Who You Are Protecting If You Walk Around With A Gun? Nobody.

  1. I am with you all the way, especially on the subject of “live fire” qualification testing. Even a huge percentage of our LEO’s will become rattled under stress and make life/death mistakes (and they train on a very regular basis!) so what makes the average Joe think he will be a movie star dead eye once he walks out with his shiny new [insert make/model of chrome plated firearm here]????

  2. “…letting gun owners walk around thinking that they can protect anyone without first proving a high level of proficiency and then renewing that proof on a regular basis is nothing more than a fraudulent appeal to the most ignorant emotions that humans possess…”

    Pretty much true. Heck, as we know from the BLM protests, even trained police officers screw up regularly when faced with the actual stress of, and split second decision making in a crisis. If someone’s only training is reading The Armed Citizen, I have to laugh.

    So even with the modicum of training I have in my own state (15 hour class and have to score >76% in a torso size target, like the one in the picture above, with 25 rounds of at least 9mm at 3 and 7 yards. And, re-qualify every two years), I would not guarantee that I am competent to protect anyone, which is why relying on armed citizens is not an ideal solution to our problems.

    The government, that’s ideally us, has the moral obligation to set some standards for concealed carry if the idea is armed self defense in the public sphere. Totally consistent with Heller and MacDonald.

  3. I totally agree with the skepticism of the average CCW-holder’s ability to -safely- effectively defend themselves and others around them.

    The common argument that’s bandied about for CCW is personal and, by extension, public defense from violent threats. Yet there isn’t enough emphasis on the high levels of weapons and legal training required for dealing with the the complexities of a DGU as well as the legal aftermath.

    • A DGU situation should be a last resort. So in a way the bar is lower than for a police officer who has to seek out trouble. Rest of us can try to avoid trouble.

      As far as training vs. balancing cost/benefit, that is highly individualized. My chances of using a firearm in a DGU situation in Los Alamos is probably far lower than my chances of shooting myself in the foot. I cannot speak for a midnight manager at a gas station in Albuquerque’s South Valley. But if that midnight manager wants to be competent in a DGU situation, I would advise some training up to and including IDPA or Mas Ayoob.

      What we need is more real data and less overstated rhetoric. That goes for everyone, both Gun Nut Nation and Gun Control Nation.

      • Thanks for your insight. I feel that a lot more people need to take heed of your last comment about more data and less rhetoric, the latter of which I think most of the public relies too much on.

    • Too many firearm owners fail to consider the legal repercussions of firing a weapon. In most instances, the person standing with a firearm in his hand when the law arrives will be taking a ride downtown in the back of a patrol car (minus the firearm of course). How many times do we read about an armed bystander trying to take down a fleeing “suspect”? How about some moron shooting a delivery person because of SYG? I shouldn’t even bring up road rage but it happens almost every day in Floriduh.

      A pro 2A lawyer named Jon Gutmacher has written a very good guide that goes a long way to explaining, in very simple English, applicable firearms laws in Florida. He creates quite a few “What if….” scenarios that every CWP should think thru before deciding to pull that piece out and blast somebody.

  4. “…Too many firearm owners…”

    Got data, Mr. Mosher? CCW holders have low crime rates and you risk running afoul of the some all fallacy.

    Thanks for the link, though. Any state that offers ccw licenses should mandate training in self defense law. New Mexico does. Indeed, if you take a CCW class worth its salt, or read Mas Ayoob’s work, you will indeed be told that any time a citizen uses lethal force in self defense, the nightmare has just begun.

    • “Got data, Mr. Mosher? CCW holders have low crime rates and you risk running afoul of the some all fallacy. ”

      I think you sir have fallen into that fallacy and worse, not reading my statement:
      “Too many firearm owners fail to consider the legal repercussions ………” I did not refer to Concealed Carry Permitees until I mentioned Mr. Gutmacher’s book.
      However, Florida does not require any training to buy a firearm and only a short course with almost no requirement to actually fire the thing to obtain a carry license. Do you have verifiable data sources to back up your claim that CCW holders have low crime rates? Down here in the Gunshine State I could throw a few names out of legal carriers who are now sentenced to lengthy jail terms. George Zimmerman was found not guilty but is financially (as well as socially) ruined. A man seeking to avenge Zimmerman’s victim was himself sentenced less than a month ago for shooting at Zimmerman. Another man who was bothered by loud music retrieved his weapon from his car and fired point blank then went home to order pizza. His name was Michael Dunn and I think his sentence was life w/o parole. Oh yeah, he was a legal carrier too!

      It would be very interesting to find out whether legal carriers are more responsible (I certainly hope so) and whether more actual hands on instruction actually instills self control/responsibility when it comes to firearms. I have considered taking Massad Ayoob’s course since his center is up in Live Oak, Fla.

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