Yesterday, our friends at The Trace published an article by Jennifer Mascia on the Florida law requiring training for a resident who wants to walk around with a concealed gun.  The point of Jennifer’s research is that the law is written in such a way that as Grandpa would say, the training requirement is ‘nisht’ (read: nothing.)

According to Jennifer, who interviewed a group of gun trainers who do their thing in the Gunshine State, the law which requires that someone fire one ‘live’ round allows trainers to set up a little pipe filled with sand in a hotel conference room, stick the gun barrel into the end of the pipe and – bang!  Or the class participants can shoot one round of non-lethal ammunition into a water tank or some other simulated device.

So, here we have yet another example of how Americans are walking around with all those guns that they don’t really know or understand how to shoot, which is just another reason we have so much gun violence, right?

According to Jennifer, there are now 33 states which allow legal gun owners to walk around with guns whether they have undergone any training or not. One of the trainers she interviewed put it like this: “You miss your intended target, the bullet goes somewhere else. That could potentially kill somebody.”

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  It’s the Old Wild West all over the place.

Except there’s only one little problem, which is that the word ‘training’ is probably the single, most mis-used word in the entire gun world, perhaps mis-used even more frequently than the word ‘rights,’ which is also a word that is endlessly mis-used by both sides in the gun debate.

Jennifer’s article contains quotes from 7 different guys in Florida who call themselves gun ‘trainers.’ Know how you get to be a gun trainer in all 50 states?  Call yourself a gun trainer.

“Hi. I’m Mike Weisser. I’m a gun trainer.”  That’s it. Now I’m a gun trainer.

The gun industry is the only industry in the United States which makes products that are advertised as lethal and dangerous but does not have any (as in zero) industry standard for safety training at all. And in states which require some kind of training, the training requirement, like Florida’s one live round to be fired, is described, but the requirement to be the individual who confirms that someone fired that live round is never imposed by the gun industry itself. 

At best, anyone can become a ‘certified’ gun trainer or instructor by sitting in a classroom for a couple of hours while some old guy reads from a booklet published by the NRA, then you take a short-answer quiz which nobody ever fails, then you pay the guy who in turn gives you a piece of paper which says that you’re a ‘certified’ NRA trainer. That’s it.

Know what the word ‘training’ means?  It means you do a specific, physical task like shooting a gun or backing a 16-wheeler into a loading bay the exact same way every…single… time.

I was trained to shoot an M-14 rifle at Fort Gordon and what impressed me was how the Army could take a bunch of illiterate red necks and ghetto whoppers and in six weeks get them to clean, load, fire, and re-load a rifle even with their eyes closed. It helped, by the way, that if you couldn’t get through this drill without making any mistakes, you didn’t get chow.

That’s training. The so-called training conducted by all those so-called trainers who were interviewed by Jennifer Mascia is pure crap.

But the good news is that it probably doesn’t matter whether the people who take that training can hit the broad side of the barn or not. I have yet to see one, single piece of serious research which actually makes any kind of causal connection between all those legal gun owners walking around without any training and the 300 or so people who every day shoot themselves or someone else with a gun. 

Want to train yourself to use a gun?  Join the Army or the Marines.