Saturday, January 17, 2009

Concealed Carry II: Continuing Education

I took a fantastic "Concealed Carry II" course recently, taught by a a 20 years+ veteran, deputy sheriff, firearms instructor, and weapons expert. He's also a fantastic communicator.

The course he taught was four hours of classroom instruction, four hours on the range. I initially thought I might be bored for the classroom time (having been in a variety of classrooms before), but the experience went by quickly and informatively. I picked up a lot of great points to use both in personal carry and to help explain further to people why I support concealed carry. Eventually, I had to borrow a pen from someone and begin writing down the multiple points on a sheet for later.

Here are a few that I've transcribed:

- You can't miss fast enough to win.

- People who call 911 when there is a shooter are calling for a trained person with a gun. (Recognizing this helps remove that over-exaggerated barrier between the police and armed citizens that people have.)

- Only around 30 people die by snake bites annually, yet no one thinks you strange to take a snake bite kit into the woods with you. Likewise, the odds of getting hit by lightning are extremely low, but a lot of businesses have them. Why is carrying a firearm for protection different, especially given how many more shootings occur than snakebites?

- Police can only shoot someone for the same reasons an armed citizen can; in self-defense, or defense of others. (Mind you, they can brandish their weapons sooner without legal repercussions, but when it comes to shooting, the rules are the same.)

- Owning a piano doesn't make you a pianist; owning a gun doesn't make you a murderer. (BUT, it also doesn't make you an effective armed citizen.)

- CRIMINALS ARE NOT LIKE US. People often make the mistake of transference - assuming someone's feelings about murder, rape, not causing pain, etc. are similar. Consequently, this is why you hear things like "I can't believe they did that" or "I couldn't believe what I was seeing." This causes a paralysis of sorts, and leads to behavior that would be rational between two similar human beings, but is irrational when one human being has no regard for life.

- The best way to win a gunfight is never to get into one.

- An armed citizen will almost certainly NOT be tried by a "jury of your peers" if and when a defensive shooting comes down to court. You have a concealed carry permit (presumably) and were carrying and used your weapon in self-defense. Less than 3% of my state is licensed to carry. Not all of them carry. Most of the jury members do not understand the concealed carry mindset, and the lawyers who selected the jurors didn't do their job right if they let someone with a CCDWL through. You will be an oddball and a freak to them. That's something to remember.

- If you use your firearm for self-defense and are not found guilty of a crime, you can still be sued by the victim or the victim's family. The standard of proof for a lawsuit (preponderance of the evidence) is more lenient than a crime (beyond a reasonable doubt) so be careful.

- Compared to all of the ambiguous shooting scenarios that citizens may face with in the daily routine, a multiple victim public shooting scenario at college is one of the most clear-cut situations in terms of situation awareness and target acquisition.

- In a gunfight, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose. A victory means you walk away with what you already had, your life.

- Hope is not a method.

- BE CAREFUL when dealing with the police. If you are suspected of a crime, police will not be your best friend. 90% of the people they deal with are crooks and crackheads. Comply with them and tell them the truth, but you'll be asked for your story several times, so if you're not sure of the details, SAY SO. The instructor mentioned that everything goes weird when you're pumped with adrenaline and fighting for your life. People were asked how many shots they fired in a shootout, and they answered "four or five" and evidence showed they emptied their 12-15 round magazine.

- Don't use bad language when talking about the perp. Even if the cop is your friend, s/he can be subpoenaed and testify that, for example, yes the shooter did call the deceased an uncouth name, and that won't help.

- Comply with the police officer, but avoid getting into detail as much as possible until you can talk with an attorney. Tell them "Officer, I want to and will comply with you 100%, but in the presence of an attorney." This should put an end to the questioning because by law, you have the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney, without inference of guilt. If an officer should not try to press you to forfeit that right.

- If/when you need to call 911, it WILL be taped, so be careful what you say. Do not lie. The instructor advised saying the following: "I was attacked, I feared for my life, I fired in self-defense." (And probably "send police and an ambulance.") Each component listed meets a requirement police and attorneys will be looking for.

And finally:

- There is a lawyer attached to every bullet you fire.

Those are just some of the bites of wisdom I gleaned from his lecture. It was very enlightening, and if there are concealed carry II classes available in your area, I highly recommend them. Additional training is always a good thing.

And by the way, I understand that bragging rights are important among competitive gun owners, so I should note that there was a live fire test at the end (three rounds of drawing from concealment and firing two shots, three rounds of firing two shots one-handed and three rounds of firing two shots with simulated malfunction/clip replacement).

I passed with the highest marks.



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