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.
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.