Jennifer Mascia has just republished an article which should be required reading for everyone who’s interested in reducing gun violence. This is valuable research because she has figured out how many states allow people to carry a gun who have not taken any training at all. And don’t forget to notice the picture that goes with the story showing some dopey kid in Utah sitting in a gun class with his finger right on the trigger of his Sig 226.
It turns out, according to our intrepid Trace reporter, that 26 states have no live-fire training or live-fire certification of any kind. In other words, you can walk into a gun shop and buy a gun, walk out with the gun in your pocket to protect yourself from all those street thugs, having never actually fired that gun, or any gun for that matter. And Gun-nut Nation has the absolute, unmitigated gall to reject mandated gun training while, at the same time promoting the idea that ‘armed citizens’ protect us from crime. Oh well, we have a President who says with a straight face that cutting 40 million people off of medical insurance will make us healthier all around, so why shouldn’t the NRA tell just as big a lie when it comes to talking about guns?
What I found interesting about Jennifer Mascia’s story, however, was not the fact that more than half the states don’t require any kind of training before someone can ‘strap on’ a gun. Rather, it’s the idea that the states which do require training are, in fact, mandating anything that could even remotely be considered responsible or serious training at all. Because if anyone actually thinks that the 24 states which do require some form of training before issuing a CCW license have instituted some kind of system that will prepare someone, anyone, to use a gun properly for self-defense, think again.
Know how long the ‘average’ gun fight lasts? About three seconds, and by the way, the target is usually moving during that brief span of time. Know how many shots are fired during such an encounter? Two, or maybe at best, three. Now when was the last time you or anyone you know went to a shooting range and tried hitting a target that was ten feet away with two or three rounds? And let’s not forget that the three seconds you have to complete this exercise also includes the time you need to yank out the gun.
Our friend Jennifer quotes a gun trainer in Kentucky who claims that his state is going about CCW training the right way. And in his case, what this means is a class which is mostly book-learning and QandA, but also includes a live-fire qualification at a private range. The qualification consists of firing at a torso target placed seven yards away, and the student has to hit the target 11 out of 20 times.
Forgetting for a moment whether hitting the target means putting a hole anywhere on the torso, note that the shooter can take as long as he/she likes, there’s no timing requirement at all. And the target, of course, is stationery, which means that neither the person doing the shooting or the ‘person’ getting shot is simulating anything that might be considered a real-life event. And this exercise is believed by an experienced gun trainer to be an effective way to determine whether someone should be able to walk around with a gun.
I’m not suggesting in any way that Jennifer Mascia’s piece is either misleading or wrong, and she gets kudos for pointing out just how easy it is in most places to get a concealed-carry permit and walk around with a gun. But the idea that anyone with a CCW has actually developed the skills necessary to use that gun to defend us against all those street thugs is some kind of sick joke. But such jokes now abound in the Age of Trump.