All of us have an inherent right of self-defense. Concealed carry or open carry training be damned. Right? But is the trend towards constitutional carry without any training necessarily a good thing?
In all likelihood, no.
Before you get a rope, please don’t get me wrong; I believe in your right to protect yourself and your family. I’m also a firm believer that everyone should have some quality training so they can actually use their firearm effectively.
As of this writing 24 states now have constitutional carry, meaning little to no training is required to carry a gun. While this is great for freedom, you should always strive to better yourself in all things. The efficient use of your firearm in a self-defense encounter, included.
Carrying in your home, your property, your business, your car all would appear logical and just. But what about carrying a handgun on your person in the public every day, open or concealed?
Do you feel a certain level of training should be involved? I certainly do. That’s not to say that training can’t be of benefit for home, car, and property, because it certainly is. But I especially believe in solid training before you carry on your person day to day in public.
The reality is that little or no training does not fit the bill for the level of safety and judgment required to effectively carry, and therefore possibly use a gun, if necessary, in public for self-defense.
Outside of your private property, it’s not just your life and your family, but perhaps an innocent person’s life not to mention your life savings that could be placed at risk when a gun is mishandled. You are taking on a greater responsibility when you make the decision to carry into the public realm every day.
Consider this, in any law enforcement agency or military basic training today, there are countless hours and weeks devoted to firearms training and qualifications. As civilians we may not be preparing to go into to battle, but if you are deciding to carry a firearm on your person daily, then certainly some key training protocols should be sought out.
Many times today I see first time gun owners purchase a firearm with self defense in mind, buy a box of ammo based on the gun store clerk’s recommendation, and literally never spend time on the range to learn basic operating procedures and safety of said firearm.
Please consider the following if you are a first-time gun owner or even a seasoned veteran despite the carry laws in your own state:
Attend a credible concealed carry or basic handgun course
Even though many states have become a constitutional carry state, good instructors still offer concealed carry in those states. Why? A CCW license is still required in many states if you wish to travel armed. Key topics such as gun safety, state/federal laws, conflict avoidance, use of deadly force parameters, and basic defensive shooting are often central to these courses.
All such courses normally have live fire as part of the class which is critical to understanding and demonstrating safety of your firearm. Additionally, these live fire sessions allow for you to perform correct operating procedures of the gun.
Keep advancing and challenge yourself
John Farnam, a well-known nationwide firearms trainer and author, once said, “Only serious students need apply.” I would have to agree when it comes to safe and proactive gun training. Too often I see students that want to do the bare minimum.
Move past this thinking. In today’s world of active shooters, rising crime rate along with a barrage of criminal and civil litigation, you should continually be proactive in your commitment to training.
Beyond concealed carry or basic handgun look at training such as defensive pistol (to include dim light shooting), force decisions (simulated confrontations) and emergency medical (tourniquet use, good for defensive living gun or no gun), to mention a few.
Remember, shooting is a perishable skill. You can’t go to the range once every year or two and expect to perform well under an immediate stress event should it occur.
Not all instructors are the same
In just the past few years there has been an explosion of firearms and self-defense instructors. Many have seemingly showed up overnight. Do some homework. Look for instructors that can provide proof of state or federal licensing and accreditation. Does the instructor have a well-established background of instruction in firearms, safety and legalities?
Are they insured?
While I believe current or past law enforcement and military trainers are some of the finest, I don’t necessarily think they hold exclusive rights to imparting valid gun training. In fact, instructors that have advanced through the civilian ranks so to speak can provide some of the best connectivity to effective firearms training for the everyday citizen.
Recently I posted an article titled “Five Non-Gun Defense Techniques for Daily Living”. The suggestions and tactics contained there are essential for trying to avoid confrontation and living defensively. However, we all know sometimes, despite out best efforts, stuff happens.
Having a firearm on you or in close proximity every day is taking your role as a good citizen seriously. Regardless of all the newest constitutional carry states goes the responsibility to be well trained and educated in the realm of defensive living and safe firearms practices.