Is gun ownership dangerous? It can be if you do not train… and/or if you are stupid. My wife pointed out an article in the Grand Rapids press the other day (Click HERE for the online version) and after reading the first paragraph which gives an account of a June 2016 incident in Jackson, Michigan where a home owner shot and killed two men trying to burglarize his car and garage, I stopped reading the rest of the article. Basically the homeowner noticed the two at 6 in the morning, grabbed a .22 rifle and went out to his porch where he called out to them and challenged them. Both suspects took off running and the home owner chased after them, firing rounds, and killing both men. Absolute tragedy, and in my humble opinion could have been avoided… And I believe this could have been avoided NOT if the owner did not have gun, but IF he had properly trained and practiced and THOUGHT through scenarios in his head.
In fact the vast majority of incidences used by the anti-gun people are incidences where I see a clear example of lack of follow up training and consistent training as a responsible gun owner. The vast majority of people who get their conceal carry permit do the minimum to pass the class and that’s it. They may never put rounds through that gun again, or it may be at least a year or two before they do so again… If ever…
I remember many years ago responding to a call from a lady who said her ex was banging on her front door and windows, and that she had a restraining order against him. When we arrived the guy was gone, and while talking to the lady she mentioned that she had recently purchased a handgun. She pointed to a Glock laying on the kitchen counter with an empty magazine laying next to it. A box of ammo sat next to that. The lady went on to say she had no idea how to load the magazine nor how to insert it into the gun nor how to use the gun. At first we thought she was joking, but no, she was able to buy a gun and had absolutely not the foggiest idea how to use it at all!! I STRONGLY encouraged her to get classes and I did point out to her that if something had happened and she got hurt or worse with her own gun, the anti-gun people would raise her up as an example of why people should not own or have guns around.
But beyond doing the minimum and getting the CPL permit, what can people do? They can go to the range as often as possible and believe me , I get it, life happens, jobs, families, bills, and so on. BUT if you are going to carry a weapon for self defense you need to realize that it may also be someone else’s life you may be saving! Consider this incident from January 2017 when a passing motorist observed a police officer being attacked, and ended up shooting and killing the suspect who was attacking the police officer! (Click HERE for the story)
If you want to carry concealed for protection, than you need to accept that you may be needed to protect someone else. That’s the reality of it, you owe it to yourself, your family and the law abiding world around you to be as fully prepared as possible for that moment when “what if” happens. And being fully prepared means consistently practicing, drawing the weapon as you would be carrying it, concealed. During commercial breaks on TV, with the weapons completely clear and safe, slowly draw from a concealed carry over and over again. Slow and deliberate. Develop that critical muscle memory. We had a saying “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”.
I think much more importantly though is to go through scenarios in your mind, AND even go through shoot/No shoot, decision making scenarios. A lot of gun ranges will offer advance classes like that and I strongly encourage and recommend a person go through that at least once a year. I strongly believe that if the homeowner in the news story had taken some training and practiced and thought through scenarios, there is a very good chance he would have not just seen the suspects running away but RECOGNIZED there was no immediate threat to his life or health or a threat to anyone else. It would have just been a property crime, a pain in the ass but covered by insurance. Had he trained and thought through scenarios it is very possible he would not have RUN after them, he would have remained on the porch, doing his combat breathing to stay in control, and not allowed himself to get sucked into escalating the situation.
Gun ownership can be dangerous if you are stupid too, just like these guys (Click HERE for news story on youtube) In this day and age, if you own a gun and think it is a good idea to put on body armor, wear a mask and walk around in public heavily armed with long arms and handguns then you. Are. STUPID!! Gun ownership in your case is very dangerous because you are liable to get killed, just like these two yahoos almost video taped their own death. I personally do not believe in open carry, it’s not for me, I prefer not to advertise that I am armed, I do not feel I need to prove anything to anyone or try to impress the world around me or make people think I am an “operator”. And I don’t really care if anyone else wants to open carry, that’s on them, BUT if you are going to open carry than for crying out loud USE SOME BASIC COMMON SENSE!!!! We had an incident a few years ago here in Grand Rapids where an open carry advocate dressed up in camo pants, and an olive green military looking jacket and walked around a school parking lot during school time carrying some weapons (there are several youtube videos on different incidences of the same type). With recent school shootings in mind, do you REALLY think it is a good idea to walk around a school while openly carrying? What do you think parents are going to do? In this case several people called the police and of course there was an “encounter” with police while the subject was detained, and released once it was determined that he was authorized to open carry (Michigan is an open carry State as long as you have a CPL). The man was detained for about 5 minutes but he used the encounter to try to file a Federal lawsuit about his rights being violated. So he was looking for an encounter with police. What he did not think through was – WHAT IF a parent in the parking lot at the school had HIS or HER CPL and felt fear for the children and confronted or engaged the open carry advocate? I can not honestly say that had I been the parent with a CPL in the parking lot that the open carry advocate would have been given a chance to explain himself before I shot him firmly convinced that I was preventing another school mass shooting.
These guys walk into a police station looking like the North Hollywood bank robbers (Remember that incident in 1997?) to protest a traffic stop, and exercise their right to open carry. Seriously guys? In this day and age with officers being ambushed and attacked and killed… Obviously nothing was thought out, it was all out of pure stupid selfish reasons that could have got them killed. These men in my opinion demonstrated they are not capable to making sound decisions, that they are the type to escalate and create a stressful situation, and therefore should not be carrying weapons at all. They are going to get someone hurt with their demonstrated stupidity. Anyone who is so self righteous and selfish as to go out and create an encounter with police “just because” they want to “exercise” their right to open carry is an extreme danger to themselves and people around them.
If you are going to carry a weapon, BE RESPONSIBLE to be as trained and as prepared as you can be, and be absolutely aware that your right to open carry does NOT mean you can go around causing fear and stress in the general population of an area that does not normally see open carry, being a responsible gun owner also means knowing what the big picture is, such as recent terror attacks or school shootings or bank robberies and so on…If you open carry be aware that it may cause someone who misunderstands your intentions to shoot you first before you can pontificate about your right to open carry.
** Featured photo is my Glock23 in an appendix carry tandem rig by @triple5custom #triple5kydex
Good article John. A lor of good points. Now if ony people would act on them…. ????