And the new anti-gun push begins…

091613_otr_timeline_640Before all the facts are in and the details of what really happened are known, predictably, the spin machine is already running. News outlets were quick to seize on yet another opportunity to vilify guns, especially the AR-15 (whether one was actually used or not) and semi-automatic pistols. The anti-gun push has already begun.  Never mind the fact this happened in a city where gun ownership was nearly completely outlawed until 2008 and even since then has been largely impractical. So much so, Emily Miller developed an entire news column, blog, and book on the process of acquiring a firearm in the District. But the reality is, gun control failed here, miserably. It only served to create a target/victim rich environment that ultimately claimed the lives of twelve people and injured at least a dozen others.

mediaguidetofirearmsThis morning, it is clear that the media has no clue what happened. In the firearms community, we all know that few in the media know a shotgun from a rifle and fewer still know an M-16 from an AK-47.  let’s not get into the differences between an M-16 and Ar-15 but, that too is a well known point of confusion and ignorance.  Still, we’ve already seen reports that an AR-15 was involved as well as a Glock.  It’s hell to be black…typically any semi-automatic handgun that is black in color, is a Glock.  Actually, that’s racist and we know “journalists” aren’t racists. The reality is, if it’s a handgun or looks like a handgun…It’s a Glock to the average journalist. Of course, they were also quick to say the guns were legally acquired but, they’ve had to retract/bury that because later, the report was video indicating this all started with a shotgun and that all other firearms taken from dead/injured first-responders. The latest news is that an AR-15 may not have been involved at all. The reality is, we don’t know. None of us outside the actual investigation really knows what happened and it may be weeks or months before we have all the details.

The fact we don’t know will not stop the anti-gun crowd from throwing the first brick and predictably, those of us on the other side of the issue will have to bust open our own bag of rocks. But I submit that a renewed debate serves no purpose other than a political exercise for those interested in playing those games.  The harsh reality is, all it takes is a typical garbage bag to kill and disarm your average sentry or police officer if he’s not expecting it. From there, it would be easy enough to acquire new weapons at the scene.  A goal oriented person is going to do damage no matter what legislation we pass so it would seem then there is little to be accomplished by additional gun control measures unless we’re going to take to disarming everyone, especially, the government and its agents, solely for the purpose of eliminating their weapons as a potential hazard. After all, we certainly don’t want NYPD showing up to save the day…They’ve shot at least 15 innocent bystanders in the 12 months in efforts to subdue a grand total of 3 suspects. Given those odds, I’ll take my chances with the bad guys having guns.

And finally, in the days ahead, we’ll go from interviews with friends and family who are predictably “shocked” and “can’t believe he [the shooter] was capable of such violence…” to finding out the shooter had a wide range of mental health issues that may or may not have been treated but, were still somehow documented. Failing mental health is perhaps the single most common thread among all mass murders and has long been a major problem in this country. Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech, the list goes on. Not to mention that fully half or more of all firearm related fatalities are suicides, another symptom of mental illness.  But like petulant children, liberals and the media outlets they control, will insist on vilifying the tool if ever there is a gun involved.


Confirmed: George Zimmerman Detained By Police After Wife Said He Threatened Her Family With a Gun, Assaulted Her Father

Confirmed: George Zimmerman Detained By Police After Wife Said He Threatened Her Family With a Gun, Assaulted Her Father |

Really, George? I know what a bunch of you are thinking.  Innocent until proven guilty! And the man was acquitted but, damn. You’d think you’d go out of your way to keep your nose clean and avoid any and all trouble or controversy after the experience Zimmerman had over the last 18 months.

An I again recognize it may not be a popular position but, I for one have never felt comfortable with the “hero” status this milk toast butterball has enjoyed in many conservative social circles. There are those of us who do not hold him blameless in the shooting that turned into a national circus but, in the interest of justice, we couldn’t see hanging a man when the evidence did not support a murder conviction or even voluntary manslaughter.

None of that meant he wasn’t a bonehead who willingly walked into a situation that got out of hand faster than he thought possible. None of that means he didn’t make decisions that put him in a position where he had to defend himself. May be it’s not fair or overly harsh but, this man’s decision making skills really do seem to be less than optimal.


Picking your next CHL instructor

On our last show, we had a caller with an excellent question that we totally fumbled. Why that was can’t really be explained other than to say no one’s brain was engaged at that moment in the studio. At issue was, how do you know whether or not you’re going to a good (properly accredited and competent) concealed handgun license(CHL) instructor?

Well, let’s start with the basics. All CHL instructors in Texas are certified by the Department of Public Safety in the materials required for CHL class. And until very recently, that certification alone was all that DPS required to teach a CHL class. However, this was based on an incomplete interpretation/enforcement of the law.  Going forward, that has been corrected. At issue was the fact that law specifically states that to be a qualified handgun instructor, one must;

  1. …be certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education or under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, to instruct others in the use of handguns
  2. … be a person who regularly instructs others in the use of handguns and has graduated from a handgun instructor school that uses a nationally accepted course designed to train persons as handgun instructors
  3. …or be certified by the National Rifle Association of America as a handgun instructor.

This has in fact, always been the law but, it hasn’t been enforced. DPS is correcting that going forward and requiring that all instructors and instructor applicants have or otherwise obtain at least one of the above certifications.  The good news is that most CHL instructors have long carried these certifications but, some may have allowed them to lapse and will have to renew to maintain their current accreditation as a CHL instructor.

In my case, I have been previously certified an NRA Basic Pistol/Rifle Instructor, formerly a Hoffner Certified Tactical Handgun Instructor, and an assistant instructor for Defense Training International with John Farnam among other things. As I’ve been focusing on USPSA/IDPA competition and my own personal training rather than teaching in recent years, I’ll admit that I let some of these lapse since I wasn’t spending every weekend in a classroom.  But, I will be renewing my NRA Pistol Instructor and CHL instructor certifications at a minimum this year as demand for my time as an instructor has increased.

So what makes someone a “good” CHL instructor besides these basic requirements?  Does one have to be a cop, soldier, or snake-eating, certified bad-ass? In a word, no.  A long time ago, a shooting instructor told me there are three kinds of people involved in any profession or activity.  First, there are “performers.”  Those who display a very high degree of proficiency but, they aren’t necessarily good at sharing their knowledge with others…Many performance artists fall into this category.  Then you have “teachers.”  Those who may not be able to perform an activity with the utmost grace/proficiency but, they are competent with a knack for breaking a concept into its base elements and offering that information to others in a comprehensive manner to help them perform at a high level…(think Bela Karolyi, the famous olympic gymnastics coach). And finally, there are people who can perform and teach at a high level…These people might be the golf pros at your local golf course, for example. Ideally, you’d want your instructor to be the latter but, at a minimum, you want him to be a good teacher.

Beyond the basic certifications I mentioned earlier, this last concept is difficult to discern without actually interviewing your potential instructor and/or asking for references. Good instructors are more than happy to provide references if asked.  Some instructors are staff/resident instructors for your local range. More often than not, this means the person has already been vetted by the range owner.  No range owner wants an instructor who is causing customers to leave in tears, scared, or feeling they didn’t get their money’s worth out of a class.

On a final note, there are some red flags that may not by themselves be automatic disqualifiers but, they may indicate you could do better. Beware of the instructor who is “giving away” a CHL class far below market price.  Right now, that’s $75-$150 per person for a first time CHL and $45-$85 for renewal.  An instructor who is THE in house instructor for an range might be able to offer a cheaper class.  The $59 class at famously advertised at a local range is an example of a staff instructor being cheaper than the market rate but, this is the exception rather than the rule. Also beware of the instructor who, other than CHL, has no other association with shooting or the firearms industry.  This would be the hairdresser/minister/shoe-shine guy who moonlights as a CHL instructor and has no other previous background related to shooting. At the other end of the spectrum is the phony tough guy who claims to be something he’s clearly not (i.e. a colonel in the US Navy, part-time US Marshall, Mossad, SOF-Delta, super-secret ninja squirrel, etc). And in the end, if it feels wrong, it probably is wrong…Your instructor should inspire confidence and understanding, not fear and ignorance.


A matter of perspective…Why I’m NOT mad at Hawthorne PD for shooting Leon Rosby’s Rottweiler

For the last few days, the FB and Twitter universes have been a buzz with threats against the police and photos being passed around featuring memes about the police arresting you and killing your dog just because you’re recording them.  Now I’m not saying some of this isn’t well deserved criticism brought on by over zealous officers over stepping their bounds and trampling on the rights of citizens. However, I don’t think all that is justified in the recent case of Hawthorne PDs shooting of a Rottweiler in California. So, allow me to play the Devil’s Advocate for a second before we crucify an officer and his department.

Having watched the video above, knowing what has happened as a result of this video going viral, there is no question in my mind the officer MIGHT have handled the situation differently if he had it to do over again.  But, I’m not faulting the officer either. Based on the force continuum taught in most reputable use of force programs and the law as I understand it, the officers’ actions are legally justifiable as it applies to all of us and even tactically sound according to many officers I’ve asked.  The officers’ priority during this incident was maintaining control of an active scene during which they had an unknown number of persons with whom they were dealing and it was obvious they were basically trying to lock down that block while the made entry on a house in the background. Leon Rosby interjected himself into that scene by parking on that block with his music turned up and stepping into an active scene where everyone else was smart enough to stay back or at least in their own yards as I could see with one person in the video. When asked to leave or at least stay back to avoid being considered an obstruction, Rosby did not comply.

Keep in mind the police were dealing with what appears to have been a barricaded suspect not 100 yards from Rosby. The officers told Rosby to turn down the music and step back. He refused and didn’t put his dog away until it was clear the officers were going to confront him again at which point he volunteered himself to be handcuffed. What he could have done before that was get in his car and leave. It’s highly unlikely the police would have chased him if he’d left. At the very least he could have walked across the street to the same vantage point as the person shooting the video above as instructed the first time. Again, if this was really about the police having a problem with you recording them, then how is it the folks who provided us the video of Leon’s dog getting shot, did so without getting arrested or molested in any way? And don’t you dare say it was because he was black!

Wonder how the politicians will explain it if Chicago’s crime rate goes down?

Chicago prepares for new concealed carry gun law – Yahoo! News.

Predictably, the anti-gunners are screaming there will be blood in the streets as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn decides whether or not to sign the bill that ends the last concealed carry ban in the country.  News flash folks, you already have blood in the streets! Chicago is among the most violent cities in the country and has been since the Prohibition Era. Like Washington D.C. before them, Chicago and most of its surrounding communities enacted bans on handguns and most modern long arms beginning in 1982.  It is well known that you must have a valid Firearm Owner IDentification (FOID) card just to buy ammunition in the state of Illinois. One must pass a background check to get said FOID card.  So even with all of these measures in place, it would seem that denying law abiding citizens the right to own guns has done little to help.