How should the firearms community respond to “Active Shooter” Spree Murder events and how do we train teachers?

With the news still being shared about another violent spree murder targeting innocents who would be very likely unarmed, unprotected and unprepared to defend themselves from a predator, the firearms community should take a deep breath before responding.

First and foremost, there are many families, friends and community members who need to be thought of. Neither today’s attack on  school in Connecticut, this weeks previous murders in Oregon, the still recent movie theatre violence in Colorado or any other event in history where firearms were used to harm people assumed to be unable to protect themselves is an attack on our way of life. These attacks were against real people. In today’s case, mostly children. Those people and those close to them should be at the front of our thoughts. With deepest sympathy and sorrow.
We all know that the “anti-gun crowd” is going to capitalize on this moment to drive their own agenda forward, but we should not stoop to their level. We should not be rushing out  ranting about how wrong they are out of one side of their mouths while are at the same time taking the opportunity to stand on a soap box and proselytize the obvious fact that children could’ve been saved  if the teachers had been armed and prepared to deal with such a threat.
This is a time to take a breath and consider the tragedy and loss. I think we must consider those involved directly and respond respectfully in whichever way we chose. Yes, this is exactly the type of event that can be twisted to advance a political agenda. Let’s not be the side that is getting wound up about the wrong things.

As always, my emphasis will be on training. I don’t think that we are likely to see a shift to armed teachers in the near future, but I do believe that we should be educating all people, especially those who work in high risk areas that are known “gun free zones”, in how to deal with the reality of firearms violence. One aspect of that education might include how access to a dropped or found firearm (from one of the murderers themselves, a fallen police officer of an armed citizen) could become a pivotal moment and the opportunity to end a spree killing with a very low level of training. A few years ago, in conjunction with an episode of The Best Defense TV Show, I prepared an essay that could be shared with anyone interested in having some knowledge about the defensive use of firearm. Please share with teachers, those you know in the medical profession and/or anyone else that might be resistant or unable to carry a defensive firearm, but could benefit from knowing how to use one in a worst case scenario like the attack that took place today in Connecticut.

Picking up a Dropped Gun….-Rob Pincus, co-host The Best DefenseIf you or someone you care about is trapped inside of an active shooting situation they are in an incredible amount of danger. If, during that incident they have an opportunity to protect themselves with a firearm that was found on the scene, we would certainly want them to have some knowledge of its use.
If you have someone in your family or workplace that you are interested in preparing to take advantage of an opportunity appropriately and safely and you aren’t able to convince them to get thorough training in the use of firearms, you still may be able to prepare them with a simple methodology for ensuring that any gun they find is ready to be used.

In developing this methodology and teaching it to “non-gun people”, we need to be sensitive to the fact that we are trying to make the best of an extremely bad situation. There are certainly situations where this may not help them, but this procedure is one that we believe will give them the best chance of being capable of using the most common firearms that they are likely to come across.

We know that the most common firearms carried by law enforcement or security are going to be so we can prepare a methodology for getting one into operation or finding out that it is not going to be of help. To have integrity, this method has to take into consider the fact that the person performing the task is not a “gun person,” they may never have shot or even held a pistol before. Our goal here is no small task: to prepare them to perform a set of complex fine motor skills, while in fear for their life, likely with at least one dead or dying person in close proximity and possibly after having witnessed the act of violence itself. The icing on the cake is that they are performing the task with a device that could kill them if they did it wrong. In fact, even if they do everything right with the firearm, their actions once they have it in their hand could get them killed by the criminal or even the responding police officers. Consider those last couple of sentences a reminder that this information is not to be taken lightly. In fact, you may come to the conclusion that encouraging someone trapped in an active shooter situation to pick up a gun is something that you don’t want to do. You may consider it foolish. Or, like us, you may think that being educated in how to take action to take control of your destiny puts the responsibility where it belongs: with the individual. You may feel that reasonable information delivered responsibly might empower someone to save themselves or others during a tragedy. You might even believe that this information could inspire someone to get even more information and become more capable of defending themselves. If you don’t agree with those last few sentences, please don’t distribute the information that follows. If someone tutored in these concepts were to hurt themselves or be hurt because of their attempt to act on the admittedly minimal education, we’re going to feel bad enough…. No need to drag you into it with a sense of doubt in the veracity of the reason we’re offering this information in the first place.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that after exhausting efforts to get someone to the range, to a proper training course or even to get them to a place where they can learn to operate the firearms themselves, you still feel it is worth the effort to give someone a guide to getting a gun working during these circumstances, you might photocopy the following page and hand it to those whom you wish to educate, and possibly empower, with this knowledge.

Picking up a dropped gun:

These Instructions are simple, in fact, as you read them prior to an event, they may seem ridiculously simple. During an active shooter situation, you are likely to be scared, confused and disoriented. “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” is also a simple instruction, but history has taught us that simple instructions are necessary if we expect tasks to be completed during extreme duress.

1. Keep the gun pointed away from your self and keep your fingers off the trigger.

2. Get a good grip on the gun as high as possible without interfering with the movement of the slide (top part of gun, which moves).

3. Pull the slide back fully and release.

4. If the slide won’t move, look for a lever to push out of the way.

5. After releasing the slide, look for levers on the slide with a red dot or an “F” for fire.

6. Keep gun pointed at floor, in front of you and stay where you are. If the threat appears in your area, extend the gun in and parallel with your line of sight. Focus on the threats high center chest. Touch and press the trigger repeatedly until the threat is no longer able to hurt you or others.

7. If you see law enforcement officers approaching or hear them close to you, put gun on ground and keep hands visible.

49 thoughts on “How should the firearms community respond to “Active Shooter” Spree Murder events and how do we train teachers?”

    1. I agree- recent events have shown murder does occur by use of- poisons, strangling & arrow- do we ban everything?
      We need to enforce existing law & spend more $$$ on mental health care- NOT more laws!
      Guns (or arrows, or anything) do not kill people- people kill people- bad people, &/or “crazy” ones.
      If we are unarmed we are at the mercy of the bad or crazies of the world. W@e have to protect ourselves, as the govt. & laws, obviously, can’t.

      1. ..well said Chet, as I said on another site -‘since man has existed we’ve known how to kill another man’. It’s NOT the inanimate objects, such as ‘guns, arrows, clubs’ that are the cause of the death, it is MAN! More money spent on Mental Health is certainly needed. In FACT there is message from Morgan Freeman on CNN talking about mental health and this incident. There are plenty of laws but, try to enforce them through the courts nowadays – there’s plenty of legal loopholes to get people off!

        1. that’s where the phrase ” the devil made do it.” what was that boy’s mother doing with him all of his child hood???? what was his father teaching him??? what type of influence did he get from others of similar mind set. I’ sure he got plenty mental stmualtion from the other massecures. and don’t forget the drugs….no self control!!

  1. How about you write an article on what I should say to my kids when I pick them up from elementary school later today? Bad timing to go on the defense!

    1. Greg,
      This is your job as a parent. Perhaps if there were not so many that have to rely on others on what to tell their kids, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Sadly, as gun owners, we have to be on the defensive at all times.

      1. You’re the man, Rob. Can’t tell you how glad I am to have you leading our community from the front. And my compliments to you for your response to a completely unnecessarily snotty post. Keep up the awesome work.

  2. Not ‘stooping to their level’ is what has gotten us into the start of constantly defending our rights that we are in today. I submit that if we don’t start hitting back the way they have been pounding on us, we will lose…again.

    1. I understand what you’re saying. It’s the gun laws inspired by liberals that causes these kinds of situations. If there had been armed teachers and/or administrators ready to go on the defense, there wouldn’t have been 26 people killed.

  3. First and foremost we all should remember there are families who will be forever changed by these events and there are things they have experienced we can never feel.

    In my opinion the firearms community is a very reactive population. We are defensive and we are always quick to express our feelings on laws against the second amendment. There a countless videos on YouTube where professionals and amateurs alike will list off reasons why people have irrational fears about guns. While they may be correct, it is still a defensive reaction. Insult anyone’s values no matter what they are and you will generate a similar reaction. Our problem in the firearms community is finding a way to be proactive rather then reactive. Education is more important then anything in this industry, but finding ways to educate people goes beyond learning how to operate a firearm in a classroom, it is the entire mindset of the defensive industry. Spreading our knowledge of how to handle impossible situations, teaching about “no win scenarios” this is how the firearms community should react. Before there are the “anti-gun crowd” people standing with signs, we should be out there. Not standing with signs, but donating money, educating people, turning this negative public opinion on it’s head and stop reacting. I always tell my students “with a gun license in your wallet you are held to a higher standard” We should hold ourselves to that standard at all times, not just avoiding arrest.

    1. you should not have irrational fears about guns but a rational fear about people.humans are crazy and there’

      s no cure for that.

    2. I am very saddened to hear of the Tragedy in Conn. I am a retired Houston Police Officer and never will agree that guns kill people. People kill people. Those who are evil will find a way do do their deed. Mass poisoning, a makeshift bomb from ingredients found under the kitchen sink, etc. I believe the only reason this country has not been invaded by our enemies is the very fact that our enemies believe that every American has guns and will use them. Yes, I am very sad about this situation and am grieving. However, I will not be in line to turn over my guns. I am very rational and a sane person, however, I certainly will take out anyone opening up on any citizen. If I or any other off duty or retired and armed police officer had been in the school or the movie theater in Colorado, possibly the shooter would have been neutralized. Again, the answer is NOT to ban guns in this country, otherwise we give up our Freedom. Ban those type of Games that allow them to kill on their X-Boxes. These teenagers are getting De-synthesized from murder. Again, I am grieved about this situation.

      1. James,

        Very well stated. Thank you for articulating so well.

        God Bless all those effected by this latest evil event.

      2. i’ve been playing video games for 20yrs and i’ve never killed someone.

        further, i play paintball which is a sport that appears to be violent in nature but is really tag at 190mph making the old fat guys, like myself, able to play and compete, without holding back (checkers with dad anyone?), against our children and their children.

        stop blaming video games… the video games don’t teach reality like people who don’t play them think they do.

        blame the parents who don’t teach their children right and wrong.

        1. R.L, i also agree with your statement, and we can look to the divorce rate….where was dad? Our families are not supported like they should be, young people are stressed with high unemployment, and our country sees increasing violence from the media in the Middle East. Our world is looking incredibly bleak to many at this moment, and they need our prayers.

        2. as achild we had guns. lots of them. I was taugt to respect the potential and danger. respect and caution. when igot older iwas allowed to go out and hunt alone and target shoot.when a child is raised properly he or she knows the responsibilty of guns and would NEVER ACT the waythese guys act today. any one who can’t control these “urges” can be locked up to find out what’s gone wrong with them.

  4. As always, Rob Pincus is an excellent representative of the community of law abiding firearms owners. I wish more people would read his articles, listen to what he says and view the part of his life we in the public get to see. Thank you for your insights and the intelligent and compassionate way you address such a difficult issue.

  5. My thoughts on this are 1 to 2 police officers, metal detectors, locked bulletproof doors that have to be buzzed to be opened during school hours, and if a faculty member can pass a FBI Evaluation allowed to carry on premises.

    1. sounds like you want the schools to be even MORE like prisons. Armed guards, bulletproff self-locking doors, metal detectors….. some schools are demanding RFID tracking constantly. Enough. Don’t punish the children for what society’s misfits perpetrate.

      Repeal the Gun Free School Zones laws, encourage (with paid for or volunteer training if need be) all law abiding adults to get their carry permits, somehow learn how to handle their choice of sidearm, and carry at school. As long as we sequester children into fishbowls, and as long as there are wierdos free to roam about, such things will continue.. UNLESS the “perceived reward to the shooter can be lessened or eliminated…. and this typically is a large number of victims. Half a dozen armed and skilled adults at that school would have made some difference, I have to think. It surely would not have made it worse…..

  6. Today is not the day to even remotely discuss gun laws. Nobody will listen because emotions are running high, and rightfully so. I cannot fathom 18 dead kids. I sat outide today watching kids at the church day care across the street who are about the same age as the kids in the episode this morning. I thought back to the time when I was in kindergarten and tried to “feel” what I might have felt if that had happened to me as a kindergarten kid. I couldn’t. It was far too alien to my logical mind. But what did happen as I watched those kids today. I cried. I hurt for the parents and grandparents. Not a single one of us can feel or understand the pain that these families are feeling and will for the rest of their lives. As I have grown older I have put a good deal of time into building a relationship with Jesus. He said that His sheep would know His voice. I can say this without a doubt, as I struggled with this mindless heinous act of today I am certain I heard Him say that the children were alright and they were there with Him in Paradise. And on that assurance I can now rest and look forward for everyone in this situation to find comfort and healing, including me !

  7. Sad we even need to talk about self protection and preservation. You will either be a survivor or a victim. The choice is yours. After spending years in the military, I would rather think of it as, survival instinct. I distanced myself from the weak because they are going to be the victim. Crying and whining will get you now where. Thank you for the info. 7th Special Forces, U.S.Army

  8. I have lost two sons by a robber(thug) who shot them. I remain a staunch advocate of the 2ND Amendment. One never knows when one will find themselves in a predicament where having a gun may save their life or the life of another. My heart goes out to the families in Shady Nook, Connecticut. I feel their pain.

  9. I live in Rural Indiana and Hunter Safety Courses are taught in the schools to help kids with the basic knowledge of firearm safety and what to do if a gun is found…. This should be taught just the same as a driver safety class or safety crossing the street…

  10. We need to get the mentally ill back in to mental hospitals and off the streets. To do what this individual did he has to be mentally unstable.

  11. Please God, be with the families of the victims through this unphatomable time of horror and evil. The victims, except the shooter, are wrapped in your arms and feel your loving Grace. Please God, do all in your wisdom to stop this evil and give us the knowledge to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
    In Jesus name I pray,

    I reserve all the emotions flying through my head and know that in this state of mind, rationality in talking about how to keep innocent citizens and my God, in this case so many children safe from evil is, first, not for this moment, and second, any response needs to be rationaly thought through. Nothing will bring the people back who are gone, and right now that seems to be the one thing we all must remember. I beg all sides not to fly off at the mouth. There is only one truth, aside from God wrapping His arms around the victims, is that this was evil incarnate and that is where the focus should be–how do we, can we, identify evil and prevent evil from proceeding? I don’t know the answer, but protection of the innocent is a topic we have to tackle.
    Please God, help.

  12. The problem of balance persists. I planned to write my dissertation on “Prediction of Violence in Adult Offenders.” Only two predictors were of any value, age and previous history of violence. I see no way of predicting violent behavior with any real hope of success. The value of possession of handguns for defense of self and others is evident.

  13. We are reaping the whirlwind of the first full generation of witless morons who were reared on the wine of violence that became their parents. In place of a positive male role model, they had their uber-violent video games, brainless movie and rap music heroes who espouse death and destruction for as the cure for society’s ills. In place of a positive female model, they were allowed to gorge themselves unsupervised on every sort of pornography available on the Internet. Instead of the moral compass of God who was in the classrooms of the land up until the early 1960’s, they were nurtured by a society that held no regard for either God or personal responsibility. This is the new generation of anti-social sociopaths and it’s only going to get worse. Grabbing guns won’t work – trying to fix society won’t work. It’s gone too far for too long for us to fix it. Maybe its time to invite God back into our lives and pray for Him to heal our land. Or, is it too late for that too.

  14. My heart is angry and weeps for the families of the tragedy in CT. My conspiracy mindset wonders if this is yet another “planned incident”, not unlike the movie theater incident. Does this not support the agenda of the governing elite, ie. eugenics, anti-second amendment, deflect attention from the activities of D.C. Was Adam brain-washed, mind controlled? There is the technology, and there are the evil people who will use it. God Bless this country.

  15. It’s not the gun laws. It’s not the guns. It’s the republican political system that the founding fathers knew would not work in the interest of the people and they knew that one day — which has come — the people would need protection from their own government; no longer for the people by the people. It created a gun culture where a firearm is more valuable than testicles and guns have become the national fetish. It’s too late to change it but you should know that a gun is not a friend, it is a piece of weaponry that can be used for good and evil. Mainly evil.

  16. Why is so many sadden by this? We kill more than this each day and call it Woman’s rights. We have evil in our country and do not say a word, but we approve of evil even in the Churches. It’s OK to kill a child by crushing his brains, but do not use a gun. What evil people we are..

  17. Positively not! Wild fire is not the answer. spray and pray may keep the shooter’s head down, but is likely to hit innocents. Pisto;s are hard to hit with without training and practice. add to that the heat of the moment, and you have a real disaster, because they will hold on to the gun when responding officers arrive and get shot!!!

  18. so unless you have fired and practiced with a pistol, just secure it out of the reach of miscreants.

  19. As stated earlier to a friend on FB, I’ve been contemplating both today’s crisis and the other recent shooting tragedies. Outside of the usual arguments, one must ask why such senseless events keep occurring? Firearms, after all, have been in American homes since the birth of our nation. So what is different? What variable has changed? Could it be the aggressive secularization of our society? Could it be the unfettered attempt to destroy the Judeo-Christian values that provided the rock-solid foundation of our republic, accompanied by the moral absolutes necessary for its proper functioning? The kind of values that instilled the strong families and united people that were the envy of the world? This, in my opinion, is the core of the problem. Today’s shooting is yet another symptom of a nation that is growing increasingly Godless and progressively pathological. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we should be dropping to our knees and seeking the mercy, forgiveness and wisdom of our Heavenly Father for a nation – and a people – that has lost their way.

  20. The motto of the left is never let a crisis go to waste and if you need a crisis manufacture one. I wish I had no cause to even suspect this degree of manipulation, but after over 50 years of watching the anti RKBA mob in action I really believe they are capable of anything to further their agenda. While in college I had a couple of psychology instructors obviously more interested in manipulating minds than in curing disease. It is certainly possible to program weak minded individuals to do almost anything. The Jonestown debacle is concrete proof.

  21. It should be a big effort for mental health services to kick into gear to do a better job for individuals and families.

  22. The same day a chinese villager in China took a knife to an elementary school and wounded 22 students and staff. People who wish to kill will use whatever means. Timothy McVey used a truck load of fertilizer. Motor vehicles kill the most people in this country. I don’t hear of banning motor vehicles or fertilizer. So after guns what next, knives, rocks, iron pipes? In Britain crimes involving knives got so bad that you can’t be caught with a knife on your person or you get jail time.

  23. Keep in mind, the Conn. shooter broke numerous laws to do his despicable deed. He killed his own mother. He stole her legally purchased guns. He transported those guns. He broke into the school through a window he broke. He then killed the innocents. There are at least five laws he broke. Laws to control guns, and safeguard innocents. If he was willing to break all those common sense laws, what new laws could be employed to have stopped him? The answer is, none. His appears to have been a mental disorder. Only laws to deal effectively with those needing mental health care could help. Gun laws will only serve to make gun grabbers feel good. They seek to punish any who do not believe as they do. Like many liberals, they seek to control others through draconian laws.


  24. While i have never heard the term PRESS the trigger, i would say pull the trigger with your index finger, there will be a kick or recoil, wait a second and repeat pulling the trigger. I applaud your instruction to the people that do not know fire arms.
    Rather than Ban guns i think all students should have Verbal class instruction NO WEAPONS present.

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