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.