In the aftermath of a national story about a local instructor in Ohio who fired a round into a student’s arm in a classroom (and apparently had also negligently shot a round into a little girl a few decades ago), I was asked to comment on the possible value of the government setting standards for firearms instructors. I was interviewed on this topic by Raquel Okyay for a story in the conservative news publication Human Events, where she has a column called “Guns & Patriots“. Of course, I do not think that would be a good idea.
“The firearm industry does a pretty good job in determining standards in training; the government should not get involved,” said Rob Pincus…”Experts in the field do a better job at research, informing the public, and providing useful resources than the public officials. When the government gets involved in something this large, it fails miserably.”
In fact, I think that just about anytime that the government sets standards for training, they are set far too low and things quickly become much more about procedure, bureaucracy and CYA than they do about truly training people. Any quick glance at CCW training courses or the average police qualification requirements should make that obvious.
Personally, I think the government should get out of the way completely. When it comes to defensive firearms, I am a fan of “Constitutional Carry”. If you can legally own a gun, you should have the option of carrying it for personal defense. That said, I think it is up to the firearms community to set the standards for training and competency and that we should all be doing a better job encouraging people to seek out higher levels…. students and instructors. We need to get past the ego driven drivel that leads to complacency… we’ve all heard silly statements to rationalize not training or practicing with defensive firearms:
“I’ve been shooting all my life.”
“I learned everything I need to know about firearms in the *******” (insert your favorite: Army, Police Academy, Marine Corps, etc.)
“My grandfather taught me to shoot, I’m good.”
“I went to the range with my neighbor’s brother’s friend… he’s a cop.”
If we hold ourselves to a higher standard, if training becomes the norm instead of the exception, there will certainly be fewer accidents, there will certainly be more people prepared to defend themselves and our communities and country will certainly be displaying a higher level of responsibility when it comes to firearms ownership. The standard should be high for instructors as well as students. The community should be assertive in its condemnation of practices which put students at more risk than is necessary to achieve training goals.
Keep in mind that “training” doesn’t have to cost thousands or even hundreds of dollars. There is a ton of information available for free on the internet, there are training conferences held around the country throughout the year that are incredibly affordable and you can set a great foundation for your training and practice at the range through inexpensive books and videos on personal defense topics. There are plenty of stops on the way to responsible proficiency, you don’t have to ump straight into a multi-day class halfway across the country.
To read more of my thoughts on this topic, check out the full article over at Human Events:
PINCUS: COMMON SENSE PREVENTS GUN INJURIES, NOT NEW LAWS