So I have been a member here for some time. I have been reading and learning a great deal from many of the diaries on this site. Generally I am content to read and see the views expressed by others. Today I posted my first reply. After reading a few more diaries I decided I would try to publish one of my own and see how it goes. Many topics I will likely never post on. LGBT issues, political issues, what to do about Iraq. If I posted there I would be preaching to the choir. The one issue that I tend to disagree with on this site is firearms. I have been carrying a firearm in the line of duty since I was 18. I have had a great deal of training with all types of firearms from defensive applications, tactical applications, and law enforcement applications. I am currently a firearms instructor. I never call myself an expert, I let my students and co-workers give me that title. That being said, I feel I have useful information to bring to the table. I am 30 years old and have dedicated most of my adult life to understanding the gun and the law. I'm going to go way out on a limb here and try a different angle, this will work for some, and probably wont work so well for others.
The diary I read that finally provoked me to write a diary stated that it was the job of the police to protect you. To begin, the courts have determined that it is not the job of the police to protect you. If you or a family member are the victim of a violent crime, try suing the police department because they did not prevent the act from occurring. Our prisons are full of inmates who have committed murders. The police catch these psychopaths (Sometimes, last statistic I saw was 35% of murders solved in Chicago and that was either 2008 or 2009). But each of these prisoners represents a person the police were unable to protect. Sure, justice was done, but that does not bring the victim back. The statistic that should create more concern is the 65% of killers who haven't been caught and are still out there. I wont go into rape or other violent crime.
I believe that self defense and the protection of ones family falls to the man (or woman)of the house. If my loved ones are violently attacked I am not dialing 911 as someone is sticking a knife or putting a bullet into a family member. First of all, I cant dial the phone that fast. Secondly, the police can't drive that fast. When you or a loved one is violently attacked by someone with the obvious intent to kill or maim, your only immediate option is to stop that attack. Many feel that this can't happen to them or their loved ones. I see people who have lost loved ones on the news every night. I had a cousin who was 21 years old. She was abducted going into work in a good neighborhood. I wont go into details about what her kidnappers did to her, but she was eventually killed. This world can be a wonderful place at times, but it can also be a place of unspeakable violence and evil. Even if we aren't physically destroyed by that violence, if you watch a loved one die in front of you and you were powerless to stop the attack, I can assure you that you are psychologically destroyed. I have seen it. To me, carrying a gun is not a political issue. Okay, carrying an AR-15 to Chipotle is over the top and if I saw a group of people walking into a place I was eating at I would be more than a little concerned. But regardless of political affiliation, everyone has the right to protect themselves and their family, because no one is going to do it for you.
The key to owning and carrying a firearm is taking responsibility. I agree with many of the diaries I have read. It's harder to get a drivers license and drive a car than it is to carry a gun. Right now, gun ownership is a personal responsibility. With the craziness and evil in this world, I suggest every law abiding progressive liberal own a gun if it is lawful for you to do so. The bad guys are going to have them, the conservatives are going to have them, why shouldn't you? With that statement, I would add a few notes. While these suggestions are not the law, in my professional opinion, a responsible gun owner should consider the following:
Am I responsible enough to own a gun?
Guns are like any tool. They do what the operator commands them to do. I have never seen a gun "just go off". Someone took off the safety and put their finger on the trigger every time. Being responsible means knowing how to handle the gun, how to secure it properly from children and those who should not have access to it. Also, assess yourself. Do you have a short temper? Illinois has had concealed carry now for 5 months and no one has been shot by a concealed carry permit holder. If you have a tendency towards violence when angry, do yourself and society a favor and pass on the gun and go to pepper spray.
Secure your firearm!
This is a flat no brainer. If your gun is not concealed on your person, it is locked up and secured. Get a gun safe, I would suggest something with a combination, kids have a way of finding keys. If it's not in your holster (Which should be a model that covers the trigger), it's locked up. Don't leave it in your jacket or in your purse laying on the table for your kids or anyone else to find. (See above "Am I responsible enough to own a gun")
No one was comfortable and ready to hit the open road the first time they got into the drivers seat of a car. Firearms are very much the same. Get training and lots of it. If you want to carry a gun in Illinois it takes 16 hours of training. This is not nearly enough for most people to be comfortable and competent with a gun. Get training, get private lessons, then get more training. Believe it or not, handling a gun can become as comfortable as driving your car, and the gun will never surprise you with blow outs or brake failures.
Another no brainer. Guns can protect you and your family during a violent encounter, but there is a great deal of responsibility and liability when carrying a gun. There are very decent insurances out there for firearm owners. Second Call and USCCA Defense shield are two great options. It will cost between $10 - $40 per month (I suggest going closer to the $40 / month). This covers everything from civil damages to legal defenses if you have to use your firearm.
Did I mention this one already? Well it bears mentioning again. Every tragic firearm accident I have looked at comes down to only two causes. Ignorance or Carelessness. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Carelessness is a failure to apply the rules of safe gun handling. There is no other cause of firearms accidents that I am aware of, they all stem from either Ignorance or Carelessness. I have many co workers and friends who are gun owners. Some new gun owners, some have had guns their whole lives. I do not personally know anyone who has had a "firearm accident" that resulted in injury or death. This is because they have all been trained properly. If you are going to get a gun, GET PROPPER TRAINING!!!
So my first one is a long one. This is just another angle on firearms from someone with firearms background and training. After reading back through what I have put to paper (so to speak), I do not see anything that should offend anyone. I know there are people of like mind out there as I have trained alongside plenty of them. I do not generally train the public, but if you are in the Chicago area and interested in getting some training I may make an exception. If not I know of two excellent firearm schools in the area where instructors are of like mind or have no political affiliation. I know how much it stinks to go for training and get stuck with an instructor spewing political crap while you are trying to learn to shoot. If you do decide to take this angle and are looking for training feel free to shoot me a message and I will gladly point you in the right direction... I look forward to being a part of this community and hopefully bringing something unique and useful to the table.