Concealed Carry Needs An On-Ramp

Or at least, a better on-ramp than what we have now. We say “Carry your guns, people, it’s a lighter burden than regret!” and then we do nothing to actually help people get used to carrying a gun.

We ask them to run a marathon, without teaching how to prepare for a marathon.

Fortunately, there’s at least one training team that’s doing something about that problem, and their model could change “Gun Culture 2.0” forever.

Go check them out at Ricochet.com.

Armed? Who, me?

I’ve got a family trip coming up to a couple of Orlando theme parks that use metal detectors and bag searches to make sure they’re “weapons-free” zones.

Uh-huh.

I’m not planning on carrying a firearm with me into the parks, but I do want to carry a knife with me because a knife is useful for more than just defending your life.

After a few searches and reading a few blogs that I trust, I settled on the Boker Plus 01BO010 credit card knife.

The knife is skinny and hides easily. It is, essentially, your daily carry folding knife’s anorexic midget cousin. Without the clip, it’s just a few millimeters wide, and the size is very conducive to carrying inconspicuously.

That’s the new Boker next to my usual covert carry knife, a CRKT Pazoda 2, and a AA battery on the right. The blade on the Boker is taller and longer than the Pazoda, but the handle is a little shorter, which means I can only grip it with two fingers instead of three. Yes, that is an issue, but no, I’m not too worried about it. This is not a fighting knife, as it takes me two hands to open, but it is very useful thing to have with you because it’s a knife, and knives are handy.

The blade is 440-C stainless, and out of the box, it was quite dull. This did not please me, but a few moments with a sharpener solved that problem.

Did I mention it’s easy to conceal? Believe it or not, the Boker is in this photo, tucked in between a couple of dollar bills.

What’s the first rule of camouflage? Help the people see what they’re expecting to see, and in this case, the aluminum in my Ridge wallet will set off the metal detector, along with the metal in the knife.

Overall, I’m very happy with this knife. Yes, there were other, more covert options out there that are better fighting knives, but I’m not really too concerned about fighting my way through the line for “It’s A Small World”. Rather, I want a knife with me because of all the other things a knife can do, and this little Boker seems about right for that job.

There Is No Such Thing As The United States Of America When It Comes To Guns.

Spend a few minutes reading this post from David Yamane on who is usually guns to commit violence in America, and who is not. It’s well worth your time. Here’s a brief sample:

Taking an aggregate statistic like this, we often hear about how much higher the homicide rate is in the United States than other “similar” countries.

But there is a problem with such population averages: they gloss over important differences between subpopulations within the United States. For example, according to “Firearms Injuries in the United States,” the firearm homicide rate for those 25-34 is more than four times greater than the rate for those 55-64 (8.01 vs. 1.47). The rate for men is 6.13 and for women 1.15. The rate for non-Hispanic Blacks is 14.78 compared to 0.99 for non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Of course, these differences in subpopulations are related also to economics, and economics are closely related to residence in the United States. As I have argued previously, the problem with averages is that no one lives in “The United States.”

And it gets better from there. Go read it all.

I’m In.

Armed Parents

What should pop up in my social media feed right after I finished those last two rants but the news that Melody Lauer is bringing her Armed Parenting Class to Homestead Training Center in December of this year.

I’m in. I am SO in. I’ve been fascinated about this class from the moment I heard about it, for two reasons:

  1. The name of the course is *Contextual* Handgun. Think about that for a second… most (if not all) handgun training takes place in a context-free environment where we students are forced to adapt what we learn to our own lives. The instructor talks about presentation from a holster and post-engagement scan and assess and blah blah blah and then we students have to figure out what may or may not work for us.
    And let’s face it: If I was a single guy in the my late 20’s with no family, the threats that I might face and my reasons for defending myself or others would be quite different than they are now, with a wife and two young sons. If the reasons why were buying guns these days isn’t just “It’s a gun, and I can,” it makes sense to create training classes that are more than just “it’s a gun, here’s how you shoot it,” and yet nobody is doing that.
  2. People who I know and trust (and Bob Owens as well) have taken this course, and they’ve raved about it.

Really looking forward to this.

Bowling Against Columbine.

Stay-in-Lane-

Thinking a bit more about this post, have you been inside a bowling alley recently? The best of them are something like the Headpinz bowling alleys, which combine elements of a Dave & Busters into the current “midnight bowling” craze to produce something that’s closer to P.Diddy than it is to Earl Anthony. The worst of them? The worst are stuck in 1963, without the cool “Mad Men” retro vibe.

Think about how that applies to gun ranges. There are some good indoor ranges near me, and there are some really, really bad indoor ranges near me, but they all have one thing in common: Aside from the occasional zombie shoot or the late, great Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun, no one, and I mean NO ONE is trying to make range experience itself into something that is FUN, rather than something like taking an loud algebra exam.

Why not?

Gun nuts like myself (and most of the people reading this post) need no excuse to go the range beyond a) we have ammo and b) we want to shoot it. The act of going to the range and shooting a gun is all the amusement we need.

That’s nice for us, but just as outdoor ranges are competing against kayak rentals and driving ranges and other forms of outdoor amusement, indoor ranges are competing against other forms of INDOOR amusement such as bowling alleys, movies, etc., and from a quality-of-experience perspective, going to an indoor range ranks right up there with getting your tires rotated or parent-teacher night at the local middle school.

As they are set up now, most indoor ranges (in fact, shooting ranges in general) suck the amusement out of shooting a gun, not create more amusement beyond what comes from actually shooting a gun.

If we want Gun Culture 2.0 to thrive in a post-scarcity world, that has GOT to change.

 

The Possible First, Then The Unlikely.

I have two young sons. They tend to do stupid things. They have a better chance of getting hurt and needing first aid than my chance of needing a spare magazine for my concealed carry pistol of choice. Therefore, do I carry bandaids and other such things with me pretty much all the time?

You bet I do.

Because of my lifestyle, the odds of me needing to use a Bandaid are pretty good. The odds of me getting into a gunfight and needing  to use a spare mag are incredibly small. The stakes, though… the stakes are incredibly mortal.

After Class Report: AED/CPR/Trauma First Aid With Geoff Fahringer

CPR Training In Naples

I’ve had my CPR certification for over a decade now and it’s up for renewal yet again, so when Step By Step Gun Training announced they were doing their first-ever CPR / AED / Trauma class, I jumped on the opportunity, especially because of the last bit, the trauma care part.

The last few times I’ve taken CPR training, it’s been in a class targeted towards teachers and caregivers to the elderly who need to be certified in such things, and so any talk of advanced first-aid care (and especially trauma care) was quickly glossed over.

Not this class.

First, a word about the instructor. Geoff Farhinger is a veteran Collier County SWAT officer and police dive instructor. He’s a judge at the national SWAT competition up in Orlando and is trained in the the Florida Tactical EMS program as well.

In short, he knows his stuff.

The class was four hours long, and it was a nice balance between instructor-led teaching and hands-on (literally) training. It wasn’t all-tactical, all the time, and it wasn’t aimed at healthcare providers, either. The balance of CPR, AED and trauma training in the class was just about right for we armed civilians, and I walked away knowing even more about all those subjects than I did before, which is the goal of this, right? As armed civilians, we are the REAL first responders (cops, firefighters, EMS… they all arrive after we do) and as first responders, we should be ready, no matter what the emergency.

Is a heart attack a possible occurrence here in God’s Waiting Room, or is drowning possible here in the swimming pool capitol of the world? Is an accidental discharge into a person more likely for me compared to others because I’m around guns more often than the average person?

Oh yeah.

So while I did walk away with a better knowledge about how to set a tourniquet and a glimmer of an idea of how to deal with a gut shot or chest wound (more knowledge on those things in the future would be a good thing for me), the fact is, what I learned was the beginning of my journey, not the end. The training I received in this class is highly relevant to my entire life, not just my life as an armed civilian, and that makes me want to learn more. However, I am much more confident now in my ability to protect my life with my first aid/trauma kits, and (real or not) I’m feeling a little better about my ability to deal with what life may throw at me.

Which is the reason why we’re doing this, right? There was a couple in the class learning CPR who had their adult daughter pass away recently after an unexpected adverse medical reaction. The couple started CPR, but despite their best efforts and efforts of the paramedics and hospital staff, nothing could be done.

Kinda brings it all home, doesn’t it?

If you get a chance to train with Geoff or take a similar class that covers all the bases of the basics of saving a life, take it. The next class is coming up in a few weeks and if you’re in south Florida, I highly recommend you attend.

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

I was kinda surprised how many limitations there were on gun ownership when I moved to Florida. This state has a reputation as being “gun friendly” (aka “the Gunshine State”), but in reality, it’s just not so, and it’s not just the lack of open carry. For instance, you don’t realize how much time you save on a busy Saturday at the gun store by not having to do a background check on a gun purchase if you have your concealed carry permit, as you do in Arizona. And then there’s the need for a concealed carry permit and a bunch of other things that  add up.

The Smoking Barrel has a great little round up of per-state gun laws that puts it all in perspective. It’s pretty useful, go check it out.

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between states that have good laws regarding gun ownership, and good laws that cover the defensive use of guns, and according to Andrew Branca (who knows a thing or two about this sort of stuff…) Florida has the best laws for armed civilians who need to (legally) defend their lives, so we got that going for us.

After-Class Report: The Law Of Self Defense With Andrew Branca

I’ve read his book (twice), and I’ve watched all the DVD’s on self-defense law I received with my ACLDN membership at least two times each.

So why would I want to spend the money and time to also go to Andrew Branca’s Law Of Self-Defense Seminar?

Because going to the seminar means you’ll learn what Andrew Branca thinks is important about self-defense law, not what I think is important about self-defense law as I went along in his book. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the seminar (not necessarily the book) is that a legal strategy of self-defense only applies after you admit to the fact that you used deadly force against someone to defend your life. Your defense, essentially is “Yes, I shot him/her, BUT it was justified because I did it in self-defense.”

See the problem there? You’re admitting that you shot someone, and you’re betting on the fact you did it legally because it was in self-defense. If that self-defense justification goes away, you’ve just admitted you used deadly force.

The book and seminar are both built around five principals of legal self-defense (I won’t say what they are here: Spend the money for the book, it’s worth it. However, all five elements he speaks about are CUMULATIVE: All of them must be present in some form or another for a self-defense claim to be valid. If one or more of those elements aren’t present, everything we talked about in the “but” part of your previous statement (“Yes, I shot him/her, but it was justified”) vanishes, and the “Yes, I shot him/her.” is all that remains.

See why this is so important now?

It’s important because law cares about the law, not your intentions. Just as it is up to us to know the rules of the road before we drive a car, it is up to us to learn the rules of self-defense as well. If we blow through a red light, the law doesn’t care if we did it because we meant to do it or because we didn’t see the signal light change, the law says we’re getting a ticket.

By looking around and watching other drivers, we can learn that running through red lights is a bad idea (although the drivers here in Florida do give me pause about this fact…). Yes, we can learn a little bit about the rules of the road by observing the environment and we can learn a bit of the rules of self-defense from the environment of gun forums and magazines around us, but if I learned to drive from watching the antics of my fellow drivers here in Florida, I’d be dead by now.

And yet so, so many gun owners think they know about the legalities of self-defense because of what other gun owners tell them.

Whoops.

A few more thoughts…

The class had a professional environment and was blissfully free of the usual “Can I shoot him now? Ok, what about now? Ok, now?” kind of questions that are so typical to concealed carry courses and other legal seminars. Also, the seminar really brought home the need to have at least one option for non-deadly force handy at all times. We are 5x more likely to be faced with a non-deadly force than deadly force, but are we 5x more likely to get training in the use of non-deadly force like OC spray or combatives than we are to get pistol training?

If not, why not?

When if comes to how and when you can use deadly force, what you learn about this class about the legal complexities of using deadly force in defense of your property and others should swiftly disabuse you of any “sheepdog” notion. The law gets really, really tricky when you start to talk about the use of force to help a third-party, and the law is even less on your side when it comes to using deadly force to defend your personal property.

You are not Batman. You are not charged with wiping out the criminal element in your town, so don’t do that.

Serious drivers are not content to mimic the bad habits of their fellow drivers, they take the time to learn the rules of the road from serious people. If you are serious about self-defense, you should take the law of self-defense seriously as well.