Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Responsible Self Defense

I’ve done it many times. I’ve advised people to arm themselves and take control of your own security. Let me now speak of the responsibility of that advice.
First and foremost is safety. If you don’t know anything about guns, don’t just think you can learn from watching the “Die Hard” movie series. Learn about handling guns, storing guns and ammo, children and guns, and shooting guns from competent instructors. Let me repeat, COMPETENT instructors! There are many instructors out there because frankly, it’s not that hard to become an NRA instructor. If you have a little experience and take the course, you can become a certified NRA Coach or instructor. There is a difference between NRA certified range safety officer (RSO) and an instructor. I’ve seen some RSO’s pass themselves off as instructors. Now they may be qualified to teach whatever they are saying they can, but to be truly sure, these individuals should really take the certified instructor course in whatever they want to teach (pistol, rifle, shotgun or muzzle loader) to give confidence to their students. I’ll be the first to say that there are many people trained and competent to teach these disciplines, but without that certification I would be careful. At present I am not certified. If I decided to teach again I would take the time and expense of becoming certified. I would owe that to my students. Just because you are certified doesn’t mean you are competent, but it’s a starting point. If a certified instructor is no good, their reputation will precede them. When picking one, ask around. Gun shops, gun shows, and shooting ranges are good places to find local instructors.
Storing your weapon is important. “Well Burn,” you say, “I use my weapon for self-defense so I won’t be storing my gun.” That may be true, but keeping a loaded, unsecure gun is asking for a problem. If you have children or grand-children who will be living or visiting your home you’d better figure some way of securing your weapon. For me, I’ve always had guns in the house and children. Lot’s of children. How do you cope with that? First I taught every child, boy and girl, safety and shooting. My children know the 4 gun safety rules. I drilled them into every child including my wife. One of my sons was at a friend’s house where his friend’s Dad was cleaning guns. The Father asked my son if he wanted to hold a real gun. I guess he thought he never had. My son said “Sure” and took the gun and cleared it like he’d been doing it his whole life. (He had!) Teaching respect and safety with a weapon is your best defense against any gun accidents. The next is to secure your weapons. I still have teen agers at home. They are very experienced with guns. If there is a gun on my bed from a day at the range or just being cleaned I know that they will either leave it alone, or pick it up, point it safely, and clear it. But even so, I lock up our guns except for the self-defense weapons. These are secure from small children (my grand kids, who have been taught gun safety by their parents) but accessible to anyone who knows where they are and how to get to them for self-defense. You may need to be creative with this. Don’t depend on a “hidden” loaded gun, or a gun “up high”. Little kids are amazing at getting into things, or up high.
If anyone is coming to your home with small kids that may not be taught safety, you might just break out the chamber locks or put them in the safe. If you are still concerned about a self-defense weapon being available, carry at home. There’s nothing more safe than a loaded weapon in the hands of a trained, experienced gun handler.
Know your local laws concerning weapons carry and storage. Follow those laws even though you may not agree with them. Make sure you know that you are complying with the law so that if anything does happen, you will have the security of the law on your side. I may not like a gun storage law, but if a negligent discharge happens and you have to answer for it, you want to be in compliance with law.
Most LDS members, or really any other Christian religion, even non-Christian members of other religions, would not think of harming another living thing. It is offensive to them as it should be. But if you allow an assault to happen unopposed you become an accomplice and share the guilt. I’ve heard this argument from men and women alike. Killing or harming another is not following Christ. I’m not sure I agree. I’m not advocating violence and certainly not killing. But are you ready to do either? Therein lies the responsibility. Being self-sufficient means defending yourself. As good as they are, can the police really protect you? In some cases yes! In many cases no. Defending yourself is the answer. Being a Mormon means we subscribe to what counsel modern prophets give. In 1995 President Gordon B Hinkley presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. In this document certain truths and beliefs about the family are explained. As a Mormon Father, I take this counsel seriously. This proclamation says: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” I call this the three P’s, preside, provide , and protect. Most Fathers provide for their families and understand that responsibility, they get a job. The church teaches Fathers how to preside in love and righteousness. What about protect? Do we just say “The police do that…” I don’t think so. Nowhere in this proclamation does it talk about the police, or government, doing this. The Constitution talks about providing for the common defense. I don’t think that takes away any responsibility. Fathers should protect their family. Don’t pass the buck to the police who cannot do the job.
I recommend a book titled “Latter-Day Responsibility: Choosing Liberty Through Personal Accountability” by Connor Boyack. This book gives good information about responsibility.
Too many people buy a gun, get their concealed carry permit, and then shoot their gun 3 times a year and carry every now and then. This is very irresponsible. First of all you are not prepared to defend your family. Shooting is a perishable skill. I have shot guns for 30 something years yet I can see a difference when I miss a shooting session. I usually shoot at a range as often as possible, but at least once a week. I dry fire about four to six days a week. That’s what it takes me to stay proficient. Everyone is different and you should find your training curve. I love to shoot at the range but time and ammo don’t always let me. If you really want to defend yourself and your loved ones, you will take the responsibility and get the proper training. With that training will be practice. Otherwise you may do something with your weapon that you had not planned on. Experience on the range will help you to make correct decisions. You must do more in your practice than stand and shoot at a paper target. Paper targets have their place but most defense situations will be different than that. So shooting from behind things (cover), in different positions, under some stress, is what you need to try and do. Some of you may be saying “Burn, it’s not worth it.” Then please, don’t buy a gun and especially don’t carry one. You will just be a problem for all of us out there and may give gun carriers a bad rep. But if you so desire to carry a firearm, do what you need to do. There is great responsibility in carrying a gun. You may defend yourself or others but there is an obligation to others around you to not shoot an undesired target. There is even an obligation to the toad you shoot. Filling someone with holes because you can’t stop him is like carpet bombing in Viet Nam. Let’s drop a 1,000 bombs on an area and see if we hit something important! I don’t think that’s a responsible way to shoot.
Shooting can be work but it can be very enjoyable. For me it is therapeutic. So when you see me advise readers to buy a gun and take your defense into your own hands, the responsibility is also implied.
Be responsible.

Semper Paratus
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