In the comments section on the last entry here, regular commentator Liberal Dave posits the question of whether there should be mandatory safety training for those who own firearms.

If you had asked me enough decades ago, I would have said, “Makes sense to me.”  Of course, back then I was a young cop with a lot of ego invested in the gun I wore, and in the fact that firearms responsibility had been an understood ritual in my own homes since I was a little boy. I had grown up in an armed household where shooting was recreation for my dad and my sister and me (and tolerated by an understanding, if anti-gun, mom).  At age twelve, working in the family jewelry store, I legally carried a gun (an anomaly of the time and the place, or at least the place). This led me to talk to lawyers, cops, and at least one judge, which led me into legal libraries at pubescent age, and in turn led me into a career I did not expect at the time. When we get proud of something we have or do, we seem to instinctively resent anyone “getting it cheap” when we’ve worked for it.

Later, I matured more.

I was a twenty-something patrolman when I responded to a home invasion that the man of the house fought off with a .32 pistol and a 12 gauge shotgun.  I was damn glad he had succeeded and no good guys got hurt. And, ya know, it never did occur to me to ask what his training was, because he had handled things just fine.  (He asked me anxiously if he was in trouble.  I reassured him that he wasn’t, and told him where he could get a good deal on a larger caliber pistol.)

I was in my early thirties when I spoke as an expert witness for a female senior citizen who was charged with criminal homicide after killing her abusive common law husband in self-defense when he tried to murder her for the second time in a matter of a few days.  Attorney Mark Seiden won her acquittal, and I was proud to have been a part of that.  The lady in question lived in a trailer and could not have afforded training. She couldn’t even afford her own gun. After the first murder attempt, she had borrowed a cheap .22 from her son. The three shots she fired in the self-defense incident – all center mass hits – were the second, third, and fourth shots she had ever discharged from a firearm in her life.

If she’d had to pay for a firearms safety course she couldn’t afford, she would have been helplessly murdered.

Here’s how I see it.  We live in a free country that cherishes its independence, and whose citizens have historically lived up to the responsibilities which accompany their liberty.  We don’t require people to pay tuition to go to a Home Safety Class where they learn to keep

Drano out of reach of children and put safety plugs in electrical outlets when their rug rats are crawling across their floors. People are expected to know that.  We don’t require a safety course to buy a chain saw; it is understood that people who need chain saws either have friends or relatives who can teach them how to safely use them, or will ask the dealer to show them that before they lay down their money.  Historically, the same has worked remarkably well with gun purchases.

We have more guns in private hands in America than ever before. Yet, accidental firearms deaths seem to trend proportionally downward, not upward. This reaffirms my faith in the innate responsibility of my fellow Americans.

Liberal Dave makes the point that we are required to have Hunter Safety classes before we can hunt animals, but not before we buy a home defense gun we might have to use against a homicidal member of our own species.  My response is this: The hunter goes into the woods intending to humanely kill the animals he or she wishes to legally harvest.  The responsible armed citizen has his or her gun in the hope they will never need to fire it at a living target, and self-assured that they will do so only in a life-threatening emergency.  It’s a state of mind issue.

Do I recommend training? Of course: for decades, teaching the gun has been my primary livelihood.  There are few people who would reap more financial rewards than I would if mandatory training for firearms ownership became the law.  But I can’t support mandatory training, because Life and Reality have taught me that the good people who need firearms for defense of themselves and their families often can’t afford professional training, and security and self-defense should never become the sole province of the rich and privileged.

But, hey, that’s just my view, presented here since it has been asked for.

What’s YOUR take on the issue?


  1. Mas, I could support mandatory training under one condition: that it be made part of the high-school curriculum nationwide, and be the firearms safety component of military Basic Training–to include safe handling of fully automatic weapons. *insert evil laugh here*

    And us who are past the Public Ed system and don’t have a DD-214 or LEO Qual credentials in our files can go back and get the cred free of charge. 🙂

    See how they like THAT

  2. VERY interesting perspective! Something I have mixed feelings about given the number of “idiots” out there hunters safety/gun training or not. Much to ponder.

    • Judy, yes. Keep in mind:

      Responsible people will be responsible.
      Accidents will be accidents.
      Criminals will be criminals.
      Idiots will be idiots.
      Culture will be culture.

      All this in spite of laws, training or mandatory training. Accidents we can often do basic things to manage that include training and teaching. Less so but still possible with idiots.

      Life is complicated. Or not so much. It depends. lol, 😉

  3. Mas, enjoyed heading your opinion. However, you seem to base your objection to mandatory training on your belief that it would be a financial burden on some.What about those folks that could well afford training? You wouldn’t be in favor of mandatory training for those folks, would you?

    • THIS is where I make up for my donation/losses. My base clientele is professional athletes, legal councilors, judges, politicians and the more affluent. They do pay the full fee.

  4. Fully agree with the article Mas. Let’s say I want to get my mother a handy .38 Special revolver she can keep at home for defense, and if she is only capable of practicing infrequently, who is to say it won’t serve her if needed? I had an experience about 2 months ago which gave me some first-hand experience about firearms “training” and the physiological response to stress. I heard loud thumping on my front door at night, and grabbed my Glock 21 in response. Luckily it was only a small child from the neighbor’s home. Despite all the practice I had with that home defense pistol, the sudden rush of adrenaline really skews your motor skills and seconds feel like minutes. Although it turned out no real danger was present, I am quite thankful for this real learning opportunity. When I stood at the ready, my mind was racing over the thought that I might have to shoot someone right now. The feeling and sensations that overcome your body can never be understood while shooting at paper. I

  5. We have all been to the range and watched “that guy” who made us wonder how they ever got their hands on a gun. But, for the most part, they always learn, and don’t scare us as much and sometimes develop into pretty good shooters.
    Having received the benifits of some expert trainers I hope everyone gets training, but I went many years without it and didn’t shoot anyone.
    I still agree with requiring training for CCW, but just to keep a gun in the home,I do not. I. Know the die hard 2nd Amendment guy will scream, but “well regulated” part included training and drilling in colonial times.

    • I. Know the die hard 2nd Amendment guy will scream, but “well regulated” part included training and drilling in colonial times.

      True enough… but remember, they did not PAY for that training. Those who knew helped those who did not. It was a shared team effort. Drill, marksmanship, tactics, all were learned together during regular muster sessions. Their communities put up a little bit of cash to compensate them for the powder and whot they’d use during training, and they got a small stipend each month for being part of the militia. NO ONE had to sign up for a class, show up, and “get instructed”. Friends and neigAt NO COST to anyone. And with NO gummit interference.

    • That’s an interesting point. How often we clamor for our rights without accepting the responsibilities that accompany them.

  6. Great article Mas, I agree with your view, and advise, 150%!!

    But, If we ever get around to “Requiring Training”, I would want to see it where “All Non-Gun Owners, especially Parents, with Children, should be required to have “Firearms Safety” Training, taught in Public, and Private, Schools, just so these kids won’t accidentally “Shoot themselves, or someone else”, due to their own lack of knowledge, or their Parents stupidity!

    As an incentive, those who refuse/avoid such training, would be barred from suing anyone else, should they, or there Children, be wounded, or killed, in such an occurrence, however, they should still qualify for the Annual Darwin Awards!


      • Thanks, I always liked the one about the Idiot who Strapped JATO, Rocket Assisted Take Off bottles to his Old Chevy, and then went Airborne, and terminated Himself against the side of a vertical Canyon wall!

        Yes, I think it was later disproved, but I liked it anyway, as an example of who, and what, the Darwin Awards signify!


  7. Mas

    The basic problem with freedom is that people are…free. They can use that freedom responsibly or irresponsibly. If selfdefense and bearing arms is a Civil right; then how can anyone argue that the right must somehow be earned?

    Ideas are far more powerful, in the long run, than mere weapons. I wonder what the upshot would be if we required wieldes and fbearers and promulgates of IDEAS were required to be trained before voicing ideas. Hmm- how bout state required training and licensing for preachers? Newspaper editors? Broadcasters?
    The power of the vote, wielded by individuals as they see fit, potentially reshapes the entire American polity every four years, for good or for Ill. Issues of war and peace, policy and taxation or decided not by trained academics or political scientists, but by people who don’t know the difference between a filibuster and Dave and Busters. How about mandatory voter training- not partisan but just in an even-handed responsible way so that non-elites and ignorant voters don’t cause damage to the ship of state… mmmm… just 4 hours of training before they get a voter registration card.
    Required preacher training and editor training and voter training doesnt sound very good to me, but it’s exactly the same thing. When you must jump through hoops to exercise a basic right like owning a gun, it’s no longer a right. Now it’s a privilege and a grant of privilege from the Dovereign. Grants of privelege can be WITHDRAWN. The English Bill of Rights Of 1689, the document that recognized the right of law abiding Englishmen to keep and bear arms was repealed in the 1920’s because it made Parliament nervous. When a right is no longer a right, but a privilege ,cancelling the privilege is easily done.

    I too am a professional firearms trainer and MAG-IC graduate. Mandatory firearms training would certainly benefit me financially. The problem is, it would diminish my freedom and yours, and that of EVERY law-abiding American. It would put us on the British slippery slope to firearms being s privilege, not a right; a privilege capable of being extinguished like a candle in a shift of the political wind.

  8. I always thought that basic firearm safety training should be mandated in public schools–something age appropriate like the NRA Eddie Eagle program for elementary kids followed by actual shooting instruction for 9th grade teen agers. Somehow, I cannot envision today’s NEA-member teachers and administrators allowing this. When I was a kid in the 1940’s, I brought a couple of my family’s guns to school (unloaded) for “show and tell.” Don’t let your kids do that today.

    • waiting till ninth grade for hands on training is far too late. I’ve worked with kids as young as six on the live firing line with the Appleseed program. They pay attention, learn, and shoot well. I followed one nine year old young man I’d had on the line some years back who did extremely well. He now regularly hits what he’s aiming at with his .22 rifle at four hundred yards. Impressive. He was one of the safest shooters on that line, and learned quickly. Nine years old then. I folowed an eleven year old for a few years who came to one of our shoots. He went back home with his family, got his own M 1 Garand, and at 12 was asked to join the elite rifle target club at their local range, previously restricted to adults 18 and over. How did this happen? The men in the club watched him one afternoon as he was practicing at that range with his M 1. They were so impressed at his demeanour, care, accuracy, general attitude they approached his Dad about having him on the team. Now in his late teens, he is one of their better shooters in competitions.
      The one size fits all meme just does not work.

    • Heck, how did the world change between 1985, when spent .45 cases were the hit of my kindergarten’s Show & Tell one day, and 2015, when you can’t even MENTION the “dreaded G-word”?

      You can swear in ways that’d make even the most hardened Navy SEAL blush or describe graphic crudity that’d make the most hardcore sleazy porn-pusher green around the gills in our public schools, but don’t you DARE mention firearms in any context other than NEA Dogma… and they have the nerve to try to hang the Fascist label that so properly belongs to them on US?

    • James A. Boatright,

      Wow! Taking unloaded guns to school for “show and tell” in the 1940s. About 1972 I used a .30 caliber ammo can as a lunch box for two days. The Vice Principal said he didn’t like the idea, but he didn’t stop me. The can brought me too much attention, and it was a bit heavy for a nine-year-old, so I think I got a Speed Racer lunch box after that.

      I suppose if someone brought an ammo can to school now-a-days, some administrators might call for a SWAT team to handle it.

  9. I agree with you whole-hardheartedly Mas. In my Beverly neighborhood of Chicago on this very night, a criminal tried to commit an armed robbery against an off duty Chicago Police officer. The officer fired at him and as of now it is thought that he missed. The criminal escaped, attempted to carjack a woman’s car at a gas station a few blocks away and then ran into a parking lot in a shopping center. He has not been found as of now. I didn’t know all these details as I walked our 5 month old puppy in the neighborhood earlier this evening. But I knew something had happened as a police helicopter was circling just a few blocks from me and many police cars were slowly patrolling the streets and alleys. The .45 ACP 1911 in my shoulder holster along with the Kahr PM9 in my ankle holster (along with the spare magazines I carry for each) brought comfort to me as we finished our walk. I cannot imagine not being able to protect myself and good people around me, and frankly, I can’t understand how it is that so many others don’t feel as I do.

    I am fortunate that I can afford both high quality weapons and high quality training, both of which I have availed myself of. But the thought of limiting others’ right of self defense because they are economically disadvantaged is distasteful to say the least.

    • “I am fortunate that I can afford both high quality weapons and high quality training, both of which I have availed myself of. But the thought of limiting others’ right of self defense because they are economically disadvantaged is distasteful to say the least.”

      Not distasteful, heartbreaking. Please reconsider the shoulder holster.

    • and if someone doesn’t have the same personal responsibility that YOU do, they could be found guilty of “something”, even though they are the most responsible persons in our society.

  10. I agree with Mas, but for an additional reason.

    I have taken courses under Clint Smith and John Farnam, but I don’t believe that mandatory firearm training should be a requirement to either own a firearm or get a carry permit. Do I think it’s a good idea? You bet!

    However, once you mandate training for what is a God given right, those folks who are anti-gun will use that requirement as a reason to construct/legislate an almost impossible process to clear that hurdle.

    You can get a carry permit in New York today. However, the hurdles are so great with that process’s requirements as to insure only VIP politicians, celebrities, and other elite folks will ever be able to “satisfy” those requirements.

    I encourage everyone to acquire such training, but it should not be mandatory.

  11. Yo Mas: Once again a well thought out and educated bit of advice in a sensitive but deadly area of study.

    I however do feel that at the bare minimum, the basics of firearms handling, load & caliber choices and why; safety issues and when,where and how you can legally defend yourself and family should be discussed, in say a 4-6 hours course. This could also include a brief discussion on holster selection, marksmanship, getting off the “X”,and most important of all “Situational Awareness”, followed by Emotional Survival after a Defensive use of a Gun, via the Legal System, and the value of having Insurance to cover ones self.

    Not a bad idea to close with a recommendation to read “ALL” of your well written tomes! The development of a proper mindset is critical,in which you teach very well in all of your books and articles.

    Nuff Said!! Merry Christmas to you and the Princess! Thanks Mas…proud to have been a student along with my wife in a few of your great classes! Officer Tom

    • Oregon requires a three hour classroom course, incuding ALL of what yu mention, typical cost is $35. Once in a lifetime is all that is needed. And THAT is excessive. Having carried in my home state for only a few months, I had made it my personal business to educate myself. On my own. The only expense was the price of some good books used, from Amazon or a local thrift shop. Yes, at least three of those were by Mas. I still have all those books and more. Countermen at good gun shops are an invaluable asset. Thjeir time was “paid for” by my purchase of a number of handguns from those stores. Value added service, if you will. And they were glad to do it.

      The problem is, the liberal rats running this nation have the mindset that NO ONE can learn on their own, they need someone to “teach them”. But, as Mas alluded to above, WHO DECIDES what is important to learn? And not learn? I grew up in an age when if someone wanted to learn something, he’d spent time in a library, ask an uncle or neighbour, get an engine and tear it apart to see how it all works, get your hands on a gun and take it somewhere safe and simply learn how to use it. I learned how to drive a big rig (yes, tandem drive Kenworth with 45 foot drybox) by finding one at a truck dealer, buying it, sticking the key in the hole, and driving it. I’m not the only one I know who learned that way. Scared to death fo the first few miles, learning how to shift a twin stick gear train was an adventure. But that truck made me a LOT of money over the years I drove it commercially. No one got hurt, the truck never broke beyond simple stuff not my fault, and I never missed a load or delivery.

      Today I;d have to spend several thousand dollars for a “CDL course” before I could ever sit behind the wheel in one of those things. I was a far safer driver than the average lout terrorising the interstates out here on the WOrst Coast these days. And THEY’ve been through the schools.

      Mandating “driver training” for high school kids has also produced the most wretched drivers possible and turned them loose on the populace. The highways were a lot safer when Dads taught their kids how to drive properly. Mandating anything subjects everyone to the lowest common denominator. Our accident rate out here is largely driven by the incompetence of the drivers being churhed out by the “driving academies”, some of them “taught by police officers”. Who says THEY know how to drive well? They taligate, speed, jam lanes, fail to signal, do unpredictable things….

      No, don’t mandate ANYTHING like that. Let US get the training WE need the way that suits us best. WOuld I like to take one of Mas’ classes, or spend a week at Front Sight? You bet. Right now I can’t even afford the fuel to get there, even if I sleep in the van while I’m there. Let alone the cost of the training and ammunition. But I can practice in my backyard, safely and legally, so I do. And read.. which I also do.

      Mas is spot on in this.

      • Tom Kelly, I agree. We NEED training. The cavalier attitude of many sorta scares me, but i scratch at it one or two students at a time. Ya gotta know how to read and write in MANDATORY SCHOOLING, else wise your First Amendment rights are compromised. Mandatory 1st grade through 6/7/8. Why not Second Amendment training? Guns are so prolific in our society/culture, it would only make sense to have firearm mandatory training.

  12. Mandatory training is another on the long list of schemes designed to make it prohibitively expensive for people who are less wealthy and less beige to exercise their civil rights.

    Licensure to carry or even to own, punitive taxes and fees for purchase of firearms, ammunition, and safety accessories, safe storage laws, forcing shooting ranges out beyond the reach of public transit, requiring background checks (with a fee) even for gifts or loans between friends, restricting product designs or ammo supplies to artificially inflate market prices… It’s the same as requiring a hereditary title, land ownership, literacy tests, or poll taxes to vote.

    And to what end? What violent felon gang banger ever faced a charge of not locking up his gun back in his crib, or was ever dissuaded from crime by a per-bullet tax on retail ammo sales?

  13. Beyond the cost of training, who is going to write the curriculum?
    Last session one of our anti-gun Legislators (Even Texas has a few) proposed HB 3340, which would have added to the four-hour License to Carry class:
    (1) information regarding:
    (A) the importance of an owner of a firearm safely storing the firearm, particularly when a member of the owner’s family or household is at risk of suicide;
    (B) the warning signs that a person is at risk of suicide; and
    (C) the rate of suicide in this state, including statistics regarding the method of suicide used; and
    (2) the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

    Guess what the class would look like if he controlled the whole thing.
    Or, worse than off-topic, anti-gun authors could write a test no one could pass.

    • And the syllabus would continue to grow like our government and our laws. And be about as effective and efficient.

      • could you please provide us with the syllabus for the Maryland Hand Gun Qualification License or the Maryland Wear/Carry permit instruction? There is NONE! But the training is REQUIRED.

  14. Great common sense as always, Mas.

    Proud to have graduated your courses multiple times. I had received training from some vets, ex military guys and I was good. You and your staff make carriers better.

  15. Having recently discovering “Mas,”I have a darned hard time finding anything to disagree with what you put in print. I just purchased two of your books and found them both interesting and informative. I also took your advice and purchased Branca’s book “The law of Self Defense.” Between those three books I discovered how little I knew about Self Defense, but I am now a damned sight smarter and more confident about carrying a sidearm. I believe this will be a never ending educational process. Something I still think I can do at seventy two.

  16. I agree that firearms training is often not needed and I don’t think all those people killing each other in Chicago have any training, but the killings continue.

    • Firearms training is both needed and necessary. However, it should not be mandatory. You confuse the acts of killing with self defense.

  17. There’s another factor outside of money to consider, and that’s time. On practical grounds, most of us oppose waiting periods because they add to the risk of those in eminent danger. A required training course would do the same thing. As anyone with experience on the subject will tell you, a restraining order is only a piece of paper that depends on the lawfulness of the person subjected to it. A woman being stalked could find the delay to get training the difference between being assaulted while defenseless, and repelling an attacker.

    A couple months ago, I was in a local gun store, and a gentleman who had never handled a gun in his life approached me for advice because a neighbor of his blamed him for her eviction. Her boyfriend, and adult son had started to harass him, and threaten him with grave bodily harm even going to far as to run him off the road when he was walking to his mailbox. He had spoken to police about it, but short of them parking a squad car outside of his home, he was unprotected. He was living in a hotel at great extra expense that he couldn’t really afford until he felt safe enough to return home. I told him to get training asap, and gave him the name of a local trainer in the area. However, if he had to go home for any reason before he felt it safe, then he could find himself defenseless against those who stated they intend to harm him.

  18. The less govt involvement in our lives the better….see H L Mencken’s
    view of govt..however, if you must have training, use driver training as a model…’s free and done in govt schools…
    But fat chance of this ever happening as long as
    our education system is infested with dimwit liberals/leftists. TED

    • Please. First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…” No asterisks or stipulations. Yet Congress passed a law, held to be constitutional, saying that if you publish a copyrighted book that I can be held criminally liable if I make and sell an audio book by reading your book without permission from you and there’s no protection from the First Amendment for that speech. If I slander a person by saying, with knowledge that it is false, that he is a thief or felon, the law constitutionally says that freedom of speech does not permit that particular item of speech. If I call a guy and ask him to kill my enemy, freedom of speech does not excuse that solicitation of murder. There are dozens of exceptions to the Bill of Rights and exceptions to the exceptions which require no asterisks or stipulations. There’s nothing different or special about the Second Amendment in that regard.

  19. I see it as another sign of the dumbing down of the American citizen. Who, in their right mind, would ever consider buying an item so potentially dangerous to themselves or others, that having a basic understanding of it’s operation and potential deadly consequences, isn’t an intrinsic question related to the purchase? It just blows mind that the discussion of whether to mandate training is even necessary. With the right comes the responsibility. Who doesn’t understand that? Knowing that several pounds of presssure on the trigger will send a high speed, remote control “drill bit” in a specific direction SHOULD tell everyone they need to be very careful, and how that care should be applied, and the consequences of lax attention. Everybody knows what bullets can do. Everybody! You can’t escape those details thanks to regular demonstration outlined in frequent news reports of mass shootings. HOW would one NOT think they need some understanding on the subject if buying a firearm, knowing they hold the power of death in their hands? If Im buying dynamite, don’t I automatically want to know how to not blow myself up ????

    • Steven Racer,

      Who would consider buying a gun without getting training? Someone who is a candidate for a Darwin Award. 😉

    • 80? hows the following: vision, hearing, balance, comprehension skills? What meds does she take? Are you confident that under duress she could safely drive you to the emergency room in a timely and safe fashion while you are bleeding out due to a power tool accident, after sunset?

  20. As a new CHP holder, I’ve looked for as much info as I could find on concealed carry and self defense. Everywhere I look I see the name Massad Ayoob come up. Mostly from your writings, I plan on taking as training as I can afford.

    • you will not be disappointed. if you are a “special consideration” ask if he offers a hardship discount. but again thats his business. Read much, Straight Talk, Conceal Carry, Deadly Force and The Gravest extreme, google the titles associated with Mas.

      stay safe.

  21. I agree with you 100% Mas (as usual). One just has to compare states that require training (including those with live fire required) for CCW license and those that don’t. Illinois being the best example since they have the highest requirement for instruction and also the highest incident rate.

  22. The basic premise today is you cannot do anything without permission, training and paying. If they have not regulated it yet, just wait a bit.

    It makes one wonder how humanity survived all these eons with out all this control and restriction.

    In the State I used to live, the old lady and her son would have both been in violation of State law for an illegal transfer of a firearm.

    I think Diamondback is right with a slight expansion: that training should be for all grades up HS and minimum 2 years in HS and also, freshman year at college. And the college class should be free to any and all adults not getting training in a US elementary or HS.

    (Age appropriate training … I trust no one but homophobes and the anti gun crowd woud think I am suggesting kindergarten and 1st grade be on the range shooting 9mm full auto pistols)

    As usual, Mas nails it and his ‘brothers’ make for interesting reading with their comments and perspective.

  23. If the government picks up the cost of training and licensing I have much less of an issue with it. Especially if all qualified applicants shall be approved to receive both. I’ve been saving my pennies for quite some time in order to be able to attend a MAG course before Mas retires.

  24. Didn’t we have mandatory gun safety training in the public schools before the people demanding mandatory gun safety training removed it from the schools?

  25. Mas:

    I recommend the MAG course whenever I can. It’s not just about point/shoot but before/during/after. I think Eddie Eagle should be taught in schools (never happen), but parents should see this out anyway. And letting a kid shoot a gun… take away the mystery and the idea things work like video games.

  26. Sitting here thinking of whether or not I could contribute to the conversation, other than by repeating my comments in the previous thread. Others have made the points I would have brought up.

    I can only add this. As human beings, we are capable of doing evil, good, and, sometimes, stupid acts. Life experiences can enhance or mitigate the likelihood of each. Witness the current revelations of sexual abuse by celebrities and politicians, the overwhelming majority of which are well educated, mature (at least in age) people. As has become the usual, liberals are demanding special training in sexual abuse sensitivity and awareness. Does anyone realistically believe a short, probably one day seminar, will prevent future abuses by someone who, by the time they’ve entered the adult world, see nothing wrong with using their power as a boss, or status as a celebrity to force unwanted sexual contact upon a weaker person?

    Mandatory training for firearm ownership? No. It would neither detect or change evil nature or intent. Lessen the likely hood of stupid acts? Well, maybe, but I’ve got years of training with weapons of all types, and I have no doubt I’m still capable of committing an occasional stupid act. I’m human and recognize the frailties that come with that fact. Most folks recognize that and try to temper that fact by consciously trying to avoid doing stupid things. No amount of training would help someone who doesn’t recognize that.

  27. Even though my wife and I have been pistol safety instructors for many years, I agree with you. When we were first married almost 50 years ago, all we could afford for a home defense weapon was a RG 22 revolver. We lived in a high crime urban setting. Thankfully, we never had to use it. I know we sure slept better at night knowing we had something versus being helpless. It’s easy to be haughty about guns and training when you have the money.

  28. I agree with Mas and don’t want “mandatory” anything.
    I do think that the “greybeards” must step up to the plate
    and train-up the Women and or easily victimized citizens in
    their communitys……for free when necessary. Also Pro NRA Attorneys should
    provide some temperence to the new trainees. Home invasions are bulls–t.

  29. Mas,

    I concur with your article and thank you for it! Personal responsibility is the key to all aspects of our lives.

    Having said that, I once worked (briefly) in a gun shop that required each purchaser to recite the NRA’s 3 rules of safety. The owner took his responsibility seriously also.

  30. I am a teacher and fully agree with the idea of gun safety being taught in school (along with a lot of other life skills). However, all who have asked “who will write the curriculum?” are spot on. My school is in a high crime area;>150 homicides this year, and I think it would deteriorate into anti-gun lessons masquerading as safety. That said, it is available through JRORC and as hunter safety classes in 4-H.

  31. Mas,
    As a past graduate of the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy I agree 110% with your article. I attended in 1995 and am now retired. Went into Law Enforcement at 50 years old. Good reading and some really good thoughts.

  32. Mas – Your point about the cost to the poor is on-point. The cost of exercising one’s rights should not be prohibitive. Consider the minimum cost to a poor person to be armed for home defense. I will used the costs in my local area since I know them.

    About the least expensive new gun that one can buy that would do a credible job is a Hi-Point C-9 (9mm semi-automatic) pistol. From on-line retailers, it can be had for $129 including shipping. A local FFL would have to do the transfer paperwork. The cheapest that I have been able to find it (locally) is for $25 bucks. Therefore, the out-the-door cost of the gun is $154.

    A gun needs ammo and proper maintenance. A trip to Wal-mart would get you a 50-round box of basic JHP 9mm ammo (Federal 9BP, Winchester White Box, etc.) and a basic pistol cleaning kit for about $35 including tax. Throw in some bucks for travel cost to get to the FFL dealer and Wal-mart and we can round the total cost to about $200 to $220. That includes one (1) range session($5.50 at a local range for 2 hours with targets provided by the range) and some cheap shooting glasses and foam ear plugs (also from Wally-World).

    The single range session would shoot up about half the box of 9mm. It would allow setting the sights and getting used to shooting the gun. The owner could then clean the gun and lock it away (using the lock that came with the gun if needed) in a place where it could be available (at short notice) for home defense. A Hi-Point C-9 is not the ideal pistol for home defense but, loaded with 9mm JHP’s, it will do the job.

    Now consider adding a training requirement before the gun could be purchased. The NRA Basic Pistol Course is $60 at a local range. It includes a live fire exercise so another box of FMJ range ammo will be needed. Include transportation cost and incidentals and the training will probably end up adding another $100 bucks to the cost of ownership.

    The cost difference between $200 and $300 bucks may not seem like much to most people. However, it is a 50% increase in ownership cost. At the minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, it is an extra 14 hours of labor (about 2 work-days). Many poor people live paycheck to paycheck and do not have hundreds of dollars sitting around to pay for stuff like this.

    Note that the above costs are for a gun-friendly State in Free America. In some of the anti-gun blue States, the gun-grabbers pile on cost after cost after cost so as to discourage firearm ownership. In my book, mandatory training is just more of the same. It would be used to discourage firearm ownership especially for the poor segment of society who often live in crime-ridden areas and need it the most!

  33. So … let me ask again the question I asked one post back:

    Mas said, “The ability to positively identify a threat is absolutely critical, and it’s why a flashlight should accompany every home defense firearm.”

    And I asked, “And without mandatory safety training for every gun owner, how are these critical lessons supposed to be taught?”

    Mas replies, “We live in a free country that cherishes its independence, and whose citizens have historically lived up to the responsibilities which accompany their liberty. We don’t require people to pay tuition to go to a Home Safety Class where they learn to keep Drano out of reach of children and put safety plugs in electrical outlets when their rug rats are crawling across their floors. People are expected to know that.”

    So, would it be fair to conclude that either (a) we simply expect people to know that it’s absolutely critical to keep a flashlight with every home defense firearm (and, if so, why bother writing about it, and why didn’t the woman who shot her daughter, the shooters in the two other similar incidents mentioned in the newspaper article about that mother that Mas linked, and the shooter in the fourth incident which Mas linked directly to know that (or did did all four shooters simply fall beneath our reasonable expectations?)) or (b) having that flashlight there is really not all that critical, much less absolutely critical, after all?

    • Dave, it’s the individual’s responsibility to go to the library or onto the Internet; a lot can be learned simply by reading. Most any gun shop can steer the new gun owner to a competent basic firearms class. Many people have friends or relatives who are conversant with firearms and their use, who can show them what they need to know.

      • So if it is the individual’s responsibility to get training, that eliminates my possibility (a), above: If it’s the individual’s choice to live up to his/her responsibility by _voluntarily_ taking a class or reading, then we really cannot “expect” them to know the nuances of safety. So it must be my possibility (b): Having people actually _know_ those things, such as the flashlight point, really isn’t that critical after all. The only things which are _actually_ critical in connection with gun ownership are those which arise through a priori knowledge and intuition. The rest, like the flashlight issue, are just things which are good tips or useful ideas, perhaps useful or important but critical? Nah.

    • I don’t believe anyone is saying that training is unnecessary, Dave. Heck, the reason most, if not all, of us following this blog, are seeking to increase our knowledge. Most are not against universal training in schools as part of molding well rounded, responsible citizens, but not to just single out gun owners or potential gun owners who are exercising their civil rights.

  34. No, just no. If it were a perfect world and we could start the last century, 1900 on all over again with gun safety taught in school and if that were to continue yes, it would be great and of course the 5th or 6th grade would not be a bad place to start and everyone alive educated in the USA would be up to speed on gun safety. Since that is not the case I don’t want to make it a requirement because the penalty for not having the course would be a great reason to charge a person shooting in self defense with a crime and of course lawyers would sue the hell out of anyone who had not taken the course even though they might be totally in the right defending themselves.

    I was taught gun safety by my dad before I was eight years old, he was a WWII guy and very strict when it came to guns. When I was 11 years old I attended a 4-H summer camp where I saw a man setting up some bales of straw one morning. I walked over to see what he was doing and he was getting ready to present a gun safety class to our camp so I was a gopher for him setting things up. His name was Jelly Bryce with the FBI and he gave us a great demonstration which ended with him spelling 4-H in the sky with a Thompson using tracers.

    Having said that it behoves each of us in the gun community to get our kids and grandkids and friends through the safety courses that are available. My son is 46 years old and he completed several safety courses before he was 10 and today he is the second day of the Hard as Hell Multi-gun course in Utah, both son-in-laws are gun guys and grandsons have been through the safety courses. We emphasize there are never in do-overs when it comes to responsible gun safety.

  35. (ahem) I would like to preface this reply by saying I haven’t read all the responses, but after sending this post for review, will begin my evening/late nite reading and absorb the opinions set fourth.

    Ma’s, you and I had this brief discussion in Harrisburg, PA. In fact, I find it ironic you told me this story in an abbreviated fashion “… I spoke as an expert witness for a female senior citizen who was charged with criminal homicide after killing her abusive common law husband in self-defense when he tried to murder her for the second time in a matter of a few days. Attorney Mark Seiden won her acquittal, and I was proud to have been a part of that. The lady in question lived in a trailer and could not have afforded training. She couldn’t even afford her own gun. After the first murder attempt, she had borrowed a cheap .22 from her son. The three shots she fired in the self-defense incident – all center mass hits – were the second, third, and fourth shots she had ever discharged from a firearm in her life.

    If she’d had to pay for a firearms safety course she couldn’t afford, she would have been helplessly murdered.”

    My immediate response was that we in the shooting community need to look out for others who have a shared interest. (I am a Maryland state license/NRA certified/MAG certified/IDPA certified instructor) I said I would give her the instruction under my HARDSHIP DISCOUNT, meaning there would be no fee, so long as the student did the homework AND followed up with the free hour of refresher. I have donated countless hours to hardship cases A Vietnam Vet so riddled with Agent Orange, the health costs are to treat a 400% disabled medals of honor recipient, who has a really nice collection. In Maryland there is a mandatory 4 hour safety course requirement before you can even lawfully buy/transfer/possess a regulated firearm. His wife got a six hour course of instruction for the price of a box of CCI .22LR, copper plated, 50 rds. When it’s “time”, she will be able to retain his collection after the funeral.

    So back to Harrisburg conversation, I mentioned all CCW holders should have to shoot one IDPA classifier, if they have the skills and physical ability. You gave me the look like “seriously?” and then as we were going back into the building, I said, my friends who wear a badge have to do the MANDATORY qualification at least once per year, civilians should be held to the same standard. (I don’t know that you heard me as you had entered the building and I was still in the threshold.)

    Mas, your level of instruction is much different than where I start with my students. YOUR students are for the most part experienced and TRAINED. Mine? I could tell you horror stories.

    Exp: Mrs. Jones comes into my office with a big beach bag. Ms. Jones is 72 years young. She wants to learn how to use her inherited .38SPL Service revolver. Her husband was a city cop. She is on fixed income (hardship discount), and comes into my class with a fully cocked .38 SPL, housing .38 SPL +P, ball ammo, in the bottom of this beach bag, with all her “essentials”, key ring, writing pens, check book, chapstick, change and a couple rolls of dimes. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MANDATORY training as I fixt this problem. Without the mandatory training to acquire the lawful possession of this gun in Maryland, this situation was just an accident waiting to happen.

    I could bore you with more examples, but I hope what I have provided is adequate. If not, I can send links to news stories where the three year old toddler shot her mother in the stomach in a Walmart, mom WAS a lawful in CCW and countless other tragedies.

    Not only that, we have to consider societal progression vs firearm advancements. Back in the “day” it was shameful for towns folk to NOT show up at public events that promoted safety and accurate shooting. Ball and cap days. Today, shame is a thing of the past, mainstream. Firearm advancements have to be considered juxtaposed to common knowledge.

    exp: clerk at a gun store is new and has fetishes about his new love with GLOCK. Everything is GLOCK to him. A customer walks in with no training, never have shot a gun and walks out with a .40CAL, POLY FRAMED semi auto, two 16 round standard capacity magazines. It didn’t occur to her she couldn’t load the magazines and when she did get some in, they were backwards. As well, remembering the slide stop, and how the whole machine was designed for easy and simple function left her at a loss. (sigh) Mandatory training is my vote, hands down. Many instructors I know might donate time, some may not, but ultimately it is up to the gun owner to seek out the training and ASK if the instructor has a HARDSHIP clause. Then again, those who have shame may not seek the instruction because they think it a futile and embarrassing endeavor. And thats the shame.

    I’m sure more to come… Thanks.

    Stay safe.

  36. This particular blog topic was inspired by Liberal Dave’s love affair with the concept of firearms safety training and the notion that it should be made “mandatory” before one can exercise one’s right to keep and bear arms. Such a concept springs straight from the Left-Wing Worldview and it is no wonder that Liberal Dave, as a dedicated Leftist, is so hot for the idea.

    As I have noted before, the Left-Wing Worldview is based upon the concept that humans are born as “blank slates” (AKA Tabula Rasa). This philosophical concept subconsciously controls the worldview of Leftists. It leads them to believe (feel, think) that all of the world’s ills arise from causes external to mankind. From man’s external environment in other words. Leftist, therefore, believe that the key to controlling all of the world’s evils is to obtain total control over man’s environment. By feeding positive environmental influences while suppressing negative environmental influences, Leftist believe that they can “re-make” the world into a left-wing paradise (utopia).

    This is why the Left is so heavily invested in Big Government and Government Programs. Leftists see the Government as the “Prime Tool” to use in re-shaping mankind’s environment so as to create utopia. Furthermore, when any problem is identified, Leftists automatically cast around for some environmental influence to blame.

    You can see all this at work in Liberal Dave ideas. He believes that firearms are “deadly weapons” that are often being mishandled in today’s world. This is a problem. What is the leftist solution? Liberal Dave’s Leftist-conditioned mind immediately begins to cast about for an environmental cause to blame. He settles upon one of the “classic-leftist” negative environmental causes: Ignorance. (BTW, Ignorance and Poverty have always been among the top 4 or 5 negative environmental causes for Leftists.)

    Bingo, thinks Liberal Dave. I’ve identified the source of the problem. Lack of proper firearms safety training (resulting in ignorance about firearm use) is the problem. As a Leftist, Liberal Dave’s mind automatically turns to the Government for a solution. Make such training mandatory, by Federal Law, before one can even own or purchase a firearm. That will nip this ignorance problem in the bud.

    As shown above, Liberal Dave’s mind has reacted in accordance to its left-wing conditioning and has produced a classic Leftist solution. A solution that, as so many leftist policies do, depends heavily upon expanding Government intrusion into our lives and reducing our freedom of choice. All of which is justified, as it always is with the Left, as “being for our own good”. 🙂

    • TN_MAN,

      Well said. I just want to point out that I agree with Liberal Dave that everyone who wants to own a gun needs training. I’m sure you agree with that as well. Where we disagree with Dave is that he wants government to provide and enforce the training, and we want to leave training up to “…the people.”

      Education is good, but it is not a cure-all. Centuries ago many people in Europe could not read or write. Probably in the 1500s Christians thought that if people could read, they would read the Bible, and become good Christians. Well, we can all see how that idea turned out! I remember a deacon saying that when you educate a sinner, you just get a more sophisticated sinner. I think he meant that an illiterate person would commit traditional crimes, but once people got educated, they could be better at fraud, and more “white collar” type crimes. Think of educated, but corrupt lawyers, hedge fund managers, politicians, Bernie Madoff, and, probably the ultimate example of a well-educated sinner………….George Soros.

      The problem is that education, by itself, cannot change the heart.

      • @ Roger Willco,

        While I understand the point you are making, you should realize that a Leftist would not. That is because Leftists do not believe in the “heart”. The very concept of the human heart implies an innate set of characteristics. The Tabula Rasa view of the Left prevents such a view.

        Leftists believe that each man or woman is born as a blank page with no (zero) innate characteristics at all. In other words, with no heart.

        They believe that a newborn child is neither good or evil. It is simply a sponge waiting to soak up whatever the world throws at it. Place the sponge in a positive environment (which they view as one built on left-wing principles) and a good, leftist person will grow as a result. Put the sponge in a negative environment (which they would define as one filled with poverty, class oppression, firearms/weapons, drug/alcohol abuse, racism and right-wing politics) and a nasty “deplorable” person will result.

        Therefore the ultimate left-wing dream is to assume total governmental power and then to use that power to suppress all the negative influences that they see in the environment. Stamp out poverty, class division, sexism, racism, confiscate all weapons, assume total control of the media and the education system and use them to preach the gospel of left-wing ideology to everyone from the moment of birth. That is their plan.

        Hillary famously said that “it takes a village to raise a child”. She actually meant a chorus of left-wing voices that control the child’s environment so completely that the only possible result will be that the child grows up to be a true-born leftist. No religion, not even Islam, tries to indoctrinate the young to the extent of the Left.

        So, Liberal Dave would just think that, if the child grew up to be a sinner despite his education (note that the Left has a very different view of what constitutes a “sin” versus a Christian) then that just meant that the environment was not manipulated properly. He would then try to think up a new government program or law to fix it! That is the Leftist worldview and thought-process at work.

      • Folks, por favor —

        Let’s not be posting “what another poster would think.” Liberal Dave doesn’t do that to you, let’s not have anyone do that to him.

        The whole purpose of the comments section is to post what WE think about something. Those with opposing viewpoints can tell us what they think themselves. It’s the point of the exercise, really.


      • Mas,

        You are very correct. I should not have written so as to put words into someone else’s mouth. I certainly cannot make any claims to be telepathic. I apologize to Liberal Dave for doing so.

        While I believe that I understand the underpinnings of Left-Wing ideology and I think that I understand what drives Leftist political actions and policies, I certainly cannot pretend to be able to bring it down to the level of the workings of an individual mind.

        In the future, I shall try to keep my comments (especially political ones) general. I know that Liberal Dave is an intelligent and well-spoken poster on this blog. I can’t say that I usually agree with his policy or political points-of-view, but I certainly do respect him as a fellow commentator. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I often enjoy his posts simply because they represent such a departure from most of the other commentators (including myself) that follow this blog. Being trapped in an “echo chamber” where everybody shares a single dogma is not supportive of democracy.

      • TN_MAN,

        I agree with what you said about the Left believing babies are born with a blank heart which can be molded by its environment. They believe people are innately neither good nor bad at birth.

        As a Calvinist, my view is very different. With Jeremiah, I believe “the heart of man is desperately wicked….” The only reason we see some goodness in humans is because God is restraining sin in our hearts. That is what I believe, and a leftist does not believe that at all.

        Liberal Dave is very well-educated, and is an asset to this blog. Even though I do not share the same world view as Christopher Hitchens and Pat Condell, I love to listen to them anyway. It’s a great time to be alive. We can get an education at our fingertips.

  37. Thank you Mas. I would also point out that due to the market hunting of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, hunting was regulated in order to prevent decimation of game species, that’s why hunting seasons were created. The training sessions were required to make it a safer activity and to familiarize potential hunters with the legal requirements. However the right to bear arms in and of itself is a right recognized by the Constitution and (just like all the other rights that are recognized by the Constitution) and should not be infringed as a general rule. Requiring mandatory training would be a wide spread infringement on that right (which has been demonstrated many times by government agencies which wish to curtail it).

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