President Biden is Clueless on Firearms Issues!

Maybe if President Biden actually knew the facts around firearm deaths, he would realize that it is not a “national health crisis”, he is making a crisis up to justify his actions.

In 2017, six in ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (23,854), while 37% were murders (14,542), according to the CDC. The remainder were unintentional (486), involved law enforcement (553), or had undetermined circumstances (338).

More people are killed by hands and feet and other objects than rifles.. in 2019, 364 people were killed with rifles (of all kinds) while blunt objects like bats and hammers killed 397 people, more than rifles! (From FBI Report “Crime in the United States 2019)

Now if he held a Rose Garden press conference on what he is doing to help MENTAL HEALTH in the US that might actually help more people than fictional firearms issues.

But let’s not let facts get in the way.

Make your voices heard!! DO NOT let anyone take your rights away!

TODAY IS THE DAY TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!

President Biden announced he was making several Executive Actions (different than Orders) that are designed to do nothing to save lives and only penalize law-abiding citizens, and naming his pick to head the ATF.

Write, email, call and otherwise let your US Senators and Representatives know you do not support President Biden’s appointment of David Chipman, former ATF Agent and now who is a senior policy advisor at Giffords, a group advocating for firearms restrictions!

We can stop it if the split Senate does not confirm him.

Also tell them you do not support any further restrictions on law-abiding US Citizens’ rights to defend themselves, regardless of the tool used! It is time for you to make your voice heard!

Do not sit idly by and let more of your 2nd Amendment rights be stripped from you. You have the God-given right to defend yourself and your family and the Government does not have the right to restrict that, regardless of the tool you chose to use as a law-abiding US Citizen!

You can find your Congress members here (on the right of the page): https://www.congress.gov/

Learning to Shoot: How Much Training Is Enough?

I get a lot of emails and messages on Facebook asking me which shooting instructor I recommend for this or that area in Florida. Many are realizing that the best way to protect oneself and one’s family is to become a hard target. You don’t have to be in super-great shape, don’t have to be really coordinated, and you don’t even have to become “highly” trained. But you DO need to know the laws of firearms use, as well as the safety rules, and be physically fit enough to hold the firearm safely.

There is a lot of back and forth on what is considered “enough” training in the firearms discussion forums and pages, and on gun control and gun rights pages. How much training should a person have in order to be licensed to carry a firearm on their person? How much training should they have to own and have a firearm in their home? Should they be required to have any training at all for those and other situations? As a person who has taught firearms to both law enforcement/corrections officers and civilians for more than 25 years, I have found there are really three separate groups of people that want or need training.

The first group wants a firearm for protection but will not go through extensive training or practice with the firearm they buy, if at all. Individuals from this group probably own one or two firearms for self-defense at home or to carry on their person. They don’t carry all the time. They may attend a gun show concealed carry class that last all of 45 minutes and requires no range time.

Let me make this clear, I do not recommend or suggest that anyone take that type of class. If you are new to firearms ownership, and have not had any formal training at all, that is not the place to learn! Those classes are a bad example of firearms training and give attendees just enough information to make them dangerous to themselves and others. A more robust class, say one that lasts four or eight hours and includes some range time is much better, and what I recommend for the new firearm owner/carrier.

If you want to own and carry a firearm, realize that it is a huge responsibility and you must consider everything that it brings with it. Why are you carrying it? Why did you choose to own it? If the answer is to protect yourself and your family it means you are thinking about the possibility of having to shoot a fellow human being, and that is not something to take lightly. You have to learn how to safely handle your firearm, maintain, and shoot it. If you have not shot a firearm before you need to learn the basics of marksmanship and this cannot all be done in a 45 minutes session.

The second group is the firearm owner who seeks out a reputable training program. Maybe the NRA Basic Home Defense Course, or a course run by a United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) Certified Instructor. Maybe even one at a local gun store that is taught by responsible instructors like myself. (I teach at www.shootgtr.com) These are the people that want to be well prepared to use their firearm. They realize the importance of being able to operate the firearm properly and that they want to be good shots, as they know you can’t stop what you can’t hit.

These are the type of people that take owning a firearm seriously and want to know the laws and seek out those that can help them learn. They like to practice shooting and turn it into a hobby or pastime. They take the fact that they may have to use the firearm they carry to defend themselves seriously and they make sure to learn the laws surrounding defensive gun use. They practice a few times a month or at least every couple of months. They know that practice is important and do it as much as they can.

The last group is the job related carry folks. Men and women from Law Enforcement, Corrections, Probation and Parole, and other professions that carry a firearm as part of their job daily. I teach these types of people on a regular basis. I have found that they come from many different backgrounds, from those that have never held a firearm before (the easiest to teach because they have no bad habits to break), to former military members who are crack shots.

Once they get on the job, members of this group fall into the two groups mentioned above, they either take the responsibility seriously and train regularly, or they don’t. You might be surprised to find out, that not all cops are gun nuts. Some only carry on duty, and never off duty, even though they can. Additionally, many states either have no requirement for officers to qualify with their duty firearms, or only require yearly qualifications. Some states like Florida, my state, only require officers to qualify every two years! That’s right, a police officer in Florida is only required to qualify every two years. Now of course there are departments that qualify more than that however, it is not required by law. I know many officers that take the responsibility seriously and do practice on their own and often, but for many it’s limited by the matter of money. Shooting is not cheap.

One of the things that people do not think about before buying and owning firearms is the cost. First, firearms are not cheap. A good quality handgun can cost between $350 and $1000. That’s a big spread, but remember that you are possibly trusting your life to this piece of equipment and like anything else that you buy, most of the time you get what you pay for. Would you trust your life to a cheap, poorly made firearm or spend the extra bit of money and buy one that is of higher quality and made by a reputable manufacturer? Ask your instructor or trusted friend who knows firearms for advice on this, and if they are not firearms owners, look at what your local police and the military use. What do they carry and why? But that is a whole separate article…

So if you are thinking of becoming a firearm owner and possibly carrying one, just like anything else, make sure you research first. After that take that knowledge and test different firearms. Find one that fits your needs (read my article on Top Ten Carry Firearms), and then seek out professional, comprehensive training in how to use, carry, and care for your firearm. Make sure that your instructor is qualified and certified by a national or state wide organization. Ask for references!

A good instructor should not be afraid to let you talk to former students. The best tell of an instructor’s ability are the students they have turned out and what they think of the instructor. Ask the instructor how many classes they have taught. Do not take a course that does not include range time or training on how to care for your firearm! And make sure you learn the laws of your state on when you can and cannot use a firearm to defend yourself. Join a firearms group and ask questions, learn from those that have been there and teach the subject. Check and see if you can find a statewide organization like Florida Carry Inc. in Florida that will answer your questions and has experts from the field online to help. (https://goo.gl/p8vHb6)

If you have questions, all you have to do is either email me at chris@chriswagoner.us. Whatever you do, learn, train, and then train some more! Your life or the life of your family members may depend on it.

Isn’t that worth it?

The Internet is good for some things, but not for telling you what firearm is best for you!

Recently on a Facebook group I read and follow, a well-meaning person asked the group in general what type of handgun she should buy. She gave a little bit of info in that she was a shorter-in-stature female but that was it.

And of course the responses were many and varied as greatly as the types of firearms recommended. And some of the responses are just plain bad advice.

And while some of those are great suggestions, firearms are not a one-size-fits-a-certain-sized-person application. Also, some handguns are not made for concealed carry or for personal defense, although almost all will do that if you have it in your hand at the time.

If you are looking at getting a handgun, what are you getting it for? Learning to shoot a handgun? Self-defense at home or to conceal-carry? There are many factors that go into what you look for in a handgun and, to be honest, the Internet and complete strangers is not the place to look for help.

If you are looking for a handgun or wanting to learn to shoot a handgun, go to a reputable gun range or gun store. Or find a reputable firearms instructor that you check the references or reviews on, and get them to show you different firearms. DO NOT buy a firearm you’ve not shot on a range! Handguns can look and feel very different. But until you actually shoot it on the range, you cannot know how it feels in your hand and how you like or dislike the way it functions. Not all handguns are created equal.

So, if you are new to firearms or handguns, do not take advice from the Internet. Find a real person who is a professional and knows what they are doing when it comes to handguns or training.

Once you do decide on a handgun, make sure to get training in how to use it properly and how to shoot it. Remember why you were getting it in the first place. Isn’t your life (or the life of your loved ones) worth the time, effort and money to do it right?

What to Expect Following a Defensive Shooting – Part 1

The most important thing to do is make sure you are safe from further attack or injury…

I just finished trying to reassure a member of one of the firearms groups that I belong to that you are not guaranteed to be arrested and sent to jail if you use your firearm in a lawful self-defense encounter. The member and his wife just finished attending a seminar put on by one of the companies that offer insurance for cases of self-defense with the use of force. He said that a “former police officer” at the seminar “made us all feel like criminals, and now my wife’s so scared of the repercussions of using self-defense that she’s decided not to carry at all.”The speaker went on to say “that anyone who uses a firearm for self-defense, whether it’s discharged or not, is immediately guilty of murder or attempted murder and will be arrested on the spot and sent to jail.”

That is just plain wrong, and does nothing but make people fearful. Is going to jail on a murder charge a possibility? Maybe. It really depends on the situation surrounding the whole encounter.Seminars and speeches like the one really do a disservice to the law-abiding citizens who carry a firearm for self-defense and know the law says about the use deadly force to protect themselves or others. I reminded the member that this officer was more than likely being paid by the company that put the seminar on, and that the company sells insurance. What better way to boost sales than to make everyone scared to use their firearm without insurance?

So, what really happens when you are forced to use your firearm to defend yourself or someone else? What happens after the smoke clears and the threat is gone? Situations vary, but I will try to explain the essentials from both the legal and investigatory side. I will then explain what you yourself can expect to go through.That’s a lot of information, and why this is Part 1 of a two-part article.

In this first installment, let’s talk about the law enforcement response.You are forced to defend yourself. You know the laws on self-defense, you are lawfully carrying or in possession of the firearm, and you have used it to save your life or the life of another person. You pull your firearm and shoot another person, causing them injury or death. As the fog lifts and your mind starts to wrap around the fact that you just shot someone, the police will arrive.What happens in the next few minutes is critical to what may happen to you down the road. You may be physically injured, and at a minimum you will be shaken, dazed, and/or confused.

No matter what you do, you should immediately make sure you are safe from further attack or injury. Make sure you are ready for the potential of another attack or more assailants. Once you are sure it is safe and over, take a few very deep, calming breaths. Try to calm your heart rate and breathing, and then get on the phone and call 911 as soon as you can, even if others have already called.When the 911 operator answers the phone you need to be very clear and concise.

DO NOT get long winded and start yelling or screaming. Tell the operator that you were attacked or threatened and (most importantly) that you were in fear for your life (or the life of another), and that you want to press charges against the suspect. Give them the location and your name. Then say no more. Only give identifying information, your name, and location.

When the police arrive, make sure you are no longer holding your firearm in your hand. Either lay it on the ground and move away from it, or secure it somehow. If there a lot of people around, don’t lay it down where someone can pick it up and run away with it. Follow all the directions of the officers. They may or may not point their firearms at you, they may handcuff you, depending on what the officers were told by 911 dispatchers. Regardless, when they arrive, the ONLY information you should give them is your identifying information; name, address, date of birth. There is nothing wrong with giving them your driver’s license, concealed carry license or both. Keep the information you share limited to the basics.Under no circumstances should you start telling anyone the details of the incident. When they ask you what happened, simply tell the officers the same thing you said on the phone, “I was attacked and feared for my life (or life of another) and I was forced to defend myself. I want to talk to my attorney before making any statements. I do not consent to any searches. I will cooperate fully after speaking to my lawyer.” Remember: you have the right to have an attorney present before any questioning begins. Stick to this and no more.

Unless they have enough evidence at the scene to give them probable cause to believe you committed a crime, they cannot arrest you or take you into custody. If you used self-defense in accordance with your state’s laws, you should not be arrested. If they feel they have a case at that time, then the responding officers may arrest you, but that does not mean you are guilty or will be convicted, or even held for long. Still, do not tell them what happened. Make sure you reassert your right to speak to your attorney before you are questioned about the incident.

If you are can you should call your attorney from the scene as soon as you can. Remember that the police do not know you from your attacker, and that they were not there. They can only go by what they know from the 911 call or calls, from what they see at the scene, and what they are told. Even if there are other people there that are lying about what happened, do not start getting defensive. The worst thing you can do is start telling them what you think they need to know while emotionally upset and scared, because you could say the wrong thing or mix up your words. Just focus on calming down; don’t say anything about what happened.

Let’s assume you are not arrested, but released from the scene to go home. The officers will probably take your firearm into evidence. Make sure you get a receipt for it, because it will make getting it back later easier for you. Now what you need to do is go home and calm down. DO NOT go home and start drinking to settle your nerves, and try not to take medications to do the same thing. Instead, try sitting down and breathing slowly as you go through the events in your head. If you need to, writing down what happened in chronological order may help. In the privacy of your own home, call and speak to your attorney if you have not done so yet. Make sure you tell your attorney the truth of everything you said, saw, and did. What you were feeling, and why, and especially how you ended up feeling threatened. The idea that you were in fear for your life is the key to your reason for defending yourself.

If you are arrested, the same guidelines apply as above. Do not panic. Just because you have been arrested does not mean you are convicted. You should still not say anything about what happened until you speak to your attorney. You will be given the chance to “bond out” of jail, a promise that you will appear in court by paying a fee that will be returned to you upon your appearance. If you do bond out, you will be given a court date to appear. DO NOT miss it. Make sure you contact your attorney, let them know everything that happened, and give them the court information.

Different states have different rules for these types of things. In my state of Florida, if you are arrested and do not bond out, you have to appear before a judge within twenty four hours and have charges and bail set.

There is a system. If you are within the law, do not lose faith. The system does have its way of doing things.

Coming in Part Two: what you can expect during and after a shooting, both physically and psychologically.

Don’t Vote Your Rights Away!!

While I don’t like talking politics here but if it involves firearms ownership and firearms possession rights and just plain violating the Constitution of the United States of America, then sometimes you have to speak out.

If you are considering voting for Biden/Harris and you believe in the 2nd Amendment and the right of ALL free people to be able to own firearms and defend themselves you need to read their stance on firearms on their own website.

https://joebiden.com/gunsafety/

if that is not enough to scare you then you do not believe in the Constitution. Even though I am not a one issue voter this one issue is enough for me on this one because of how blatantly in your face they boast of violating your rights. Some of the proposals they have are just down right scary and in direct violation of the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.

Please if you are one of those thinking of voting for them, or an undecided, and believe in the Constitution and the right to self defense, and the right to be able to defend this nation from within, you have to read their proposals! God help us if they get in…

Here just a few highlights from that plan:
“As president, Biden will pursue legislation to regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act.”

“Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

“Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities.”

“Reduce stockpiling of weapons. In order to reduce the stockpiling of firearms, Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one.”

“Require background checks for all gun sales.”

“End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. Biden will enact legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.”

“Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs. Biden will enact legislation to give states and local governments grants to require individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a gun.”

“Put America on the path to ensuring that 100% of firearms sold in America are smart guns.”

“Prohibit the use of federal funds to arm or train educators to discharge firearms. We should be passing rational gun laws, not requiring educators who already have too much on their plates to also protect the safety of their students. Biden supports barring states from using federal dollars to arm or train educators to discharge firearms.”

And that is not all of them!! There are many more. Please dont vote your own rights away!!

Please share this important information!!

Eaton County Deputy Shoots Armed Attacker, Breakdown.

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office released footage from a deputy’s body camera that shows her shooting a armed attacker in Delta Township on Tuesday morning.

The shooting took place after the Deputy stopped the suspect, Sean Ruis, 43, of Grand Ledge, after he fled the scene of an earlier stabbing.

During the traffic stop, Ruis got out of his vehicle and began advancing toward the deputy. Partial footage from the released video showed Ruis walking away from his car and approaching the deputy as she attempted to back away.

Ruis approached the deputy at an increasing speed with weapons in his hands. Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reiche said Ruis appeared to be carrying three weapons as he approached the deputy: one screwdriver in his left hand and two knives in his right hand.

The start of the traffic stop as the suspect exits armed in both hands and begins to walk back in the direction of the Deputies vehicle. The Deputy exits her vehicle and begins to back away form suspect trying to gain distance.

What can be learned from this attack? Distance is key! Do not let attackers with stabbing/ cutting weapons get close enough to cut you or charge you. Engage while still able to. This Deputy is very lucky to not be seriously injured or worse. Her clearing of the firearm was good, but from the footage it may have been over a previous malfunction that actually was cleared by the suspects striking the firearm while the Deputy fended off the attack.

Another lesson is that one or two shots will not always stop a attack. Fire until the threat is over. And shot placement is vital. Striking a attacker in vital areas will most of the time stop the attack sooner.

We need to learn from every instance like this and see what we can do to train better and learn form these attacks. Thank goodness the Deputy is alright and was able to stop the attack.

“I had a dream! That all the people gathered to let the government know, we the people still are in charge.”

During this time in our country where it seems that fear has gripped the nation and I am sure many are stressed out, I had a dream last night I have to share.

I dreamed that there was a call put out all over the nation on social media and by word of mouth. The call was to peacefully gather at the local and state government seat all on the same day throughout the nation. Regardless of “stay at home” orders.

The local and state governments went on the offensive, threatening to arrest anyone showing up because they were violating the current “social distancing” rules and rule against gathering in groups larger than 10. Yet no one listened to them.

People got in their cars, got in their trucks, got on their motorcycles, whatever they had and on the day that was talked about, they all showed up.

At first some of the governments tried to have the police arrest those showing up before they could get with others, but soon the numbers were just too many for them to handle and they smartly gave up. Realizing that it was pointless.

People of all ages, walks of life and races showed up. They were friendly and talked of freedom and rights. The feeling was one of quite determination.

Once everyone had gathered people stepped up and spoke to the groups. About how we the people were the true government. How while we elected officials to represent us, we actually hold the real power over our lives. Some spoke of the Constitution and how it was the highest law of the land. How our founding fathers had written out the Bill of Rights to ensure that the Government did not take away those rights. How politicians have forgotten that they do not rule the people, they work for the people.

One vivid scene I remember from the dream was a person who shouted out to one of the local politicians, “You are supposed to fix those things that are wrong not create new problems!” and another shouted out to the local police who had been trying to arrest people and given up, “You are supposed to protect and serve, we will call you when we need you.”

The general feeling was one of empowerment and hope. After hundreds of thousands had gathered throughout the nation like this, they all went back to work and the lives they had before the nation was closed by the suggestion of doctors and politicians. Busineses ere reopened and people went about their business as they had before fear had gripped the nation. They were no longer letting fear rule the actions of everyone.

Yes they knew the chances they were taking, yet they accepted that and knew the possible consequences. One citizen even remarked “I would rather live free and as I was than live in fear of the possibility of getting sick.”

Some people chose to stay in their homes out of fear of the unknown. ANd that was fine. People were at least free to choose how to react.

I had a dream last night, and it was a wonderful dream!!

What Does the Current State of Emergency mean for Gun Owners in Florida?

I have seen many posts in lots of different social media groups and threads in Florida about how the current State of Emergency order by the Governor has affected the owners of firearms and the ability to carry them legally.

There are RUMORS going around that the current SOE allows the open carrying of firearms. THIS IS NOT TRUE. While the listed exceptions in the Florida state Statutes still are applicable, nothing has changed in this regard. YOU CANNOT open carry a firearm in Florida Because of the State of Emergency order. What people may be misunderstanding with this one is that during a State of Emergency Evacuation order it is permitted to conceal carry a firearm on them during an evacuation:

790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.—

(3) This section does not apply to: (a) A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870. As used in this subsection, the term “in the act of evacuating” means the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered. The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.

The next one I have seen is that the current SOE prohibits you from concealed carrying with CWFL or even without legally during one of the exceptions. Again THIS IS NOT TRUE. You can carry a firearm lawfully just like before, nothing has changed in this regard. You may still lawfully carry with a CWFL and also still possess a firearm in your vehicle according to the Florida Statues. (F.S.S. 790.25(5) for one.) So you can still carry according to the laws just like before this current crisis.

Some counties have closed gun stores under the guise of them being “non-essential”. That is an entirely different debate, and one I think you all know how I feel. But that is currently the ability they have. I would like to see after this is all over that firearms suppliers are exempt from these closures because the items they are selling are Constitutionally protected and unless the Constitution itself is suspended, these businesses stay open. But thats for a different time.

And as we have a lot of new gun owners because people went out and panic bought a firearm, many for the first time, please become very familiar with the current FLorida laws before you get yourself in a legal bind with the police or someone else. Get some training, follow the four cardinal rules of gun safety s you can safely have a firearm. Teach yourself these rules and follow them! Make everyone in your house follow them!

You Just Bought a Firearm for the First Time, Now What?

With all the craziness going on right now I bought a firearm for self-defense, now what?

OK, you have decided to take that big step and buy a self-defense firearm for home or carry. Or you may have gotten one for Christmas or went out and bought one for yourself as a present to yourself. No matter if you already have one, or are thinking of getting one, you need to be a responsible firearm owner. What does that entail? Well, take it from someone that has owned and used firearms for more than 40 years and as part of my daily life, both as a police officer and firearms instructor, GET TRAINED!

The very first thing you should learn if you are thinking of or have a firearm are the four cardinal rules of gun safety. These rules apply anywhere in the world and recognized as being the basis for all gun safety and gun training. Memorize them, follow them and make others who are near you follow them also and you will never be harmed or harm anyone else with a firearm unintentionally. Here they are, they are simple and easy to remember and to understand:

  1. Treat all firearms as they are loaded, regardless if they are or not!
  2. Never point a firearm at anything unless you are willing to kill or destroy it!
  3. Always identify your target, and what is beyond it!
  4. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are on target and ready to shoot!

I make my police recruits memorize and repeat these rules before they ever are allowed to touch a real firearm in the police academy. And then we enforce these rules with no exceptions! That is why we have never had anyone injured in the 20+ years I have been teaching firearms at my academy. If a police recruit violates one of these rules, they can, and we have, remove them from the academy. Firearm safety is that important. So as a citizen learning to handle and use firearms for the first time, or even some that have been handling them but never bothered to know these rules, you MUST FOLLOW THEM!

Every case of unintentional discharge of a firearm, except mechanical failure which is exceptionally rare, can be traced back to someone violating one or more of these simple rules. SO as a new firearms owner you MUST know these and follow them all of the time. Even when you are alone or are sure a firearm is unloaded and safe, treat it like it’s loaded, never point it at anything that you don’t want to destroy, and you will never harm anyone you do not intend too!

The next important act you take as a responsible firearm owner is to secure your firearms and ammunition when it’s not in use. Especially when you have kids around the house. If you have kids in the house, you need to teach them the four rules above. If you teach those rules at a young age and they follow them, you will never be in the news as a tragedy of a child shooting themselves or a friend with a firearm. Securing them can be done one of several ways. A gun safe is probably the best (and most expensive), but not everyone can afford them. If you bought a firearm for home defense, it’s kind of defeats the purpose of locking it in a large slow to open safe. You can have a firearm secured and yet quickly available if you buy a rapid access safe. I have a Hornady Rapid Safe myself on my nightstand that has my home defense firearm in it. It opens with a RFI wristband I wear or a quick finger combination. Either way its fast and yet secures the firearm from prying eyes. I also carry a firearm on me at home most of the time. Some people wonder why and think this is over the top. Well as a former police officer and having gone to more than my share of home invasions, home invasions do not happen elsewhere. They happen in the home and carrying a firearm while in the home is one way to help protect against that. No, I am not paranoid, I am a realist. No place is completely safe these days. No neighborhood is immune to crime. So being armed while home is something that is an individual decision, but imagine if you do become the victim of a home invasion and you could have protected yourself and your family, but choose not too. You have to live with that decision; I choose to be ready even if it is a little inconvenient. I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to my family and I would have been able to prevent it but decided not to bother.

So you have memorized the rules and follow them. You have secured your firearm when not using it or carrying it. And now you are thinking of carrying it one you when you leave your home. Becoming one of the millions of citizens that have decided to carry a firearm on them while out away from home. Either openly or concealed (depending on what state you live in) is a personal choice and sometimes is decided by what activity you are doing, but regardless you have decided to take that next step and protect yourself and your family from becoming just another victim of the criminal element that is out there these days and has no regard for your life or the life of those you love. You should try to remember that it is much more tactically sound to try and fight an armed criminal with a firearm than it is with harsh words, or worse, on your knees begging for your life and that of your family!

Take a firearms course from a reliable instructor in your area. Check around and ask others that you know have been trained who they recommend. Make sure you do not take one of those hour long, gun show courses that are nothing more than a way for them to make money. You need to remember that your life and the life of your family may rely on the training you get. And are they not worth a few more hours of your time and a bit more money if needed? Check out the instructors. Google them, ask around or ask for references. Make sure you are completely satisfied with your instructor’s credentials and what they teach. There is a huge difference between a good firearms course and one that is put on by instructors looking just to make a buck. Remember just because an instructor has this or that certification does not make them a great instructor. So check them out, do your due diligence and be satisfied you have checked them out. There are outstanding instructors out there. I still take courses from other instructors when I can. You are never too old to learn, and never will learn everything there is. Training is a lifelong endeavor.

So now you have learned the rules of firearm safety. You have gotten a firearm and taken some good instruction on how to use it and do so legally and safely. Now you need to know, study and follow your state’s laws on carrying firearms. You do not want to be arrested for something you did not know about.

If you follow those simple steps to responsible firearm ownership, you are one of the citizens that can truthfully say they are ready to defend themselves and their family.  Good for you! I know full well that cops cannot be everywhere and sometimes take minutes to respond to life and death situation, and more often than not arrive after it’s over. Let’s hope that when they arrive you are the one still standing and you have protected your life or the life of your loved ones legally and successfully!