Why “Universal Background Checks” are Pointless and Will do Nothing to Stop any Crime.

Recently the anti firearms group Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety (both funded by Bloomberg) have been in full press mode in several states. One of those states being Florida where I live.

They have of course been pushing for any kind of anti firearms legislation they can get but in Florida they say all they want is “universal background checks”. Well let’s address that very issue with some interesting myths verse facts. You know those things you can verify and check to see if they are true are called facts, those things that are just made up by someone can be a myth (or an outright lie depending on intention).

First myth, you can by a firearm over the internet without a background check. The answer is actually yes, and no. What it really boils down to is who you buy it from and where the seller and buyer live.

If the buyer and seller live in different states then you must go through a FFL (licensed to sell guns, and requires a background check to transfer it). This is from the ATF website FAQ:

Under Federal law, an unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the State where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. More information can be obtained on the ATF website at http://www.atf.gov and http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html.

https://www.atf.gov/resource-center/docs/0813-firearms-top-12-qaspdf/download

If the seller is a FFL (regardless of location) then you have to have it shipped to a local FFL holder and a background check must be run.

If the seller and buyer are in the same state and are not FFL’s then you can buy it without a background check, BUT, if you sell a firearm to someone who lives in your state you are responsible for knowing they are not a prohibited person. This is federal law:

“18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.”

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons

If you do sell to a prohibited person, you not only violate federal laws but most of the time also violate state laws and they are serious crimes and felonies.

Second myth: Criminals get guns from Gun Shows or Private sales. This also is true and false, except that the numbers that get them from these transaction is less than you think and most criminals get them from illegal transactions.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Survey of Prison Inmates from 2016, a survey of over 1.3 million prisoners in US Prison found some very interesting facts. Only 1.2% of ALL prisoners who used a firearm in a crime got them from a “flea market” or “gun show”. That supposed “gun show loophole”. Now of that number we do not know how many required a background check since the majority of sellers at those locations are FFL (licensed and required to run background checks on sales) holders. What is really eye opening in the study was that 85.9% of criminals reported getting the firearms from illegal means. 9.1% got them legally and had background checks run.

So what this all basically says is that criminals either get the guns illegally or legally, but background checks did not stop any of the hundreds of thousands from committing a crime with the firearm.

So what would requiring private sales do to help curb crime? nothing of course. Criminals will just get the firearms through illegal means. What will requiring these background checks do to those that follow the law? It will just make it harder and more costly for them to acquire a firearms for self defense. What most who support UBC’s (Universal Background Checks) do not even think about (or worse do not care) is that the segment of society that are the most preyed upon by criminals and who need self protection the most are the lower income, sometimes minority groups. So by placing additional cost of background checks and making private sales (which are sometimes cheaper) out of their reach the proponents of UBCs are actually hurting the most vulnerable demographic section of society.

Now of course this does not take into account that they are trying to place more restrictions on a Constitutionally protected right. The one and only in the Bill of Rights that has the words “Shall not be Infringed” as the emphasis in it.

So to all of those out there that support Universal Background Checks you may want to rethink your priorities. It is kind of like the people that want to ban those nasty scary assault rifles. Those kill far fewer people each year than even hands and feet (The Ban Assault Rifle Movement is Misled, Lied to and Down Right Manipulated), yet there is such an outcry about them. It all comes from an ignorance of the subject matter. Maybe we should be looking at those things that cause violence and mental health issues in our society. Maybe we should use actual research and numbers to direct our efforts.

So to Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg and the like, you really are misinformed and misdirected. Maybe just maybe you might think abot those you are going to hurt the most, law abiding citizens who want nothing more than be left alone and defend themselves, and those you will affect the least, criminals.

FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE ALERT! ANTI-RIGHTS BILLS TO BE HEARD ON 01/28/2020 IN SENATE COMMITTEE! WE HAVE 2 DAYS TO ACT!

Well well…. Sen. Perry (who has now voted twice for anti-rights, anti-firearms bills) has more Anti-rights bills in his Criminal Justice Committee (he is the Chair) now! Wonder if they will all vote unanimously on these also?

On 01/28/2020 at 1:30pm the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice will hold a meeting:


MEETING DATE: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
TIME: 1:30—3:30 p.m.
PLACE: Mallory Horne Committee Room, 37 Senate Building


And on the agenda for that meeting to be heard and voted on are a couple of Anti-Firearms Bills! That means we have 2 days to let them know we do not support and do not want them to support these anti-rights/ waste of the TaxPayers Money bills!

The first is SB 652: Urban Core Gun Violence Task Force by Sen. Pizzo. This bill creates a task force at taxpayer expense to investigate:

“… system failures and the causes of high crime rates and gun violence incidents in urban core neighborhoods and communities. In addition, the task force shall develop recommendations for solutions, programs, services, and strategies for improved inter-agency communications between local and state government agencies which will help facilitate the reduction of crime and gun violence in urban core neighborhoods and communities.”

This Bill is full of problems and will do nothing to reduce violent crime or help ALL of Florida citizens be safer. Why do our legislators continue to try and divide us into groups? Why can’t they just focus on all of Florida’s citizens?

This bill will not help the vast majority of Floridians if anyone. How many “task forces” do we need to tell us that violence is not good and how to combat it?

The second Bill on the agenda of Sen. Perry’s Committee is one I wrote about before. CS/SB 728.

This bill makes it a crime to threaten to use a firearm to make a threat (that is already illegal and called Aggravated Assault, 784.021) or “future threat” whatever the heck that is, and makes it a felony of the Second Degree. Now I hope people see that if you already have something against the law, why are you making it part of another law? Why is this an issue at all other than to put just one more anti-firearms law on the book? The Bill did not have an exception for self-defense (that was added later by amendment) but now it does. Still, this is unnecessary and stupid to waste time on something that is already illegal.

What should be of concern is the term “future threat”, which does not get defined in the proposed law. What in the world does that even mean? Without definition that could be used in many ways if you think about it.

We need to write to ALL of the Committee members, of course including Sen. Perry and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 652 and CS/SB 728. We do not need more regulations, task forces or other waste of time and money. We need them to start focusing on real issues and the bigger picture. Mental Health screening and treatment. Early intervention for young violent offenders, harsher punishments for already existing violent crimes (and actually doing that), caring for our natural resources and so much more.

Here are links to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee members’ pages and emails. Please take the few minutes it requires to do this. If you stay silent you are part of the problem and why our rights are being eroded a little at a time. Do not remain silent, become a voice for your rights and those of all Florida Law Abiding citizens!
Committee on Criminal Justice

Members
Chair: Senator Keith Perry (R)
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S8
Vice-Chair: Senator Jeff Brandes (R)
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S24
Senator Randolph Bracy (D)
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S11
Senator Anitere Flores (R)
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S39
Senator Jason W. B. Pizzo (D)
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S38

Sen. Perry recently said he is pro-firearms rights and pro-second amendment. Ask him to prove it.

Citizens will not stand Idly by anymore!

In light of the recent events where law abiding, lawfully carrying citizens have saved several lives of police officers, and not to mention all of the lawful self-defense uses of firearms in the news, I thought of this article I wrote on my Firearms Instructor Facebook Page last year on July 19 th , 2016.

Now it seems kind of prophetic; An open letter to those that would harm our police officers in the United States, or our citizens.

To those that are considering doing harm to our men and women in blue, or the law abiding citizens that this country has, I have a word of advice for you. Make sure you have made arrangements for who should claim your body. This is not an idle threat but a promise, an oath that has been taken, and a lifestyle of pride and love of this country and all it stands for that is good.

I am one of tens of millions of Americans that would not hesitate a second to help out our officers on the streets if I see them in need. This includes most veterans, most retired police officers and other law enforcement, and just plain old good people this country has. I will not stop to grab my cell
phone to video what is happening if you are trying to harm law abiding citizens trying to mind their own business. I would be going to their aid, and that aid may be armed if needed. As a 35+ year veteran cop, who now teaches law enforcement recruits full time in an academy, I will not stand idly by and watch someone try to harm my former students and friends, and I have thousands of them. I carry a firearm ALL of the time. Even when you think I will not be. I also have access quickly to the same kind of firepower that you can get hold of, probably better. And I have trained for decades to use them, to stop people like you. And I like to think I am pretty good at it, since I teach others how to shoot.

You see what has happened is that with the recent ambushes by the cowards that murdered the innocent people in Florida, Texas, and other places, many of us who would do nothing rather than just be left alone and mind our own business are now watching our cop’s backs and watching out for our fellow citizens. Just the other day on my way to work, I saw two of my former students arresting a man on a busy corner in town. I pulled into the parking lot of the gas station they were stopped in, parked where I could see them on the other side of the parking lot, and began to watch those around the area, not the cops, but what was going on around them. Nothing happened thank goodness and I made it to work about 10 minutes later than normal, well worth it to me.

To all of the other people out there that want to do something to help out the thin blue line, take a look the next time you see cops on the street involved in something. Do not bother them, do not approach them, they are busy, but hang out nearby and watch the surroundings for them, if you see
something that is a danger to them or may be, let them know! If you happen to see a fellow citizen in need of help, don’t grab your phone to video it, do something about it. Stand up for what is right and what is good. If we don’t help each other who will? We have become a nation of cowards and it’s
considered OK to “stay out of it” even if someone is being seriously hurt or killed. Why? You afraid to get hurt? Then learn how to protect yourself and your family, it will be the best money you ever spent!

Let’s show these cowardly ambush murderers and terrorist that we will not stand by any longer and we will fight back! Will not run, or hide, but FIGHT! And when Americans start standing up for each other again, these things will not happen as much, and will not be as deadly as now. It is true that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns, why do you think cops carry them?

Reading that now it seems like many other people in the United States felt the same way. You can find the original post here:
https://www.facebook.com/Chriswagonerfirearmsinstructor/posts/1625665824410244

“Are Concealed Firearms License holders more law abiding than the police? The answer might surprise you!”

From a 35+ year LEO and LEO trainer.

I want to take a few minutes to ask you, you the liberal, anti-firearm, anti-citizen self-defense, pro law enforcement people out there “do you trust law enforcement to protect you and your family from most threats?” I hope the answer would be yes. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are average Joe’s or Jane’s who have a family to support and are just trying to make it by doing what they feel is a job that is worth doing. Making everyone around them feel safer, be safer and if in the process they can
remove threats to society as a whole and lock them up, that’s a plus. Cops are for the most part really good intention-ed people. Yes, we have our bad apples, just like most professions.


Unlike some professions, people do not realize that when a cop misbehaves they can be punished more than the average citizen most of the time. Cops who do wrong on purpose are even fewer, but when caught they can be punished by their department, by the courts, and fined civilly in court also, losing their job is not unheard of either. All one has to do is look in the news for examples of cops that have done something wrong and been arrested or punished. In Florida we have the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission that governs all police officers in Florida at all levels. If a cop screws up in Florida they can have to “go before the board” and they can get anything from not guilty and no punishment to losing their police license for life. We try to do a good job of policing our own, and we like
to think we do a fairly good job of it.

But just how many cops really screw up and get in this kind of trouble? There were roughly 550 officers in Florida that were disciplined for some kind of offense in 2015. (FDLE/CJSTC Officer Discipline Report). So even with that many I still think that the men and women in law enforcement as a whole are good people and I when I call 911 I want one of the m to respond. So what does this have to do with anything? What could this possibly have to do with Concealed Weapons License holders or self-defense? Well, you see many of the arguments that you hear that oppose things like Campus Carry and Open Carry are that there will be all kinds of people waving guns all over the place. People will be getting in shoot outs left and right and God forbid we pass Campus Carry, all of our drunken “children” in college
will be shooting it up at frat parties! I have to laugh when I hear people say how all these problems and others will happen. What they fail to do is realize that the citizens that have gotten a concealed carry permit are even more law abiding than the police officers they call for help. In fact, not just more law abiding, but by a FACTOR OF 6 TIMES MORE LAW ABIDING! What? You mean that concealed firearms license holders are more law abiding than our cops? The simple answer is yes, by far. After reading the
above information on our police officers and their discipline, we looked at the number of officers that were disciplined for committing a crime that would result in their certification as a police officer being revoked verse concealed carry firearms license holders and how many of those have had their CWL taken away because they committed a crime. And what we found was very surprising. CWL holders are 6 times LESS LIKELY to commit a serious crime than the police officers you trust with your families’ safety
and even your life if need be!

So why are so many of the anti-gun types so fearful of those that carry firearms lawfully? When those that do so are even ore law abiding than the police officers they trust their lives and the lives of their family members to? It’s because they do not look at the entire set of facts before making a decision on something. I would be willing to bet that CWL holders are one of THE MOST law abiding demographics in the country. Here is a group of people that have gone through background checks, spent money, been fingerprinted, sworn that they do not abuse drugs or alcohol among some things. How many of your friends that are not CWL holders can you claim you know their back grounds are clean?

I find it seriously flawed logic and thinking when a business owner posts a sign on the front of their business saying that they do not want lawfully carrying and licensed firearms owners in their stores. First any of their customers with a CWL have been screened as mentioned above, what can they say about their other customers? In addition, the business owner is announcing to the criminal world that the chances of one of the customers in the store being armed and able to fight back is slim. Better for the
criminals don’t you think? Might as well post a sign that says, “Criminals Welcome, no one here will fight back or shoot at you, so feel free to rob us!” Instead some businesses have gotten smart and posted pro CWL signs, even going to the point of offering discounts to CWL holders to attract more of them. Why? Well one it shows solidarity with the segment of people that believe in your rights, but even more important, it’s a warning to the criminal element that “Our customers may be armed, it even a good
chance they are, and if you try to rob us, you may very well be shot!”


I know which store I am going to spend my money in. And maybe if the business owner thought it out a little more, they might not be so quick to alienate the 2.0 MILLION CWL holders in Florida (as of Dec 2019)!

What to do if you are Involved in a Self-Defense Incident.

A Retired Veteran Cops Perspective…

I have been retired now for almost a year. And in that time I have begun teaching civilian concealed carry classes locally as well as still teaching at the local police academy. I have been teaching police recruits for over 28 years and civilians for about a year or so.

One of the things that I have noticed is that the people that take the civilian classes are very well meaning and law abiding people. And they want to try and make sure to stay the law abiding part of that. So when I am teaching what to do when you are involved in a self defense incident, they seemed very surprised when I tell them what I do when it comes to speaking to the police.

You see TV and movies have yet once again misled the vast majority of law abiding citizens to think that as long as you are in the right and telling the truth, you have nothing to hide form the police and should feel fine about giving them a description of what happened and why you had to defend yourself. Well as a retired cop I am here to tell you that is not necessarily true.

When a LEO is involved in a on duty shooting, they for the most part, are given up to 72 hours to recover from the stress involved before being requested to give a statement to the investigating detectives. This is because when you are involved in a life and death incident you are going to be affected both physically and mentally, even if you are not injured. Adrenaline and other hormones will be dumped into your system. You will most likely become very shaky and out of sorts. Your thought process will be muddled and you may have trouble recalling exactly what happened at first.

People experience things during these types of situations like time compression (time moves faster than normal) time expansion (time slows down). Auditory exclusion where you don’t remember hearing anything like gunshots or screaming. Visual field restriction (tunnel vision) where you lose peripheral vision. And many more things. If you want to learn about what happens to the body and mind during these types of situations I highly recommend Lt. COl. Dave Grossman’s book “On Combat” published in 2004 and available on Amazon and elsewhere.

First once the scene is safe and there are no more threats, RE-HOLSTER your firearm. Or at least do not be holding it when the cops show up. Unless you are on the phone with 911 and describing yourself to the dispatcher, the responding cops do not know who you are and if you are standing there with a gun when they pull up, they are likely to mistake you for a bad guy. And you don’t want that.

Even though you are 100% certain that you are within the law, and you have no doubt you can explain exactly what happened and the cops should see it plain as day, DO NOT TELL THE POLICE ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED! Now I am not saying do not cooperate and provide some basic information. It’s OK to give them your name, address and identifying information. But when it comes to answering questions about what happened and why you had to use force to end the situation, do not say anything! I cannot emphasize that enough!

Give the police that respond all the personal identifying information they ask for, that’s not a problem. They will more than likely take your firearm or any other weapon you have and say it is for “evidence”. That’s fine also. But tell the officers who ask you to tell them what happened, very politely yet firmly;

I would be happy to fully cooperate and I will but I wish to have my attorney present before any questioning.”

So even though you may feel compelled to talk about what happened to the police, and they may try and ask you many questions and get you to “fill them in”, do not.

At the point that you request your attorney law enforcement is supposed to stop asking you any questions about the incident. Now if you then start talking about things, they can use whatever you say if they want. So do not talk about it.

Once you have contacted an attorney (or if you are smart you have one through your self defense insurance) wait until the attorney advises you what to say and when. That’s what they get paid for.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking, I was within the law and have nothing to hide so why not tell them? And that is all well and good, but because of the trauma you have been through you may not recall things as they really happened, you may not recall something important, and you will not be able to recall things properly until later after you recover from the initial shock.

No I know this may sound strange coming from a veteran retired cop and someone that trains police recruits, but I have seen first hand what can happen when even though you are well meaning about what you are saying, things can be twisted or taken out of context or you may actually not remember something very important and leave that out of your statement.

Your attorney will guide you through the “elements” needed to prove self defense and discuss with you what to say in your statement. They should also be present with you while you are speaking with police.

That is my simple advice to you. Coming from someone that has seen it and heard it. And experienced it themselves. Do not talk to the police until you have an attorney present, even when you know you are 100% right in what you did.

I have self defense insurance for just something like this. You should consider that also. There are several out there. My personal one is US Law Shield, but you should research on your own.

So be safe, carry always and if you ever have to use your self defense firearm, do not talk to the police until you have an attorney present. From the cop that used to ask the questions.

What can we Learn From the Texas Church Shooting?

A lot of social media buzz has been created by this terrible murder of Texas church members. Some major media covered it, but most only for a brief mention. The reason for the brief mention of course is because one, there was not a mass murder (he was stopped before he could kill more people), the victim count was not high enough. Two, the murderer was stopped in literally six seconds by a legally armed citizen. Those two things make this against the mainstream media playbook for a mass murder they can use to push the agenda of “gun-control”.

The attack on the church was caught on live stream video unlike any others we know of, so while a true tragedy, it is a great opportunity to learn from it and maybe make a few changes that could help prevent or lessen attacks in the future. So let’s break down the attack as seen on the video.

The murderer was sitting buy himself in the back row of the sanctuary. He gets up and moves to the rear where he appears to engage one of the ushers in a very brief conversation. That is when you can see him pull a short shotgun from under his jacket/ coat. He initially points it at the usher he was speaking to.

Just before subject stands and moves to back of sanctuary.

At the same time several things are happening. There is an armed member of the church security team sitting just a few feet away along the back wall. He sees the subject pull out the shotgun and stands and begins to draw his concealed handgun. Also a few more feet away a group of men also along the back and already standing seem to notice the commotion and one drops out of sight, and one moves off camera and the third draws a handgun. From the video it’s hard to tell if it was concealed or openly carried.

8 seconds into incident.

The subject seeing the security member reaching and attempting to draw his concealed firearm turns the shotgun on him and fires one shot, striking him. The security member is seen to fall to the floor. The subject then turns back to the usher and fires one shot at him. This takes just a couple of seconds.

The other church security member, identified as Jack Wilson later, had during this time drawn his firearm and according to Mr. Wilson’s own statement he could not fire for a second or two because of church members between the subject and him in his line of fire. On the video you can see someone standing what looks like half crouched over and possible in Mr. Wilson’s line of fire.

The subject turns and begins to move forward in the direction of the stage in the church and takes one or two steps. Mr. Wilson appears to illuminate the suspect probably with a weapon mounted light. A second later the light goes off, and Mr. Wilson fires one well aimed shot at about 40- 50 feet striking the subject in the head. The subject falls to the ground.

At this point Mr. Wilson begins to move in the direction of the subject. At this point several other armed members of the church appear.

The entire situation from the time the suspect stood up and moves to the back of the church until he was shot by Mr. Wilson was 18 seconds. After the situation was deemed safe and over, people began to exit the sanctuary.

So what lessons can we learn from the video and the information shared by Mr. Wilson and other members of the church?

1. The subject was already acting suspicious and has been identified by the security team members. People acting suspiciously or dressed inappropriately (fake beard, hair and over coat in this case) bear watching and maybe even making contact with them.

2. Reaction is always going to be slower than action. Once the subject had his shotgun out drawing from concealment puts you at a serous disadvantage. Especially for those that do not practice it.

3. Distance is good and bad. Good in that you are not the sole point of attention, and may give you more of a chance to bring your firearm to bear. Bad in the the greater the distance, the more skilled a shot you will have to be. Practice is key here.

4. Move!! Standing still and trying to draw on an already aimed firearm is impossible. Move and draw! A moving target is much harder to hit. This is NOT a negative critique of the security team member who was shot while drawing from concealment, but a training lesson to learn from the tragedy.

Practice shooting at distances other than close range only. I see many people at the range I teach at and I never see the target go past the 7 or 10 yard distance (21-30 feet.) While yes the vast majority of defensive shootings happen under 21 feet, that does not mean you should not practice and be able to hit targets accurately at greater distances. I regularly work at distances up to 50 yards with handguns. There is a great feeling of accomplishment at hitting a target at those distances.

There are few other things that I noticed that might make good training topics from this incident, but those could be completely separate topics on their own.

So whats the final overall take away form this? That armed, trained, and ready lawful firearm carrying Americans CAN and HAVE stopped mass murderers. And that if these citizens had been prevented by laws from carrying in the church (aka gun free zones) more people would have died.

I am thankful that Mr. Jack Wilson and the other members of that church were there and ready and trained for this incident. We must learn from these incidents if we are to be ready for the next, and sadly there will be more.

It’s time for Law Enforcement to take a stand with the law-abiding firearms owning citizens of this country.

As many of my readers know I am a 35 year veteran sworn law enforcement officer who retired at the rank of Commander and more years after that training cops. I can tell you that a large majority of cops are strong supporters of citizens rights to be armed. I am also a U.S. Army veteran of the 3rd Infantry Division. Contrary to the few incidents that make the news or social media most of law enforcement supports the citizens right to self-protection and to being armed. I have had citizens come to my aid more than once when I needed back-up and none was around, and I was thankful for their help.

But there is rapidly coming a time in this country when law enforcement as a whole may need to finally take a stand with the citizens and stand up for the Constitutionally protected right to “keep and bear arms” that seems to be under attack.

In VA. there are many Sheriff’s and Police that have taken a stand with the citizens they are sworn to serve. This is a good sign, but I do not think it is going far enough. We need a national push, and national movement in law enforcement to stand up against further restrictions on a citizens right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment is for all citizens, even law enforcement. Citizens in several states have even gone so far as to save officers lives using a firearm to stop attacks on officers.

Virginia sheriff: We’ll deputize law-abiding citizens to counter state Dems’ gun control ‘overreach’

Think for a second why many firearms laws exempt law enforcement from the restrictions placed on the average citizen. The legislators and some figure heads in law enforcement will tell you its because police are highly trained in the use of firearms and can be trusted to have firearms. Well that is not exactly the truth. If you look at the training of many law enforcement agencies throughout the country you would be astonished at how little training they actually get. In the State of Florida for example officers are only required to qualify with their service firearm every two years! While some agencies do qualify more than that there are agencies out there that only shoot their firearms every two years. Now that does not make them “highly trained” or better trained even than most firearms owners. I know for a fact that our local agencies offer officers free time on the range every month to practice if they want, and yet out of almost a thousand officers and deputies, very rarely (one or two maybe a month) would take part in the offer.

After retiring from law enforcement training, I began teaching civilian classes at a local gun range and found to my very pleasant surprise that many firearms owners shoot as much if not more than most cops. Sure, there are some in each group that train a lot and some that train very little. Point being that on an average I have to say from personal observation police are no more well trained in firearms than most firearms owner citizens.

So why do legislators seem to always include exemptions for law enforcement in most firearms bills and restrictions then? Well they will say it’s for public safety. But an officer’s home collection does nothing for public safety. Only the officer’s duty firearms while they are working and maybe their off-duty firearm (if they carry one, I know many that do not). The reason that they include these exemptions is because they know that if law enforcement had to abide by the same laws and rules as citizens the cops would be in an uproar and fight any more restrictions. Imagine if law enforcement officers’ personal firearms were going to be banned just like they are threatening citizens firearms. What if law enforcement was required to keep any “assault weapons” (before you scream at me I know there is no such thing, I’m using the anti-rights groups words) at the station and check them out only when working. What of they were only allowed the same magazine capacity that the legislature is trying to place on citizens. I don’t think they would like it much and you would hear a huge cry from the police unions and officers themselves. Now do not misunderstand me, I think that ALL law-abiding people should have a right to those things, not just law enforcement. And I know some will say, and I agree, law enforcement does need these things since those are the same weapons they encounter criminals already using. Being at least as well armed as the criminals is a necessity for law enforcement, why is it not for the citizens who will encounter the criminals before the cops do?

I teach the police recruits that I have in the academy that the golden rule of law enforcement is to treat every person (good and bad) the way they would want another cop to treat their family member if they were in the same situation. Cops need to remember that these laws and exemptions affect their families and friends who are not cops, and everyone else.

In closing let me point out that I am pro law enforcement and know most are great, brave, decent people trying to make the areas they live in just that much safer, but I also know we (LEOs) see the worst that society has to offer and sometimes forget that there are millions of times more good people out there than criminals. If we remove the exemptions for law enforcement from the firearms laws, then I think we might see much different reactions from the law enforcement world in opposition to any more restrictions. Maybe even they might stand with the citizens and require the law makers actually follow the Constitution and remind them they “shall not infringe” on their right to “keep and bear arms”, both citizens and cops. Virginia law enforcement seems to have figured that out.