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.

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!

“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.

Thinking of Giving a Firearm as a Gift for Christmas?

With Christmas fast approaching you may be thinking of getting that special person a firearm for a Christmas present, which can be done legally, even to someone under 18, and 18 to 21 years old, even in Florida.

Under Federal law you cannot sell or give a firearm to a person under 18 without parental permission. And you must have that permission in writing! So if your trying to give a firearm to your 16 year old niece or nephew for instance, get written permission from the parents to do so. The Federal law that applies is:

18 U.S.C. 922(x) (x)(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer to a person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile— (A) a handgun; or (B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun. (2) It shall be unlawful for any person who is a juvenile to knowingly possess— (A) a handgun; or (B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun.

But that section goes on to list the exception being with written permission (among a few other exceptions). Florida law (Check your states laws for any difference) does not prohibit the private sale or gifting of a firearm to anyone who is not Federally prohibited if you follow the above for anyone under 18. Over 18 you can gift directly to the person, even in Florida as possession by anyone under 21 is not prohibited, only buying from a licensed dealer (some think it includes private sales, that has yet to be officially determined, F.S.S. 790.065 (13)) is prohibited.

But the generally accepted rule is that you may buy a firearm and gift it to someone as long as they are an adult, or Juvenile with written permission from the parents (not legally prohibited by State or Federal laws).

See the National Shooting Sports Foundation web page for more information.

Newsweek Outright Lies to the American People about Firearms Deaths!

Why am I not surprised that another supposed “news” source would publish a article “STUDY: U.S. GUN DEATHS SURGE, EXCEPT FOR TWO STATES WITH RESTRICTIVE GUN LAWS – BY ASHER STOCKLER ON 10/8/19” that is not only full of falsehoods, but the headline itself is an outright lie.

Is it any surprise that the American people no longer trust “news” sources like Newsweek? When supposed news sources publish such blatant lies about a topic rather than take 5 minutes to actually research reliable sources, you get results like this:

Screen grab from Newsweek.com

Now if you read that headline you would think they at least were telling you the truth. But would it surprise you if I told you that according to the FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” firearms murders went down the last two years? Firearms murders have decreased since 2016. 2018 was lower again from 2017. So why would Newsweek want to mislead or lie to the American public? Well of course we know why, they want to influence the public into thinking there is a “surge” or “epidemic” or “crisis”. When in reality the only one of those is in the minds of those who manufacture these claims.

From: FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” report.

According to the FBI homicide data, murder over all is down again also in the US. That’s great news so why not share that good news? Isn’t murder being down a good thing? Oh that’s right if they admitted that it would make things like “gun control” the “assault weapons ban” and other things pointless. Well they are pointless.

Here is the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the US over the last 48 years. Notice anything? You can easily see that the Murder rate was much higher from about 1998 and prior. After the rate started dropping in the nineties it has stayed pretty stable until about 2008 when it dropped a little more. With the mass murder in 2016 it climbed but still not to previous levels. And now it has dropped again to 5 murders per 100K like it was back in 2009. Again it is still far lower than in the past prior to 1999.

Graphic by Down Range with Chris Wagoner. (chriswagoner.us)

So one has to also consider this. We are a nation of 350+ MILLION people. And a nation with hundreds of millions of firearms, some estimates are even more firearms than people. If firearms were the issue would we not have far more firearms murders than 10,265 out of 350+ MILLION people with all those firearms in the US? Of course we would. This is a very simple way of showing it is not the inanimate object that is a problem, but the person behind it. Just like it is the driver behind the wheel of a car driving DUI and not the car. It is obvious when you see that “hands and feet”, “Blunt objects” like clubs and hammers, and even “knives and cutting instruments” are used to murder far more people than those “assault rifles” that many say are the biggest threat to people these days.

So to Newsweek I make this challenge, if you want to put anyone up for a debate live online, I will gladly take you up on ti. Subject? The real numbers behind firearms, murder and fake crisis you are trying to manufacture.

I know they won’t take me up on it, but it’s fun to hope! Stay safe out there.