So I could ask you another one. Yesterday, I asked how many of the gun nuts out there that legally carry would intervene using their firearms in three different hypothetical situations. The point of that question wasn’t actually to get people thinking about tactics, but rather to ask a second question – to those that said “yes I would”, I would then pose this next question: If you are willing to use your firearm in public with innocent bystanders present, are you confident enough in your ability with your carry gun to say that you would be an asset in that situation that you said you’d intervene? Or would you be a liability because you’ve never fired your gun under pressure?
This will likely be my last post on the issue of professional firearms training for a bit, because I feel like after this, this particular dead horse been flagellated enough. But this is actually one of the most important issues to me in terms of getting training, and that’s the moral/ethical issue behind the use of deadly force. For example, let’s revisit the restaurant gunfight from yesterday’s blog post – shooters come in, I have a shot, and I take it. I miss, and kill a 32 year old new mother in front of her husband and children. I missed because I’d never fired my gun under pressure, and it turns out that plinking mediocre groups at 25 feet isn’t actually going to help me in a gunfight. Depending on what state I live in, I may not be legally responsible for that woman’s dead body. However, that’s not going to help me sleep better at night knowing that I took her life, and I took it because I was incompetent.
This isn’t about whether you need training, or want training, or anything like that. This is nothing but my personal morals, and yours may be different. I carry a gun in a public place. There are other people around, quite often, and muggings don’t happen only in deserted alleys with hard brick walls to serve as backstops. Crime happens on street corners, in fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and even insurance agency parking lots.
You may not believe this way, and that’s fine – but I believe that I have an ethical obligation to any innocent bystander to not put their lives at undue risk. This applies to more than just carrying a gun. I don’t drive recklessly for the same reason: I do not have a right to endanger your life through my lack of skill behind a wheel or a trigger. “My right to swing my fist ends at your nose”, and my right to be untrained ends when it endangers someone else’s life.
I don’t think that there should be a training requirement to carry concealed, because I don’t believe the state is capable of actually training people to be safe, competent shooters. If you’d only use your defensive firearm in a one on one encounter with no possibility of shooting a bystander, then don’t get training. But if you have a family, if you believe that CCW holders are “sheepdogs” and would intervene in a public situation, if you would use your weapon in self defense in a crowded street or public parking lot or any situation where the possibility exists of injuring or killing a bystander, then please seek training. If the time ever comes where you have to pull the trigger, I want everyone that reads us here at Gun Nuts to say “I did everything I could to be ready for this moment, and I was able to win the fight because of that”.