On Monday, Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich publicly announced that customers should not bring guns into the bakery-cafe chain’s stores.
“Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.”
Two days later, a criminal pulled a gun and fatally shot a police officer inside a Panera restaurant in Abingdon, Maryland. He then fled the store and engaged responding police in a gunfight, killing another before being killed himself.
That’s some “Panera warmth,” right there behind the crime scene tape.
All of this happened in Maryland, a state with some of the strictest “gun safety” laws in the country, in the “safety” of Panera’s newly declared “gun free zone.”
I guess he didn’t get the message.
But here’s my message to you. There is no such thing as a gun free zone, because in a free society, gun free zones operate on the honor system. And in case you hadn’t noticed, murderers are not honorable.
Now if you are a fan of these types of restrictions, you might point out that the victim in the Panera store was a fully armed police officer. Granted. But one might also point out that even for an armed police officer, going and sitting right next to an individual known to be unstable when responding to a call of his disruptive behavior might not have been the best approach.
Carrying a gun is no guarantee that you get to go home safe at the end of the day, and even if there were armed citizens in that store there is no guarantee that the outcome would have been any better. But there are no guarantees in life, and every adult understands that. A seat belt does not guarantee you’ll survive a car crash, but it betters the odds so you put it on. And short of the seat belt failing mechanically, we don’t blame the belt for a fatal car crash…we recognize the crash as being too severe for the seat belt to save the driver.
Having a gun does not guarantee you’ll survive the crash, but it can improve your odds. Panera CEO Ron Shaich wants you to leave your seat belt off. Get the message?
— Dave Cole
UPDATE: When writing this, I did not notice that the original story about Panera CEO Ron Shaich was from September of 2014. Mea culpa. However, it doesn’t really change anything…kind of like “gun free zones.”
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Gun Law weekly. Before we jump into this week’s State, Illinois, we’d like to quickly address that there were a few errors in last weeks’ article about gun laws in Texas. Thank you readers’ for pointing out those errors and this week we are working harder to provide direct links to the relevant legislature and are reading the legislature directly so that we can avoid these mistakes in the future.
With that being said the show must go on so without further ado: Illinois.
To purchase a firearm of any kind in Illinois you need a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card (430 ILCS 65/2). After you obtain an FOID though you do not need to register any firearms you purchase. In purchasing a handgun however there is a 72 hour mandatory waiting period before picking up your new handgun and there is a 24 hour holding period on any rifle or shotgun before you can take possession (720 ILCS 5/24-3). If you are purchasing multiple firearms or need a gun case to transport your new firearm securely then this would be a good time to look at gun lockers and other gun storage solutions.
The requirements to obtain a FOID card are as follows:
At least 21 years old, or at least 18 with parental consent (and a parent who is eligible for a FOID card).
A U.S. citizen or legal resident, and
Eligible to obtain and possess a firearm under federal law.
Additionally you must not be:
A convicted felon.
A minor convicted of certain misdemeanors, crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult, or who has been adjudicated delinquent,
Addicted to certain controlled substances, or
“mentally impaired” or “intellectually disabled”
Transportation and Carrying
Moving onto transporting and carrying your gun, residents of Illinois can conceal carry their handgun if they obtain a concealed carry license from the Illinois State Police. For a full list of the eligibility requirements you can visit their site here. Otherwise you are still allowed to transport your firearm as long as you meet one of the following conditions:
Are broken down in a non-functioning state.
Are not immediately accessible.
Are unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid FOID Card.
This is not a full list, I highlighted the first three because these are the easiest to achieve. There are also additional exceptions made for hunting and target shooting in regards to transportation and open carry. To see all of conditions you can transport your firearm in see the link at the bottom of the article for 720 ILCS 5/24-1 (4). There are also location restrictions where concealed carry permit owners aren’t allowed to have their handgun. This extensive list can be found here.
Non-residents are allowed to have a firearm without an FOID if it is unloaded and in a case or if they are:
– Hunting and has a non-resident hunting license, while in an area where hunting is permitted.
– On a target range recognized by the Department of State Police.
– At a gun show recognized by the Department of State Police.
– Currently licensed or registered to possess a firearm in his state of residence. (NRA-ILA)
The section of the law that deals with non-resident firearm possession referenced here is 430 ILCS 65/2, which deals with FOID Card exceptions, as is the case with most non-residents. Non-residents are allowed to obtain a Concealed Carry License so if you are frequently in Illinois this may be a good solution for you.
These are the basic firearm laws in Illinois. The majority of this information was found in the FOID Act, Concealed Carry Act and the Unlawful Use of Weapons Act. With interpretation help from the NRA, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Illinois State Police website.
Like all laws these are subject to change. There may also be county and city laws not covered in this article that change your ability to carry, transport and otherwise possess your firearm.
The process of selecting the concealed carry firearm that is best suited for you is a daunting task to say the least. An even more monumental task might be the selection of a method of carry. Not only do discussions of such things spark heated debate among your friends and personal insults from our childish brothers and sisters, but these decisions force you to be more aware, than you ever wanted to be, of how your body shape dictates comfort. You also have to consider your wardrobe, the nature of your career, and pay close attention to the time you spend sitting and standing as you progress through your day. I apologize if this dialogue has caused you to recall the painful memory of working the kinks out of your concealed carry system, but I am happy to say that I have some good news about a vital component of your system.
If you have made the decision to carry a firearm, one of the things that is agreed upon, by most competent instructors, is the necessity to carry a spare magazine. The most obvious advantage to carrying a spare magazine is that it is an additional source of ammunition. Further, of all the potential complications that could occur with a firearm, the quickest and easiest to fix is a magazine problem (throw it away and grab another). With that said, there are several options available for carrying a spare magazine; IWB, OWB, and ankle just to name a few, but my favorite method is to carry it in the off-side pants pocket.
My pursuit to find a well-made holster for this application led me on a survey of the websites maintained by many reputable holster manufacturers. In the last few months I have used the Galco PMC Pocket Magazine Carrier and the Milt Sparks PCH-M, both of which are well made and very nice, but my personal preference between the two is the Milt Sparks holster. I can’t overstate the quality of the holster! Having said that, the problem is that at a price point of $65.50 and a wait time of up to 18 weeks, it is difficult for me to justify purchasing multiple variations of the holster to suit different firearms. My affinity to the Milt Sparks holster initiated a search for a similar product at a lower price point, which was concluded at www.crossbreedholsters.com with the discovery of The “Gideon” Pocket Mag Carrier.
This holster is made to fit magazines for 166 different firearms (according to my personal quick count), is available in 5 different colors, and has an approximate two-week order fulfillment time, all at a price point of $24.95! What more could I ask for?! As a fan of Crossbreed products, I had no reason to doubt the quality of the product, and therefore, ordered three different carriers. I have been carrying them in my pocket for the last 30 days, and so far, it has not disappointed. The leather and stitching are of the highest quality, and the design of the product leaves plenty of room in my pocket for additional every day necessities.
If you’re looking for a solid product in which to carry a spare magazine in a pocket, I can highly recommend that you consider The “Gideon” Pocket Mag Carrier as you advance in your pursuit of your ideal concealed carry system.
People not in the gun community often think that Texas would be the Wild West when it comes to gun laws but it’s not. It is not the most relaxed State when it comes to possession, open carry and laws requiring secure weapon storage. While there is good reason and clout to back up these rumors, Texas still does have gun laws that you have to follow and should be aware of.
To start, there are no rifle, shotgun or handgun registration laws in Texas. That means that there is no waiting period to buy a gun if you woke up in the morning wanting one. This includes weapons deemed “assault” weapons by Federal laws and other State laws. Additionally, this extends to ammunition capacity where there is no limit on how much ammunition you can have in a magazine or on your person. In short, the only limit to how many bullets you have is your capacity to store them. Or money.
The only time you will need to get a permit in relation to firearms is when you want to carry a handgun concealed or open. As of January 1st 2016 you are allowed to open carry a handgun, in a safe non-threatening manner, if you have a concealed carry permit. You are allowed to open carry a shotgun or rifle without a concealed carry permit unless it is in a manner “calculated to cause harm”. So be careful because the wording can be slippery and is up to the police to interpret.
City dwellers should pay extra special attention to the exceptions to these rules, which are; even with the open and concealed carry permit you are not allowed to have firearm in:
Churches and other places of religious worship.
Polling places on Election Day.
In an establishment where 51% or more of the revenue comes from alcohol.
Inside an airport.
In regards to transportation you may carry a loaded handgun within reach in a vehicle as long as it is out of sight. Long guns, as in shotguns or other rifles, may be loaded, within reach and in plain view in the vehicle.
If you are not from Texas it may be hard to purchase a firearm while in Texas because you must show ID to buy a firearm and in many stores they will not sell them to you because of the potential conflicts with other States laws. Also, if you have a concealed carry permit from another State, Texas will allow you to open carry in their state as well.
A note on safety in these troubling times, in light of the recent shooting in Houston. If you live in one of the big cities (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas or Fort Worth) the only city that is high on the FBI’s list of most dangerous cities in Texas is Houston. Austin particularly is noted to be very safe, so just because you live in a state that has relaxed gun laws and you live in a big city does not mean you have to feel unsafe. Crime rates in the five biggest cities in Texas have actually dropped by an average of 6.5% in the last year.
If you are still worried about violent crime or if you are a business owner worried about protecting his/her wares there are plenty of versatile storage options available.
For our first foray into firearm laws we are tackling the big city and state: New York. New York. A state with some of the strictest gun possession and gun storage laws in all of the United States, New York also has special laws that must be adhered to in New York City that do not apply to the rest of the state. It is a state that requires secure weapon storage in certain circumstances, which we will go over later. Generally you will need a license that includes a background check if you want to have a firearm in New York.
Before we go into specific laws dictating firearm possession and storage let’s look at laws concerning weapons in New York City because maybe you happened upon this page looking for ways to defend yourself but do not want to own a gun. Unfortunately, Tasers, electric stun guns or electronic dart guns are all illegal to own in New York. If you live in one of the 45 other states where Taser possession is legal, you can look at secure taser storage to make yourself feel safer in possessing one. To find out if you are allowed a Taser in your state look here.
New York requires anyone who wants to purchase a handgun or pistol to apply for a license in the city or county in which they reside. A handgun license from New York State is not valid for possession of a handgun if you live or move to New York City. If you live in New York City you will need a special license from New York City’s police commissioner. Additionally, you will have to register all handguns you purchase with the New York City Police department.
Rifle and Shotgun Laws
If you live in New York City you will need a permit from the police department to own a rifle or shotgun (or handgun). If you live anywhere in the rest of New York State you do not need a license to purchase a rifle or shotgun and furthermore you do not need to register it either.
Assault Weapon Laws
Even though you can own a rifle in New York there are certain types of rifles, pistols and shotguns that are prohibited even if you have a license. These firearms are classified as assault weapons and there are very specific definitions to them. For a full overview of how to determine if the firearm you are looking to purchase is considered a so-called assault weapon or not see definition below.
An assault rifle is a selective firerifle or carbine firing ammunition
with muzzle energies intermediate between those typical of pistol and battle
rifle ammunition. Assault rifles are categorized between light machine guns,
intended more for sustained automatic fire in a support role, and submachine guns, which fire a handgun cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. Assault rifles are the
standard small arms in most modern armies, having largely replaced or supplemented larger, more powerful battle rifles, such as the World
War II-era M1 Garand and Tokarev SVT. Examples of assault rifles include the AK-47 and the M16 rifle. Semi-automatic rifles, including commercial versions of the AR-15, and “automatic” rifles limited to firing single shots are not assault rifles as they are not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with very limited capacity fixed magazines are also generally not considered assault rifles.
For a comprehensive look at what a assault weapon is check out this site from GunCite.com
For carrying your firearm, transporting it through New York or going to your range a good rule of thumb is to transport it unloaded. If it is a handgun you want to carry on your person you will also need a carry license.
If you are an individual from out of New York State wanting to travel through or to anywhere in New York with your firearm you may, but with strict rules. First, while you are in New York your firearm must be unloaded. Second, your ammunition and firearm must be in two separate areas of the vehicle so that both are not easily accessible to people in the vehicle. It is considered a separate area if it is stored in a secure weapon case.
New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States and New York City proper has different laws. It never hurts to give the local government a call to inquire about fiream laws in their area, they are the best resource and weapon safety is important to everyone.
There are politicians and anti-rights people trying to stop the sale of ammunition online.
Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduced a bill to ban the online sale of ammunition. He and people like Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, support the stupid “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” that wants ammunition to only be sold by licensed dealers; and buyers who are not licensed dealers will be required to present photo identification; and licensed dealers must maintain records of ammunition sales and report to officials the sale of more than 1,000 rounds to an unlicensed person.
I said “stupid” because laws only apply to the law abiding. What they propose is unfair to the community, and retailers, bureaucratic, and totally unnecessary. Whenever politicians and victims of crimes support this stuff it only affects good people. Terrorist, criminals and the mentally disturbed– don’t follow the rules. You can’t legislate crazy.
This type of action comes after a tragedy when prohibitionist uses our grief against us. Some cities already prohibit the sale of magazines that carry more than ten rounds for example as if that will work. NOT.
I know a online company that I like called LuckyGunner.com that sells inexpensive ammunition and has great customer service. Please support my friends at Lucky Gunner. I’ve had the privileges of meeting them, and enjoying their Tennessee hospitality. They are good peeps.
I have an affiliate link that tells them you made a purchase from my site. I appreciate the support if you do.
These terms swirl around us. I can remember those “ Thrilling days of yesteryear!” Cowboys or combat certain images were associated with America’s love for firearms. Which brought me to an awareness that I needed to know how to protect myself properly and responsibly, when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em… As children, especially boys were encouraged to play with guns, toughening up rite of passage and if someone hits you, hit ‘em back. Cowboys and Indians was the thing to play! We saw cowboys in “Shoot ‘em up” westerns with trusty six shooters. Television shows like The Lone Ranger, Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, characters were featured as gun slingers. Still in re-runs today. Untouchables with Machine guns, the detectives versus the Mob, outlaws and police everywhere with guns. Shows also featured military brigades, fighting for truth, justice the American Way…
Women toted pistols…Annie Oakley portrayed by Gail Davis, of course Roy’s Dale Evans. Davis (Betty Jeanne Grayson) was particularly interesting because she was a legendary sharp shooter who wasn’t just acting. She had pistol packing power. Davis’ character, and ability to outshoot men, (while they thought she was a pansy) really fascinated me. There were cops and robbers shows of every sort. Firearms have been a staple “prop” throughout television history. Used to establish, enforce law and order. In movies and real life, the power of a gun let’s you know that something serious is about to go down. A gun is a persuader of perceived power, one upsmanship. Wielding a gun can be intoxicating… It can save your life and if you pull one out you’d better be prepared to use it, know what, how to do what must be done. It’s about accuracy, safety, consequences, aftermath, and perhaps a deadly outcome.
Yes, we want safety; better safe than sorry, when it comes down to being violated, perhaps it’s kill or be killed. Worst-case scenario, last resort, left with no choice, life or death situation, be prepared. Emergency preparedness training must be ongoing. Life circumstances became real and I needed a gun. I had been violated and robbed at gunpoint. I am thankful to be alive to tell this story. The situation could have been the other way…The need to protect/defend myself on another level was of concern. The person was never caught and brought to justice. (Sound familiar?) The responsibility to be an informed, experienced gun owner was obvious. I purchased two. One to keep with me, the other in a safe place to protect my property. I practiced regularly, joined the NRA, and used the range for target practice. That was decades ago, before I understood politics as I do now. If you have to take matters into your own hands to defend yourself, your body must be the ultimate weapon. I am an advocate/activist for what I believe and hold dear. 2nd Amendment advocates are on both sides of the political aisles, diverse, of every political persuasion. Preserving life, using deadly force to protect the life of loved ones and property is not a partisan issue, must be preserved as our 2nd Amendment rights state. There is a delicate balance between protection, safety, awareness, and responsibility. The NRA and reputable gun advocacy organizations have their merits. Better served not being limited in scope to focusing on endorsing any one particular parties’ politics. They need a different approach so that 2nd Amendment rights are inclusive, not exclusive. They need not be pitting themselves against each other concerning gun policy legislation.
My goal is to keep training, honing my skills, improve accuracy, and stay abreast of relevant issues and laws. Setting my sites on new improved weaponry and ammo, and of course watching my back. Bullying isn’t just a youth issue. As I observe the political stance of the American people, I am mindful of safe, sane and solid ways to exercise this right.
When serious issues have arisen local law enforcement tells me, “there’s nothing they can do” after they’ve told me to “ call them if I need them”… I have no choice but to defend myself, take matters into my own hands, if necessary.
This time I’m not training as an amateur. The law is there whether you are a proponent of it or not. That’s what it’s there for…protection. I’m choosing to take advantage of that 2nd Amendment!!!
“ Praise God and Pass the Ammo, the heat is on!”
This message is intended to raise awareness, gather support, and maintain a voice for gun rights and safety.
Antoinette Singh Writer/Journalist Gun rights advocate/activist Radio producer Civil /Human/ Women’s Rights advocate Crisis Counselor Artist /Designer Woman of God…
50 States. All with different gun laws and gun storage laws. There are many reasons to look up gun laws in your state apart from the obvious: you live there and own a gun! If you are travelling through or moving to a different state you will have to research gun storage transport laws for every state you plan on going through. That can take a lot of time. Sometimes it is not easy to find specific laws on state department websites either.
That is why this series exists. Every week we will research and bring to you the most important gun and firearm storage laws in various states, so that you can stop worrying about breaking the law with your firearm.
Each week we will take a look at a specific state and compare it to neighboring states so that you will be informed about the different laws you might have to be aware of if you plan on travelling into the nearby states. We will also review Federal gun laws and how they interact with your local laws. Along with this we will take a look at general gun laws to keep in mind while travelling in each state.
We will explore what types of gun storage solutions adhere to the laws in each state. These will range from gun lockers, and wall mounts to cable locks and carry cases with a special emphasis placed on space concerns. We hope to bring solutions that will fit for all living situations from city to rural and from apartments to townhouses.
We hope to help you answer all your questions and lingering confusions in the upcoming posts. The aim of this series is to cut down your research time and allow you to travel and store your firearms safely abiding by federal and state regulations. Keep checking back weekly for updates!
I really wanted to present you a Labor Day writing this week, or rather an automated non labor future writing (teaser for next week???), but I really can’t pass (pun intended) on the Kaep situation. You see, I am a Marine, and it seems that in my lifetime people have completely lost touch with what freedom is. If you are one of the ones calling for some type of discipline of Colin Kaepernick from the league or the team, you should check yourself, seriously, you either never knew or no longer understand what living in a free world is. Freedom allows for people to do and say things you don’t like. Get it through your brain housing group, ie your head. You don’t have the power to make people live as you wish. Moreover, quit trying to speak for me, a veteran. We know the sacrifices that we have made, we know why we have made those sacrifices. I wish you would be this outspoken when it comes to taking care of us once we are no longer in active service. I appreciate that you want to honor our sacrifice, but really, it is only a song, and it is the rights of individuals that are most cherished and protected. If you wonder how this ties in with guns or the 2nd Amendment, it is simply a matter that all rights are protected, if one falls or is curtailed than they all can be.
That said, if you are upset, I have a sneaking suspicion that it really isn’t about him sitting. I’m going to guess you are generally good person, and are more than likely to be upset about a multi-millionaire making a statement that others need to be doing more. If that is not the case, maybe you should take a hard look at yourself and your motives and beliefs, that’s a subject for another article. In this case a question that should be asked is what has Colin done to help out the impoverished and oppressed community? I don’t have that answer, and I hope he is out there, but it really is a question we should be asking ourselves. I have posed this question/challenge to dozens of my friends, which is, to quote Bernie I think, to be the change you want to see. Do you really trust an inept (at best) or corrupt (at worst) government to change things? A government that has had 50 years fighting the war on poverty with nothing to show for all its efforts?
Sorry I digress a bit, the challenge is for you to find one or more families that need your help. A buddy of mine is friends with a couple with multiple kids, the mother is struggling in low wage work, and she misses time because of the children, and the father (not married) can’t find work. I am sure many of you have seen this scenario. These people are good people, but they are stuck in continual assistance. My friend is adamant that they need increased assistance, but I asked my friend what he is doing to help them, personally. I believe and explained to him that the most beneficial thing he could do would be to babysit for them while they spend time at the library, learning, developing new skills, with the possibility of starting something of their own. Take a second to think this through with me if we are able to give four hours a week to a single mother, father, or couple, what that the time adds up to over the course of a year. Four hours a week translates into 208 hours a year. In that amount of time a person should be able to learn about something of interest to them, put in some practice time and actually start a business. Also I should note, I understand that his stance was more to do with the system being oppressive, I don’t have the influence or power to change the whole system, but if I can change the lives of one or two families, I think that it is my responsibility to help out.
I am not sure what others are thinking when they get upset at Mr. Kaepernick, I know that it didn’t disgust me or even upset me, but I did wonder what he has done personally to help change anyone’s future. I wonder what each of us have done, what each of us could and should do. We need to be involved in our community’s lives, actually down and personally helping, not just throwing money to an organization or government to waste. If each of us helps one family, it can be generational change for them and their children. My motto this year, and quite possibly for my foreseeable future is to give more than I receive from this world. I hope the same from each of you. Have a wonderful day, peace.
Not too long ago, I lived my life as you probably do today. I was a law-abiding citizen who went faithfully about his business as you probably do. I went to work every day, spent quality time with my family, regularly attended church services, and didn’t stick my nose into the affairs of other people.
I dutifully exercised my civic duties such as voting in every election, maintaining my home inside and out, and supporting the general affairs of the city of my birth. Further, I felt that I had the basic routine of ensuring my family’s safety covered: I owned a shotgun and had plenty of buckshot shells on-hand for home defense and maintained a state of continual vigilance.
Despite my best efforts of trying to be safe in an increasingly dangerous town, my world was suddenly and violently turned upside-down on one eventful night. As I was returning home one evening from a full day of work, I was approached by and robbed at gunpoint by two teenagers in my own backyard. My own garage had become a crime scene.
How To Get Robbed In Your Own Backyard
I suffered the indignity of having a gun shoved into my face while being relieved of a few paltry and essentially worthless material possessions – a booty worth less than a total of $50. After it was all “said and done,” I experienced a bruise to my ego that wouldn’t be fully felt until several days had since passed when family and friends would later blame me for being a victim of a violent crime.
It could have been much worse. I could have been shot or killed, which seems to be the case in Detroit armed robberies these days. To be totally honest, I had fully expected to be shot due to the fact that I had steadfastly and boldly refused to accompany my assailants at gunpoint to an ATM to retrieve more money and refused to chaperone them into my house so that they could present a threat to my family. Unless you have experienced a robbery for yourself, there is no true way you can truly appreciate the trespass I felt on that night. I made my peace with God and was resolved to be shot to death in my own backyard.
I am a father of four wonderful children. Although I have adequate life insurance, what kind of life would my kids have without me in their lives? I grew up without a father, who died when I was twelve years of age. My dad had adequate life insurance – I was able to go to college – but the void I experienced in my life has never been filled. I think of him at least once every day. I know what that experience feels like and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I Procrastinated Away The Opportunity To Defend Myself
More than anything, I was maddened by the experience. Not only was I mad at the two thugs who robbed me, mad at the negligent parents of our city who have no clue of what their children do after dark, but I was even madder at myself. You see, by this point in time, the CCW laws in Michigan had been changed several years ago such that law-abiding citizens, such as myself, could have applied for and received the privilege of carrying a concealed pistol on their person.
Had I applied at that point in time circa 2001, I would have had a gun to defend myself in my time of need. The situational circumstances of my robbery were such that my awareness on that night would have given me enough time and space to react. One problem: I didn’t have a gun.
Never Assume That Bad Things Never Happen To Good People
Upon further analysis, my major problem prior to the robbery was that, despite the increasing number of violent crimes reported in the media, I had allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security. After all, I was at that time married, had four children, had a nice home in a solid middle-class neighborhood, did not hang out in bars and clubs, did not associate with people of questionable character, and was often in bed by 10 p.m.
At that point in my life, although I had experienced several petty property crimes at our residence such as several car break-ins, one burglary of our home, the theft of our built-in outdoor barbecue grill, and a couple of car-eggings, I thought that I was reasonably safe, given my low-key lifestyle. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nice neighborhoods, it seems, are open-air markets for criminals: deluded potential victims and a lack of firearms carried by area residents.
Instead of taking a clue from the daily crime reports, as detailed in the nightly newscasts, I had put off the idea of getting a CCW because I felt that “I didn’t need one today.” I let the everyday mundane tasks of going to work, attending family social events, getting haircuts, and shopping for clothes and other essential items, stand in the way of securing my most basic right: the right to be safe and secure in my own person. I had let the unimportant tasks and chores of day-to-day living keep me from doing that which was most important.
Getting Robbed Is Bad Enough – The Aftermath Is Worse
My experience was made even worse by the inconveniences I had to endure in the aftermath. For starters, I had to call a locksmith to replace all the locks in my home. I had to catch a city bus to a suburban car dealership to get a dummy key made to unlock the ignition on my car, so that it could be towed away and have all of its locks replaced, have new car keys programmed, and have the new keys cut.
Further, I had to replace all of my identification: driver’s license, work ID badge, work parking lot tag, AAA card, voter registration card, library card, report my credit cards as stolen, change my banking account information and get a new ATM card. I lost a few personal photos and now had the specter of being an identity theft victim. The $50 robbery actually cost me about another $1,000 in cash and lost time from work. I would have came out cheaper if I could have just written my assailants a $100 check for my wallet and keyring.
Big Secret: No One Cares If You Get Robbed, Raped, or Victimized
To add insult to injury, I had to explain to various people why I needed their assistance. Essentially, I had to tell them that I was a victim of an armed robbery in my own backyard. Invariably, everyone who I talked to found it within themselves to, in one way or another, blame me for the crime. Somehow, my victimization was my fault for not being aware of my environment in my backyard, not being inside when it was dark outside, and not having left Detroit for the suburbs several years ago.
Furthermore, I had to make several attempts to file a crime report with the respective detective for the case because he was on vacation and no one seemed to know when he would be back. I felt victimized all over again. Here I am – a crime victim – wanting to do whatever to help the police to find my assailants and they were making petty arguments between themselves over who gets to file the paperwork.
The Police Don’t Really Care About You Being Victimized
Never mind that the old neighborhood precinct was shuttered some time ago when the police department consolidated and that I had to travel a considerable distance to continually drop in and try to find the respective detective. On several occasions, I thought about not bothering to follow through with the process, however, I thought that my report might somehow make a difference for someone else. Maybe – just maybe – someone wouldn’t experience the trespass I experienced because my criminal report made someone in the police department do something about it: increased patrols of the area, interviews with known suspects, put together a criminal line-up, or something. Anything.
When I did finally catch up with the appropriate officer, he performed his role of investigator admirably but neither he nor his colleagues were around when I needed them most – at the robbery scene. I spent about an hour giving the detective all of the details of the crime I could recall and muster – several days after the occurrence, however small, in an effort that might reveal a pattern which might suggest known suspects to the officer. I guess I watch too much T.V.
Most crimes, if reported at all, are never solved. No one seems to care too much unless there is a dead body associated with the crime. Even then, it seems that unless the outrage from the community is great, nothing ever comes of it. Did the police ever solve the murder of that woman whose body was discovered downtown on the morning of the Super Bowl?
After I spilled my guts to the detective, I inquired about the process of receiving a CCW. His reaction was not pleasant. He didn’t do or say anything offensive, but he dismissed my desire to take more responsibility for more personal safety as “contributing to the problem.” Anyhow, he told me to go to police headquarters and that the info I sought could be found there.
First Step To Recovery Is Admitting That You Have A Problem
Many people, such as the person who I used to be, stand on the sidelines of the Second Amendment/gun ownership game until something adverse “happens” to them or to someone they know and value. Personally, I never had a “perceived” need for a handgun; I had previously viewed owning a gun as a novelty and perhaps a waste of hard earned cash. I had bought into all of the misleading anti-gun propaganda being spewed vociferously by various people and “special interests” with hidden agendas.
I never bothered to research the facts on gun ownership for myself. I left that task up to other people to educate me through the media via so-called factoid public service announcements, speeches from various governmental officials who enact “feel good” legislation that doesn’t work or conduct gun “buy-backs” that can’t be objectively evaluated for effectiveness, and barbershop talk with many people in my community who discuss their feelings about guns rather than the honest-to-God facts. My problem was that I allowed others to do my thinking for me on the subject of guns. I have since “in-sourced” that function back to the person I trust the most: me.
Everybody Knows Everything Until Something Happens
Well, something did “happen” to me – I was robbed in my own back yard while parking my car in my garage. Prior to this event, I did not see myself as a potential victim. I have always been able to “hold my own and handle my business” whenever I needed to do so throughout my life. The mere idea that someone would have the audacity to size me up as a victim never crossed my mind. A gun in the hands of violent predators, who have no qualms about using violence or the threat of violence to accomplish their evil purposes, changes the natural order of the food chain. I then knew that I needed to make a few changes.
Consequently, I then chose to get on the playing field. To my surprise, I have been warmly greeted by the pro gun rights side and have been consequently shunned by the “guns are evil” side. Making the decision to own a firearm makes you a gun nut in the eyes of many ignorant people.
The uninformed and unenlightened folk will treat you differently and are prone to making snide comments about you. They’ll either tell you that they don’t “need” a gun because of where they live or they’ll demonstrate some Kung Fu disarmament moves they learned from playing Tekken on their PlayStation2 video game console. They couldn’t possibly be more wrong. However, I’ll patiently wait until “something” happens to them and I’ll forget and forgive all of the ignorant things that they said and welcome them to the correct side.
A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step – Gun Ownership
Anyhow, after filing the crime report at my not-so-local neighborhood police station, I headed downtown to acquire a “Ten Day Purchase Permit.” The Gun Licensing Department ran my background to see if I had any official governmental prohibitions – felonies – against owning a firearm. Of course, the check came back clean so I was issued the permit. I was now able to legally buy a gun within the next ten days. If I had failed to do so (buy a gun), I would have to come back downtown to repeat the process.
Next, I went to a local gun shop without haste and bought my first handgun. I didn’t let the ominous signs – warning customers against pulling out guns because they might get shot – or the fact that all of the gunshop employees were openly carrying their guns on their hips, deter me. I had no idea of what to buy, so I bought the same gun that my brother-in-law owned. “If it was good enough for him, it must be good enough for me,” I reasoned. I didn’t originally plan on spending several hundreds of dollars on my purchase, but my first and only thought was to buy the best gun I could “afford” even if a few utility bills didn’t get paid on time that month. My life and safety were worth a ding or two on my credit report.
In retrospect, the gun dealer didn’t offer me a lot of informed customer service. To his credit, maybe he assumed, that since I was a guy, that I knew what I wanted. In fact, I didn’t know much of anything. My ignorance was my fault. The dealer’s fault was not asking me enough questions to allow him to best assess my needs. However, his insensitivity did not stop him from also suggesting additional purchases: jacketed hollow points and an inside-the-waist (IWB) holster.
Pure luck, it seems, brought a gun into my possession that fit my hand perfectly. I couldn’t test fire it, as the shop didn’t have a range. So I had to “take it on faith” that I could handle shooting it. I must have filled out a ream of paperwork that day; it was like closing on a house. Anyhow, it’s funny now recounting the experience, but I was – in all truth – nervous while carrying my new encased gun from the back entrance of the shop to my car. I mused how ironic and funny it would be if I was to now be robbed of my new gun at the gun shop.
My next stop on my personal armament tour would be to venture back downtown to police headquarters to have my new firearm “safety inspected.” Before having my gun inspected, I had no idea of what tests they were going to perform to properly test my gun. After they safety inspected my gun, I am still ignorant to the process even though I witnessed it with my very own eyes. Bottom line: by the time I left police headquarters this time, my name, my personal info, and the fact that I owned a handgun were now entered into a database.
On my departure from police headquarters I picked up a copy of an application for a Concealed Pistol License (CPL/CCW) from the front desk. I opened the enveloped and read the application. It was rather lengthy but informative. I figured that I would peruse it more thoroughly in my car. Right before I left the building, I asked a near-by police officer for a place where I could go and shoot my new gun. He specified a range and told me how to get there.
I’ll Do Or Try Almost Anything Once – Even Shoot A Gun
So, my big adventure continued as I went to a local range to shoot a handgun for the very first time in my life. For the record, it is not recommended to visit a firing range without first taking a gun safety class or at the very least taking along a knowledgeable shooter with you. In fact, it is dangerous. I didn’t know any better. You have read this passage, so now you know. Ignorance kills. The Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was lucky. Any number of things, all of them bad, could have happened that day. Fortunately for me, I checked my ego at the door and asked someone behind the counter for help. I got a very basic introduction but critical 20 second tutorial: Don’t load it until you are in the booth, Always keep the gun pointed downrange, Position your hands so that they are not in the path of the slide, and Unload the gun before you leave the booth.
I managed not to hurt myself or anyone else. However, if I had experienced a hangfire or a squib load in the booth, things may have turned out differently. I must say that I was rather proud of myself after shooting. Shooting was an enjoyable experience. It was a blast – pun intended. My adrenaline was pumping; I was high off of shooting a gun. I guess I had just found myself a new and exciting hobby.
As I was driving home from the range that afternoon, still mentally digesting the requirements for the CCW Permit, I had arrived at an intersection whereby the stoplight had just turned red. The car in front of mine had an advertisement on the back of it for a CCW Class. More than ever, I believe that when your mind is truly ready for something, the Lord will make it appear. This situation merely provided confirmation. I immediately called the displayed phone number and discovered that there was a class being held on the very next day. I RSVP’d and took the class on the very next day.
A Responsible Gunowner Needs Training
During the class, I learned a staggering amount of information about the safe usage, storage, loading, unloading, handling, purchasing, transporting, and maintenance of firearms. Before that day, I truly did not know how much I did not know about firearms.
I was introduced to the nomenclature of all of the firearm’s constituent parts on both a revolver and a semi-automatic, learned how the parts inter-operated to create a discharge, learned the legal aspects of self defense and lethal force, learned how the media and “certain powers that be” distort the truth and spread outright lies about handguns, learned the proper fundamentals of shooting a firearm, learned a few shooting stances, and learned how to become a more hardened target.
More than anything, I was a little disheartened by my instructor’s admonition that I was now not a gun-fighter. I was told in plain and in no uncertain language that I had now just met the state’s minimum requirements to qualify for a CPL/CCW. Thus, I was just given another clue that there was much more to learn about firearms and their role in personal protection. I still didn’t know what I didn’t know. I then dedicated my spare time to devouring any literature that I could buy or find on the Internet that had anything to do with firearms and their role in personal protection.
I discovered and studied the works of many authors: Colonel Jeff Cooper’s “The Art of the Rifle,” Massad Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme,” David Kenik’s “Armed Response,” Gabriel Suarez’s “Tactical Pistol,” Andy Stafford’s “Surgical Speed Shooting,” Chris Byrd’s “Thank God I Had A Gun,” Marc Young’s “Street Safe,” and Chad Cantrell’s “No Bull Gun Fighting.” The gun section of my library is comprised of over 100 works that I have read, re-read, highlighted, and studied relentlessly.
I have practiced the concepts and techniques explained in those books faithfully. I have spent hundreds of hours at neighboring target ranges shooting thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition to perfect my shooting ability.
I have befriended numerous local firearms instructors and gunshop employees throughout the metro-Detroit area to glean and retain whatever knowledge they had to bestow. I joined gun themed Internet bulletin boards: Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, AR-15, The High Road, Glock Talk, and many others.
Finally, I had reached a point where I felt that my learning curve had steepened to such a point that further research was delivering diminishing returns. Simply put, now the act of spending a day to read a new book “might” teach me something that I didn’t already know. I then turned to and joined the nation’s oldest firearms organization: The National Rifle Association (NRA).
Currently, I have NRA certifications to teach Personal Protection, Basic Pistol, and Home Firearm Safety. To qualify as a NRA certified instructor, a candidate must meet certain admission requirements, take a grueling 40 hour course, and pass six timed examinations with a score of 90% correct or better on each exam, and must meet the Training Counselor’s expectations of teaching ability. Not many people qualify. Also, I am a NRA Range Safety Officer (RSO). RSOs are certified to safely oversee shooting activities at a shooting range. Further still, I am an authorized Membership Recruiter for the NRA.
I have personally provided firearms training to people from all walks of life: ex-military, FBI agents, business owners, stay-at-home mothers, college students, real estate agents, business executives, bar bouncers, waitresses, club DJs, and etc.
I truly feel that I am doing what God has called me to do. He has placed me on this path and I have accepted his mission to do His will. I am hands-down the best firearm instructor in the metro-Detroit area. I stress safety, teach with enthusiasm in an entertaining manner, and never take any shortcuts.
I have met many people in this industry and some don’t measure up. Some of them don’t cover legal training. Some of them use airsoft pistols for the target qualification. Some have questionable certifications. Some of them commit felonies punishable by four years of prison time by selling certificates. Some of them, quite simply, can’t teach. Bad instructors not only do a disservice to their students but also to the community as a whole because their practices make the streets more dangerous.
I have a drawer full of testimonials that attest to my ability to clearly explain complicated concepts, to make newcomers to firearms comfortable with the experience, and to teach a person who has never shot a firearm before reliably hit the X on the target silhouette.
Firearms instruction is my passion and it shows. I am literally making a difference in my community – one class at a time. No one, in my opinion, becomes an instructor to get rich. Quite simply, if you have integrity and do things by the book it won’t happen. The scam artists turn up dead or become imprisoned.
I teach because I want to empower people to defend themselves in an increasingly violent time. Many folks are surprised to learn that the police do not have a legal responsibility to protect you. Their job is to uphold the genral peace and to investigate crimes. If you become a crime victim, you can’t hold them responsible. Very sobering thought.
I am a firearms instructor, a defender of freedom, and an empowering force in my community.
Activism Is The Next Logical Step
Once a person, for whatever reason, decides to exercise a right he eventually acquires a great appreciation for having that right. Accordingly, he will do whatever it takes to keep that right. Gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms is continuously under assault by those persons in our society who want a disarmed populace. Nevermind that gun ownership was granted to citizens of our fine nation as a means to prevent tyranny and to preserve liberty, I am most concerned with having the ability to defend my life and those that I love. After all, in case after case, the courts have proclaimed that the police do not have a legal responsibility to protect us.
It would only be too easy to let others fight for my rights. I could merely write a check and let various gun rights organizations, such as the NRA, The Second Amendment Foundation, and the Citizens Committe RKBA, do my fighting for me. The future of gun ownership depends on us – you and me.
Many people could care less about the Second Amendment until they need a gun. If gun ownership is made illegal, how can you get one in your time of need? There are currently over 20,000 gun laws on the books and more are being drafted with the purpose of being enacted into law with each passing day. We don’t need more laws; we need enforcement of the ones already on the books.
We need citizens like you to exercise your right: get a permit to carry, go hunting, teach your family and friends how to shoot, engage in hunting sports, and teach people you know the truth about guns.
Everything You Have Been Told About Guns Is Probably Wrong
Until you remove emotions and uneducated opinions about guns from the public discourse, you may believe the lies that are being told to you. For example, the biggest lie ever told is that guns cause violence and crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. A firearm is a tool – nothing more – nothing less. It is far more important to discuss how a tool is used by a particular person, rather than to debate whether an inanimate object is bad. Is a ball-point pen evil? How about a cane?
While a gun has several obvious purposes that most people can readily enumerate, other tools – designed for other legitimate tasks – in the wrong hands can create as much mayhem. A person could misuse the following items and cause severe bodily harm or death to another: a baseball bat, a pair of scissors, a ball-peen hammer, a nail gun, a golf club, an automobile, a steak knife, an awl, an ice pick, a tire-iron, a crowbar, an axe, a garbage can lid, a fireplace poker, a jump-rope, a bowling trophy, a text book, a container of gasoline, rat poison, a garden rake, or a bottle of battery acid.
A gun placed on a kitchen countertop can not harm anyone all by itself. It requires assistance – pressure on its trigger – to be used, whether those purposes are for good or bad. No one wants to debate the folly of banning matches whenever an arsonist starts a “car-becue” on Angel’s Night. Likewise, no one wants to ban the usage of water every time a young and unattended child falls into a back yard swimming pool. Even more outrageous is the idea than gun manufacturers should be sued for violence committed by criminals. Has anyone ever sued the Ford Motor Company because a drunk driver mowed down a schoolyard full of children?
Guns Don’t Kill People – People Kill People
Some people want you to “think” that guns somehow turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into homicidal sociopaths. The truth of the matter is that if a specific person with a gun is crazy, that same person without a gun is still just as nuts. University of Maryland professor and gun control researcher, Dr. John R. Lott, has extensively studied the supposed guns and crime relationship – most notably in his critically acclaimed tome “More Guns – Less Crime.” The conclusion of his work is abundantly clear – the absence of guns creates more crime. Reversely stated, more guns in a community decreases crime.
An unarmed populace creates a hazard-free working environment for violent criminals. Robbing, raping, and pillaging is a dangerous career choice. Everytime a criminal plies his trade, he risks at least an injury and perhaps death. Criminals, if given a choice, will choose an easy target rather than get into a life-or-death battle with an armed citizen.
Correspondingly, if many people in a community are armed with a gun, crime plummets due to the fact that the criminal is reluctant to assault someone “that may be packing.” Thus, the unarmed people in the community are, as a direct result of the armed people in the community, shielded from crime. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw an advocate for gun control post a sign in his home’s front yard that stated, “We are unarmed! We hate guns!” File that event under something you’ll never see.
By definition, a criminal is a person who breaks the law. Thus, if it was ever possible to outlaw guns, only the criminals would have guns. You don’t expect a criminal to disarm himself, do you? Of course not! Only law-abiding citizens would consider such a thing. What result would expect in a city full of law-abiding and unarmed citizens and a sizeable quantity of armed felons? This type of environment would create an “open season” state of lawlessness among the criminals. The rapists, jackers, and killers could ply their trade with impunity. This result has been observed with predictable results in our country.
Time and time again, the cities with the highest rates of crime are in those cities with the most strict gun control laws – legal and de facto. To name a few – NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Detroit – are among our nation’s worst when it comes to gun control and violent crime. These cities happen to also be where large populations of minorities live. It is no mistake – gun control has racist roots that trace back into time when newly freed slaves were barred from owning guns to prevent any “score settling” with their former masters.
Stop being a pawn: Buy a gun, exercise your right to self-defense, and help spread the truth about guns.