I was asked today if, what with the record sales of guns last year, there should be a legal training requirement for gun ownership and/or CHL. This from the founder of the United Sates Concealed Carry Association, Tim Schmidt. Disclosure: I’m a USCCA member. After posting a quick “no” reply, I got to thinking . . .
Is there a legal training requirement to exercise any other constitutional rights? No, I don’t think so. Should one “train” or educate oneself to be able to best exercise any of your constitutional rights? Most certainly.
After a defensive gun use, there is already an implied requirement to train (and much more) that pertains to the reasonableness standard to which a jury will evaluate one’s actions.
If you’re an 80 year old woman in poor health home alone, and shoot an intruder, must that woman really be trained? Isn’t it enough that she survived the encounter and wasn’t maimed, raped or murdered? Would a jury think she’s guilty of a crime if she wasn’t trained in gun safety, defensive gun use and applicable laws? Probably not.
Now if a typical middle class guy shoots someone in public on the street outside a store or in a parking lot and the situation is even somewhat ambiguous, would it make a difference with a jury if that individual was trained? Most likely.
As a responsible gun owner and CHL holder, should you seek training – and practice – so you can discharge your responsibility for you and your loved one’s defense effectively? You bet!
Do we need another legal hurdle erected to make it harder to exercise a constitutional right? Absolutely not. When they start requiring that you pass a certified civics class before one can exercise first amendment rights, I’ll think about supporting a legal mandate for training to to own a gun or carry concealed.
I expect some USCCA members will agree with this common sense requirement to gun ownership and/or concealed carry. Should such common sense be applied to constitutional rights? What if, as in the example above, the person is unable to seek out or attend training?
What if they can’t afford the training on top of the cost of the gun and ammunition? What if an ex-spouse has threatened your life and you have to wait days or weeks to complete training before you can buy a gun for your protection?
The rights embodied in the constitution are inalienable; they are granted by God, not our government. There should be reasonable limits to those rights, and there are. When it comes to potential new training mandates for firearms, look at the few states that make gun ownership and concealed carry a constitutional right – with no training or licenses required. I’m not aware of any higher level of gun deaths or violence in those states.
This whole training issue seems a solution in search of a problem. One that doesn’t really exist.