TTAG contributor and I.C.E. Training proprietor Rob Pincus is running for a seat on the National Rifle Association board of directors. As he details at his web site, Rob figures being elected would enable him “to reach more people and, possibly, effect more change and positive movement. If elected, I would also do what I could to make the organization itself more responsive to the issue that I care most about in our community: Training, Education and Educating America’s Middle Ground on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and what it means to be a Responsible Firearms Owner.” Here’s his statement on his positions regarding open carry, constitutional carry and mandatory gun training . . .
Over the last few weeks, since I announced that I am running for the 76th Seat on the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors, I have been ask to state or clarify my position on several topics. The three most frequent and relevant questions have been about topics related to training and carrying defensive firearms. While I have certainly opined on these issues before, I thought it would be helpful to put my thoughts into one article as people are making up their minds about whether or not to vote for me and/or support my campaign for a seat on board of the most important organization in our national fight to regain our 2nd Amendment Rights. In addition to my statements here, I’ve included links to some videos from the past that I have made that support & explain my positions.
While almost all of the public commentary I’ve seen since my announcement has been positive, the issue of Open Carry has been referenced in a handful of negative posts around the internet. The fact is that I have offended more than a couple of people over the past few years by clearing stating that I do not think confrontational open carry activism is the way to keep the Right to Keep and Bear Arms movement moving forward. Unfortunately, when I say ” I’m against confrontational open carry activism”, some people hear “I’m against open carry of a firearm being legal.” What am I actually talking about ? I’m talking about the guys who wear ARs and AKs slung over their shoulders and go to the mall, often without so much as a legitimate shopping agenda. I’m talking about the guys wearing camouflage and long guns walking through city parks because they can. I’m talking about the guy who took a shotgun to the public library and sat down to read in the children’s section “just because he could.” I’m talking about the countless videos of people made of themselves being “harassed” by local police after they purposefully put on a gun and carried the video camera looking for a confrontation (yes, these are specifically the people who got the right to OC even an unloaded gun taken away from us in California… a state that has just recently seen a massive turn towards Shall Issue Carry Permits!).
My stance on OC Activism has its roots in one simple statement: I believe that guns should be carried for the purpose of defending yourself or others. That’s it… pretty simple, right? I don’t think that putting a gun on your hip so that you can educate someone is a good idea. I certainly don’t think that Pro-Safety, Pro-Defense and Anti-Crime individuals should be consciously distracting local police officers from dealing with more important issues than someone poorly exercising a legal right. There are many ways to educate people about the legitimacy of carrying a gun. Wear a t-shirt, get a tattoo, hand out flyers on the street corner. Worried about educating local police about legal rights (firearms or otherwise)? Prepare a presentation and ask to speak to a shift meeting or address a collection of supervisors. That doesn’t work? Fine, again, prepare a flyer with code sections, citations and helpful pictures then give one to every police officer you see. 5 minutes of solid thought should be able to yield many options to make a difference that don’t revolve around the combination of a lethal device and confrontation. As for the legality of Open Carry, I am 100% all for it and you can’t find an example of me ever stating otherwise. As for Open Carry being a good option for guns that are carried for personal defense, I don’t think that it is a good idea. A quick google search will reveal that just about every instructor in the industry is in agreement on this issue and the reasons are many. For more of my thoughts on the issue, as pertains to defensive firearms, check out these videos:
I am 100% for the right of anyone who can legally own a firearm to be allowed to legally carry it for defensive purposes. That is how I interpret a state not requiring anyone to obtain a special permit to carry a firearm. Vermont, Alaska and, most recently, Arizona allow this to happen and most of us in the RKBA Community refer to this as “Constitutional Carry”… the opportunity to carry a firearm without “infringement”. Of course, to suggest that a 100% literal interpretation of “shall not be infringed” line is an option isn’t very realistic either. Clearly, even the most die hard pro-gun advocate isn’t going to suggest free legal access to firearms for a convicted violent felon or a clearly mentally unstable person. I won’t simply wave around a copy of the Bill of Rights to justify my support of Constitutional Carry. I believe that Carry Permit Laws exists to tax and inconvenience people who are seeking to exercise their right, and meet their responsibility, to be capable of defending themselves. I do not think that the process involved in getting a concealed carry permit has any significant positive effect on gun safety, crime prevention or the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. While this entire video is only available to PDN Premium Members, you can get the point of my position in the Free Preview: http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/vtag/constitutional-carry/
Mandatory Gun Training
As someone who’s primary source of income for most of his adult life has been teaching people defensive firearms skills, it surprises some people that I am Against Mandatory Firearms Training in order to own, purchase or carry a firearm of any kind. I am unaware of any state mandated program that meets the total amount of education I think someone should get before they choose to carry a firearm for defense. Presentation from the Holster, for example, is a fundamental skill that anyone and everyone should develop before they ever believe that it is appropriate for them to carry a firearm in public for defensive purposes. Yet, how many state permit processes require it? If you talked to 10 instructors, you’d get 10 different lists of things that any reasonable person should learn and practice before carrying a gun. I honestly have no faith in an administrative bureaucracy to develop an adequate mandated course that would be practical on the scale necessary. If I were given the choice tomorrow between establishing a national standard and designing it myself or abolishing training requirements, I would choose the latter. I believe that when you give someone a certificate of training (especially with a permit to do something) those people often believe that they have met their obligation, that the obligation was designed appropriately and they do not need to do anything else. Put simply: Most people have too much faith in the Government. They operate under the illusion that simply because their state trusts the process, the process must be good enough. I think that if you take away that illusion, if you take away the opportunity for people to believe that they have done enough, people will seek out more training than could ever be mandated. I think the surge in public opinion inside the firearms community about the value of getting thorough professional training and conducting relatively frequent practice would be overwhelming. Counter-Intuitively, I believe that removing mandatory minimum training would result in an over-all increase in the average amount of training and practice that people carrying guns have.
Disagree? Hear from a couple of students that I had (in Arizona) a few months ago on why they have sought out training beyond what is required and/or offered by the government:
Let’s step away from CCW Permits and Defensive Carry for a moment, what about general firearms safety education? I am For Mandatory Firearms Safety Education for Children in our Public School System. For well over a decade, I have lamented the public education industry’s position on the danger of firearms being completely inconsistent with their position on any other “dangerous” topic. Drugs? Danger=Education. Smoking? Danger=Education. Sexually Transmitted Disease? Danger=Education. Guns? Danger=Demonization. Those who establish the standards for our children’s education in our country would honestly rather talk about sex with middle schoolers than guns. And, if the kids themselves talk about guns, then they will get punished in one way or another… “for their own safety”. It’s ridiculous and it is a hypocritical position that is untenable in the face of any logical inquiry or critical thought. Yes, of course, guns can be dangerous… our kids should be educated about them at least as equally as they are educated about drugs, cars, fire and running with scissors.