“A woman brought a hammer to a firearms lesson and then tried to kill her instructor by shooting him in the face with a revolver,” the AP reports from her trial. “Lewis fired three shots at [Darryl] Montague, striking him twice in the jaw and once in the abdomen, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said. [Veronica Lewis, above] fled, and she gave a false phone number when she was apprehended, he said. Lewis lives in a community therapeutic residence, a state-regulated home that provides short-term treatment to people with problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse or mental illness.” There’s an important lesson here . . .
Beginning shooters are often evangelical about their newfound gun rights and gun skills. They have a strong tendency to invite newbies to the range, to introduce them to guns and share their love of firearms. To repeat their own conversion experience.
On the face of it, in general, that’s a good thing. The more people who are familiar, comfortable and positive about shooting guns, the safer our gun rights become. Culture eats strategy for lunch; firearms freedom must win the culture war and legislative battles. Yes but – here be dragons.
For one thing, there are good reasons why some people don’t want to be around firearms. “I could never carry a gun,” an NRA member told me at a rubber chicken dinner. “I’d shoot someone.” That’s not the kind of person you want to take to the range. If you’re a beginner talking guns to a non-gun-type, listen closely to their objections to a range date. If they sound slightly “off” or emotional or convincing, don’t argue. Walk away.
Montague was found lying at the edge of a road, police said. Paramedics and police initially thought he may have been struck by a vehicle, but they discovered he had been shot in the torso and jaw.
He was hospitalized in critical condition.
For another, mentally ill people can be extremely clever. Take it from the ex-husband of an alcoholic drug-user, substance abusers sure know how to lie. In that sense, know who you’re inviting to your ballistic get-together. If it’s someone who’ve you’ve know for years to be of sound mind and body, that’s one thing. If it’s someone you met at Starbucks, that’s another. Don’t go there. A range date I mean. Starbucks’ Clover machine is awesome.
Lastly, never take a newbie shooting on your own and always keep a spare, loaded concealed gun on your person at the gun range. Think about it: you’re going someplace with a bunch of armed strangers. Someplace where bad guys know there’s a supply of firerarms. Why wouldn’t you make sure you’re armed – and I mean immediately armed – at a gun range? And stay situationally aware; if your new friend’s acting weird, if a bunch of gang bangers make the scene, abandon ship.
Montague’s mother, Ann, said Lewis had come for a lesson on Friday saying her friends had been shooting and she wanted to try it. She returned on Monday saying she wanted to learn more.
“She didn’t even know him to get any inkling to decide that she should do such harm to him,” she said. “I don’t know how she can live with herself.”
Shooting is an amazing hobby. It’s calming, exciting, challenging and endlessly fascinating (hint: find a non-square range to practice moving and shooting). But it has its dangers, however small. Observe the Four Safety Rules like they were handed to you by Moses himself and be careful of the company you keep. That is all.