On January 1, Missouri switches to “constitutional carry.” Show Me State residents will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon. And yet more people are taking training classes for permits than before. “At first we saw a little dip in classes, two three seats open, no big deal. ln November and December, they were full every weekend. It was like whoa what’s going on here,” Southern Armory owner Aaron Tarlow told kmov.com. Mr. Tarlow offered this analysis . . .

“It will be legal to carry a gun [without a permit] so maybe they are saying I need to know what I am doing and that is awesome. It is showing responsibility on their half, but there is going to be a portion of our society that say they don’t need the training and that is frightening,” says Tarlow.

Judging from what I see on the range, most people can’t shoot for shit. (And these are people on the range.) As I’m not reading reports of untrained civilians shooting the wrong person during a gunfight — an occurrence that continues to bedevil our well-trained police — I reckon the actual danger of untrained gun owners is statistically irrelevant.

All gun owners should get training. They should also practice regularly. But the vast majority won’t. I’m OK with that. You?

127 Responses to Question of the Day: Who Needs Firearms Training?

    • Exactly. Everyone should get some on a regular basis, but NONE of it should be mandated to exercise your right to self-defense.

      • Simple, mandate it to get your high school diploma. Advanced classes for public universities. Just part of your Civics classes.

        • I agree. Firearms training should be mandatory. Not in order to own or carry a gun, but in order to graduate from high school.

          I don’t care where in the curriculum it is stuck. Civics, P.E., Home Ec. or whatever it’s called these days. Start with gun safety in kindergarten and through out elementary and start with marksmanship in middle school. (We did archery in middle school as part of P.E., and we never even tried to shoot each other).

    • Agreed. Been shooting for 40 years. I can never learn too much. Now with that said, I have had classes that were better than others. sometimes I’d learn how NOT to do things.

  1. I have been shooting regularly for 40 years. I have shot nearly every pistol, rifle, and shotgun on the market. I consider myself to be well above average in skill level. Do I need more training? Of course. There is always something more to learn.

    It blows my mind when I hear people say nonsense like “I learned all I need to know in the military” or “my uncle taught me and he was special forces in Vietnam” or he was a cop, etc. Those are the guys I stay away from at the range.

  2. Hasn’t Missouri an open carry state up till Constitutional carry goes into effect? So the only change is that you can conceal the firearm. Have there been issues with those who open carry previously that can be linked to the lack of training?

    • The state of Missouri has never regulated open carry. A few cities have prohibited open carry in recent years (Branson so we don’t scare the tourists) but the legislature provided for open carry even when prohibited by cities if you have a CCW permit. Strange, but true.

  3. I’m not OK with it. And most of the people I know aren’t OK with it either. I believe the massive support for this bill came from the overzealous state legislature and was not echoed by the public. Maybe a majority of Missourians supported “constitutional carry”, but not a veto-overriding majority.

    I agree with Tarlow. The fact that there will be people who think they don’t need training is frightening. I know the fringe will flame me and call me a snowflake or a libtard, but there is nothing wrong with a day of training and a slip of paper that says I know what I’m doing with my firearm(s).

      • As I said, an overwhelming majority of the state legislature. Based on what I know from mostly Republican West St. Louis County, it was not supported by an overwhelming majority of voters. I’m sure the numbers were greater in rural parts of the state, but I still don’t believe the bill would have received more than a small majority (55% tops) if put to a public vote.

        • Know a lot of people in Rolla that were 100% behind the idea…….. places like Rolla or Mountain view are more representative of Missouri as a whole than St Louis or KC…

        • Despite the importance St. Louis residents ascribe themselves, you are not representative of the rest of the state.

          The rest of Missouri believes in Constitutional Rights.

      • ” I believe the massive support for this bill came from the overzealous state legislature and was not echoed by the public.”

        If the legislators are not properly representing the voters, the voters can replace the legislator in the next election.

        • In fact we did have an election after the veto session, November 8th. The Legislature party percentages were virtually unchanged but the governorship flipped to Republican. It was a Democrat (admittedly otherwise conservative) who vetoed permitless carry.

        • I think the party change for the governorship was more a factor of straight-ticket voting and angry Dems staying home than anything else. Remember, the Democrat who used to be a Republican was actually the one endorsed by the NRA over the Republican who used to be a Democrat. I’m not surprised that Greitens won, but I am surprised that Koster lost by 10 points.

    • The reality, as opposed to your fearful non-thinking, is that Constitutional Carry has been in place for many years in quite a few places, and there has been no brutal flood of unwarranted shootings.

      Reality says everything is fine. Your fears say the opposite. Which should we rely on?

      Stop carrying water for the hoplophobes. Stop being a peasantophobe. Trust reality.

    • ” I know the fringe will flame me”
      I guess I’m the fringe then.

      “there is nothing wrong with a day of training and a slip of paper that says I know what I’m doing with my firearm(s).”
      I agree. Just like there’s nothing wrong with my slip of paper that says I have a bachelor’s degree.

      What’s wrong is a government requirement for that slip of paper. When the government gets to decide who can or cannot exercise a right, then it’s not a right, is it?

        • Yep, included with high school basic safe firearm handling.

          Firearm handling as a part of driver’s ed or whatever they call ‘health class’ nowadays…

          (I suppose detail stripping a Beretta 92 while merging with freeway traffic might be a bit ambitious…)

        • I actually did this with my Glock the day I bought it. I was excited to have it and curious if I could break it down one handed while driving. Yep! It was easy.

    • I’m not going to flame you but I will point something out.

      If you spend time on gun control websites and talk to pro-gun controllers they make a lot of hay about training. However, in my experience these people broadly fall into two categories.

      1) People who don’t know fuck all about guns.

      2) People who want an effective ban on guns in private hands.

      The problem with the former is that whenever I say “OK, well what sort of training do you have in mind as a mandatory requirement?” they can’t answer the question because we’re already well out of their depth. Some of them are big enough to admit that they’d have to research the topic to figure out what sort of training they want and what would qualify as proficient. Most of them however simply say “Well, the government can have experts determine that”.

      The problem with the latter is that they do have an understanding of what they’re asking and when they lay out the training requirements they would propose be mandatory it’s impossible for 95% of people to comply. They want exceptional, like top tier competitor, proficiency at shooting and incredibly long processes that would cost quite literally thousands of dollars per person to comply with and, at in the end the vast majority of those people would be denied for not being able to shoot like they do in the movies.

      Therein lies the true problem with a “requirement” IMHO. Many people who propose this do so with the goal of creating a barrier that blocks the vast, vast majority of Americans from owning a gun. Effectively it’s the same as a poll tax combined with a nearly impossible civics test. This tax is so steep that only “the elite” can afford it and even most of them won’t “pass” the test. In the case of those honest people who just don’t know and want to leave it to “experts” I suspect the end result would be the same. Our government is filled with department after department staffed by people who have absolutely no fucking idea what they’re doing. There is no reason to think this would be any different. It’s a fair bet that they will go way, way overboard in search of “safety” each time an incident occurs that proves their scheme doesn’t work.

      Whether the prohibitive cost or near impossibility of getting your permission slip is intentional or the result of incompetence is irrelevant to those who are being denied their rights. The brass tacks are: you can’t have a gun. At that point there is no reason to repeal the 2A or pass further laws because, like it or not, we would have a defacto ban on private ownership.

      • Make the training part of high-school civics class. If they make the training so hard that people cant pass it (and thus not get their diploma), I’m sure that it will self correct.

      • Can’t say I spend any time on gun control websites (unless a story I read here links to one), but I do argue with pro-gun control friends on FB from time to time.

        I have a pretty clear idea of what mandatory gun training should include – the four rules and other basic safety tips, legality concerns for carrying and DGU situations, and the demonstrated ability to make hits on a body-sized target from five, 10, and 15 feet away. Other useful information might be helpful, but I think the above is pretty much all that is needed.

        I spent a lot of time on my grandpa’s farm growing up, so I started shooting BB/pellet guns when I was five years old. Moved up to .22 lever and bolt-action rifles when I was nine, and revolvers when I was 11 or 12. My grandpa had an old .32 that he took off of a dead German soldier, and I had to wear gloves because it kicked sparks like crazy. Like many people here, I had an adult who cared to teach me the basics and shoot with me. But he taught me what he had on hand. I didn’t shoot a semi-auto until I was in my late 20’s. And the first time I fired one (a Glock), I had no idea what to expect and my drunk friend didn’t warn me that I had my secondary hand up too high. The slide bite tore half of the skin off of my left thumb. That was a rude awakening, and made me want to go back to wheel guns until I learned how to handle and shoot a semi.

        Anyhow, point being there are a lot of people out there who know what they’re doing. There are some who think they know what they’re doing. And there are quite a few who have no idea. I imagine most in the first group have already sat through the required training to get their permits. Maybe it didn’t benefit them, but it will sure as hell benefit the other two groups.

    • A day of training only guarantees that at some point someone explained to you the places where you can and cannot carry legally and the situations where you “might” be justified in taking the shot. Not a bad thing.

      Realistically, however, at the distances most defensive shootings take place, and the fact that the shooter knows with a pretty good certainty who he/she wants or needs to shoot, more proficiency training is not a bad thing, but definitely not a necessity.

      IMO.

    • To imagine that it’s a lack of training that leads an adult to shoot other people without justification is like thinking that people show up in Emergency Rooms with a shampoo bottle stuck in their rectum because they never had an approved government training course on proper shampoo use.

      • I once had a sister-in-law that worked at a hospital and there was a pretty regular flow of such things on weekends at the emergency room (a trout was one item). Seems like this was way more prevalent that any gun shot wounds. I think that we should have have government mandated training for the proper use of shampoo, trout or rectums. For the children. Poor trout!

  4. This is just a guess on my part but from my friends and acquaintances who own guns those who do not get any sort of training are either Fudds who fire fewer than a dozen rounds a year or people who bought a gun and never carry it and it’s locked in a box up on a shelf in the closet they’d never be able to access in the event of an emergency anyway so it doesn’t really matter if they get training or not.

    The people who carry daily and plan for an emergency however do get training at least in some form.

    If people want to worry about untrained folks toting guns about town they might want to take a look at their local and state PD qualification courses. That should leave them quaking in terror every time they see a cop.

  5. Pshaw –

    The vast majority of those freaking out over a lack of training are mall ninjas with their chonies in a bunch.

    There are lots and lots of everyday activities that are at least as dangerous and deadly that require zero training.

    The operative word here is require.

    Most anyone in any activity will benefit from training – that is a specious argument for mandated training

    • We can’t argue about other things that require training, because the fact that none of those things is enumerated in the Bill of Rights always invalidates any comparison to firearms. Forget the fact that automobiles and large trucks didn’t exist at the time of the writing…

      I would argue that WRM means the framers wanted citizens to have some damned training before we exercised our RKBA, which is why it comes first. But popular opinion amongst 2A purists won’t even allow for that consideration.

      • Reality says your fears are as groundless as the hoplophobes, that bad shoots have not proliferated.

        Why you so scared bro?

        • I’m scared because the world is full of stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and/or careless people. And also smug, self-righteous people, of the variety who would call someone “non-thinking” for having an opinion that differs from their own. The latter especially scares me, because they are often so sure of themselves that they completely ignore the real world.

        • Maybe you ought to answer the basic question — why do you refuse to come to grips with the reality that Constitutional Carry has not resulted in the mythical bloodbath?

          “Non-thinking” is exactly the right word for people who let their emotional fears overrule their thinking brains.

          Reality is great for real life. Reserve fantasies for movies and books.

        • Is “mythical bloodbath” the litmus test for my fears being at all grounded? Then I guess they will never be grounded. Because I wouldn’t expect to see mythical bloodbath outside of war or acts of terrorism. Maybe gang violence is approaching that level in some cities, but certainly accidental shootings would never approach that level.

          I look at it this way. Most NGU incidents happen in the home. Children finding guns that weren’t properly secured, teenagers showing off for their friends, etc. The people who commit to concealed carry are pretty serious about it. Now I know I suffer from what the progressives call “white privilege”. So maybe the small investment in time and money, which wasn’t at all an issue for me, could be an issue for some people. But I believe the number of people who want a permit but can’t afford one or make time for the training to be very small. I find it far more likely that most people are simply too lazy to make the effort. And lazy people aren’t the ones I want carrying in public. Now granted, most of these lazy people will still be too lazy to make the effort to carry. I’m concerned about the few who might now decide to shove a pistol in a pocket when they leave the house, just because it is legal. Do I think this number will represent a significant danger? Not likely. But I do think this number will represent an INCREASED danger.

          I know many of you consider any permit to be an infringement on your constitutional freedom. I’m not in that group. I consider any restriction on what firearms I can own, as well as other measures such as a national gunowners registry, to be an infringement on my constitutional freedom. I consider a carry permit to be proof that I have enough training in basic gun use and safety to be trusted to bear arms in public, and I also consider it something of a protection from those who don’t.

        • “I’m scared because the world is full of stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and/or careless people.”

          Pardon, but your projection is showing.

        • “I look at it this way. Most NGU incidents happen in the home. Children finding guns that weren’t properly secured, teenagers showing off for their friends, etc.”

          Each of these incidents is a tragedy but these accidents are RARE.

          According to the CDC in 2013 there 505 deaths due to accidental/negligent discharge of a firearm; and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with “undetermined intent”. The Center further claimed that from 2000-2005 a child died every three days due to a ND, “accident” or playing with a gun (121.667/year).

          Compare that to the following number of deaths per year in the US:

          Suicides by gun: 21,175 (2013)
          Suicides in general: 39,728 (2013)
          Automotive related deaths: 32,719 (2013)
          Alcohol related deaths: 88,000 (avg. 2006-2010)

          In fact, of all deaths in the country in 2013, according to the CDC, 1.3% were firearms related. That covers murder, suicide, accident, killed by the police, killed by a law abiding citizen etc.

          On top of that, where exactly your NGU occurs is pretty much irrelevant but it’s not mainly children and teens. The CDC stated that in 2013 there were 73,505 non-fatal gun related injuries (GSW’s). Philadelphia Children’s hospital has different numbers from the CDC, probably based on age cutoffs, but we’ll use them here for illustrative purposes.

          In 2013, 1,670 children (age 0 to 18 years) died by gunshot and an additional 9,718 were injured. (PCH) That’s a total of 11,388 people age 0-18 who were shot period. The number includes gang violence, murder, attempted murder etc so the number is inflated but we’ll roll with it anyway and you’ll see why in a moment.

          I’m going to use the numbers I’ve given you to create the most generous possible situation for a gun control argument:

          (11,388+505+281)/73,505 (all children 0-18 shot + all known accidental deaths of any age + those that where the circumstances are unknown but resulted in death, again any age) / (just the known accidents that didn’t result in death) = .1656 or 16.56%. So, you see, even if we include deaths and intentional shootings of those all the way up to 18 years old we can at max get 16.56% of GSW’s falling in the age range you suggest that “most” NGU’s occur in. So, what you’ve said is quite frankly not possible.

        • Apologies, I wasn’t suggesting that most NGU’s affect children and teens. Those were just examples, and the “etc” referred to other NGU situations in the home, such as drunk people doing dumb shit, accidental discharges while improperly handling or cleaning firearms, and so on. Didn’t mean to make you do all the math. But you aren’t arguing that most NGU situations occur at home, correct?

          My point in that whole comment was that far more people own guns than have carry permits. Not all gun owners are responsible, but a vast majority of permit holders are. The people who take the time to get their permits are mostly the people that have been around guns their whole lives, and/or the people who are serious about safely carrying to defend themselves. What concerns me is that the people who aren’t serious about it, but who already own guns are going to be more likely to carry now that they don’t need the permit.

        • Cjstl,

          “I’m scared because the world is full of stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and/or careless people.”
          Translation: I only want the elite people of the world to be able to exercise their rights.

          “And also smug, self-righteous people, of the variety who would call someone ‘non-thinking’ for having an opinion that differs from their own.”
          Translation: it is okay for me to be smug and advocate that only elite people get to exercise rights, but it is NOT okay for others to be “smug” and advocate that everyone gets to exercise their rights.

          Furthermore Cjstl, you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your facts. What Felix stated is a FACT that Constitutional concealed carry does not exhibit any statistically significant number of improper injuries over states that require training and licensing. Again, that is FACT, not opinion. Felix did not ding you for having a different opinion, he dinged you because your opinion (that lack of government mandated training/licensing results in more improper injuries and fear is thus reasonable) contradicts fact (carriers without training present no more risk of harm than carriers with government mandated training and thus any fears and government mandated training/licensing are not reasonable).

          “The latter [smug people] especially scares me, because they are often so sure of themselves that they completely ignore the real world.”
          The irony is so thick you can slice it with a knife. Your position, that concealed carriers without mandated training/licensing cause significant harm to bystanders, is based strictly on imagination. And yet you continue to advance your “opinion” that contradicts the real world after someone has educated you about the real world! Talk about smug.

          To summarize: the real world, in states like Arizona that have had Constitutional carry for several years, does not experience any more harm to bystanders than any state with mandated training and licensing. That is a FACT. It is not an opinion and it is not up for debate. Fear or public policy based on demonstrably false hypothetical constructs is neither reasonable nor noble.

        • Wow, some of you guys really kill me. Before I can respond to your individual points (or non-points), I feel like I need to level set. Because some of you can twist a conversation and take points out of context like professional politicians. It’s really quite amazing.

          So to start, RF asked a question.
          “All gun owners should get training. They should also practice regularly. But the vast majority won’t. I’m OK with that. You?”

          He didn’t ask for a litany of statistics (or facts). He asked whether we were OK with the vast majority of gun owners not getting training. A simple question.

          And I gave an answer, based on my opinion. I’ve read back multiple posts, trying to determine where I may have misrepresented any of my personal opinions as fact. I can’t find too many examples. Most of my statements were quite clearly what I believe. One fact is that a majority of gun owners and CCW holders I have spoken with are opposed to permitless carry. Roughly 85%. I made the caveat that these are people in my demographic, which is mostly suburban, Republican, middle-class white people. I allowed that the numbers could be significantly different in other parts of the state. But the fact remains that I am not alone in my belief.

          No where is it written that an opinion must be backed by statistical evidence in order to be valid. If such a statement is made, and irrefutable statistical evidence is shown as proof (let’s face it, most statistics are flawed to some degree), then it is fact. I did not claim fact. An opinion can be based on many things. It can be based on one or more facts, it can be based on false information, or it can be based on emotion, heresay, or personal experience. Felix attacked my opinion and called me “non-thinking” before even asking for clarification. He then refuted my opinion with what he claimed are facts, yet he has not shown any statistical evidence to validate his claim. Therefore, there should be no comparison between my stated opinion and Felix’s as-of-yet unproven “fact”.

          Now that I have that out of the way, let me delve into your comments.

          [“I’m scared because the world is full of stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and/or careless people.”
          Translation: I only want the elite people of the world to be able to exercise their rights.]

          This quoted statement is clearly my opinion. I will grant you that I have an elitist view of my own intelligence. I’m not the smartest person I know, but I’m in the upper echelon. I do have statistics to support this (151 IQ, 99th percentile on every mandated standardized test I’ve ever taken, National Merit Scholar, 33 on my ACT, plus my mom says so), but they are irrelevant. I don’t want to deny people the right to own guns because I think I’m smarter than a lot of them. In fact, I don’t want to deny people the right to own guns at all. I oppose any regulation on personal firearm ownership other than denying illegals and violent felons who haven’t demonstrated rehabilitation. What I do want is to deny people the ability to legally bear arms in public unless they have demonstrated their ability to safely do so. I believe in carry permits. I haven’t been coy about that.

          [“And also smug, self-righteous people, of the variety who would call someone ‘non-thinking’ for having an opinion that differs from their own.”
          Translation: it is okay for me to be smug and advocate that only elite people get to exercise rights, but it is NOT okay for others to be “smug” and advocate that everyone gets to exercise their rights.]

          Again, I am not advocating that only a certain group of people get to exercise their right to bear arms. I’m saying that my interpretation of the framers’ intentions for 2A were that everyone be trained in the use of their arms. I’m not calling for a freaking IQ test. I’m saying that EVERYONE should complete basic training before they can carry in public.

          [Furthermore Cjstl, you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your facts. What Felix stated is a FACT that Constitutional concealed carry does not exhibit any statistically significant number of improper injuries over states that require training and licensing. Again, that is FACT, not opinion. Felix did not ding you for having a different opinion, he dinged you because your opinion (that lack of government mandated training/licensing results in more improper injuries and fear is thus reasonable) contradicts fact (carriers without training present no more risk of harm than carriers with government mandated training and thus any fears and government mandated training/licensing are not reasonable).

          “The latter [smug people] especially scares me, because they are often so sure of themselves that they completely ignore the real world.”
          The irony is so thick you can slice it with a knife. Your position, that concealed carriers without mandated training/licensing cause significant harm to bystanders, is based strictly on imagination. And yet you continue to advance your “opinion” that contradicts the real world after someone has educated you about the real world! Talk about smug.]

          You and Felix have both stated something as fact, but neither of you have shown evidence that proves it. Felix demanded statistics to support an opinion that was based on emotion and personal experience. Personal experience being that I have seen a lot of people do a lot of really dumb things, which has not filled me with trust for my fellow human beings. I don’t believe most people are ill-intentioned, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do dumb things. I’m not saying training will fix all of that (a driver’s license didn’t stop some girl from slamming into the back of my car at 40 MPH a few weeks ago while my kids and I were sitting stopped in traffic), but it could at least help people understand the dangers and raise their situational awareness. Keeping someone from absent-mindedly fondling the pistol shoved in his coat pocket or breaking out his concealed carry at the table in a restaurant to show his friends are good examples of this. Now here’s the emotion. It doesn’t scare me to think that people around me are carrying when I’m out in public. It actually makes me feel better. If someone is trying to hurt me or my family and I miss, hopefully one of them won’t. But that’s because I know that everyone who is legally carrying has at least made some commitment to the cause. Most of them practice with their weapons and spend regular time at the range. And all of them have been through the required course. That will all change in a few days. I don’t know whether you and Felix are correct that there has been no significant uptick in NGU’s in those states that have legalized permitless carry. I’m inclined to believe that it’s true, but I also hesitate at the definition of “significant”. It doesn’t matter to me if the increased danger of a bullet from one of those “untrained” carriers is one in a million. If that bullet hits one of my kids and it could have been prevented if the carrier had just taken a six hour training class… How do I even finish that thought?

          [To summarize: the real world, in states like Arizona that have had Constitutional carry for several years, does not experience any more harm to bystanders than any state with mandated training and licensing. That is a FACT. It is not an opinion and it is not up for debate. Fear or public policy based on demonstrably false hypothetical constructs is neither reasonable nor noble.]

          Can you provide evidence that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that there has not been a single case of NGU that could have been prevented by the proper training? My guess is that you cannot. I never claimed to have noble intentions, but none of you have proven that my fear is unreasonable.

          That being said, I respect your thoughtful approach to responding to my comments, even if I feel a lot of it was taken out of context. I read and reply to posts on this blog because I appreciate constructive discussion and enjoy different perspectives. I also believe you can be pro-gun without believing everyone should carry a gun everywhere at every time with no regulation whatsoever.

          Nothing anyone says here is going to hurt my feelings, but I get irritated when someone attacks my right to have an opinion. Regardless of whether you think so or not, that’s exactly what Felix did. He demanded facts rather than opinion on a response to a post that clearly asked for opinions. That’s just counterproductive.

        • ” I’m not calling for a freaking IQ test. I’m saying that EVERYONE should complete basic training before they can carry in public. ”

          Your basic mistake, from the beginning, is illustrated by the phrase above. On this gun blog, you are tangling with people who believe the second amendment is either absolutely absolute….”shall not be infringed, anytime, any where.” Or believe the second amendment is either absolutely absolute….”shall not be infringed, anytime, any where”…except for those exceptions that I think should be in place. Many of those people also believe the government has not authority to determine how the militia is formed, equipped and deployed…regardless of the constitution (Art 1:Sec 8)

        • Surprise, Strych is dead on yet again. Kudos!
          Cj, no requirement for education does mean a slight increase in potential for ND related incidents, but this is when we fall back on the wisdom of one Thomas Jefferson “I prefer dangerous liberty to peaceful slavery”
          If we put everyone in a padded room nobody could hit you with their car and nobody could have an nd and injure someone, and no child would ever accidentally shoot themselves.
          The simple fact is that isn’t how life works in a constitutional republic that reaffirms the natural rights to self defense, privacy and personal property. I’m fully aware there are ways to make life “more safe”, but I do not yearn for safety, I cherish liberty.

        • I feel that none of this discussion is germain to the issue of mandated training. I predict that some time in the not-too-distant future the SCOTUS will rule that shall issue for both concealed and open carry is the maximum allowable restriction on the 2A. This will not go over well with states like MA, NY, CA, etc.

          If, however, these states can mandate training and require a skills test, they have the opportunity to set the bar so high that 90% of the people cannot pass, essentially negating the shall issue mandate. Such a requirement would probably fail in the courts, but it would be many years in the making.

          This, above all, is why mandated training is a very bad idea.

      • Interesting observation. We have no real documentation of people unskilled/untrained with firearms being part of the militia. OTH, we have no real documentation that all the colonial militias required at least some mandatory training. But crank in “well regulated”, and we need to know what that meant in 1776. With respect to who can control the militia: http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/55/militia-clause.

        As to “organizing the militia”, the central government has both significant responsibility for “regulating” (as in training and equipping), and great freedom to pre-empt the states: http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/56/organizing-the-militia.

        Seems the central government indeed has the power to mandate training.

        • They should mandate training whether or not you own a firearm. Should be part of selective service. Tie it in with a nasty tax penalty if you refuse the training.

        • Sounds a lot like our current health insurance situation…

          But yes, I agree that the framers intended for everyone [or at the time, every man (or more specifically every white man)] to be capable and ready to do their part in the well regulated militia. Thankfully, times change, but I still don’t think it’s a bad idea for every American to be trained and ready to pick up arms in defense of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.

        • Conflict between the “regular” army and militia date back to the Revolutionary War. The Regulars complained the militia men were undisciplined, partied on drill weekend and wouldn’t follow their orders. The militia men were confident they could whip the British. Nothing new here…

        • Not sure attitudes between “regulars” and “militia” are germane to the constitutional clauses directing the central government to train and equip the militia, or the power delegated to government to preempt state control over deployment of the militia. Those who claim 2A is the complete and single statement regarding government control of firearms are not reading the entire document.

        • There can be no doubt the constitution gives Congress broad powers to mandate the training of militia. What it doesn’t allow it to do is disarm that militia, even using training as a pretext. So yes, they can order you out to muster and train with arms, but they can’t make training a precondition of keeping or bearing arms.

        • Dave, you’re giving me hope that the 2a community can rid itself of the fudds and closet hopolophobes by returning to reason and the constitution. (If you’re 100 years old I’ll have slightly less hope for the future of 2a lol)

          Can yall set up a subscribe to comments function so strych and dave can keep me sane on what should be a pro 2a site thats now full of fudds, nationalists, hopolophobes and trolls. That’d be great

  6. My father taught me to shoot rifles. I taught myself to shoot pistols. I’ve had no formal training, beyond 10 minutes of Navy training in the 1980’s. That’s enough (DD214) to satisfy the Virginia requirement for CHP. All that said, I would love to get tactical training, but it is not available at my local range. Sure, I could seek it out and take time off, but that’s tough. Now that I have professed my ignorance, I really don’t think I would have any problem dealing with most situations that I may be presented with. I’m level headed, intelligent, and calm natured. I get weekly range time and my EDC and I are one. Am I deluding myself? Am I completely incompetent and a threat to others because I don’t have a piece of paper? As a USN Master Training Specialist, I am very familiar with the notion that not all training nor trainers are created equal and am suspect of all until proven wrong.

    • Gman,

      Operating a firearm responsibly for self-defense at close range is exceedingly simple and requires no formal training at all. Here is what you need to learn/know/do:
      (a) Keep your handgun in its holster until you can legally use it for self-defense.
      (b) You can legally use your handgun for self-defense when an attacker presents an imminent threat of grievous bodily harm or death.
      (c) Point handgun at attacker (and only the attacker) who is presenting an imminent threat of grievous bodily harm or death.
      (d) Put finger on trigger and pull trigger until your attacker no longer presents an imminent threat of grievous bodily harm or death.

      That is it. No one needs formal training to teach those four elements which will serve a defender exceedingly well in about 98% of situations.

      Is additional training a great idea? Sure! Go to all the formal training you can afford to attend. The idea is that all training should be voluntary and government should not mandate formal training.

    • Find out if there are any USPSA or IDPA matches in your area. The experienced shooters will be very helpful and you will learn to move and shoot in a tactical manner.

  7. “As I’m not reading reports of untrained civilians shooting the wrong person during a gunfight … I reckon the actual danger of untrained gun owners is statistically irrelevant.”

    That is the key. I understand that it may seem dangerous when people engage in activities without formal training. However, that conclusion is based strictly on intuition which can be totally wrong.

    And real world experience tells us, unequivocally, that conclusion is wrong. Concealed carriers who carry without a license in “Constitutional carry states” like Arizona are just as safe as the concealed carriers in states that require licenses. Saying it another way, neither licensed nor unlicensed concealed carriers who carry for self-defense are leaving a trail of bodies anywhere in the United States.

    Thus, fears over unlicensed concealed carry are demonstrably baseless and should NOT direct public policy.

    • That has been my observation also. Also inherent is the concept of requiring someone to meet some training requirement to exercise a right. Keep in mind that requiring a certain amount of expensive training is often used by various governments to make getting a permit expensive and inconvenient.

      • Owning a firearm is a great responsibility. It is also a great liability. Everyone who owns a firearm(s) should be proficient in it’s use and in it’s safe handling in case they need to use or handle it and in proper storage in case they need to store it. I realize that guns are inanimate objects, yet I feel every gun deserves to be fired. A better question than why should people be trained on the guns they own is Why not? Who really says to a gun owner or potential gun owner “you know what you should do? let your firearm sit in a safe, don’t take it out, don’t practice, don’t train, don’t learn safe handling.”?

        • Owning a firearm is a great responsibility. It is also a great liability. Everyone who owns a firearm(s) should be proficient in it’s use and in it’s safe handling in case they need to use or handle it and in proper storage in case they need to store it.

          Define proficient. Bullets go here, bad guy goes there, pull this (bang), repeat as necessary. As tools go, guns are really pretty easy to understand for modern humans (and some animals). Most adults are smart enough to educate themselves as to the simple safety rules and basic operation. And for many, that is all they will ever need. As for proper storage, that’s a personal choice.

          I realize that guns are inanimate objects, yet I feel every gun deserves to be fired. A better question than why should people be trained on the guns they own is Why not? Who really says to a gun owner or potential gun owner “you know what you should do? let your firearm sit in a safe, don’t take it out, don’t practice, don’t train, don’t learn safe handling.”?

          Why not? Why? Formal classroom and practical training, IMHO, just isn’t necessary for most gun owners.

        • Funny that you say “Most adults are smart enough to educate themselves as to the simple safety rules and basic operation. And for many, that is all they will ever need.” I would call that training. Formal classroom training? It is not. Training it is.

          I emphasized should because I think every gun owner should be safe and should practice. I’d call that training.

          I emphasized LE should be required to train because I don’t think citizen gun owners should be required to attend classes and I wanted a distinction between those who choose to own/carry guns and those who’s job it is to carry.

          It’s like how I think adults should be polite, should be dedicated at their jobs, should do a good job raising children and taking care of pets. I do NOT think the state should be involved in setting requirements for these things.

      • Gman: “Why?”

        If you allow the state to mandate the level of training then they can require a one week Gunsite-like training class, offered by the state for $2000. It is only offered at the State Police training facility (which is 300 miles from your home), it is only offered four times per year, and transportation, food and lodging are at your expense.

        If that was your state’s requirement, would you have a CWP? I wouldn’t.

  8. Should people train? Yes. Should it be mandatory? Absolutely not. The protections that the 2A grants aren’t subject to any required training.

      • It’s one thing to mandate training for militia, Article I Section 8 gives Congress the power to mandate training. It’s another thing to make that training a precondition of the bearing of arms. The 2nd Amendment forecloses on that possibility. The government may require people to train with arms, it may not deny them the use of arms under the pretext of training. Congress may choose between having a well-trained, well-armed militia and one that is only well-armed, but they have no power to choose one that is disarmed.

  9. Everyone who has a firearm should have training. I’ve had people fire “unloaded” guns next to me at the range. I’ve had people ask me how to unload their new toy as they didn’t know how to operate magazine release etc.

    Plus numerous people who have no idea how far projectiles will travel etc.

    The two most extreme cases I personally dealt with ended with two fatal shootings by sheer stupidity.

    I would hate to say that government mandated training is required but much of what people here take as common knowledge isn’t.

    • And much of the reason for that is the left’s crusade against guns. Demonizing their very existence. It’s as dangerous as not telling kids about fire or to look both ways or what a condom is for. There once was a time when EVERY household had a firearm and fathers taught their children how to use them safely. No longer.

      • Yep! If guns were publicized outside of Hollywood’s version in an accurate manner, then more truth on the subject would be common knowledge. As it is now, even gun owners are ignorant about certain aspects of guns. Thanks to an ignorant media perpetuating falsehoods.
        Anyone with a computer and a desire to learn can do very well without training. If the government was serious about gun safety rather than the actual agenda of disarmament, they would produce and run PSAs that the NRA would approve of. Instead, they wave the bloody shirt and the only advice they give is: don’t have a gun in the house and if you do, lock it up and keep it unloaded. How about some PSAs on the four rules? How about some PSAs on home defense with a firearm? How about some PSAs on using a firearm to deal with a mass murderer in public or on campus? How about letting Daniel Defense run ads during the Super Bowl?
        It’s not about gun laws. It is about public opinion. It’s not about lack of training. It’s about lack of common sense.
        I remember when I was a kid, the local tv station had disco lessons from a boy during Saturday morning cartoons. They were short 3 or 5 minute segments going over a certain dance move. That’s why all white guys dance the same. Why not a gun segment aimed at young people? Wouldn’t the Personal Defense Network love to go mainstream? I would love that.

  10. My wife and I are Misouri residents with our concealed carry permits and go to the range once a week unless we are out of town. We feel that The responsibility we took on by making the concious decision to carry a loaded weapon merits a few hundred rounds down range a week at the very least. The concealed carry course we went through initially was an eye opener as to the ‘what ifs’ and ‘how to’ information we received. The fact that there are those walking among us who will be able to legally carry without any training at all bothers us. It’s bad enough if you have a DGU WITH training and a permit to carry but the attorneys are really going to be lining up to take on those who have a DGU without a permit to carry. It’s going to be brutal.

    • Ga requires no training for a CCW. My wife took to shooting (having never fired a gun in her life) like a duck to water. She isn’t particularly coordinated. Tried teaching her golf one time. She is intelligent but I see no difficulty in figuring out how a gun works.

    • Prosecutors cannot convict you because you lack training. They can convict you by convincing the judge or jury that you shot someone without a convincing affirmative defense of justification.

      I find the notion of shooting hundreds of rounds every week a sign of OCD, or else massive hobby indulgence, neither of which interests me. It is surely not a necessity in order to acquire reasonable defensive skill. (And if it is 22LR you’re shooting, and on a slow shoot range, it hardly counts.) An FBI agent shoots, by regulation, 500 rounds per quarter, 2,000 per year. You need to be better than the G Man? Why? Their qualification shoot now focuses more on speed and close range, much less on relatively long range shots (25 meters +). I’ll post their requirements below. If you can already meet the test, why shoot more than monthly?

      These days I probably shoot 200 rounds a month, plus or minus. For your convenience I post the new (2015) FBI test here. I can exceed 55 on a good day. 48 is required. I bet you can too. Why over-train when there are so many things begging for time and money?:

      The Drill
      You will need the following for the drill:
      • The QIT-99 Target like the one above.
      • 60 Rounds of Ammo
      • A concealment garment
      All shots are taken from concealment. Each round shot is one point. Any hits in the target area count. The Course of Fire is as follows:
      Stage 1: 3-yard line
      • 3 rounds in 3 seconds, strong hand only. Repeat 2x
      • 3 rounds strong hand only, 3 rounds weak hand only in 8 seconds
      After Stage 1, you then shoot freestyle, meaning using both hands, for the rest of the Course of Fire.
      Stage 2: 5-yard line
      • 3 rounds in 3 seconds. Repeat 4x.
      Stage 3: 7-yard line
      • 4 rounds in 4 seconds. Repeat 2x
      • 4 rounds, reload from slide lock, 4 rounds in 8 seconds.
      Stage 4: 15-yard line
      • 3 rounds in 6 seconds. Repeat 2x
      • 4 rounds in 8 seconds
      This last part is the part where you need cover. You could still do this without cover, but again, it loses a little something.
      Stage 5: 25-yard line
      • Move to cover and fire 2 rounds standing, 3 rounds kneeling in 15 seconds, Repeat 2x
      That’s it. Now just total up your score and see how you compare to the requirements to be a federal agent. The requirement for an agent to pass is to shoot 48 out of 60 rounds.

      • Back when ammo was cheap I’d put 200-300 pistol rounds down range every week. So, if they have the funds, I really see nothing wrong with that.

        I still hit the range once to twice a week but now I limit myself to 72 rounds (6 mags). Usually I shoot three or four mags (36-48 round), but occasionally I splurge an extra mag or two because I just can’t resist. It’s good practice but for me it’s kind of a form of meditation as well. Like being on the BJJ mat, it clears my mind and kind of refreshes me a bit. I always leave feeling better than I did when I came in.

        For your average civvie I think it’s nice but not necessary to put 100+ rounds out a week. That much a month should keep you sharp enough for the vast majority of DGU’s you’d likely encounter. That said, cops are in a different boat. They have some sort of duty that I can’t figure out thanks to the courts but reguardless they tend to encounter situations where gunplay happens on a much more regular basis that the rest of us. They also generally can’t shoot for shit. I’ve always told police that have asked me about this that they should put 200 rounds a month down range with their service weapon, 100 a week would be better. I’ve never told them this but the reason I pick higher numbers for them is what I said before: IME they can’t shoot for shit and since they’re more likely to discharge their weapon in anger I feel like they should be at least semi-competent with it.

        Hey, if they want to shoot that much, more power to them. Personally I don’t think it’s necessary but who am I to keep someone from ballistic satisfaction?

    • “The responsibility we took on by making the concious decision to carry a loaded weapon merits a few hundred rounds down range a week at the very least.”

      Balogna. If you can point your finger at a person who is standing 10 feet away, you can point a handgun accurately at an attacker who is standing 10 feet away without any training at all. I have seen countless people do it.

      Quite literally “little old ladies” who have never received any training and never fired a handgun before have used revolvers to defend themselves successfully without harming any innocent bystanders.

      If you like going to the range every week and firing several hundred rounds, that is fantastic and I applaud your practice. That is not, I repeat, NOT necessary for a person to use a handgun responsibly and effectively to defend themselves.

        • My plastic stock front sight broke on my GLOCK 19. While I was waiting on my Meprolight night sights to come in, I took what was left of my front sights and my rear sights off and continued shooting. I couldn’t put three shots in a quarter sized hole from 7 yards but I could get all shots within an eight inch circle rapid firing.
          Sometimes we want our handguns to perform like sniper rifles. If people only target shoot 15 to 25 yards with a defensive handgun, they aren’t training for the purpose of the gun. Some people call it point shooting. I call it how you are supposed to do it.

  11. It is certainly a good idea to get training on any tool which you are not familiar. Any responsable person will. Anyone who is serious about CCW will carry 100% of the time and that is a chore. I feel that the people that are not responsable will be too lazy to carry all the time and they are a danger, but only when carrying. I believe that these people will soon put the firearm away and only carry if they think there is a reason – and they would do that whether or not is was lawful.
    The fact that responsable people can carry might be the only thing that keeps him from hurting innocent or even guilty people.

  12. The government should freely train people as part of the public school curriculum. After all, we are the well regulated militia…

    • Parents should train. The government should stay the fxxx out of our lives. The militia is by definition anti-government.

      • Really….. The militia is the peoples army, the federal goverment is the peoples goverment. The peoples government should help the people army be well equipped and trained, it should NOT control militia. Just as the people should use the government to help set up schools to teach civics classes and kids the importance of voting. The government should not tell them who to vote for.

        • “… the federal goverment is the peoples goverment.”

          While that is the way it is supposed to be, I can assure you that the federal government is an institution of and for itself. Any interests of the federal government that happen to align with our interests is happenstance and an illusion.

    • You should hear anti gun folk freak out when I suggest such a thing. We did pretty much the same thing with “safe sex” education in response to the AIDS/HIV crisis. And I usually equate it with lessons on the governmental process and that youth get a lot of training in regards to exercising rights such as voting.
      Such training in school would prepare all youth to responsibly exercise their Second Amendment rights when they reach their majority. It would also help reduce the number of accidental shootings.
      And it would also remove the need for the required “safety” training that some states require to purchase a firearm.

      • If the parents are actually involved with the schools, public or private is really no different. The problem is that a lot of parents are not involved (hint it is BOTH time and money are required)

        • 100%. School board meetings are important.

          You have no right to complain about the education your children receive when you fail to do your duty to oversee your public servants. They are there to serve you. See that they do.

  13. Overall, taxpayers do better in shootings than cops. The marksmanship training for most agencies is pretty basic, and makes many police officers overconfident in their abilities.

    Personally, I love training. What I don’t love is requesting permission from the government to exercise a right. California is a great example of how much the government “cares” for the rights of the People. I’ve also heard many stories of the completely untrained grandmother doing pretty darn well in shootings.

    Our agency is renewing their interest in force and firearms training for ’17. A few of our guys are gun right advocates. Above half have an average or slightly above average interest in gun. An alarming number don’t like guns and are horrible at shooting.

    I’m trying to get people more into training with mixed results.

  14. My son admits he needs training and wants to start from the beginning at an indoor range off the bench. Once he is comfortable with the air-rifle (target grade Feinwerkbau 300S) and .22 Rimfire (Lee-Enfield No8 trainer) he will move up to intermediate centerfire (.223). He doesn’t want to jump in to service rifle competition until he has mastered the basics.

    And this is from a 8 year old! At least he knows his limitations.

  15. Okay, look — there’s a difference between training (going to Yeager, learning how to do tactical rolls, and all that other horsecrap) and simple training (the bullets go here. Point this end at the target. Never look in the barrel. Keep your finger off the trigger. Keep your eyes open.)

    Does everyone need to train to do the Tueller drill? Of course not. Does everyone need to practice endless quickdraws? Of course not.

    But absolutely everyone SHOULD learn the four basic rules of gun safety. They should learn basic safe gun handling.

    So much so, that I suggest that as long as we have government-mandated school attendance, let’s put the training in there. Give teens a one-hour class on basic firearm safety and handling. That’s all you NEED. If they can teach our kids how to put a condom on a banana, they can damn well devote an hour to teaching basic firearm handling.

      • We have just 4 years to get mandatory child gun handling safety into law.

        We CANNOT let this opportunity pass us by…

        • “Start at the state level.”

          Serious question: Would California put mandatory safe gun handling in elementary school into law?

          Hell, fvcking *NO*!

          That’s why we need the weight of federal law on this one to *force* California to do it…

    • Completely agree that gun safety should be taught in school. Disagree that an hour is enough. I’ve watched the instructors struggle with the Cub Scouts at the range during summer camp. Some of the boys just don’t get it right away. Even when it is clearly explained that the gun fires dangerous projectiles and should always be pointed downrange, I still watch them pointing the barrel every which way. They need a decent amount of hands-on time to get used to handling a weapon, and they need to shoot more than paper targets to appreciate what a bullet (or BB or pellet) is capable of.

      I also think that gun safety should be taught in stages. Educate them while they’re young so they understand the dangers of handling any weapon, then gradually introduce them to safe use of various types of guns as they get older. That would be a fun curriculum to develop for the various age groups.

      Of course, I imagine most gun owners would educate their own children long before the school system did. But at least the training would help those kids whose parents are progressive hoplophobes.

  16. I think it depends on what you mean by training.

    Basic firearms safety and operation? Everyone, even non-owners should probably know the basics in case they find a firearm and need to unload it for some safety reason. Many of us got this from our parents when we were kids. They used to teach this in school FFS!

    More advanced handling and operation like an “Advanced Pistol Class”? Anyone who wants it.

    Tactical-as-all-get-out-James-Yeager-made-me-into-a-ninja-IT’S-A-FUCKING-SILENCER!!! training? Again, anyone who wants it.

  17. Almost everyone could benefit from some training.

    Nobody should be required to demonstrate that training to some supercilious bureaucrat.

    If that makes some people uncomfortable, that’s good. It’s not a gun owner’s job to make fearful little people comfortable.

  18. I’ll bet that a simple civics exam of 50 questions would eliminate 60%+ of eligible voters’ right to vote. Most people can’t even tell you who their Congressional rep and senators are. Most people can’t define what a “republic” is vs. a “democracy.” Most people can’t tell you who wrote the Bill of Rights, nor what the first 10 amendments actually say.

    If someone who can’t lay down a 3″ group at 25 yards should be denied their right to carry based on a lack of demonstrated competence, then those who can’t pass a civics test should be denied the right to vote on the same basis.

    • I’d love to see the NRA give gun safety classes in public schools – from Eddie Eagle to actual gun and self defense training. Liberal progressive minds would be blown, and accidents would continue to fall beneath the historic lows we already have. Meanwhile, we’d help create a new generation of responsible gun owners and gun rights activists. Win / win.

    • 3″ group at 25 yards, WTF. So now you have to have perfect vision? I can clover at 10 yards, but my eyes blur out the target too much at 25 with pistol irons.

      • DG is talking about a moderately high competence level. It’s easy achievable for a good shooter / quality gun / match ammo / good sights combo. Remove any part of that equation and groups will obviously increase. There are a lot of shooters on any given range who will never shoot 3″ groups at 25 yards. Ever.

        His point is that a shooter shouldn’t be required to produce sub 2″ or 3″ groups to prove their competence, just like we don’t require voters to prove basic competence. Many shooters and voters would fail. The contrast is that voting rights are protected yet gun rights often come with government mandated permission, submission to BG checks, and additional arbitrary laws.

  19. Train. And train some more. But I don’t trust the government to set standards and maintain a permit system to exercise a natural right. Even if it’s a niggling fee (like $10) or something, it is too easy for that fee to become $200 and put it out of reach of a lot of people. Florida, right now, is $112 (I think) and some people balk at that, especially new gun owners around the holidays. The power of the purse is the easiest workaround for the government to abrogate a natural right.

    Think about it. They couldn’t ban firearms covered by the NFA, so they taxed them. Then for MGs, they just refused to accept tax payments from civilians purchasing/building them, unless those civilians spent even more money and established a licensed firearms manufacturing business.

    So yeah, train train train. And hey, firearms training is fun!

  20. Firearms training is recommended. It should never be a prerequisite for personal use or ownership.

    Yes, if it’s a term of occupation where there will be contact with firearms.

  21. If you ask people to get training in guns they whip out their pocket Constitution and tell you to fuck off. Next comes the rants about gun control once training is mandated peppered with stories about how they do it in other places and being expensive. If that isn’t enough you get the scruff about how they know what they are doing and been around them since they were 4 etc.

    I’ve spend a lot of time not just at the range but in the military and developed gun habits which I see violated everytime i go to the “range”. I would not call myself an expert nor would I say I don’t need any training. Like most people I have experience and knowledge but could always use more.

    If training becomes a part of a nation carry permit I’ll gladly take it provided it’s really training, not just boilerplate powerpoint slides delivered by government workers who resent us possessing guns.

  22. Everyone who is a member of the milita should go through training twice a year. This should be by law.

    Of course the cost should be nominal, like $10, and all ammunition should be provided. Further, anyone without at least one long weapon and one sidearm to train with should be provided those, at a subsidized price with zero interest.

    Of course that would require having some organized local militia to check who qualifies for a subsidized gun without the federal government getting any more information than that a gun was provided.

    So we have work to do, starting with getting recognized militia status established — recognized by the states, that is, as for example Oregon did during WWII for militias formed to guard the coast and be first responders to an invasion.

  23. Sure get some training-or not. Just don’t mandate e xpensive crap. Many defensive gun uses are by people who HAD a gun. And the willingness to use it.

  24. Quote ”but there is going to be a portion of our society that say they don’t need the training and that is frightening,” says Tarlow.” I find it interesting that Tarlow think’s American’s should have to go through hoops to exercise a constitutional right. Is Tarlow going to provide the funds to pay for American’s to go through training or pay for lost wages for people to take off work to go through ”training.”

  25. Years ago your shot placement would be the difference between
    life and death.
    I don’t think that anything has changed in a few hundred years.

  26. Everyone should take as much training as they can afford. Legal, handgun, rifle, vehicle, low light, force on force, shoothouse, medical, night vision, precision rifle, shotgun. Whatever they prioritize based on their budget, location, living situation etc. That said, the constitution is very clear in its reaffirming that our natural right to self defense should not be subject to governmental scrutiny based on our age, gender, race, class, level of knowledge attained, or the tools we employ.

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