Gun control advocates argue that firearms are too dangerous for what Bill O’Reilly unctuously calls “the folks.” The average Joe is too mentally unstable and, well, klutzy, to handle a handgun. The idea that someone could carry a concealed firearm without ever firing a gun is madness! Those of us with a bit of experience in the firearms realm know that operating a handgun isn’t particularly difficult—especially if we’re talking about a revolver (rather than, say, a 1911). You put some bullets in the thing, point the muzzle in the direction of the bad guy and pull the trigger. That said . . .
Like playing three-chord blues, defending yourself with a handgun requires a lot of training and practice. There’s no question in my mind that the average CCW holder does not have enough experience firing their weapon to reliably hit a moving target center mass at anything other than close combat range. Not under stress. And probably not at a firing range either.
But I don’t think that’s particularly important. Certainly not from the Second Amendment point of view; the framers of the U.S. Constitution made no mention of a competency test. (Weapons of that era were notoriously finicky and not particularly accurate.) Nor do I object to the CCW holder’s lack of hands-on experience on the tactical level.
The most important part of armed self-defense is strategic. Knowing when you can/should shoot someone and when you can’t/shouldn’t shoot someone. I’d rather have concealed carry permit holders with a firm grasp of the shoot/don’t shoot concept than CCW holders who are ace marksmen (or women). Both would be good. But if I had to choose, I’d go with awareness over skill.
I don’t get to choose. And neither should your local, state or federal government. Truth be told, if someone’s trying to rape or kill you, firing a concealed carry weapon could save your life. Period. If you do it well, well good for you. If you do it badly . . .
The biggest downside of untrained CCW holders is obvious: collateral damage. Hitting an innocent bystander. That would suck for all concerned. But so would getting raped or killed. The number of innocents killed by CCW holders is a fraction of the number of citizens subject to violent crime. According to FBI stats, there were 489 rapes last year in LA last year. That’s reported rapes.
But let’s not forget (as gun control advocates and the media are wont to do) an important area of armed self-defense: brandishing. There are no stats on how many times potential victims scare off an attacker with a gun. But the number of these incidents must surely dwarf the number of CCW holders who discharge their weapon. Ever.
According to justfacts.com
A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.
Outside the home? Let’s call it half that amount. But the implication is clear: a concealed weapon can save your life without ever firing it. How about that? Oh, and less than two percent of the U.S. population is packing heat. More’s the pity.