I’ve taken my fair share of firearms training courses. From basic concealed carry courses to advanced CQB tactics, I’ve gotten more training in the last few years than most gun owners will get in their entire lifetime. Training is good for when you need to defend your life. But if you’re a trainer, you don’t always know who you’re training. There’s always the chance that you’re training bad guys along with good guys. It looks like that nearly happened two or three years ago when Chris Harper-Mercer, the Oregon mass murderer, tried to sign up for an advanced firearms class at a local academy…and was promptly rejected . . .
Harper-Mercer had a monthlong stint in the Army in 2008 and a preoccupation with weaponry that dated back at least two years.
He sought to register for training in 2012 or 2013 at Seven 4 Para, a private self-defense and law enforcement training academy in Torrance, but Eloy Way, president and head instructor for the center, said he sent Harper-Mercer away.
“We wanted him to take a beginner safety course and he was trying to tell me that he already had experience with firearms and I didn’t get a good feeling about him, so I turned him down,” Way told Reuters.
“He was just kind of a weird guy and seemed kind of spoiled, immature,” Way said. “He was a little bit too anxious to get high-level training and there was no reason for it.”
There’s definitely a baseline that people need to meet in order to even attend some training classes. It’s not like you can watch a bunch of Travis Haley YouTube videos and instantly become a Tier One operator — getting even a modicum of proficiency takes time, experience, and maturity. It sounds like Harper-Mercer had none of the above and tried to bluff his way into a high level firearms course anyway.
The reaction from the anti-gun crowd will be fairly predictable, demanding that “military style” training be halted because you’ll never know if you’re actually training the bad guys. Which is also diametrically opposed to their constant push to mandate firearms training as a pre-requisite for gun ownership. Then again, logic and consistency have never been hallmarks of the gun grabber community.
This time the gut instinct from the trainer was correct. In the end it’s their call who they allow into their classes. In this case their decision to keep an individual out of their class was the correct one, and it should be an example for others to ensure that those taking classes have the appropriate maturity level and mindset for the course in question.