I was asked recently, what with a record number of firearms in civilian hands, if I thought gun owners should be required to have a minimal amount of training. After immediately replying “no,” I got to thinking . . .
Is there a legal training requirement to exercise any other constitutional rights? No, there isn’t. Should one “train” or educate oneself in order to be able to best exercise any of your constitutional rights? Sure. Why not?
If you’re an 80-year-old woman in poor health, living alone, must that woman really be trained? Should she be required to undergo a minimum number of hours of training in order to defend herself?
If she defends herself with her gun, isn’t it enough that she survived the encounter and wasn’t maimed, raped or murdered? Would a jury think she’s guilty of a crime if she hadn’t had formal training in gun safety, the defensive use of a firearm and applicable laws? Probably not.
Now if a typical middle class guy is attacked and shoots someone in public on the street, outside a store or in a parking lot and the situation is even somewhat ambiguous, would it make a difference to a jury if that individual had received some training? Most likely.
As a responsible gun owner and CHL holder, should you seek training – and practice regularly– so you can effectively discharge your responsibility for you and your loved ones? Sure. You bet.
But do we need another legal hurdle erected to make it even harder to exercise this particular enumerated right? Absolutely not.
Maybe when they start requiring that you pass a certified civics class before one can exercise First Amendment rights or voting rights, maybe then I’ll think about supporting a training mandate in order to own a gun or carry concealed. Until then…don’t bother asking me.
What if someone who wants to buy a gun to protect his or her family is unable to attend a training class for whatever reason? What if they can’t afford the training…on top of the costs of the gun and ammunition (and a concealed carry license)?
What if an ex-spouse has threatened your life and you have to wait days or weeks to complete a required training course before you can buy a gun for your own protection?
The rights embodied in the Constitution are inalienable; they are granted by God, not our government. There’s a valid argument for “reasonable” limits to those rights.
But when it comes to potential new training mandates for firearms, look at the increasing number of states that make gun ownership and concealed carry a constitutional right – with no training or licenses required. I’m not aware of any higher level of gun deaths or violence in those states. And the Second Amendment doesn’t specify any qualification tests for those who want to exercise their rights.
A training (or insurance) requirement in order to avail yourself of the RKBA is no different than a poll tax or a literacy test. And both of those have been declared unconstitutional. Armed self-defense is the right of every human being. Period.