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Gun stuff

Satruday, I ended up shooting in the local range’s IDPA match, an informal shooting competition of realistic (as much as you can get on a firing range) situations based on actual self-defense scenarios. Lots of fun. At a couple of points, I did my best to get discouraged, but I never did manage it because of the other folks there.

I found I didn’t have as much trouble as I expected with a number of basic things: operating the thumb safety on the 1911, malfunction drills, keeping my finger out of the trigger guard while moving (Rule 3), and shooting on the move when required.

The main problem was my own complacence. When I judged that certain targets would be “easy”, I didn’t give them much concentration or effort, and did abysmally on them. On the ones that I knew were going to be tough shots, I spent longer and focused harder and hit with a reasonable degree of accuracy. I probably could benefit from more basic marksmanship practice, but at this point probably the best practice I could get is shooting more matches. And taking some classes, of course.

On a completely different tack, I also ended up watching 20/20’s hit piece on civilian gun ownership, titled “If I Only Had A Gun” that was basically attempting to dispel the idea that armed citizens can stop mass shootings. There’s a live-blog/summary posted by “Eseell” which pretty well documents how terribly biased the piece was. The problem is that the whole piece actually, I think, had some good points. But they wrapped it up in so much fearmongering that it will only persuade based on fright, not on reason.

The program’s main thrust, though, seemed to be disproving the idea that an armed student can stop a classroom shooter, done with a number of students, and with some glaring flaws. In essence, the entire thing was essentially a giant constructed anecdote. And as the inestimable Kim du Toit loved to say, the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

The thing that I find particularly repellent about the whole thing is that the unstated message throughout is that cops are the answer here: essentially, only cops can be well-trained enough to respond to the situation. The overarching theme is: trust the cops and don’t defend yourself.

Another segment (“experiment”) in the show tricks fifty or so college students, in pairs, asked to clean out a garage with two loaded and disabled guns squirreled away in a drawer. Being untrained, most of them, as Eseell says, “pull a number of classic idiots with guns stunts”. And then later they show kids being asked to find the gun their parents have hidden, and when the kids find them, they run away in terror.

I’m not sure what message ABC is trying to promote here (“Guns are so dangerous even kids know to be afraid”?) but what I take away from it is train your kids how not to be a danger to themselves and others with a gun. Probably not what they were trying to get across.

And I think there’s a point to be made about training: by the letter of the law here in NC, only a one or two day course dedicated to the topic of concealed carry is required before you are qualified in the eyes of the law to get your concealed carry permit. And for many people, that’s all the training they have.

On the other hand, I don’t think I would feel qualified to carry with just that as training, which is one of the reasons I plan to shoot IDPA matches as often as I can manage (the other being that it is damn good fun). Therefore, do I think that not regularly practicing practical shooting makes someone unqualified from carrying concealed? Yeah, probably. Regular training of some sort is, I think, necessary.

The problem is, I can’t come up with any sort of system for enforcing that rule that does not involve a gigantic bureaucratic boondoggle that wouldn’t actually accomplish its goal. Let’s say you have to compete in an IDPA match every three months to stay current on your practical shooting training, and that doing thusly is a requirement for keeping your concealed carry permit. Who certifies IDPA matches as up to the government’s standard? A huge regulatory body would be required. From there I can only foresee a decline in overall scenario quality because of the regulatory strictness until eventually the program gets defunded and we have no more practical shooting training. A little hand-wavy and apocalyptic, but suffice it to say that I have no faith in the government in this area.

Similarly, I find it hard to believe that there is a viable solution to the “anyone can buy a gun from a private seller” problem that makes it possible for a felon to get a gun this way. For one thing, it feels a little futile: as long as there is such a roaring trade in black market guns, it seems like gun shows are the wrong place to look for the supply of “crime guns”. The obvious solution of having the ATF track who owns every gun everywhere in the country is… difficult to stomach. Once again, no faith in the government, bureaucratic boondoggle.

Overall, though, I think the program made me feel better about my choice to own and become proficient with a gun. If anything, what America needs more of is responsible gun owners, and fewer ignorant jackasses.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. hazelbhenley
    April 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    You can’t come up with a system because it’s not a system’s job. I hope I don’t seem like one of those people who blames the big conglomerate of “society” for things all the time, but the ignorance you see in the program is because of our culture (that’s a better one!). That is, the kids in the program make the noob mistakes and run away from the gun because that’s just what they’ve been conditioned to do in such a situation. If guns were more common in society in general as they were pre-hippie (or perhaps a little before. Just saying, my grandfather walked around Raleigh with a .22 revolver at age 12. He lived where you park now), people wouldn’t be such–as you said–ignorant jackasses. At least, that’s my $.02.

    Also, our match probably wouldn’t count in that system, since it’s not actually IDPA-sanctioned.

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