another reporter gets CCW article, B+


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akodo
August 7, 2006, 11:15 PM
A reluctant gunslinger feels the gravity of his new permit to pack
I thought it might be amusing to obtain a permit to carry a handgun, and to write about it on a slow summer news day. But now that I've done it, I'm afraid it doesn't seem so amusing anymore.
Nick Coleman, Star Tribune

I thought it might be amusing to obtain a permit to carry a handgun, and to write about it on a slow summer news day. But now that I've done it, I'm afraid it doesn't seem so amusing anymore.
Yes, friend, that's a gun permit in my pocket. And on my shoulders? That's the weight of responsibility. No fun at all.

I have a love-hate thing with guns, but I am not one of those people who think all our problems will end if we melt all the guns into bad sculptures that can be erected as monuments to the politicians who commissioned them. When I was a kid, my dad (who shot a lot of crows while working on a highway crew in northern Minnesota) gave me a single-shot .22 caliber rifle perfect for shooting cans and bottles at the dump. My high school had a rifle range, and, later, I ambushed deer that I made into sausage.

But guns on the street are not recreational. When I drove to Robbinsdale to take a gun permit class at Bill's Gun Shop, I navigated through north Minneapolis, passing a corner where I had seen a murder victim on the sidewalk a few months earlier, as well as a day-care center where bullets have come through the windows. Bad guys have lots of guns. Letting the good guys carry them, too, makes sense. But I hate that it has come to this.

My instructor was an affable Army sergeant named Dave Whaley, who took me through the basics of gun safety and put me through my paces on the range, having me shoot a variety of calibers and models. In the classroom, he walked me through the law and explained the Color Codes of Awareness.

Usually, he said, we exist in Condition White, oblivious of our surroundings and unconcerned for our safety. In Conditions Yellow and Orange, we become increasingly aware that something is wrong and danger is present. In Condition Red, we are ready for fight or flight. And if we have a gun permit, we are ready to shoot.

But only as a last resort. Sgt. Whaley told me that the smart thing is recognizing and avoiding trouble, not confronting it.

"Learning to shoot is not hard," Sgt. Whaley told me. "This is not about shooting. It's about self-protection. It's about avoiding situations."

Because "situations" come with consequences. This is hard stuff: Are you willing to use deadly force and to live with the ramifications of killing another person, even in self-defense? Not everyone can answer yes. When I reached that point of the training, I almost dropped out. But I didn't.

State law (statute 609.065) says taking a life is justifiable when "necessary" to prevent "great bodily harm or death" from being inflicted. I have family I would protect at any cost. I can say yes.

But you have a duty to retreat from danger, if possible. You have to avoid voluntarily entering into confrontations. You need to choose non-lethal options, if available. And the threat must be immediate and carry the likelihood of death or great bodily harm.

It boils down to this: "If possible, don't use a gun. Run."

We got down to the nitty-gritty: To carry a handgun, you must show you can shoot one.

You must shoot 50 rounds at a silhouette of a bad guy, receiving five points for each shot in the kill zone. Twenty shots are taken at a distance of 15 feet from the target, 20 shots from 25 feet, and 10 from 50 feet. Ten shots also must be fired one-handed, and, at each distance, you must re-load after five shots and fire five more within 60 seconds.

I scored 236 out of 250 -- 94 percent. A passing grade is 70 percent. My mom could do it.

I had passed the Concealed Carry Course. I went to my county sheriff's office on a Thursday, filled out an application for a gun permit and wrote a check for $100. By law, a sheriff has 30 days to approve or deny an application. My permit came in the mail the next Friday.

Lock and load.

I still have some choices to make. Should I get a revolver or a pistol? A 9-millimeter, or a .38 Special that loads .357 Magnum rounds, for greater stopping power? I haven't made up my mind. But I'm not in a hurry. My wife might shoot me if I bring home a gun.

She has memorized the statistics about gun owners being more likely to shoot a family member than defend one, and she knows all about the legal guns that get stolen and end up being used in crimes. She really hates guns. And she's an excellent shot.

She's been to gun school, too.


Nick Coleman ncoleman@startribune.com

2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

http://www.startribune.com/357/story/596909.html

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Abby
August 7, 2006, 11:53 PM
Considering the reporter (whose stuff I read a lot of when I lived in MN), this is a pretty good and impartial article.

tube_ee
August 8, 2006, 12:05 AM
Bad guys have lots of guns. Letting the good guys carry them, too, makes sense. But I hate that it has come to this.

If you don't see the truth in this, and I mean the whole statement, not just the first part, you must be blind. That peaceful citizens feel the need to carry weapons is, in some sense, a failure in our society. Not that they souldn't be allowed to, because the need is real, but still, we've failed.

--Shannon

Devonai
August 8, 2006, 12:27 AM
Crime is not a failure of a society, it is an inexorable aspect of humanity.

ReadyontheRight
August 8, 2006, 01:49 AM
Crime is not a failure of a society, it is an inexorable aspect of humanity.


I agree. When, exactly, has the world ever been "safe"?

And without a pervasive police presence and very strict punishments, how could any society guarantee safety?

10 Ring Tao
August 8, 2006, 02:37 AM
To be honest, when I saw an article in the S'trib dealing with guns, to say I was optimistic would be a lie.

Having read it, I was pleased to see a good dose of honesty and clear thought on a topic that easily clouds the minds of those who primarily proffer only emotional arguments.

Overall, good article.

Two points I'd like to make though.

First, is that your gun experience seems typical of hunters, and is rather myopic. You say that "guns on the street are not recreational". When I read that, and look between the lines, it seems to say that any gun owned for any purpose other than hunting is intended for the horrible results later mentioned in that paragraph. Outside of politically correct hunting guns, you fall prey to the idea that the gun defines its purpose, not the one wielding it.

Look at the big picture. That which is not PC will be attacked first. Non PC speech is the first to be attacked. It started with Howard stern, and rolled right into places considered safe before Janet's stunt. Non PC guns are the first to be attacked. It starts with so called "assault weapons" (a contrived term by the way), and if allowed to continue, will roll right into the guns considered safe. Hunter's guns.

Second, you say your wife has memorized various anti-gun stats, including "gun owners being more likely to shoot a family member than defend one". This is a fallacy based the Kellerman study. Kellerman basically took a single county in WA state, and only looked at gun uses in which someone was shot. Uses where the gun wasn't fired, but served as a deterrent weren't included. Such a limited sample, with such flawed methodology is junk science. Fortunately, the academic community agrees, and Kellerman was essentially laughed into obscurity.

Of course, the Brady bunch took a liking to that stat, and continues to parrot it, knowing full well it's dubious origin. Unfortunately, those who are predisposed to disliking guns accept any stat that fits their agenda, and are especially fond of taking this one to heart.

Again, it was nice to see an honest article, spawned from curiosity, from a seemingly normal guy.

Trebor
August 8, 2006, 03:06 AM
Good article. He made one mistake. He talks about loading .357's in a .38, instead of the other way around. Still a good article though.

jeepmor
August 8, 2006, 03:42 AM
I have to agree, there are a lot of bad and contrived statistics used by both sides of the issue to primarily support a political or emotional stance.

Can't believe it has come to this...come to what? Bad guys have always carried weapons and good guys too, usually because protection from bad guys was needed. Many a pioneer carried a gun to keep his family safe, and also provide sustenance thru hunting. It was the advent of mass broadcast media that started influencing our thinking with a bombardment of some person's or organization's perspective. Rarely, if ever, is this point of view taken from a purely objective stance. Data is usually manipulated to support someones or some party's ideology on the issue, not actually objectively report it in a factual manner.

As Tao describes, data is cherry picked to support a certain outcome. I see it all the time in engineering and it's not good science, it's simply ego getting in the way to support ones statements or position to save face or push an agenda. Decisions are rarely made without some emotional aspect to them, and the advent of broadcast media (TV/radio) has provided certain groups the audience to push their agendas, asking many to "pick sides" on the issues.

In the times since the revolution it's quite apparent that the people of America have become complacent in their lifestyles and the media has brainwashed many into thinking guns are unnecessary in society. I disagree, it is the one and only freedom we have that solidly insures our government will have a difficult time enslaving us as other governments have tried with their peoples since the dawn of time with varying success.

Seeing some of the confiscation videos of what took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were seriously disturbing to me. Our own troops confiscating guns from our own law abiding citizens. Not looters in the street going wild and causing havoc, but people simply holed up in their own homes, on their own property, armed with firearms and the willingness to protect their property. It's scary and explains away a lot of the gunfire on police and natl guardsmen stories the media only provided a certain perspective on. Was there much attention spent on it, no, but that's different thread.

jeepmor

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