The Responsability of Starting People on the Road towardas CWP.
(Originally posted on July 29th, 2008)
People at my workplace and some non-gun friends know I am involved in guns and IDPA shooting so it is not unusual that they come to me to ask questions. Day before yesterday I found myself again answering the doubts of somebody who wanted to get a Florida Concealed Weapons Permit making him the 6th person this year who has initiated the process by going through me first. I would lie if I say I am not proud that people thinks I know enough and I am approachable enough to confide in me for their initial steps towards self-protection. It also scares me silly because I know how limited my knowledge can be.
I usually don’t ask why do they want to get a CWP since I’ve noticed that I usually get a canned response and I get a better feeling when they start asking questions. Most of the inquirers are people who are truly worried about being defenseless and feel they need tools to protect themselves. The minority have some sort of Rambo complex and feel they can achieve instant justice if they are packing and to both of them I said that they are better off without even owning a gun.
I should not be, but I am still amazed at the amount of misinformation floating out there regarding CWPs. I have no doubt that the Media and Hollywood are to blame and it is a titan’s job to counter all the lies but it must be done. I patiently tell them that no, you cannot shoot somebody in the State of Florida because they are stealing the car and you cannot “shoot in the air” either to scare them. Just get Police on the phone and then call your insurance company. I tell them to repeat over and over Reasonable fear of death or grave bodily harm and to memorize it alongside the Four Rules of Gun Safety. I tell them to get, study and know by heart Jon Gutmacher’s Florida Fireams Law, Use & Ownership and to remember that every bullet he shoots has a possible lawsuit attached to it. I also leave politics aside and concentrate on the issue of getting the permit. The Second Amendment will come in full force when they are part of the Gun Culture and realize some cretin in D.C. wants to leave them defensless.
And you want to know what surprises them the most ? When I tell them that the moment they officially put on a legally concealed gun, their first casualties will be ego and pride. They blink hard when I tell them that from then on, no matter how vile the insult, how nasty they were cut off on I-95 by the idiot in the green truck or how maddening they feel when they see somebody cut in at the register line their emotions must be in check and they must avoid conflict at all costs. Add to that that if they never drove by a bad neighborhood before, the gun does not give them permission to do so now, nor to resolve conflicts between neighbors or to assist police when not requested. And also that Avoidance, De-Escalation and Deterrence are now their guidelines for life. The final straw for a few was: “If you ever have to shoot somebody in Self-Defense, that will probably will not be the end of the whole thing but the end of Chapter One with more to come.”
Some, a few, decided that the new responsibility was too much and forgot the whole CWP idea.The rest still went on and obtained or are in the process to get theirs. I just hope the meager basic instructions I gave them serves them to start on the right path.
I want to say that I am not an instructor nor I have any experience as an Operator in any conflict area or have an impressive a rray of certificates from attending many schools of Guncraft. My little experience comes from a dedicated study of those “who have been there, done that have the T-shirt”, one long weekend having a class with a well renowned instructor, the instances where I had the unpleasant experience of having a weapon directed at an unarmed me and those rare occasions when I had to use a firearm to avoid trouble. As of now, I have exact ly the same number of orifices that I came to this world with and the only scars I have in my body come either from utterly mishandling of sharp objects or surgery due to physiological maladies so I guess I haven’t done too bad after all but do take this post with a grain (or two) of salt.