Okay: I'm way behind the curve on this, because it started over a week ago. A little background: You may know that the legislature in Arizona is considering a bill to make the CCW license requirement optional. If the bill passes, Arizonans can still get the CCW permit if they want to bypass NICS and take advantage of interstate reciprocity, but in-state Arizona would have what amounts to Vermont Carry. I haven't been following the issue, but I can imagine that a lot of Arizona pistoleros are on pins and needles over it.
On March 12, Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell posted an email from a gun training outfit in Prescott, Arizona called Insight Firearms Training Development. The email contains a sample letter that Insight suggests be sent to Arizona legislators. You're expecting to see something that urges a "YES" vote, right? Not so much:
RE: Vote NO on House Bill 2347 & Senate Bill 1108Huh? I mean ... HUH???
I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Nevertheless, I strongly OPPOSE House Bill 2347 & Senate Bill 1108 which would authorize Arizonans to carry a concealed weapon without the permit that is currently required by Arizona law. I have recently taken the 8-hour CCW course required by current law and I can tell you first-hand that it is invaluable and necessary for anyone who plans to carry a concealed weapon. I realized when I took the CCW course offered by Insight Firearms Training Development in Prescott Arizona that there was much that I did not know (or remember as the case may be) about the safe handling of firearms and, importantly, the law applicable to their use for purposes of personal protection in real life (and death) situations. Persons who carry concealed weapons who are not properly trained and educated will be hazardous to you, me and all of the residents of this state.
The argument often offered in support of allowing a person to carry without proper training is that “criminals do not worry about CCW permits, so why should we require it of good, law-abiding citizens”. That may be true, but the argument is disingenuous. Our laws apply to all people – good and bad. The fact that some choose to violate the laws of our society does not constitute good reason to modify them in a manner that will be injurious to the safety of our communities. Should we modify every law in our society because the criminals don’t follow them? Should we base all laws of our society on the behavior of the criminals?
The Second Amendment, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court, does not proscribe reasonable governmental restrictions on an individual’s rights with respect to firearms. To restrict individuals from carrying a handgun in a concealed manner under any circumstance would be unreasonable. It is not unreasonable, however, to require that person to demonstrate that he has obtained the proper training and education in the use of that concealed weapon. With every right comes a corresponding duty an responsibility! We need to retain that requirement.
Vote NO on House Bill 2347 & Senate Bill 1108
It seems there was some subsequent outrage going on in the gunblogoverse. Imagine that. Michael Bane, another gunblogger, wrote Insight demanding an explanation and actually received one:
We're sorry if we offended you. Protecting our rights is also a concern of ours. We just have a different opinion as to why our rights are at stake to begin with and how to protect them.:^O
We train in many areas, from Civilian, Military, Law Enforcement, Security and NRA (Instructor Level), as well as develop curriculum for all types of firearms training, not just the CCW. Therefore our income is not dependent solely on the CCW Training we provide, nor is our business dependent on the actions of the government either way.
We are supporters of the Second Amendment and are not against people exercising that right. We also believe that every Right has a corresponding Duty. We believe training may very well be a key factor in retaining or losing the very right our Second Amendment provides. We applaud those who have willingly sought out training on their own to become educated on gun ownership.
That being said, as firearms instructors we see many students come into our courses for training who have no clue or idea what the laws (both State Statutes and case law) are in regards to owning or using a firearm in self defense or any other purpose, let alone how to safely and properly handle or store their firearms. We feel that it is the informed and knowledge gun owners who will play an important role in allowing us to protect our Second Amendment Rights, not those who choose to remain ignorant of the responsibilities that come with that right. It¹s sad to say, but there are many in our society who will not seek appropriate training on their own. It¹s those who choose not to get training, act negligently and make stupid careless mistakes, who are the greatest threat to protecting our Second Amendment Rights. Mandated training is not the enemy, yet, it could play a very important role in saving our rights in the long run. Therefore in order to protect our rights we will support mandated training whenever it is available. Just because we have rights doesn't mean it always makes sense to exercise those rights without more thought in the process. Additionally, though AZ is an Open Carry State, we do not support "Open Carry" That is like putting a target on your forehead or back and inviting trouble!
Additionally, our forefathers didn¹t have to worry about the negative effects that every form of media has on our newer generations and the reality it has provided. Many of the current beliefs associated with guns come from this medium and it has severely impacted the reality people have today. If you have not done so please read Col. Grossmans book On Killing or On Combat. We work closely with numerous police and prosecutors and have been told that close to 90% of gun cases are related directly to people's ignorance of the law or gun safety responsibilities. This type of behavior is what jeopardizes our Second Amendments Rights. Mandated Training is a solid solution to people who don¹t understand the importance of their responsibilities with regards to gun ownership and a potential way to protect our rights. With every Right comes a Corresponding DUTY and most do not accept that DUTY willingly. There are many other additional factors that need to be considered, aside from the right itself.
We hear on a consistent basis from our students that they had no idea the responsibilities and liabilities they faced while exercising their Second Amendment Rights until after taking this course, including post law enforcement, military retirees and life long gun owners. Over 90% tell us after completing the training that if they knew before, what they learned in class, they would have had the knowledge to be much more responsible gun owners. They also tell us they couldn¹t imagine carrying a gun without the new knowledge they gained in our class. The majority also support not only our efforts to train and enlighten those who have been in the dark for so long, but continued mandated training.
Our training is significantly different in numerous aspects. The teaching process we use allows our students to actually retain the information they receive unlike other training programs. If you are really concerned about our position on mandated training, and have not done so previously, please attend our class and allow us to introduce you to the un-informed CCW applicants who come to us for training. Maybe if you see things from their perspective before and after our class you will understand why we are so committed to this program and assuring mandated training continues.
We also realize there are those who use Alaska and Vermont as an example of why this law should pass, since they have not had any issues. That may be so, yet they are not comparing apples to apples. Example, those states are very different from other states. They are extremely rural in nature, have a different population number from other states and most brought up in those areas are raised with guns from early on. There is a big difference in that and those from urban or metropolitan areas. We know because we see it on a daily basis.
Please understand that though we respect your beliefs we do not hold them as our own, hopefully you will do the same. It will be up to each individual in our society to voice their own opinion to their legislators and fight for their rights in the way that seems appropriate for them. I'm sure there will be many who stand on both sides of support for this issue.
Sherrie & Matt Seibert
Well...It's good that they responded. I guess.
To tell the troof, I'm more perplexed by their stance on open carry than on mandatory training. If they weren't in the business of providing the thing they want to make mandatory, it could be the sort of thing reasonable people might disagree about. After all, I rarely meet a shooter who doesn't think training is a good idea. Me, I'm completely in favor of training. I'm opposed to mandatory training, but then I'm opposed to mandatory anything. It's just a prejudice of mine and may not be entirely rational.
But they are in the business, and their sample letter is so very blatantly self-interested that I can only surmise the Seibert house contains no mirrors - I just can't imagine how they could ever stand to look at themselves in one. And the arguments in their follow-up message ... I could spend days fisking this nonsense. To wit:
- They claim no self-interest, because CCW training is only a part of their curriculum. They don't mention that it's the only part required by law. All the other venues have a limited audience at best.
- "We are supporters of the Second Amendment and are not against people exercising that right." BUT! Fail.
- "We believe training may very well be a key factor in retaining or losing the very right our Second Amendment provides." People, the second amendment provides nothing. It guarantees nothing. It acknowledges a pre-existing natural right. Period.
- "It¹s sad to say, but there are many in our society who will not seek appropriate training on their own." True. That doesn't give you the right to make it mandatory under law.
- "[W]e do not support 'Open Carry'. That is like putting a target on your forehead or back and inviting trouble!" I don't even know what this means. I mean, a lot of people prefer concealed carry and claim to believe that open carry is dumb. Okay. But this is the very first time in my life I've ever heard a shooter suggest that open carry, where now legal, be made illegal. Even if their argument is correct, which I don't believe, who's the open carrier hurting but himself? Couldn't have anything to do with that training requirement for concealed carry, could it?
- "If you have not done so please read Col. Grossmans book On Killing or On Combat." Yeah, this is the bozo who pushes that "Sheep, wolves and sheepdogs" meme. Fail.
- "If you are really concerned about our position on mandated training...please attend our class and allow us to introduce you to the un-informed CCW applicants who come to us for training." If you disagree with us, give us money anyway.
- "...those states [Alaska and Vermont] are very different from other states. They are extremely rural in nature, have a different population number from other states and most brought up in those areas are raised with guns from early on." Have these people ever been to Arizona? They apparently either believe that Alaska and Vermont have no cities, or that Arizona consists of nothing but. And that Arizonans don't know anything about guns.