Should Training Be Required?

This is a good question because it makes some people so mad. I recently posted a video blog about the Castle Doctrine. Here it is again, take a look:

Into the Fray Episode 10: Exploring the Castle Doctrine

Training requirements differ from state to state, but the bottom line is: you NEED it.

I took some heat for about 10 seconds in the video where I said I thought it was a travesty that gun owners in Wisconsin could use their hunter education card to get a concealed carry permit. My state requires training. But there is a difference between training that is needed and training that is required. And in Wisconsin, the training you need is not the training that is required. Need is not dictated by a government requirement. Perhaps I could make it more clear that while I think it is a travesty that the state allows people to get a permit with only a hunter education card, perhaps what I really mean is that I think it is patently irresponsible for people to use that hunter education card to get their license.

I am not saying anything about the mandate other than acknowledging it. Some viewers of the video seemed to think I was advocating for more training requirements and that I, of all people, was somehow anti-gun because I mentioned the need for training.

Here is the one true element about any deadly force incident: There will be an investigation. Let us say your state requires four hours of training in order to get a concealed carry permit. If you are involved in a deadly force incident you can bet your freedom and your entire bank account there will be more than four hours of investigation into your actions leading up to and during that incident. Therefore, it behooves the responsibly armed citizen who enters into the practice of carrying a firearm for self-defense to get as much training as possible about the actions and aftermath of self-defense. You should be getting MORE than the minimum. A hunter education class NEVER touches on deadly force decision-making, the definition of deadly force, the justification for its use, or the concepts of situational awareness and conflict avoidance. Yet, those elements are the backbone of any case before any district attorney.

When a government sets an arbitrary number of required hours for your CCW training, that is typically done as a barrier to entry into the CCW lifestyle. The government typically uses that number to discourage people from applying for the permit. Illinois is a prime example. While other states require four or sometimes eight hours of training, Illinois requires 16 hours! They did that so the training requirements would be so cumbersome and expensive that people would not apply for the permit. That’s wrong.

Whether training in your state is required or not, you need it. You need it because training does for you what the right to carry does not: training helps to keep you out of jail.

I believe you have the God-given, immutable right to carry. Anyone who says otherwise is dead wrong about me. But with that right comes the responsibility to know what you are legally allowed to do in certain circumstances. Some states think they must require you to get that training to inform you of your responsibilities. Whether you think that is right or wrong, the courts have allowed the states that power. If we don’t like it we can work to change that law.

Our job at the USCCA is threefold. We are to keep our members: alive, out of jail, and financially solvent following a deadly force encounter. To that end we should encourage our members to know as much as possible about the laws, ethics, and tactics of employing deadly force. To do any less is a disservice to our customers.

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