The ULTIMATE Grassroots Activity
ULTIMATE Grassroots Activity!
By: Leroy Pyle
You have seen that look in
the eye of the novice shooter upon completion of their first range session. That
sense of awareness, and an accomplishment of great consequence, the mastering of
a tool that a lifetime of media propaganda has depicted as the root of all evil.
did it. They held it, fired it, reloaded it, and fired it again. And not once
did it develop legs or a mind of its own to run about and cause even the
slightest of chaos or mayhem. Nor did they have even the slightest inclination
to commit a violent act, as some would insist. Instead, there is the realization
that the handling of a firearm is a learned skill like so many others of a
lifetime. And they recognize that any inanimate object, whether car, gun, or
knife can be safely controlled.
that to the hours of RKBA debate with a co-worker or acquaintance that leads
nowhere except to frustration and the occasional loss of a possible friend. The
difference is in the hands-on experience. Your reasoning and arguments may not
be enough to overcome a lifetime of bad information by the media and negative
images in television and the movies. But the actual experience of controlling
that firearm during a shooting session can encourage an entirely new outlook on
guns and the shooting sports. And of utmost importance, in this day of media
control, it may gain us a convert or even an ally.
a picture is worth a thousand words, hands-on experience is worth a million.
is for this reason that I recommend to all Second Amendment Activists that they
promote firearms training. Do it yourself or act as a referral service to those
who are certified to instruct. If you have participated in any form of training
and understand the experience -- sharing the truth -- you already recognize the
value. An individual effort by any proficient marksman is common, or a team
effort by a few individuals or a club may be appropriate. It can be a service
provided for profit, or on a break-even basis. Traditionally, clubs provided
training by a team of members that shared the duties and charged only enough to
recover any cost of materials. The reward is commonly referred to as the
"warm fuzzies", a feeling that one gets from sharing knowledge and
skills with an appreciative audience.
recent years, however, there is a growing number of organizations and
individuals who specialize in training personal protection techniques and the
variety of popular shooting sports. The demand for training can provide a
worthwhile income if done in a businesslike manner. This, as a result of the
increased awareness of crime and the necessities of personal protection, and the
interest in some of the more exciting gun sports. The variety of action pistol
events and shotgun sporting clays lead the way.
I was fortunate to have been trained with firearms as part
of my law enforcement career. As a young cop, I joined the pistol team for
recreation and the camaraderie afforded by the travel and competition. The
skills and expertise developed by associating with competitors and fellow
firearms enthusiasts eventually led me to an instructor's position in my
department and at the police academy. Like most cops, I always had a part-time
job. Usually directing traffic in the dust and heat, or working security
somewhere in the middle of the night, the basic skills learned in my
It was a step up in pay and esteem to work at the academy,
and certainly better working conditions! My timing was pretty good, too, since
at about the same time in California, at least, there was a rapid growth in
security personnel. My skills became marketable in that industry and I soon left
the academy training to open my own security school. Crime became a prominent
issue about then, with more departments offering to provide security checks of
businesses and homes, with advice on locks and alarms, rape prevention training
for women, and a program for kids that cautioned them against the perverts of
the world. With that much emphasis on personal safety, I was in the perfect
position to offer personal protection firearms training to that percentage of
people who, after securing themselves in their home and educating their women
and children, wanted just a little bit more security :-).
I've often encouraged more in law enforcement to take up
firearms training. They have the skills and tools, and it sure beats directing
traffic and working security!
primary benefit of firearms training is the opportunity to use facts and a
hands-on opportunity to overcome the many lies and media-myths that have
imbedded themselves in our modern culture. The adage, "Knowledge is
Power", certainly applies to the world of firearms and The Right to Keep
and Bear Arms.
pitfall to avoid, in the enthusiasm to share your knowledge, is the argument
that training should be mandated for every gun owner. It has been my observation
that many "experts" in firearms training come to believe in training
so strongly that they actually begin to support a mandate, or laws that require
training. This usually happens as a result of a personal arrogance that has no
place in the arena of individual rights!
a trainer, too, you may gain the attention of the media and they will pose the
question of whether or not training should be required. This can become a
difficult question after you, in all your enthusiasm during an interview, have
been affirming the advantages of such training.
have found that a simple and honest answer pointing out that responsible adults
in a free society are perfectly capable of responsible gun ownership and
training should be voluntary. If they pursue the matter, I challenge them to
tell me what purpose mandatory training could possibly serve. Turn it around and
make the interviewer come up with a justification. Crime and accidents are the
usual response. The latter easily disposed of when you are prepared with the
instructor’s adage that, “Accidents are a result of ignorance and
inattention.” Something that is difficult to legislate. It is more common for
them to express a need for training based on a criminal act or some reference to
crime or the criminal. Again, you can turn it around by asking how training
might affect the criminal. My response depends on the crime that prompted the
interview, but usually includes something like, "So, do you think we need
mandatory training to make that robber or rapist a better marksman? Is that what
you think we should have mandatory training for, to improve the shooting skills
of our criminals?"
you might imagine, that catches them by surprise. Is there ANY reasonable
argument for mandating firearms training as a crime deterrent? Their stumbling
and mumbling is edited out of the newscast. But their follow-up question, in an
attempt to somehow further their supposedly unbiased function of gathering the
news, invariably points to the safety factor. They will insist that training is
necessary and "if it saves just one life...".
is the time you point out that at least one of their colleagues has correctly
researched the facts and hand a copy of your favorite statistics. I once used the following from the Washington Post,
dated Jan. 25, 1994, Health page 5, under "Vital Statistics":
Accidental Deaths Drop in 1992”
In 1992, 83,000 Americans
died in accidents, continuing a downward trend over the past two decades. The
total reflects a 5 percent decline in deaths from
auto crashes, falls, poisonings and other unintentional injuries,
according to the National Safety Council, an international public service group
based near Chicago.
In 1991, accidents claimed 87,300 lives, compared to the peak in 1969
when 116,385 fatal accidents occurred.
The decline in auto deaths resulted from the combination of increased use
of safety belts, more vehicles equipped with airbags and greater vigilance
regarding drunken driving.
It was the lowest number of accidental fatalities since 1922, when 76,300
people died. Since 1922, the nation’s population has more than doubled.
offer another challenge. If they truly believe in saving "just one
life...", ask them when they are going to do something about those damn
"All Other Causes"! Because THAT is where the problem is. Those
"All Other Causes" are the problem, not guns.
can actually enjoy the debate with the media and make a better impression if you
are prepared by education. And that is the real advantage of becoming an
instructor and getting active in the world of training and gun sports. You
become more informed and enlightened and able to take the battle to them, rather
than just remaining a sitting duck on the receiving end.
you would like more information on becoming an instructor or getting your club
involved, please feel free to call or write.
is a program available for you or your organization.