Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Class: Not Just For A CPL

Almost everyone knows that a bona fide Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (MBPSTC), taught by a properly certified firearms instructor, is mandatory training for anyone desiring to apply for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). However, what most people do not know is that the MBPSTC is also a good introductory class to firearms safety for all new handgun owners. Graduates of the MBPSTC will have a solid grounding in responsible handgun ownership, shooting fundamentals, Michigan firearms law, and personal protection strategies.

In fact, there are only a couple of topics taught in the MBPSTC that are only of benefit to just CPL licensees. With the exception of proper CPL licensee responsibilities during traffic stops and Pistol Free Zones, everything else in the class "should" be required knowledge for all handgun owners. Since there are already more than an estimated 20,000 combined firearms laws at different levels of government throughout this country on the books, I won't advocate any more legal requirements for owners of firearms.

Ignorance about firearms and their regulation reigns supreme in my community, as many statutory hurdles that were designed to discourage firearms ownership were allowed to remain in force until only a few short years ago. Many people calling firearms instructors today - due to the rampant and escalating levels of crime - are mildly shocked to discover that it is not necessary to have a CPL to have a handgun in their home. Unfortunately, many of them receive a lot of information and only act upon the bare minimum: getting a 10-Day Purchase Permit to buy a handgun for the home.

The MBPSTC agenda devotes an entire hour of the eight hour class on personal protection strategies for the home. This module covers everything that a homeowner would ever want to know about protecting himself and his loved ones at home. Items of interest cover the following:
  • Personal And Home Safety Tips
  • Emergency Plan For Break-In Response
  • Proper Mindset Conditioning
  • States of Mental Awareness
  • Intruder/Assailant Confrontations
  • Realities Of Shooting Encounters
  • Police Arrival Considerations
  • Emotional And Legal Aftermath Issues


The MBPSTC agenda also devotes time during the agenda to address responsible gun ownership. There was a time in our country when our children were taught these things at home. However, the times have changed since that era. The items of interest that are covered in this module address the following topics:
  • The Three Primary Gun Safety Rules
  • Rules For Using And Storing A Handgun
  • Ethical Responsibility
  • Ammunition Type Considerations


The crown jewel of the MBPSTC is the legal training that the students will receive. After this module is presented, students will not only know what they can do and when they can do it, but they will also know what they can't do. Legal topics covered in this module include the following items:
  • CPL Application Process
  • CPL Disqualifying Factors
  • Record Expungement
  • Pistol Free Zones
  • Deadly Force & The Law (Case Studies)
  • Castle Doctrine & the Duty to Retreat
  • Intent Of Shooting/Stopping Threats
  • Defense Of "Third-Persons"
  • Transfer Of Intent
  • Michigan's New "Stand Your Ground" Laws
  • Self Defense vs. Fighting
  • Police Stop Encounters
  • Gun Sales & Transfer Of Ownership
  • Posession And Transportation Of Handguns
  • Safety Inspection/Gun Registration
  • Shooting Aftermath/Statements To Police


Furthermore, no NRA firearm safety class would be complete without addressing basic handgun skills. The MBPSTC is no exception in this regard. After finishing the subject matter in this module, the students will have a firm grasp of the concepts related to safe gun handling:

  • Range Safety Briefing
  • General Range Safety Rules
  • Ammunition Malfunctions
  • Defensive Accuracy
  • Fundamentals of Marksmanship
  • Elements of Good Shooting Positions
  • Two-Handed Standing Shooting Positions
  • Sight Alignment and Flash Sight Picture
  • Cover versus Concealment
  • The Tueller Drill
  • Handgun Buying Considerations
  • Ammunition Qualification
  • Dry-Fire Exercises
  • Target Qualification


Owning a handgun is a huge responsibility, regardless of whether you want to just have one in the home or you also want to apply for a CPL so that you carry it outside the home. In both cases, the handgun owner would be best served if he knew the law, knew how to load, carry, use, and unload his firearm, and knew how to enact safeguards to protect his family.

Firearms and their usage are heavily regulated at all levels of government. Ignorance of the law or ignorance of safe gun handling skills will be of little use to you if you are ever declared to have used a firearm unlawfully. Thus, a MBPSTC is of benefit to anyone that owns a handgun. If you own a handgun, you owe it to yourself and your family to get some training.
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