Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Somehow, on this date, we got on the subject of the excuses we get from prospective students about why they aren't ready to enroll in a state of Michigan approved Basic Pistol Safety Training Class so that they can meet the statutory education and shooting requirements for a Concealed Pistol License.
None of us engage in cold-calling prospecting over the phone; our prospects call us after hearing about us from our advertising. Thus, we field a lot of phone calls. In fact, to a man we receive too many calls from lukewarm prospects. We spend a lot of time educating people about the requirements and the process. However, when it is time to sign the students up we receive a litany of excuses. To all of our mutual surprise, we have all "heard it all."
Here are the excuses for inaction that have been given to us:
Excuse 1: "I don't have the money."
Rebuttal 1: We all have money for the things that matter. Just imagine what your armed assailant will think of your excuse when you don't have any money during the robbery.
Excuse 2: "I am working too much over-time."
Rebuttal 2: Excellent! You are going to need a pocket full of money during your robbery to appease your attacker(s).
Excuse 3: "I am waiting on my income tax check."
Rebuttal 3: So is your assailant.
Excuse 4: "My daughter is in town this weekend."
Rebuttal 4: Wouldn't it be tragic if you were not able to defend your daughter against a violent and unprovoked attack?
Excuse 5: "I Just Got Laid Off."
Rebuttal 5: You didn't take the class when you were working, so your motivation to take the class is in question. Besides, what will your attacker do when you don't have any money?
Excuse 6: "I Am Waiting For A Friend To Take The Class With Me."
Rebuttal 6: Your friend doesn't want to take the class. In fact, your friend is tired of you talking about taking the class.
Excuse 7: "I Have A Hair Appointment Scheduled For That Date."
Rebuttal 7: Your assailant will not be concerned with how your hair looks.
Excuse 8: "My Car Broke Down."
Rebuttal 8: I had a student last year ride his bicycle on snow-covered streets to attend my class. He could have caught a cab - maybe he was short on funds but he still managed to put away enough money to take the class. Also, jackers have no qualms about attacking you at a bus stop.
Excuse 9: "The Economy Is Bad; I Need To Save Every Penny."
Rebuttal 9: Yes, the economy is bad and it will get worse before it gets better. In fact, the economy is so bad that the incidence of violent crime in Detroit is already unacceptable and will get significantly worse.
Excuse 10: "I Can't Attend That Day; I Am A Pastor."
Rebuttal 10: You didn't see the shoot-out in Detroit at a funeral service at a church? Violent criminals have no qualms about attacking you on "Holy Ground." Besides, don't you have an Assistant Pastor? No? Who covers for you when you take your vacation?
Excuse 11: "I Am Celebrating A Birthday On That Day!"
Rebuttal 11: We don't teach night classes. Besides, criminals don't plan robberies around your birthday. When it's your turn, it's your turn.
Excuse 12: "I Am Too Busy - I Am In School."
Rebuttal 12: Students find time to do all sorts of things unrelated to school. Besides, college campuses are popular places for predators to look for victims.
Excuse 13: "I Am Afraid Of Guns."
Rebuttal 13: Your armed assailant isn't afraid of guns. Why are you?
Excuse 14: "It's Tax Season - I Am Too Busy."
Rebuttal 14: Your assailant will be happy that you have been too busy working to take a one-day class to learn how to defend yourself. He'll also be tickled pink that you do not have a gun.
Excuse 15: "I Can't Take A Day Off from Work."
Rebuttal 15: You are the only person in America who has not "called in sick" to handle a personal emergency?
Whatever your excuse "is," just be real to yourself and acknowledge it for what it is - an excuse. As a former violent crime victim, I know what it feels like to be deluded into believing that it could never happen to you. I know what it feels like for multiple predators to wave guns in my face with no regard for my safety. I know what it feels like to be robbed in my own back yard.
After my experience, excuses went out the window. I "found" the money to not only buy a handgun, but to also take a CPL class and submit my application to the state. If you won't do it for you - why not do it for the ones that depend on you to keep them safe?
To be eligible for the drawing, you must register for the class - before 12 noon on Friday, October 3rd, 2008 - by paying the full tuition ($140) at our website: http://www.detroitccw.com
The class will be held at the following location:
Southfield Hampton Inn Conference Room
27500 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075
There is a 15 seat limit on this class. Also, I am making this very same offer to my friends on Facebook, former students who have referral leads, and readers of my Crime Prevention Newsletter. I am confident this offer will draw significant interest from folks who have been dragging their feet as to when they were going to register for this class.
If you have any interest at all in getting a Michigan Concealed Pistol License, don't delay. Register now!
Here are some never before published testimonials from some recent students:
"First of all let me express how pleased I was with your rapport with your students. 8am-5pm is a loooooong time, but in your class it didn't seem that way. You were informative, knowledgeable about the subject and willing to address concerns. Thanks for helping me to reach my goal of obtaining a CPL. See ya on MYSPACE!"
"I want to thank you for your professionalism in the way you conduct yourself in making sure that your students have full knowledge of gun ownership, and their responsibilities, also you are the only class that i have heard of that brings in an actual lawyer to discuss important an legal aspects of gun ownership.I have and will recommend your class to anyone who is interested in ccw ownership. P.S I love walking around armed your friend."
"Rick and his team run a top-notch class focusing on safe, effective,
and responsible pistol ownership and operation. It was entertaining,
educational, and very complete. My wife and I walked away extremely
satisfied and confident in our new skills and knowledge. No matter
what your background or level of experience is, this class is perfect
for anyone who is interested in protecting themselves and gaining the
piece of mind that all law abiding citizens deserve."
Don't forget! You must register by 12 noon this Friday.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
1. You should treat every pistol as if it were loaded.
True. Every single time you touch a gun, you should keep it pointed in a safe direction and open the action to check its status (i.e loaded or unloaded). Furthermore, you should never hand a loaded gun to anyone under any circumstances; the action should be open when you hand it to someone. Moreover, if someone hands you a firearm, immediately point it in a safe direction and open the action to assess the firearm's status.
2. You should always keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction.
True. The barrel of a gun should always be pointed in a safe direction. This is a fundamental safety rule. If the gun is always pointed in a safe direction, nothing bad can happen if the gun was to be fired. Another way of stating this rule is to never point a gun at something you don't want to see destroyed.
3. You should never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire at a proper target.
True. Your finger should always be off the trigger until you are ready to discharge the firearm. Optimally, the trigger finger should be kept along the slide. If this fundamental safety rule is followed, the possessor of the firearm will not never accidentally discharge the gun.
4. When passing or receiving a pistol to or from another person, the action should be open and the pistol visually checked to make sure it is not loaded.
True. Also, if the firearm is a semi-automatic, the magazine well should also be checked to ensure that ammunition is not inside of the firearm.
5. It is illegal to sell a pistol to a person under 18 years of age.
True. A person can't legally own a gun until he is at least 18 years of age. Thus, it is also illegal to sell a gun to a person under 18 years of age.
6. The law requires a person to report the theft of his or her pistol to police within one year.
False. Michigan law (Section 28.430) requires that gun owners report the theft of their firearm within five days after noticing that the gun is missing. Depending on the circumstances, a stolen gun, that was stored, may not be missed by its owner until well after a year.
7. A person is permitted to transport a pistol for a lawful purpose if the owner or occupant of the vehicle is the registered owner of the firearm and the pistol is unloaded and in a closed case in the trunk of the vehicle.
True. See Section 227d.
8. When storing a pistol, for safety reasons the ammunition should never be stored separately from the pistol.
False. A stored pistol should never be in the same location as the ammunition for that firearm.
9. The law requires that when presenting a pistol to police for a safety inspection, the pistol is unloaded and encased or equipped with a trigger locking mechanism.
True. See Section 28.429.
10. When storing a pistol it should be unloaded and placed in a safe place out of the reach of children.
True. A gun lock on a stored pistol is also a good idea.
11. Possession of a pistol while under the influence of alcohol is unlawful.
True. See Section 750.237
12. A person can be held criminally and civilly liable for wrongfully pointing or discharging a pistol at another person.
True. See Section 750.233 and Section 750.234
13. The first step to cleaning a pistol is to make sure it is unloaded.
True. Many guns require having their triggers engaged before it can be field stripped for cleaning. Thus, the gun should be unloaded before pulling the trigger.
14. Dropping a loaded pistol will never cause an accidental discharge if the safety is on.
False. A safety is a mechanical device which can fail. Never rely on a safety to prevent an accidental discharge of a handgun.
15. Bullets fired at flat surfaces will never glance off in an unpredictable direction.
False. Bullets can ricochet off hard surfaces, including bodies of water, and can end up in unpredictable locations.
All questions are True/False:
__ 1. You should treat every pistol as if it were loaded.
__ 2. You should always keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction.
__ 3. You should never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire at a proper target.
__ 4. When passing or receiving a pistol to or from another person, the action should be open and the pistol visually checked to make sure it is not loaded.
__5. It is illegal to sell a pistol to a person under 18 years of age.
__6. The law requires a person to report the theft of his or her pistol to police within one year.
__7. A person is permitted to transport a pistol for a lawful purpose if the owner or occupant of the vehicle is the registered owner of the firearm and the pistol is unloaded and in a closed case in the trunk of the vehicle.
__8. When storing a pistol, for saety reasons the ammunition should never be stored separately from the pistol.
__9. The law requires that when presenting a pistol to police for a safety inspection, the pistol is unloaded and encased or equipped with a trigger locking mechanism.
__10. When storing a pistol it should be unloaded and placed in a safe place out of the reach of children.
__11. Possession of a pistol while under the influence of alcohol is unlawful.
__12. A person can be held criminally and civilly liable for wrongfully pointing or discharging a pistol at another person.
__13. The first step to cleaning a pistol is to make sure it is unloaded.
__14. Dropping a loaded pistol will never cause an accidental discharge if the safety is on.
__15. Bullets fired at flat surfaces will never glance off in an unpredictable direction.
How did you do? I'll post the answers in a later post.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
As a firearms instructor, I field a lot of questions about guns, gun rights, and concealed pistol license (CPL) eligibility. As a consequence of talking to many people about their individual situations, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that it is just too easy to lose your firearm ownership rights.
I am a die-hard and hard core 2A supporter. As a "purist," I personally don't think that anyone not currently imprisoned should be barred from owning a gun. Why? Because the Constitution says "that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
You may be shaking your head in disbelief as my stated position implies that people with felony convictions should be able to own a gun. That's exactly what I meant. First and foremost, understand that no law against a felon having a gun is ever going to prevent an incorrigible criminal from committing a crime with a gun. By definition, a criminal is someone that breaks the law.
Law abiding citizens on the other hand obey the law. In fact, it is the law abiding citizen's fervent support of the law in general that blinds him to the fact that a significant segment of our society has no qualms about committing crimes. It is this blind eye to reality that also causes him to also associate guns with bad behavior and thus "go unarmed in paradise" without being absolutely sure of where he is located.
To add insult to injury, the courts have consistently ruled that no individual person is guaranteed protection from the police. The job of the police is to investigate crimes and support the general peace. If you become a crime victim, you can't sue the police; they have immunity. Maybe, just maybe, if felons were legally armed, more people would take on a greater role in their personal safety by owning and carrying a gun.
When a felon is released from prison and has met all specified conditions (i.e. parole, fines, restitution, etc.), he has paid his debt to society and in my humble opinion should have all of his rights restored: voting rights, right to sit on a jury, right to run for elected, and right to own a gun.
Many states differ as to how they handle rights restoration for the recently released. Invariably, firearm ownership rights, despite what the Constitution says, are the most difficult to restore. Most people know that under US federal law, a convicted felon can't have a gun. (There are some exceptions that I am not going to cover in this post today.) But did you know that a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence (DV) also extinguishes firearm rights? Probably not.
How do I know? I know because I have talked to many people with DV convictions who are shocked to discover that not only can they not get a CPL but they also can not own a gun. I can understand their amazement that a misdemeanor has the same power as a felony with respect to firearm rights.
Please don't confuse my issue with a misdemeanor DV conviction extinguishing firearms rights like a felony does with sympathizing with a person who beats his wife. Spousal abuse is intolerable and the perpetrator should be punished. However, punishment should be just that - a penalty - not a lifetime ban on gun ownership.
In a significant number of these cases, an argument between family members breaks out and a call is made for the police to show up and to quell the disturbance. Many states require an arrest on a DV call. So, a person goes to jail and is charged with DV even if family members don't want to pursue the matter in the courts.
The defendant is then poorly served by his court appointed attorney to plead guilty to a DV misdemeanor in exchange for no jail time and maybe a few hours of community service. His counsel did not tell him that doing so will take also take away his firearm rights forever. Many years later, the economy is in the toilet, violent crime rates are rising, law enforement budgets are being cut, and more prisoners are being released early. Now is the time to have a gun but he can't legally own one.
Having a criminal charge on one's record is a tough challenge. It is our time's equivalent of a scarlet letter, as jobs are tougher to get and opportunities are in short supply. Personally, I know a lot of people with records. "These" people are not criminals - they just have a charge on their record.
They work, raise families, and pay taxes just like people without records. It's a raw deal that a mistake made long ago takes away a right for a lifetime. If the mistake was "that big of a deal" they should be still in jail - not on the outside trying to defend their familes from the real criminals without a gun.
In some cases, the police set up multiple stings with a person committing a crime to set up multiple felony counts at the arraignment. It's almost as if the real goal is to permanently strip away his ability to ever own a gun at any time in his lifetime - however many decades that might be. In my humble opinion, if the police catch a criminal in the act, arrest and charge him then - at that time. Let the one felony conviction serve as a reminder as to what is at stake. Give him an opportunity to make a choice to do right.
For some, there are remedies such as expungement, gubernatorial pardon, and presidential pardons that can provide relief. For others, they have to make do without a right. That's criminal.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
There are already more than 20,000 gun laws on the books currently in this country with no end in sight. Politicians, desiring to appease voters who have voluntarily chosen not to exercise their Second Amendment and have no qualms about attacking the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, are the culprits. Consequently, gun owners must be cognizant of the laws and any proposed changes to them - if only to not accidentally run afoul of them. Hopefully, in the future as more Michigan residents become gun owners and CPL Licensees, the politicians will stop the continual assault upon our Second Amendment rights.
As a firearms trainer, I am constantly asked a variety questions about Michigan's firearms laws. Occasionally, I visit the Michigan Legislature's web site to conduct my research. On one such research assignment, I was not totally surprised to see that some changes in Michigan's firearms laws are going to be taking effect in January of 2009.
For your reference, as a subscriber of my Alumni Newsletter, a reader of my Blogger blog, or a follower of my business (Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit), I am providing you with my non-legal opinion of the aforementioned law changes. Please recall that I am not a lawyer, so my interpretations are going to be exactly worth you paid exactly what you paid for them - nothing. I have included references so that you can view the statutes for yourself and draw your own conclusions. If things are still not clear, I invite you to consult with a knowledgable attorney who practices in this area.
The first change that jumps out at me is that the description of Section 28.422 is currently listed as "License to purchase, carry, or transport pistol; issuance; qualifications; applications; sale of pistol; exemptions; basic pistol safety brochure; forging application; implementation during business hours." The description of Section 28.422.amended, scheduled for enactment in January 2009 is listed as "License to purchase, carry, possess, or transport pistol; issuance; qualifications; applications; sale of pistol; exemptions; basic pistol safety brochure; forging application; implementation during business hours."
The change, in the law, is the inclusion of the word "possess" in the both description and in the area of the law specified. This section of the law concerns itself with the safety inspection/gun registration process. Be advised that you are required to have a pistol safety inspected if you possess it. Thus, if a person without a CPL wants to take possession of a pistol to conduct an activity, like take a gun safety class, the law requires them to register it.
A CPL Licensee, however, can still take possession of another person's pistol without getting the pistol safety inspected as per the provisions of either 28.432 or 28.432.amended. Section 12-1(i) states, "An individual carrying, possessing, using, or transporting a pistol belonging to another individual, if the other individual's possession of the pistol is authorized by law and the individual carrying, possessing, using, or transporting the pistol has obtained a license under section 5b to carry a concealed pistol or is exempt from licensure as provided in section 12a."
The second ensuing change in the CPL law that I noticed, currently documented in Section 28.422a, concerns the process by which CPL Licensees are allowed to purchase pistols. As you probably already know, CPL licensees are not required to acquire "Ten Day Purchase Permits" before they buy a pistol from a seller. Instead, they must currently follow a simplified process.
Under the current statute, sellers of handguns must complete a Pistol Sales Record Form (PSRF) in triplicate. The completed form must include both the CPL Licensee's (the buyer) License Number and the CPL Licensee's (the buyer) signature on each of the three copies. The handgun seller keeps one copy of the PSRF, the CPL purchaser gets a copy, and the seller must forward the original copy to the Michigan State Police.
Under the new law, Section 28.422a.amended, slated to go into effect in January 2009, the process has been enhanced. The handgun seller will now complete a PSRF in quadriplicate. As before under the current statute, the form will contain both the buyer's CPL Number and the buyer's signature. The seller will keep one copy and the buyer will receive three copies.
The buyer will then have ten (10 days) to forward two copies of the completed PSRF to his prevailing law enforcement agency (PLEA). A purchaser who fails to follow this process can be found guilty of a state civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $250, and can expect to have this infraction reported to both the MSP and his local county gun board for further sanctions.
Furthermore, the purchaser of the handgun is expected to keep a copy of the PSRF/registration in his posession while he is carrying, possessing, or transporting the handgun in question for thirty (30 days) to allow law enforcement enough time to enter the handgun's information into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) database.
The third change in the law that I noticed occurs within Section 28.425f. This part of the law concerns itself with police stops. The law, regarding the conduct of CPL Licensees and their duty to inform the police of their status, remains unchanged. However, the definition of "peace officer" was expanded to include motor carrier officers and security officers employed by the state. If you have already taken a valid CPL Class, you already know what you are supposed to do.
Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse for failing to comply with it. You have my permission to distribute this notice to any and all CPL Licensees who may benefit from reading it. No warranties are given as to the analysis. Read the law for yourself and discuss it with your attorney. Also, make sure that you give me credit for this notice if you publicly post it - At a minimum, quote me as the author and link this notice to my website.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Step One: Retain An Attorney
The very first thing you should do is to retain the services of a good attorney to represent you. The best time to find an attorney is before you get arrested. After your arrest, you will have a narrow amount of time to get represented, make official statements, and attend court appearances. The topic of finding the best attorney to represent you is beyond the scope of this article.
Step Two: Deciding Who To Call During Your Arrest
The next thing you should do is to decide who you will call - your designated contact - when you are arrested. If you are married this decision is probably a "no-brainer." For those people who are single, this question may require some planning, some serious conversation, and some forethought.
This person should be someone that resides in your local area, someone you trust, and someone who will answer his phone whenever you call. Hopefully, you will have a land-line phone number (i.e. not a cell phone number) of your designated contact which does not have a "collect call block" on his telephone. Otherwise, your one phone call from the jail will have been in vain. If your allowed phone call from jail is wasted, you face the worse possible prospect: being incarcerated under tough circumstances over a long weekend with nobody knowing about it.
Moreover, you may want your designated contact to be your attorney. Please keep in mind that if you don't have his personal land-line phone number at his home and you happen to be arrested on a Friday night, it may be several days before he is aware of your predicament when he checks his messages at the office. Thus, although you may have to endure a long weekend under unpleasant circumstances in jail, but at least you will know he will find out later. Keep in mind though that he may have some other obligations to other clients at the time he gets your call - so be patient.
Case Study: Jim Has A Long Weekend In Jail
To further drive home the importance of having a designated contact, just imagine this scenario: Jim, a single person who lives alone is forced to defend himself on a Friday night. He doesn't have a designated contact and he only visits his family members sparingly. He has all of their cell phone numbers in his own personal cell phone.
However, he had never learned their phone numbers "by heart." All he had to do in the past was scroll his cell phone's address book and select the name of the person he wanted to call. Thus, when the police made a decision to arrest Jim and later allowed him to make his one collect phone call, he couldn't use his personal cell phone because it had been admitted into and stored into the property room. Jim doesn't know a land-line phone number for any of his family members or a single attorney.
Thus, he guesses incorrectly when trying to call his brother and blows his chance at getting out of jail relatively quickly. Jim will spend two more nights behind bars before he is arraigned on the ensuing Monday morning when he should have been at work. At his court appearance he "stood mute" as he didn't know what to say and didn't think that his best interests were being presented by the public defender. A bond amount was established for his release. A pre-trial court date was also set.
However, since Jim didn't have a family member available to hire a bailbondsman for only ten percent of his bond amount, Jim was sent to the county jail to languish for another week before family members started to get concerned about not hearing from Jim. Jim's siblings called all the hospitals and all of the law enforcement agencies in the area and they were finally able to find him and bail him out of jail.
Now out of jail, Jim has a limited amount of time to find an attorney to represent him in court. His prospects of actually hiring a good lawyer are now slimmer than they would've been over the weekend when he was first jailed. You see, Jim did not call into work and offer an excuse for his week-long absence. Under Jim's employer's HR Policy, a failure to come to work three straight days without calling is considered a voluntary quit. Thus, Jim does not have a job. Jim faces a rough road.
Step Three: Investigate Bail Bond Companies
The next thing you should do is to research bail bond companies in your area. Bail Bond companies have primarily one role: provide bail money to people accused of a crime so that they can be released from jail to prepare for their defense.
Some info that you will want to research and discover about these firms are the following: their hours of operation, their hours of availability, the largest amount bail bond that they are willing to underwrite, what the requirements for a bail bond are from this company, how long it will take to get the bail bond to the respective court or the prevailing law enforcement agency, if the company has toll-free phone numbers, and if the company accepts collect phone calls.
Step Four: Establish An "Arrest Day" Fund
The next thing you should do is to establish an emergency cache of money to be used to pay the ten percent amount of the bond to the bailbondsman to get you out of jail. As part of your consultation with your attorney in Step One above, you need to determine how much of a total bond amount you will need for a typical self-defense case.
For example, if you and your attorney feel that you may need to prepare for a $100,000 bond - you will need to save atleast $10,000. Further, once this fund is established, you will need to facilitate a way for your trusted and designated contact to acquire access to this fund while you are arrested. If your designated contact is your attorney, this access issue with the funds can be resolved by placing the appropriate dollar amount in your attorney's retainer.
Step Five: Develop A Plan
The next thing you should do is to develop a plan to get you out of jail quickly. If you already have a designated contact to call, a short list of bailbondsmen to call, and a lawyer on retainer, you are almost home. Upon your arrest, call your designated contact and have him get in touch with your attorney.
Start the process of determining who you will call first and what actions should be taken by whom. Between the actions of members of your "Get Out Of Jail Team," you can rest assured that you will not languish for too long of a time behind bars. The piece of mind of having this plan in place will allow you to make the best of a bad situation that hopefully will not last too long.
Self-Defense Aftermath: How To Get Out Of Jail ASAP After An Arrest - Part I
If you are going to legally carry a handgun for personal protection, there is a very real possibility, especially in a crime-ridden city like Detroit, that you may be forced to defend your life or the life of a loved one. Accordingly, if you find yourself in the aftermath of a shooting incident - whether you are physically at home or away from home - you may be arrested by the attending law enforcement officials.
This article will explore and discuss easy to implement plans that you can do, in advance of your arrest, to make sure that you spend as little time as possible behind bars while awaiting an opportunity to post a bond, if it is available to you.
Being Arrested Is No Picnic But You Should Be Civil
Nothing is perhaps more embarrassing than being arrested. First, you are going to hauled off to jail, which as we'll see later, is not a fun place to be unless you hapen to work there. Secondly, your neighbors are going to be looking on at the visceral scene of flashing flights with disapproving eyes as several police officers are escorting you away in the back seat of a squad car; this event is not likely to garner you any kudos at the next neighborhood association meeting.
You will most likely be physically uncomfortable, especially if you protected your rights by not making any statements to the police, as they know how to make the handcuffs especially tight on the wrists for people who do not make their jobs easy. Your refusal to answer any questions, without your lawyer present, will likely cause them to be a little forceful with you.
I wish to admonish you, however, that no matter how unfairly you think they are treating you - from the point of the actual arrest all the way through to "booking you" and placing you in a cell - not to behave towards them in a less than honorable and respectful fashion. Your stay in jail will already be unpleasant enough without giving your jailers motive and incentive to later exact revenge by making your stay even more uncomfortable.
For example, your prior level of hostility may come back to haunt you if your holding cell has a "collect-call-only" phone inside of it. For mysterious reasons, your phone won't work throughout your stay despite their claims that they have notified the phone company of the problem and that it should be working shortly. When you audibly start hearing detainees in adjacent cells making their pleas to have their loved ones bail them out, you'll realize that your jailers are toying with you.
Another mind-job jailers use on unruly prisoners, is to tell them that he will forward their info to a bailbondsman that usually drops in at the police department lobby looking for clients. He promises you that you will know something soon yet the hours come and go without the prisoner hearing aything from anyone. To reiterate, being in jail is not going to be any fun. Don't make your time even harder by giving your jailers an excuse to play with your head. Other games jailers play include telling prisoner's the wrong date or time of the day and not waking them for meals.
Going To Jail Will Not Be Fun
Let's not mince any words: going to jail is not going to be a lot of fun. In fact, it can be quite a miserable place. The food is terrible, the accommodations are less than desirable, you will be treated like a common criminal, and you will not have anything to keep yourself occupied for a long period of time. If you are fortunate, you will hopefully only lose your freedom for a short period of time and you will not have to embarrasingly inform your employer of your arrest.
The Menu May Not Be Prepared By A Gourmet Chef
With respect to the food, it may not be very appealing, may be of modest sized portions, and may not taste very good. However unappealing the chow may appear to be, force yourself to eat it to sustain your strength. Now is not the time and place to stage a hunger strike. Breakfast may only be consisted of a single muffin of meager size while your lunch and supper may only be a sandwich with very little meat. Water from your cell's fountain may be the only beverage you will be provided and it may not taste very good.
If you have a large appetite, you may experience a perpetual sensation of hunger throughout your stay. Furthermore, napkins, paper plates, and plastic eating utensils are often viewed as unprovided luxuries and you may not be awakened from sleep at meal-time and thus forfeit your ration of food.
The Facilities May Not Be Worthy Of A Five Star Rating
With respect to the accommodations of your holding cell, a flop-house in the worse slum would appear to be a five-star hotel by comparison. You will not have any privacy to use the toilet, you may be under constant video surveillance, and you may feel that the housekeeping may not be "up to snuff" as evidenced by either apparent human waste on the walls or your mattress (if one is even provided).
Moreover, the cell's temperature - either too hot or too cold - may not be to your liking and if you are a smoker you may want to consider quitting as you won't be able "to light up" until your release. Also, if you are arrested over the weekend and have a few days before your arraignment, you may not be allowed to shower, change your clothes, or brush your teeth.
You Will Be Treated Like A Common Criminal
During your stay you may be shocked and surprised at your treatment by the jailers. The jailers have a job to do - keep you incarcerated until you are released - and they have "heard it all" from the people they detain. Any statements that you make to them may be unbelieved or wholly discounted. You may be spoken to harshly and condescendingly. They don't care about how great of a citizen you tell them you are and they don't care about how much money you give to charity. You are in their jail "for a reason" and you will be treated as a prisoner - just like all the others.
You Will Only Have Yourself For Company
The absolute worse part about being incarerated will be the sheer amount of boredom that you will experience. Imagine yourself being held in a 6X10 foot cell and not having anything to do but sleep on a filthy cot: no television to watch, no books to read, no pen and paper to write with, no cell phone to communicate with, and no clock to watch. The lack of activity and the ability to sense time can drive some people "stir crazy."
Some people cry uncontrollably, scream out curses, and others inflict injury upon themselves by hurling parts of their body into the walls. One thing to keep in mind during your incarceration is to not to let your mental state allow you to be "softened up" and thus make you more susceptible to forfeiting your rights to be counselled by an attorney before making any statements to anyone: the arresting officer, the officer booking you, the jailers detaining you, or other prisoners locked up in neighboring cells.
Further, be advised that police officers can lie to you and offer fake deals to you for information that can be used against you in a court of law. In some extreme cases, the police may place a "plant" in the next cell to get info from you while you are just desiring conversation to "kill some time." If you do not wait to be represented by your lawyer, a justifiable case of self-defense can be rapidly railroaded into a murder charge against you by an over-zealous District Attorney.
Are You Now Motivated To Plan For Your Self-Defense Arrest?
If the above depiction, of what time spent behind bars is like, troubles you, I have adequately prepared the landscape for you to now take the time to make plans for your self-defense arrest. In a similar vein, no one plans to have an automobile accident, but most prudent drivers still wear their seatbelts each and every time they get behind the wheel just in case they are in a vehicular collision.
As a firearms instructor, I am probably asked in one way or another some derivation of the "How To Buy A Handgun" question more so than any other query. Rather than answer a lot of simple and often inter-related questions on the subject, I felt that the subject matter would best be served by an exhaustive and definitive answer to this prevalent question.
The 10-Day Handgun Purchase Permit (TDHPP)
The first step in the handgun buying process - in the state of Michigan - is for the prospective buyer, who is at least eighteen (18) years of age, to acquire a "Ten Day HandGun Purchase Permit" (TDHPP) from the prevailing law enforcement authority (PLEA) where the prospective buyer legally resides.
For example, in the city of Detroit a buyer would apply at Detroit Police Headquarters whereas a buyer residing in a rural area might need to apply at his respective county Sheriff's Office. Buyers who possess a current Michigan Concealed Pistol License (MCPL) are not required to obtain a TDHPP before buying a handgun.
In accordance with state of Michigan law and the local practices of the buyer's PLEA, the prospective buyer may be required to take and pass a short fifteen question True/False exam - the Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Questionaire (MPSQ) - without cost which must be passed with at least a score of seventy percent (70%) correct. Once the buyer has passed the MPSQ, he will be issued a TDHPP which authorizes him to legally purchase a handgun within the next ten days. If the buyer does not buy a handgun within the specified ten day period, he will need to revisit his PLEA and reapply for another TDHPP.
The Handgun Purchase From A Private Seller
Authorized handgun buyers, who are at least eighteen (18) years of age but who have not yet reached the age of twenty-one (21), are not allowed under U.S. Federal Law to purchase a handgun from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). Thus, these buyers can only legally buy or transfer ownership of handguns from private sellers. In contrast, authorized handgun buyers who are at least twenty-one (21) years of age can legally buy a handgun from both FFLs and private sellers.
At the time of purchase, authorized handgun buyers under the age of twenty-one (21) must present their TDHPP to the private seller. Likewise, authorized handgun buyers, who are at least twenty-one (21) years old, but do not have a current MCPL, and wish to buy a handgun from a private seller, must also submit their TDHPP to the seller.
In contrast, handgun buyers with a current MCPL who wish to buy a handgun from a private seller must be presented with a Michigan Pistol Sales Record Form MI-60 (PSRF) from the seller. A purchaser with a MCPL would be wise to have a blank PSRF downloaded from Michigan State Police's official website at URL www.michigan.gov/msp in the event that the seller was unaware that the buyer did not need a TDHPP.
In all of the scenarios - listed above - dealing with the purchase of handguns from private sellers, both the seller and the buyer must both sign all three sections of the applicable form: the TDHPP or the PSRF. The seller retains one part of the applicable form and gives the remaining two sections of the applicable form to the buyer.
The buyer, in all of the above scenarios, would be wise to receive a sales receipt for his handgun purchase from the seller, to confirm the identity of the seller by checking the seller's state issued identification, to confirm that the seller is the owner of the handgun by checking the seller's Safety Inspection Certificate (SIC) for the handgun in question, and to verify that the serial number on the handgun matches the info on the SIC.
This section would not be complete without at least mentioning that there may be some element of risk for the buyer when buying a gun from private seller. Just keep in mind that the buyer may be doing business with a complete stranger who the buyer already knows will be in his presence with at least one gun - presumably the one he's selling - and the seller knows that the buyer will have a lot of cash. Thus, common sense should be the order of the day. The buyer should meet the seller in a public and well populated locale like a firing range.
The Handgun Purchase From a FFL
Authorized handgun buyers, who are at least twenty-one (21) years of age, are allowed under U.S. Federal Law to purchase a handgun from a FFL. As in the above scenario - when purchasing a handgun from a private seller - the non MCPL buyer must present the FFL with the TDHPP from their PLEA. In contrast, the MCPL handgun buyer can be assured that a FFL will have a PSRF on hand to legally document and transact the handgun purchase.
There will also be other documentation for the buyer - both with or without a MCPL - to satisfy other federal requirements. The FFL will guide the buyer through the entire process. At the end of the sales transaction, a non MCPL buyer will have two endorsed portions of the TDHPP in his possession and the MCPL buyer will have an endorsed PSRF. In both cases, the requisite form must be taken by the buyer along with the gun to his PLEA for a safety inspection within ten (10) days or he could be charged with a misdemeanor.
The Transportation Of A Firearm By Car
The legal way to transport a handgun in a car by a person without a MCPL is for the handgun to be unloaded, separated from ammunition, placed in an approved and locked case, with the case placed in the trunk or the rear-most section of the vehicle.
The Handgun Safety Inspection
All handgun purchases must be safety inspected by the buyer's PLEA within ten (10) days of purchase. The buyer should also present the PLEA with the requisite form: endorsed sections of the TDHPP or the PSRF. With this information, the gun's ownership will be transferred to the buyer upon the entry of the transaction's pertinent info into the state's database and the issuance of a SIC to the buyer.
I am a firearms instructor, a defender of freedom, and an empowering force in my community.
NOTE: As as January 1rst, 2013 a Pistol Purchase Permit is no longer a requirement for people who wish to buy a pistol from a licensed gun dealer. Simply go to the dealer and he'll do your background at the gun shop. However, you will still need to register your handgun within ten days of your purchase.
Also, 10-Day Purchase Permits have been changed to 30-Day Permits. These permits are still needed for non CPL-holders who wish to buy from private sellers.
Moreover, it is no longer a requirement for persons wishing to register a handgun at their local law enforcement agency to actually bring in the handgun.
You are strongly encouraged to not only conduct your own independent research but to also consult with a competent and qualified attorney before acting upon any information in this article. Laws covering self-defense, lethal force, firearms, and the Michigan Concealed Pistol License and their enforcement are always subject to change due to laws being amended, politics conducted in the Prosecutor's Office, and election results at all levels of government. Ignorance of the law, legally speaking, is not a valid excuse for running afoul of it. The penalties and fines imposed upon violators of firearms related offenses are stiff and severe.
About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.
Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.
For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:
Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Stated another way, each and every day in Detroit one (1) person will be murdered, two (2) people will be forcibly raped, nineteen (19) people will be robbed, and thirty-six (36) people will be victims of an aggravated assault. Also, be advised that these numbers only reflect crimes that were reported; criminals, as a rule, do not report crimes committed against them.
Recently, a publishing company - CQ Press, a division of Congressional Quarterly - released its annual crime study. They coronated Detroit as "The Most Violent City in America." The study, reportedly, was the result of an analysis of the crime statistics reported, by American cities with populations of more than 100,000, to the FBI.
As expected crime-stats apologists, including Detroit Chief of Police Ella Bully-Cummins, were quick to respond to the media that violent crime in Detroit isn't as bad as the data would suggest. In one televised interview, Chief Cummins, quiped, "After today, what people will walk away with is that if you set foot in the city of Detroit, you are going to get killed, and that is absolutely not true."
I absolutely agree with the Police Chief's statement. However, the facts - according to the data - remain that one person per day will be killed in Detroit. If you are in Detroit on any given day, you will have a one-in-900,000 chance of being killed, a two-in-900,000 chance of being raped, a nineteen-in-900,000 chance of being robbed, and a thirtysix-in-900,000 chance of being a victim of an aggravated assault.
Further, Bully's assault upon the study's results continued with an observation that "that most shootings in Detroit are drug-related and not random." Detroit police say that their analysis of the crime stats show that 79% of all the homicide victims had prior contact with the police and that more than 60% of all homicides were drug related.
Somehow, this info - if true - is supposed to allay the fears and concerns of Detroit residents. Instead of breathing a sigh of collective relief upon hearing this bit of trivia, many residents may now question why there are so many people engaging in "drug related" activities walking freely among us. Why aren't they locked up? Why haven't we shut down the known drug-houses? If Bully can be believed, all we need to do to reduce our murder rate is to lock up all the dope boys.
The other inference to be drawn from the observations of Detroit police about the crime statistics is that we shouldn't be upset if almost eighty percent of Detroit homicides are from people who had "prior contact" with the police. Just a few days ago it was reported in the media that Detroit Police have an abysmal clearance rate for homicides.
Currently, Detroit police reportedly ony make an arrest in only one-third of its murder cases. It is widely believed that this rate is the lowest clearance percentage of all major urban cities of the country. It almost makes you wonder if they even try to find the murderers. After all, eighty percent of them were reported bad guys. Who cares about the other twenty percent?
It wasn't that long ago, when four people - two adults and two children - were found shot to death. It was reported that the shootings occurred in the wee hours of the morning while the victims slept in a reported "drug-house." When discussing this case to the media Chief Cummings stated, "I'm tired of seeing our children die. We as adults have a responsibility to our children to allow them to grow up as adults in a safe environment, and we're failing them."
Truer words probably were never spoken, but are area residents relieved that this "drug-related" incident was not random? Of course not. Residents should not only be outraged at the murders but also at the police for allowing this "reported drug-house" to stay in operation.
Another criticism levied against the CQ Press crime study was the fact that cities Chicago (pop.2,842,518) and Minneapolis (pop. 372,811) were excluded from study due to incomplete data. This point has only moderate weight if Detroit police officials believe for some undisclosed reason that violent crime in Chicago and Minneapolis is worse than Detroit's.
Let look at the flip-side of the argument. Let's look and see what other large cities that were in study: NYC,NY (pop. 8,143,197), Los Angeles, CA (pop. 3,844,829), Houston, TX (pop. 2,842,518), Philadelphia, PA (pop. 2,016,582), Phoenix, AZ (pop. 1,461,575), San Antonio, TX (pop. 1,256,509), San Diego, CA (pop. 1,255,540), Dallas, TX (pop. 1,213,825), and San Jose, CA (pop. 912,332).
Bottom line: on a per capita basis, Detroit has too much crime for the relatively few residents it has when compared to other large cities that were in the study. A concession to the study's detractors on this point - the omission of Chicago and Minneapolis - would make the city the "Third Most Violent City in America," but I believe most people in this community believe that we are number one.
If we agree that Detroit has a serious crime problem, why are so few willing to do something about it? Certainly, desensitivity may play a part. Detroiter's are for the most part extremely sensitive to any criticism of their city however well deserved - especially if it comes from outsiders. As a community, they have had the bear the brunt of being the nation's punchline for any joke that signifies urban violence.
Detroiter's have had to live down the 1968 riots, being known as the "Murder Capital" in the 1980's, the 1984 Detroit Tigers celebration, Devil's Night fires, the Fireworks Beating, the St. Aubin Street Massacre, the Brawl at the Palace, and the antics of Jack Kervorkian. It's no wonder that the nation sees Detroit as a city of wanton lawlessness.
However, this sensitive collective psyche also explains why Detroiters are so receptive to anyone who can offer up any explanation - however flawed - for what is wrong in our community. In this vein, many Detroiters echoed Police Chief Bully's sentiments about the CQ Crime Study and got another reprieve to live in denial about Detroit's crime problem.
A lack of urgency or misprioritized priority placed on protecting himself may also cause a person not to do something about our crime problem. Personally, I know this mindset all to well, as I used to have it. I managed to get to thirty-something years of age before I came into contact with violent predators. I was lucky; I just got robbed of a few paltry possessions.
Most robbery victims aren't so lucky; most get shot, pistol-whipped, or killed. It's too easy to live in denial. In fact the law of large numbers helps to perpetuate the delusion. For example, on any given day, someone is going to be murdered within the Detroit city limits. Any one singular person has a one-in-900,000 chance of being the murder victim. But make no mistake about it somebody is going to die at the hand of another on that day.
Thus, on average, you as a single person have a very small chance of being killed that day. So, in general terms, you are still relatively safe - shielded by the large numbers of people who live in the city. The flip-side of the argument is that sooner or later you will be a victim of a violent crime: murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault.
The only issue is whether you will be trained and equipped to protect yourself. Make no mistake about it - if you are targeted for victimization by predators it will not be a pleasant experience.
As a firearms instructor I hear from people that are curious about taking on a greater role in their own personal protection all the time. A certain percentage of these folks have every excuse in the book as to why they aren't ready to enroll in the next available class: wife said no, can't find a kennel for the dog, have a hair appointment, daughter is visiting from out-of-town, money is tight, waiting for friend to take class with me, got called into work, taking a trip, just got custody of my daughter, my child has a recital, and etc.
These folks are the people who want to "kick the tires" by having you call them whenever a class comes up. These are the time-wasters. I do my best to screen these people from my contact lists; after a while their appreciation for my persistence degenerates into tolerated annoyance.
Although I run my training service as a for-profit exercise, monetary compensation is not my primary motivation. I am gainfully employed in the technology field for a well known transportation firm. I don't need to do this to support my lifestyle. I train people to defend themselves as a community service exercise. I make my services available for folks in an underserved market so that they can better defend themselves during these increasingly violent times.
In short, I have my Concealed Pistol License and I feel extremely confident about defending my life and the lives of my loved ones. The only question that remains is whether you want to achieve what I have already accomplished: peace of mind, security, and self reliance. It is a slight - sharply felt - when a prospect acts like he is doing me a favor by allowing me to waste my time by calling him when I am conducting a class.
The other class of people that I come into contact with as a trainer are the victims. They need no explanation as to why they need to take a greater role in their own personal protection. They have been followed, chased, robbed, raped, cut, beaten, stabbed, shot, and stalked. The only thing they need to know is how much the class costs, when the class will be held, and where the class will be held.
There is a big difference between being a potential victim and an actual victim. Actual victims know that it can happen at any time and at any place. Potential victims feel that they have time to plan attending the class at the best possible time that is most convenient for them. Never mind that they failed to convey their personal victimization timetable to the criminal element of our city. There is never a perfect time to be a victim. If you wait long enough, it will surely happen at the most inopportune time.
The single greatest frustration of a firearms trainer is trying to convince people why they should be trained to defend themselves. I go through the frustration solely due to the fact that there are people out there who realize the value of what I provide. I am literally making a difference in this world one class at a time. I truly can't put a dollar figure on the feeling I get when I train a complete novice how to safely hold, load, operate, and unload a firearm. It is truly the greatest feeling in the world.
I am a firearms instructor, a defender of freedom, and an empowering force in my community
The very best firearm instructors have a vast knowledge of information relating to the hot-button issues surrounding the topic of guns. They can quickly and soundly debunk many popular lies and blatant falsehoods that have been continuously spread for decades upon decades by those individuals who want a disarmed U.S. populace.
Perhaps, you have heard some of their anti-gun propoganda: Guns Cause Crime, Pistol-Free Zones are Safe Hazens, Criminals Buy Guns Via The Gun Show LoopHole, and that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution only applies to the National Guard.
The well informed instructor belongs to at least one national or state level firearms organization. Amongst many functions, this association keeps him abreast of the many assaults upon our right to keep and bear arms.
For example, some states are trying to adopt unproven and technologically infeasible cartridge case microstamping features into newly produced handguns. Laws of this type - in effect - create a de-facto ban on new handgun sales as the technology to conform to the law does not exist.
The best instructors let their students know that if they want to retain their newly exercised firearm ownership rights, they must exercise eternal vigilance over their legislators at all levels of government.
Moreover, the firearms organizations also keep involved instructors abreast of current national trends such as the systematic closing of gunshops and target ranges across the country, the rapidly shrinking amount of public land available for hunters to help assist with much needed conservation efforts on the state level, and the lack of will amongst our federal legislators to enact a national "Right To Carry (RTC)" reciprocity law despite overwhelming support at the state level as evidenced by the amount of states that have RTC laws currently on the books. In fact, two states - Alaska and Vermont - don't require a permit at all to carry a firearm, concealed or not.
Furthermore, the most sought after gun instructors devour news stories at all levels (i.e. national, state, and local) to "drive home" important concepts to students in their gun safety classes. For example, at the national level they often point out the fact most successful mass killings occur in so-called gun safety zones: Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, Robert A. Hawkins killed 8 people at an Omaha, Nebraska Mall despite being under surveillance by unarmed security guards, and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
In contrast, informed instructors like to also point out the fact that a bloody carnage of untold proportions was averted when an armed security guard shot and killed Matthew Murray after he had already killed four people at a mega-church of 10,000 plus members just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In a likewise fashion relative to their monitoring of national and regional issues, professional firearm instructors in the local Detroit metropolitan area valiantly attempt to keep up with the numerous and all-too incessant flow of local gun-related issues. Violence by criminals, usually with a gun, typically dominates this local news scene. It's not easy to keep the tallies current, as the flow of bad news occurs much too rapidly to ponder and enumerate before the next atrocity against humanity and society occurs.
Recently, local Detroit-area media broadcasts have informed the public at-large about the execution-style deaths of two children in a known "drug-house," the beating death of a gay man at a bus stop solely because of his sexual orientation, the death of a police officer's wife during an apparent car-jacking at a local drugstore chain on the east side, a Washington Township plumber that repeatedly stabbed and eventually killed a former customer for her diamond necklace, and the much publicized Stephen Grant case in which the convicted subject not only killed his wife, but also dismembered her body at a machine shop sawing station and sprinkled her assorted body parts all over town like Johnny Appleseed trying to sow a new forest.
Although it is extremely desirable for a firearm instructor to be well versed in the politics of guns, it is not a requirement. Essentially, if a person is deemed qualified by a respected national or state level firearms organization (e.g. the Michigan Coalition Of Law Enforcement Standards) of being capable of teaching new shooters how to safely load, use, unload, store, and carry guns, he can lawfully and ethically carry out his function.
However, it is my fervent belief that students acquire a better appreciation of the rights they are about to exercise - gun ownership - when an instructor can navigate the gun-politic environment and show students how the uniformed masses are brainwashed and fed lies in an effort to keep them voluntarily disarmed.
Professional firearm instructors are often consulted for advice on issues that relate to firearms. For example, one instructor might receive an email inquiry on the proper way to transport a checked firearm on an airplane. Another question may ask for the proper way for a Concealed Pistol Liscensee to conduct himself during a routine traffic stop. It is not uncommon for a firearm instructor to know the gun laws better than a full-time law enforcement officer.
The flip side of being a knowledgeable authority on gun laws and gun politics is that the instructor will often find himself involved in a debate. The professional instructor can effectively debate gun issues at length with reasoned logic and common sense. He doesn't necessarily want to engage in this conversation because he knows that even if he refutes and rebuts every argument made by his debate opponent, the opposing side will relent and make the following emotiotional proclamation: "I just don't like guns!"
So why does the firearm instructor even bother to debate if he can't convert his "emotional" opposition? The answer is very simple: Other people with open minds that haven't taken an official position on this issue are listening.The objective in many debates with anti-gun folk is not to convert them into pro-gun folks. The true prize is winning the argument in the hearts and minds of the onlookers. Besides, many anti-gun folk will suddenly become pro-gun folk after they have survived a violent crime; they'll come around sooner later. I know I did.
The single greatest frustration of a seasoned firearms instructor, especially in a violent town like Detroit, is wondering exactly what unspeakable acts of terror or heinous crimes must be committed by hardened predators before area residents will finally acknowledge that now - not tomorrow - is the time to take up arms to defend themselves and their families.
Let's examine and survey the known facts.
First, the courts have told us repeatedly that the police do not have a legal responsiblility to protect any single person from crime. The duty of the police is to uphold the general peace and to investigate crimes. In fact, when the aforementioned assassination of the two boys in the alleged drug-house happened Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummins was quoted as saying the following at a news conference, "It shouldn't be me, as chief of police, saying we have to put a blanket on our city and take it back."
Second, local and state budgets across our country have been hit hard. Less money from the federal government and a lingering recession-like economy have left many local and state communities strapped for cash. Accordingly, less funds are being used for law enforcement. Thus, police officers have been laid off or taken off the streets.
At one point in time, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm threatened to take 200 felonies off the books and as a consequence threatened to flood and inundate already over-crowded county jails across the state. This idea prompted Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to quip, "Everybody should go out and buy a gun. I recommend an Uzi. If you don't like guns, then I suggest you buy a pair of guard dogs, preferably a pit bull and a Rottweiler. You're going to need them."
In Detroit, the number of police stations in the city were sliced in half during a controversial downsizing effort a short time ago. The inevitable result was that response times to reported crimes have increased. I appreciate the job that Detroit's finest perform for us on a day-to-day basis. However, I believe that they can't do it all.
They consistently show up after the criminals have left and have a poor record of closing the crimes that they investigate. In fact, just a couple of days ago it was reported in the Detroit Free Press Newspaper that Detroit Police have a one-in-three clearance rate for homicides. This means that in 66% of all murders in that happen Detroit, the police have failed to identify the killer.
Third, Detroit has consistently over the years been rated as a rough place to live. On November 19th of this year, Detroit was named the most dangerous city by CQ Press in their 14th annual publication "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America." Reportedly, the study is based on the FBI's crime statistics and had examined 378 cities with at least 75,000 residents and based its rankings on per-capita rates for auto theft, burglary, homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. After all the numbers were calculated Detroit was number one and Flint, Michigan was ranked number three.
I am a firearms instructor, a defender of freedom, and an empowering force in my community.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The True Reason Why We Teach People How To Use Firearms
The firearms instructor must not only "talk the talk" but he must also "walk the walk." At all times, especially when teaching new shooters, safety rules must be obeyed and followed - by his students and by himself. When a firearms instructor becomes lax in his teaching practices, bad things can happen. For example, everyone remembers seeing the video of the DEA Agent who, after bragging to a classroom full of Florida school children about how he - alone in that room - was the only person qualified to hold his gun while violating at least three (possibly four) major gun safety rules, promptly shot himself in the foot - literally and figuratively. A firearms instructor must demonstrate at least the same level of worthiness and professionalism, that his students bestowed upon him when they chose him, to be entrusted with their training.
Being a firearms instructor is not for the faint of heart. It is a very stressful job. While part of the instructor's role is be a calming and informative resource for his students, he has to also constantly be on the look-out for any number of potentially hazardous things that can occur while conducting firearms training.
Moreover, the instructor must also be vigilant for ammunition or gun malfunctions: misfires, hang fires, squib loads, stove-pipes, and gun jams. An overlooked malfunction can result in an explosion that can quickly transform the shooter's hand into a bloody stump. Furthermore, the instructor must periodically survey the range to monitor the actions of other range users present. Everyone present at a gun range has not taken, let alone passed a gun safety training class. The potential hazards of this profession dictate that the professional trainers in this industry get adequate liability insurance and receive certified training in first aid, CPR, and AED.
Firearms instructors, by and large, do not choose this vocation for an opportunity to be well regarded. In fact, It is not uncommon for many uninformed people to blame firearms instructors for the wanton violence they witness during their nightly media newscasts, to accuse firearms instructors as being part of the violence problem and not part of the violence solution, to make firearms instructors the official spokesmen and the "public face" of the misdeeds of criminals, or to call into question the integrity of the firearms instructor solely based on the fact that he owns and shoots a gun.
Many firearms instructors do not choose this vocation to become rich. Don't get me wrong, you can make a few bucks doing this gig, but the scam artists are making it very difficult to make an honest dollar in this industry. Why would a person desiring a Concealed Pistol License take a state mandated eight (8) hour training class for $160 with a nationally certified firearms instructor when he can pay $50 to a crooked cop or a dishonest instructor with questionable credentials to receive a firearm safety certificate in less than ten (10) minutes? The truth of the matter is that many do not, but some do.
The students of these gun certificate paper mills do not realize that they are placing themselves in jeopardy - physically and legally. First, if these "graduates" only received a ten minute gun safety lecture, how well would they able to develop and maintain code-yellow awareness to be aware of impending threats? Secondly, would these "graduates" hesitate to shoot and give their assailants time to harm them, when the law says they can shoot based on certain circumstances, because they didn't know what the law in their state says? Thirdly, is it likely that a "graduate" would shoot their would-be assailant at the wrong time and possibly face a murder conviction and a civil law suit? The answer to all of these questions is, "Yes, it is possible and likely."
Moreover, if a gun safety certificate mill graduate ever found himself involved in an unjustified shooting, depending on the circumstances, his credentials may be investigated. In some states, like Michigan, it is a four-year felony along with a $2,500 fine to knowingly present a fraudulent gun safety certificate to a gun board. Thus, a graduate of this bogus training program now faces even more jail time.
Furthermore, students with questionable gun safety certificates present a danger to their respective communities. How likely is it that this student learned the fundamentals of shooting a handgun? Can this student reliably hit what he is aiming at from a distance of fifteen feet? Has this student been told what type of ammunition to use to avoid the "over-penetration" problem that can result in the death of a child playing down the street in his own front yard? Probably not. In all, the scammers are endangering our communities just to avoid paying a few dollars in extra tuition and spending eight hours of their time in a class room.
With all the negatives surrounding the firearms training industry, one might be hard-pressed to find just one good and worthy reason to make this vocation worthwhile. I can give two reasons why firearms instructors do what they do (teach): helping others and preserving liberty.
Men and women, who undergo the scrutiny and training necessary to become certified firearms instructors do so principally because of their desire to impart knowledge onto others. They teach in spite of the negative slights that they experience in their daily existence: being shunned by people who have irrational fears of guns, being made the butt of jokes and snide remarks that thinly veil and hide predjudices, and being thought of and regarded as gun-nuts and borderline homicidal maniacs.
In this day and age, our country - especially in our major cities - is experiencing an up-tick in the incidence rate of violent crime. The courts have repeatedly issued rulings that have absolved the police from the legal responsibility of guaranteeing that any single person would be free of crime. The police have the job of investigating crimes after they have occurred and the job of supporting the general peace of the community. Thus, if you are selected for victimization by a predator, you are officially on your own - from a legal standpoint. Firearms instructors exist to train people how to defend themselves until the police arrive.
Currently, thirty-five states (including Michigan) have "shall-issue" legislation enacted into law such that if any person meets the mandated criteria, the state shall issue him a Concealed Pistol License (CPL/CCW). This current style of licensure differs significantly from prior discretionary methods where a person had to "demonstrate a need."
Many instructors teach so that the tradition of firearm ownership lives on with another generation. Make no mistake about it, gun ownership is under constant attack in our nation. Every time something negative happens (e.g. Columbine and Virgina Tech) there are new calls for new restrictions on the ownership, the purchasing, and the carrying of firearms despite the fact that there are already more than 20,000 gun laws on the books. We need better enforcement of current laws - not new laws. Special interest groups have repeatedly focused their efforts on blaming the tool and not the actions of the criminal: ballistic fingerprinting, gun purchase waiting periods, organized protests at gun shops, attempts to outlaw ammunition, restrictions on hunting, and discretionary gun permit laws. Firearms instructors empower people to be self reliant.
I Became Relentless In My Pursuit For Knowledge
I discovered and studied the works of many authors: Colonel Jeff Cooper's "The Art of the Rifle," Massad Ayoob's "In the Gravest Extreme," David Kenik's "Armed Response," Gabriel Suarez's "Tactical Pistol," Andy Stafford's "Surgical Speed Shooting," Chris Byrd's "Thank God I Had A Gun," Marc Young's "Street Safe," and Chad Cantrell's "No Bull Gun Fighting." The gun section of my library is comprised of over 100 works that I have read, re-read, highlighted, and studied relentlessly.
I have practiced the concepts and techniques explained in those books faithfully. I have spent hundreds of hours at neighboring target ranges shooting thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition to perfect my shooting ability.I have befriended numerous local firearms instructors and gunshop employees throughout the metro-Detroit area to glean and retain whatever knowledge they had to bestow. I joined gun themed Internet bulletin boards: Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, AR-15, The High Road, Glock Talk, and many others.
Finally, I had reached a point where I felt that my learning curve had steepened to such a point that further research was delivering diminishing returns. Simply put, now the act of spending a day to read a new book "might" teach me something that I didn't already know. I then turned to and joined the nation's oldest firearms organization: The National Rifle Association (NRA).
Currently, I have NRA certifications to teach Personal Protection, Basic Pistol, and Home Firearm Safety. To qualify as a NRA certified instructor, a candidate must meet certain admission requirements, take a grueling 40 hour course, and pass six timed examinations with a score of 90% correct or better on each exam, and must meet the Training Counselor's expectations of teaching ability. Not many people qualify. Also, I am a NRA Range Safety Officer (RSO). RSOs are certified to safely oversee shooting activities at a shooting range. Further still, I am an authorized Membership Recruiter for the NRA.
I have personally provided firearms training to people from all walks of life: ex-military, FBI agents, business owners, stay-at-home mothers, college students, real estate agents, business executives, bar bouncers, waitresses, club DJs, and etc.
I truly feel that I am doing what God has called me to do. He has placed me on this path and I have accepted his mission to do His will. I am hands-down the best firearm instructor in the metro-Detroit area. I stress safety, teach with enthusiasm in an entertaining manner, and never take any shortcuts.
I have met many people in this industry and some don't measure up. Some of them don't cover legal training. Some of them use airsoft pistols for the target qualification. Some have questionable certifications. Some of them commit felonies punishable by four years of prison time by selling certificates. Some of them, quite simply, can't teach. Bad instructors not only do a disservice to their students but also to the community as a whole because their practices make the streets more dangerous.
I have a drawer full of testimonials that attest to my ability to clearly explain complicated concepts, to make newcomers to firearms comfortable with the experience, and to teach a person who has never shot a firearm before reliably hit the X on the target silhouette.
Firearms instruction is my passion and it shows. I am literally making a difference in my community - one class at a time. No one, in my opinion, becomes an instructor to get rich. Quite simply, if you have integrity and do things by the book it won't happen. The scam artists turn up dead or become imprisoned.
I teach because I want to empower people to defend themselves in an increasingly violent time. Many folks are surprised to learn that the police do not have a legal responsibility to protect you. Their job is to uphold the general peace and to investigate crimes. If you become a crime victim, you can't hold them responsible. Very sobering thought.
I am a firearms instructor, a defender of freedom, and an empowering force in my community.
Activism Is The Next Logical Step
Once a person, for whatever reason, decides to exercise a right he eventually acquires a great appreciation for having that right. Accordingly, he will do whatever it takes to keep that right. Gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms is continuously under assault by those persons in our society who want a disarmed populace. Nevermind that gun ownership was granted to citizens of our fine nation as a means to prevent tyranny and to preserve liberty, I am most concerned with having the ability to defend my life and those that I love. After all, in case after case, the courts have proclaimed that the police do not have a legal responsibility to protect us.
It would only be too easy to let others fight for my rights. I could merely write a check and let various gun rights organizations, such as the NRA, The Second Amendment Foundation, and the Citizens Committe RKBA, do my fighting for me. The future of gun ownership depends on us - you and me.Many people could care less about the Second Amendment until they need a gun. If gun ownership is made illegal, how can you get one in your time of need? There are currently over 20,000 gun laws on the books and more are being drafted with the purpose of being enacted into law with each passing day. We don't need more laws; we need enforcement of the ones already on the books.
We need citizens like you to exercise your right: get a permit to carry, go hunting, teach your family and friends how to shoot, engage in hunting sports, and teach people you know the truth about guns.
Everything You Have Been Told About Guns Is Probably Wrong
Until you remove emotions and uneducated opinions about guns from the public discourse, you may believe the lies that are being told to you. For example, the biggest lie ever told is that guns cause violence and crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. A firearm is a tool - nothing more - nothing less. It is far more important to discuss how a tool is used by a particular person, rather than to debate whether an inanimate object is bad. Is a ball-point pen evil? How about a cane?
While a gun has several obvious purposes that most people can readily enumerate, other tools - designed for other legitimate tasks - in the wrong hands can create as much mayhem. A person could misuse the following items and cause severe bodily harm or death to another: a baseball bat, a pair of scissors, a ball-peen hammer, a nail gun, a golf club, an automobile, a steak knife, an awl, an ice pick, a tire-iron, a crowbar, an axe, a garbage can lid, a fireplace poker, a jump-rope, a bowling trophy, a text book, a container of gasoline, rat poison, a garden rake, or a bottle of battery acid.
A gun placed on a kitchen countertop can not harm anyone all by itself. It requires assistance - pressure on its trigger - to be used, whether those purposes are for good or bad. No one wants to debate the folly of banning matches whenever an arsonist starts a "car-becue" on Angel's Night. Likewise, no one wants to ban the usage of water every time a young and unattended child falls into a back yard swimming pool. Even more outrageous is the idea than gun manufacturers should be sued for violence committed by criminals. Has anyone ever sued the Ford Motor Company because a drunk driver mowed down a schoolyard full of children?
Guns Don't Kill People - People Kill People
Some people want you to "think" that guns somehow turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into homicidal sociopaths. The truth of the matter is that if a specific person with a gun is crazy, that same person without a gun is still just as nuts. University of Maryland professor and gun control researcher, Dr. John R. Lott, has extensively studied the supposed guns and crime relationship - most notably in his critically acclaimed tome "More Guns - Less Crime." The conclusion of his work is abundantly clear - the absence of guns creates more crime. Reversely stated, more guns in a community decreases crime.
An unarmed populace creates a hazard-free working environment for violent criminals. Robbing, raping, and pillaging is a dangerous career choice. Everytime a criminal plies his trade, he risks at least an injury and perhaps death. Criminals, if given a choice, will choose an easy target rather than get into a life-or-death battle with an armed citizen.
Correspondingly, if many people in a community are armed with a gun, crime plummets due to the fact that the criminal is reluctant to assault someone "that may be packing." Thus, the unarmed people in the community are, as a direct result of the armed people in the community, shielded from crime. Don't believe me? When was the last time you saw an advocate for gun control post a sign in his home's front yard that stated, "We are unarmed! We hate guns!" File that event under something you'll never see.
By definition, a criminal is a person who breaks the law. Thus, if it was ever possible to outlaw guns, only the criminals would have guns. You don't expect a criminal to disarm himself, do you? Of course not! Only law-abiding citizens would consider such a thing. What result would expect in a city full of law-abiding and unarmed citizens and a sizeable quantity of armed felons? This type of environment would create an "open season" state of lawlessness among the criminals. The rapists, jackers, and killers could ply their trade with impunity. This result has been observed with predictable results in our country.
Time and time again, the cities with the highest rates of crime are in those cities with the most strict gun control laws - legal and de facto. To name a few - NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Detroit - are among our nation's worst when it comes to gun control and violent crime. These cities happen to also be where large populations of minorities live. It is no mistake - gun control has racist roots that trace back into time when newly freed slaves were barred from owning guns to prevent any "score settling" with their former masters.Stop being a pawn: Buy a gun, exercise your right to self-defense, and help spread the truth about guns.
The First Step To Recovery Is Admitting That You Have A Problem
Many people, such as the person who I used to be, stand on the sidelines of the Second Amendment/gun ownership game until something adverse "happens" to them or to someone they know and value. Personally, I never had a "perceived" need for a handgun; I had previously viewed owning a gun as a novelty and perhaps a waste of hard earned cash. I had bought into all of the misleading anti-gun propaganda being spewed vociferously by various people and "special interests" with hidden agendas.
I never bothered to research the facts on gun ownership for myself. I left that task up to other people to educate me through the media via so-called factoid public service announcements, speeches from various governmental officials who enact "feel good" legislation that doesn't work or conduct gun "buy-backs" that can't be objectively evaluated for effectiveness, and barbershop talk with many people in my community who discuss their feelings about guns rather than the honest-to-God facts. My problem was that I allowed others to do my thinking for me on the subject of guns. I have since "in-sourced" that function back to the person I trust the most: me.
Everybody Knows Everything Until Something Happens
Well, something did "happen" to me - I was robbed in my own back yard while parking my car in my garage. Prior to this event, I did not see myself as a potential victim. I have always been able to "hold my own and handle my business" whenever I needed to do so throughout my life. The mere idea that someone would have the audacity to size me up as a victim never crossed my mind. A gun in the hands of violent predators, who have no qualms about using violence or the threat of violence to accomplish their evil purposes, changes the natural order of the food chain. I then knew that I needed to make a few changes.
Consequently, I then chose to get on the playing field. To my surprise, I have been warmly greeted by the pro gun rights side and have been consequently shunned by the "guns are evil" side. Making the decision to own a firearm makes you a gun nut in the eyes of many ignorant people.
The uninformed and unenlightened folk will treat you differently and are prone to making snide comments about you. They'll either tell you that they don't "need" a gun because of where they live or they'll demonstrate some Kung Fu disarmament moves they learned from playing Tekken on their PlayStation2 video game console. They couldn't possibly be more wrong. However, I'll patiently wait until "something" happens to them and I'll forget and forgive all of the ignorant things that they said and welcome them to the correct side.
A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step - Gun Ownership
Anyhow, after filing the crime report at my not-so-local neighborhood police station, I headed downtown to acquire a "Ten Day Purchase Permit." The Gun Licensing Department ran my background to see if I had any official governmental prohibitions - felonies - against owning a firearm. Of course, the check came back clean so I was issued the permit. I was now able to legally buy a gun within the next ten days. If I had failed to do so (buy a gun), I would have to come back downtown to repeat the process.
Next, I went to a local gun shop without haste and bought my first handgun. I didn't let the ominous signs - warning customers against pulling out guns because they might get shot - or the fact that all of the gunshop employees were openly carrying their guns on their hips, deter me. I had no idea of what to buy, so I bought the same gun that my brother-in-law owned. "If it was good enough for him, it must be good enough for me," I reasoned. I didn't originally plan on spending several hundreds of dollars on my purchase, but my first and only thought was to buy the best gun I could "afford" even if a few utility bills didn't get paid on time that month. My life and safety were worth a ding or two on my credit report.
In retrospect, the gun dealer didn't offer me a lot of informed customer service. To his credit, maybe he assumed, that since I was a guy, that I knew what I wanted. In fact, I didn't know much of anything. My ignorance was my fault. The dealer's fault was not asking me enough questions to allow him to best assess my needs. However, his insensitivity did not stop him from also suggesting additional purchases: jacketed hollow points and an inside-the-waist (IWB) holster.
Pure luck, it seems, brought a gun into my possession that fit my hand perfectly. I couldn't test fire it, as the shop didn't have a range. So I had to "take it on faith" that I could handle shooting it. I must have filled out a ream of paperwork that day; it was like closing on a house. Anyhow, it's funny now recounting the experience, but I was - in all truth - nervous while carrying my new encased gun from the back entrance of the shop to my car. I mused how ironic and funny it would be if I was to now be robbed of my new gun at the gun shop.
My next stop on my personal armament tour would be to venture back downtown to police headquarters to have my new firearm "safety inspected." Before having my gun inspected, I had no idea of what tests they were going to perform to properly test my gun. After they safety inspected my gun, I am still ignorant to the process even though I witnessed it with my very own eyes. Bottom line: by the time I left police headquarters this time, my name, my personal info, and the fact that I owned a handgun were now entered into a database.
On my departure from police headquarters I picked up a copy of an application for a Concealed Pistol License (CPL/CCW) from the front desk. I opened the enveloped and read the application. It was rather lengthy but informative. I figured that I would peruse it more thoroughly in my car. Right before I left the building, I asked a near-by police officer for a place where I could go and shoot my new gun. He specified a range and told me how to get there.
I'll Do Or Try Almost Anything Once - Even Shoot A Gun
So, my big adventure continued as I went to a local range to shoot a handgun for the very first time in my life. For the record, it is not recommended to visit a firing range without first taking a gun safety class or at the very least taking along a knowledgeable shooter with you. In fact, it is dangerous. I didn't know any better. You have read this passage, so now you know.
Ignorance kills. The Bible says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge."I didn't know what I didn't know. I was lucky. Any number of things, all of them bad, could have happened that day. Fortunately for me, I checked my ego at the door and asked someone behind the counter for help. I got a very basic introduction but critical 20 second tutorial: Don't load it until you are in the booth, Always keep the gun pointed downrange, Position your hands so that they are not in the path of the slide, and Unload the gun before you leave the booth.
I managed not to hurt myself or anyone else. However, if I had experienced a hangfire or a squib load in the booth, things may have turned out differently. I must say that I was rather proud of myself after shooting. Shooting was an enjoyable experience. It was a blast - pun intended. My adrenaline was pumping; I was high off of shooting a gun. I guess I had just found myself a new and exciting hobby.
As I was driving home from the range that afternoon, still mentally digesting the requirements for the CCW Permit, I had arrived at an intersection whereby the stoplight had just turned red. The car in front of mine had an advertisement on the back of it for a CCW Class. More than ever, I believe that when your mind is truly ready for something, the Lord will make it appear. This situation merely provided confirmation. I immediately called the displayed phone number and discovered that there was a class being held on the very next day. I RSVP'd and took the class on the very next day.
A Responsible Gunowner Needs Training
During the class, I learned a staggering amount of information about the safe usage, storage, loading, unloading, handling, purchasing, transporting, and maintenance of firearms. Before that day, I truly did not know how much I did not know about firearms.
I was introduced to the nomenclature of all of the firearm's constituent parts on both a revolver and a semi-automatic, learned how the parts inter-operated to create a discharge, learned the legal aspects of self defense and lethal force, learned how the media and "certain powers that be" distort the truth and spread outright lies about handguns, learned the proper fundamentals of shooting a firearm, learned a few shooting stances, and learned how to become a more hardened target.
More than anything, I was a little disheartened by my instructor's admonition that I was now not a gun-fighter. I was told in plain and in no uncertain language that I had now just met the state's minimum requirements to qualify for a CPL/CCW. Thus, I was just given another clue that there was much more to learn about firearms and their role in personal protection. I still didn't know what I didn't know. I then dedicated my spare time to devouring any literature that I could buy or find on the Internet that had anything to do with firearms and their role in personal protection.