Friday, April 24, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

We are pleased to announce another CCW/CPL Class of this year! So, if you have a desire to qualify for a Concealed Pistol License, so that you can feel safe, register for our next class.

Location:
Southfield Hampton Inn (Map to Hotel)
27500 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield, Michigan 48034

Option I

Pay Tuition in Advance ($150) and Save $20! (Total Cost: $150 + Range Expenses)

Option II

Pay Tuition Deposit ($85)/Pay Balance ($85) at the Door.
(Total Cost: $170 + Range Expenses)

Register at our site: http://www.detroitccw.com

Range expenses will be incurred at the range to handle gun rental, range time, ammunition costs, and a fee for a target. The estimated fee is $35.

Our class starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp!

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - 99 - December 28, 2008






Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Two Guys & A Mic' Gun Safety Inteview - Detroit, MI

The following audio file contains an interview in which I was featured last night. It's about 90 minutes long and IMHO is a good introduction to the proper mindset a person needs to have if they desire to be a responsible gun owner.













Sunday, April 12, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Sunday, April 19th, 2009

We are pleased to announce another CCW/CPL Class of this year! So, if you have a desire to qualify for a Concealed Pistol License, so that you can feel safe, register for our next class.

Location:
Southfield Hampton Inn (Map to Hotel)
27500 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield, Michigan 48034

Option I

Pay Tuition in Advance ($150) and Save $20! (Total Cost: $150 + Range Expenses)

Option II

Pay Tuition Deposit ($85)/Pay Balance ($85) at the Door.
(Total Cost: $170 + Range Expenses)

Register at our site: http://www.detroitccw.com

Range expenses will be incurred at the range to handle gun rental, range time, ammunition costs, and a fee for a target. The estimated fee is $35.

Our class starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp!

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - 99 - December 28, 2008






Video Snippet From My Last CCW Class In Southfield Michigan

Student Video Testimonial #29 From Our Detroit Michigan CCW Class

Detroit Michigan CCW Class - Testimonial 20

Student Video Testimonial #28 From Our Detroit Michigan CCW Class

Detroit Michigan CCW Testimonial 19

Student Video Testimonial #27 From Our Detroit Michigan CCW Class

Detroit Michigan CCW Class - Testimonial 18

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Carry Privilege Suspensions

According to published data on the Michigan State Police web site, 2,713 Michigan Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPLs), as of April 6th, 2009 have been suspended by Michigan County Gun Boards this year. In fact, a total of 1,580 CPL suspensions, representing more than 58% of the total number of CPL suspensions state-wide, occurred in the tri-County area: Wayne (928), Oakland (635), and Macomb (317).

PA 381 of 2000, specifies several events that either will or may cause trigger a suspension of a CPL licensee's privileges. This article will enumerate and specify those antecedents in an effort to inform metro Detroit licensees about how easy it is to be subject to a suspension of concealed carry privileges. CPL revocations are outside of the scope of this article.

Antecedent 1: CPL Licensee Is Criminally Charged
If a CPL licensee is either charged with a felony, a specified misdemeanor listed in PA 381 of 2000, or both, the County Gun Board SHALL immediately suspend the licensee's CPL until there is a final disposition of the charges. The County Gun Board will send notification of the suspension via certified mail to the licensee's last known address according to its own internal records. The notice will also inform the licensee of his right to have a prompt hearing on the suspension if it is requested in writing.

Antecedent 2: CPL Licensee Is Suspected Of Being Dangerous
If a CPL licensee is suspected of either being dangerous to himself or another person because of clear and convincing evidence based on specific articulable facts the County Gun Board SHALL immediately suspend the licensee's CPL until a revocation hearing is conducted. The County Gun Board will send notification of the suspension via certified mail to the licensee's last known address according to its own internal records. The notice will also inform the licensee of his right to have a prompt hearing on the suspension if it is requested in writing.

Antecedent 3: CPL Licensee Violates A Pistol-Free Zone (First Off.)
If a CPL licensee is found responsible for violating a pistol-free zone, as a first offense civil infraction, the court of jurisdiction SHALL order that the respective County Gun Board suspend the CPL licensee's concealed carry privileges for six months.

Note 1: Subsequent violations of Pistol-Free Zones are not civil infractions.

Antecedent 4: CPL Licensee Refuses Chemical Analysis
A CPL licensee may be required to submit to a chemical analysis by a law enforcement officer if there is probable cause that he is carrying a concealed pistol with an unlawful blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .02 or higher.

A licensee may refuse to submit to the analysis and as a result of that refusal the law enforcement officer SHALL inform the CPL licensee that a court order MAY be obtained to force his compliance to the analysis AND that he MAY have his concealed carry privileges suspended or revoked as a consequence. If the CPL licensee still refuses to submit to the analysis, the law enforcement officer SHALL promptly notify the County Gun Board of record of the licensee's refusal in writing.

The County Gun Board MAY, as a result of the licensee's refusal to submit to a chemical analysis, notify the CPL licensee that a revocation hearing will be conducted to consider sanctions - a suspension or revocation - against his concealed carry privileges. A notice of a hearing SHALL be provided to the licensee with at least 10 days' advance notice and SHALL be made via certified mail at the licensee's last known address according to its own internal records.

Antecedent 5: CPL Licensee Fails To Disclose Status
If a CPL licensee does not immediately disclose to a law enforcement officer, during a traffic stop, that he is lawfully carrying a concealed pistol he may be found responsible for state civil infraction which MAY result in a fine, a six month CPL suspension, or both.


Note 2:
Subsequent violations of failing to disclose CPL status to law enforcement officers during traffic stops SHALL cause the CPL to be revoked.

Antecedent 6: CPL Licensee Gets Three Civil Infractions
If a CPL licensee is found responsible for violating three or more state civil infractions - defined in PA 381 of 2000 - within one licensing period, the County Gun Board SHALL conduct a hearing and MAY suspend the licensee's concealed carry privileges for not more than one year. A notice of a hearing SHALL be provided to the licensee with at least 10 days' advance notice and SHALL be made via certified mail at the licensee's last known address according to its own internal records.

State civil infractions defined in PA 381 of 2000 are listed as the following:
  1. Carrying In A Pistol-Free Zone (First Offense)
  2. Carrying A Concealed Pistol Without Possession of CPL ID
  3. Failing To Display Driver's License And CPL To Law Enforcement Officer Upon Request
  4. Failing To Inform Law Enforcement Officer During A Traffic Stop Of Possession Of A Concealed Firearm
  5. Carrying A Firearm With A BAC Between .02 And .08
  6. Refusing To Submit To A Chemical Analysis


Note 3: Carrying a firearm with a BAC of greater than .02 and less than .08 MAY result in a CPL revocation, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Note 4: Refusing to submit to a chemical analysis MAY result in a CPL revocation, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How Not To Be Labeled An Idiot At A Gun Range

As a firearms instructor, I spend an appreciable amount of time at area gun ranges. As such, over the years I have witnessed quite a few potentially unsafe practices. In most cases, the miscues were committed by people who had never previously gone to a gun range. This article will provide a best practices guideline for new visitors at a gun range.

Suggestion 1: Bring Along A Guide
The first general rule for a new target range visitor would be for him to take along a knowledgeable gun owner. The key term is 'knowledgeable.' Just because a friend says he knows what he is doing, does not necessarily mean that he does. Ask him a few questions to gauge his firearms handling experiences: how many firearms he owns, how long he has owned them, how he learned how to safely operate them, and how often he shoots. If your friend's answers to those questions do not instill a sense of confidence, keep looking until you can find a friend you can trust guiding and teaching you at the range.

Suggestion 2: Familiarize Yourself With The Range's SOPs
There are no special licenses or permits that a person needs to have before visiting a target range. However, there are both formal and informal codes of conduct that should be obeyed to ensure a safe and productive visit.

Formal rules of conduct for a specific range are typically codified in a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document. When visiting any range for the first time, you should ask employees for a copy so that you will know what is expected of you. In general, typical SOPs cover the following items:
  • Allowable Ammunition Caliber and/or Brands Allowed
  • Whether Eating, Drinking, or Smoking is Allowed
  • Whether Drawing From Concealment is Allowed
  • Minimum Age Requirements
  • Specified Non-Acceptable Behavior

    • Horse-Play
    • Shooting Under The Influence
    • Shooting at Non-Approved Targets
    • Loading of Firearms Outside Shooting Stall
    • Transporting A Loaded Firearm From Stall
    • Poor Muzzle Control/Discipline
    • Failure To Heed Fire Line
    • Failure To Obey Range Commands
    • Failure To Wear Safety Equipment
    • Failure To Police Brass
    • Rapid Fire Shooting

Failure to follow range SOPs is grounds for immediate ejection from the premises without recourse. So, visitors should govern themselves accordingly.

Range visitors should also learn about and heed local customs. For example, at metropolitan Detroit area gun ranges it is strongly discouraged for visitors to produce a handgun while not in the shooting both. Range employees are an understandably and easily excited class of people who may mistake your actions as an attempted armed robbery of the establishment.

Suggestion 3: Don't be Afraid To Ask For Help
Personally, I would never advocate that a person, who has never shot a firearm, visit a range alone to shoot. There are too many things that can go wrong. However, many people do just that every day and nothing adverse happens. I attribute that fact to the dilligence of the staff who work at these facilities and other helpful shooters present at the range.

If you are new to the shooting sports and insist upon visiting a range by yourself, I have one piece of advice for you: Check your ego at the door. Introduce yourself to a range employee and explain that you have never shot a handgun and wish to do so. Many range employees are Range Safety Officers (RSO) and Certified Instructors. Qualified staff can give you a relatively quick safety briefing and explain all of the controls on the firearm you will be using. Furthermore, depending on staffing levels and how busy the range is during your visit, range staff can volunteer to be present in the booth with you to offer you some 'on-the-spot' coaching.

Bottom Line:
Visiting a local target can be an enjoyable experience. It is imperative that new range visitors and shooters avail themselves of all available resources at their disposal to best ensure that a safe and productive experience is the eventual result. Availing yourself of knowledgeable friends, familiarizing yourself with the range SOPs, and not being afraid to ask for help are all great ways not be labeled an idiot at the range.

Michigan Concealed Pistol License Class: Realistic Expectations

I had recently conducted a Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class and was in the process of debriefing my students to get a feel for what they thought about the experience. Usually, without fail, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive with a few 'nits' about some minor things that I could also do: provide folders for the hand-outs we distribute, offer bottled water as a refreshment option, or take more breaks throughout the day.

On this one particular day of class, a student shared feedback with me that I typically only receive when talking to law enforcement officers. Overall, the student gave me and the other firearms trainers, who were present, high marks for our knowledge and delivery of the constituent material. His disappointment was focused on the body of knowledge, or lack of, of firearms handling and operation possessed by other students in the class. He based his assessment of his classmates by the questions that the other students asked during the training session. In this student's opinion, his fellow classmates were not going to be tactical ninjas when they received their CPLs in the mail.

It would not be fair if I didn't share some info about this student with the apparent ego problem. By his own account, he had spent some time overseas working on a security detail for the Blackwater organization in Iraq. Thus, he has had significant exposure to a variety of firearms and their practical usage under stressful conditions. I can't vouch for his claims but I will attest that he is very accurate with a 9mm Glock handgun.

What You Will Not Learn In A Michigan CCW/CPL Class

There is an apparent misconception about what a person can do after taking a Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class. Let me be crystal clear on this one important point: After taking this class you will not be a tactically trained ninja, you will not be James Bond, and you will most assuredly not be a gunfighter. Instead, you will have merely satisfied the state of Michigan's minimum educational and shooting requirements for a CPL - nothing more.

Taking this class, a basic firearms safety training class, is just the first step in the process of becoming a proficient and safe operator of a defensive firearm. Your continued development will be dependent more on what you do after the class than what you did during it. You will need to become intimate with your handgun of choice, you will need to practice monthly at the range to better hone your shooting ability, you will need to conduct dry-fire drills to perfect your trigger pull, you will need additional training classes, and you will need to learn more about personal protection.

After taking this class, if you had a good trainer, you will now know some of the things that you still need to learn to become more proficient in the use of a defensive firearm. Your favorite firearms instructor may offer additional training offerings and individual coaching or should be able to refer you to other organizations that do.

For example, a newly minted CPL licensee may want to gain training on skills typically not covered in a basic gun safety class: drawing your handgun from concealment, shooting while 'getting off the X,' shooting one-handed, practicing gun clearing drills, practicing holster retention drills, and a myriad of other things you may want to know to enhance your ability to defend yourself against violent predators.

What You Will Gain From Taking A CCW/CPL Class

For many students, the biggest gain they receive as a consequence of taking the CPL Class is not even on the official course agenda. In a word, they are liberated from their irrational fear of firearms and gain confidence as a direct result of the burden that was lifted. For many people, who have been brainwashed by the media, the mere sight of a handgun causes them a great deal of angst and discomfort.

Knowledge of firearms and self-defense law is the most important module in the class. It is this section of the course when a student learns when lethal force is authorized. This comprehensive info will prevent a law-abiding gun carrier from being criminally charged and from being sued in a civil court case. People, who got their training certificates via 'the hookup,' are at a significant disadvantage because they don't know what they can and can't do with a firearm - a bad situation to be in when being faced with the threat of unprovoked violence.

Fireams safety knowledge will also be taught to students in a CCW/CPL Class. For many students, this section of the course is the most informative, as many have never neither seen a handgun up close nor fired one. They will know the NRA Firearms Safety Rules by the number and also learn the Rules For Using And Storing A Gun.

The Bottom Line

Enrolling into and completing a CCW/CPL will not in of itself make a person into an impervious gunfighter. However, it will enable law-abiding citizens to qualify for a CPL, which I know from personal experience and from the experiences of my students, provides another option for self protection during the increasingly troubling times we are now experiencing today.

To get the best benefit, the absolutely worse thing that you can do after taking a CCW/CPL Class is to not further your training. If in the event you ever need to use a handgun to defend yourself and you are not comfortable with its operation, you may be not able to mount an effective defense. You don't want the next time that you use or handle your gun to be the first time you handled it. Your handgun should be a mere extension of your hand.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Mental Health Considerations

Some prospective applicants for a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) are reluctant to apply for the permit because of a belief that they may be statutorily ineligible, due to their own assessment of their own mental health. This hesitation to apply is fueled, in part, by intimidating language on the CPL Application which states, "intentionally making a false statement on this application is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,500, or both." This article will explore the mental health requirements for CPL licensees as defined in Michigan Public Act 381 of 2000.

Specified Mental Health CPL Disqualifications

The statute is reasonably clear on most of the mental health requirements for an applicant to be eligible for a CPL. Consider the following CPL applicant stipulations:
  • The applicant has not been found guilty but mentally ill of any crime and has not offered a plea of not guilty of, or been acquitted of, any crime by reason of insanity.

  • The applicant has never been subject to an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness.

  • The applicant is not under a court order of legal incapacity in this state or elsewhere.


Most individuals, upon reading the statute, have a decent understanding of what the statute means with respect to the aforementioned mental health scenarios. In all of those cases, the mental health of the applicant at some time in the past can be objectively assessed as to whether a disqualifying event actually occurred by consulting relevant evidence (e.g. court transcripts, court orders, and medical records).

However, the statute does a clumsy job of defining what exactly is a mental illness for the purposes of that section of the law and the last mental health disqualifier. The last stipulation, with respect to CPL applicant mental health, states that:
    The applicant does not have a diagnosed mental illness at the time the application is made regardless of whether he or she is receiving treatment for that illness.


The statute defines mental illness as, "a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life, and includes, but is not limited to, clinical depression."

For the most part, the statute is not clear as to what exactly constitutes a mental illness. The only clear phrase is the term clinical depression. However, that term is not defined in the statute.

What Is NOT Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression is not the resultant expression of disappointment, sadness, or grief that a person experiences as a consequence of dealing with the inevitable bad things that can happen during life. At some point in time, it can be expected that most people, at one time or another, will incur a significant loss or suffer through a personal tragedy (e.g. loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or loss of a home). Most people after a period of adjustment, which may last for a period of time commensurate with the experienced loss, are able to cope with their changed circumstances.

What Is Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression is an extreme manifestation of sadness that is felt over an unduly long period time which, in some cases, can't be explained away as a consequence of dealing with a misfortunate incident. A clinically depressed person is not able to cope with every day life issues and may experience feelings of despair and hopelessness which could lead to, but is not limited to, a suicide attempt.

Obviously, the line that separates "a case of the blues" from clinical depression needs to be clearly drawn to identify people who are in need of help. Accordingly, the American Psychiatric Association's Manual, DSM-IV, has defined a person as clinically depressed if he is experiencing five (5) or more of the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or most, daily activities most of the day, nearly every day.

  • Significant weight changes (e.g. a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) nearly every day.

  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day.

  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Note: The only persons who are qualified to make a diagnosis as to whether an individual is clinically depressed is a qualified mental health professional.

CPL Application Considerations

If you meet all of the requirements for a CPL and you desire to be licensed, you should submit your application. The application when signed by the prospective licensee, authorizes the County Gun Board to gain access to the applicant's mental health records.

If the applicable County Gun Board wishes to discuss your mental health status before making a decision as whether you will be granted a permit, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to represent you and protect your rights. Furthermore, the CPL applicant has the right to have any and all discussions about his mental health records and mental health eligibilty conducted during a closed session with himself and his attorney present. The statute clearly states that the discussions within this closed session are confidential to outsiders of the process.