Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't Bring In The New Year With Gun-Fire Demonstrations

Detroit has "unique" traditions. One such tradition is the burning of cars (i.e. car-be-cues) and abandoned buildings on Angel's Night (AKA Devil's Night). However, recent governmental administrations have called upon the community to conduct citizen's patrols to help the police and fire department monitor the city. Recent efforts have been successful to keep the number of arsons down during this period.

However, another Detroit tradition continues unabated. Many people in this town feel the need to shoot their firearms at midnight. In fact, some idiots can't wait and start shooting at early as 11:00 p.m.

A casual observer to our town may think it is a celebratory gesture. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truly astute people here know that people engage in this reckless behavior for essentially one purpose: to let other folks in the hood know that this house has guns and that its residents are not afraid to use them.

Shooting a firearm while it is aimed at the sky is reckless. Simple physics dictates that what goes up (i.e. the bullet) must come down. The perpetrator of this self-less act is often deluded that his act is harmless. A bullet falling from the sky is traveling at 700 feet/second when it comes to rest. This velocity is more than enough to penetrate the skull of an adult.

Sometime during the night tonight and a throughout a period in the wee hours of the next morning, it will be literally be raining bullets in the city of Detroit. As a consequence of the hail of lead falling from the sky, many Detroiters are forced to bring in the New Year in their basements. Apartment dwellers will be forced to take their chances by only being able to lie on the floor of their units. You know how the saying goes, "bullets don't have any names on them."

Thus, I ask you - my fellow Detroiters - to end this practice of shooting guns in the sky at the dawn of a new year. This irresponsible act could needlessly end someone's life. If you don't own a gun, but know someone who does and has plans to shoot it in the sky take a moment to talk him out of it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Testimonial From A Student Who Attended Last Sunday's Class

"If you are even thinking about carrying a concealed weapon for personal protection, Rick's class is the absolute first step you need to take in preparing. You will learn everything you need to know to protect yourself -- not only with your concealed pistol, but also from the authorities if you should ever have the unfortunate circumstance to use your weapon in self-defense.

You will get the necessary legal information to know how to respond to the police and what to say and what not to say to the 911 operator if you should have to make that call. Rick doesn't take shortcuts. Rick and his associates take the necessary time to show you the proper way to clear and handle a firearm. Take the class, you will be glad you did!

Thanks for all you are doing! Regards,

Mr. D. Schmidt, Clinton Twp., Macomb County, Michigan

The One That Got Away

Over the past couple of years I have had the honor and the distinct privilege of introducing gun safety to hundreds of students. It truly gives me a great sense of personal accomplishment to empower citizens to take on a greater role in their own personal protection.

I have literally trained students from all walks of life. Some grew up in households where guns were accepted - others were raised in homes where firearms were shunned. I have trained ex-military, police department staff, IRS agents, governmental agents, nurses, college students, lawyers, and business owners.

Despite my success, as evidenced by the number of people I have trained, I am haunted by the one that got away. Not unlike the fisherman who had his line snapped while trying to reel in a prized catch, I had exactly one student "quit on me."

Quitting in my context means that they elected not to finish my one-day Concealed Pistol License (CPL) training course after starting it. Keep in mind that I am not deluded into thinking that everyone who takes my class actually takes the next step: applying for a CPL at their County Clerk's office.

Some people take my class merely to satisfy their curiosity about firearms. These folks, even though they don't take the next step of getting their CPLs, have earned my respect. You see, rather than depend upon rumors, media distortions, and out-right lies told by the anti-gun lobby, they made an informed decision to acquire knowledge of a subject that they knew very little about. Truthful info about guns and their role in our society is hard to find.

Further still, other people take and complete my class and realize that they aren't ready for the responsibility that goes along with carrying a gun. For whatever reason - whether they are short tempered or irresponsible - they make the decision not to get a permit.

For these folks just knowing that a mistake in judgment during the "heat of the moment" could result in a prison sentence, a civil lawsuit, or both is enough to cause them to wait until they can handle it. I applaud these people for being honest with themselves. Carrying a firearm isn't for everybody. Moreover, let's face it - every time someone is irresponsible with a gun, it makes all of the other gun owners look bad.

Sometimes, some people when taking my class get the jitters about going to the range. Maybe they get anxious because of the rare but true stories about mentally unstable folks committing suicides there or the fact that there are no requirements for anyone to be able to go to the range.

Thus, safety from potential weirdos at the range initially kept a few students from doing the shooting portion of the class until a later date. That experience taught me an important lesson: tell the truth about range realities but don't belabor the fact such that students are afraid to go there.

As just discussed, everybody doesn't complete my one-day CCW/CPL class in one day. Sometimes, family emergencies occur at home and the student has to leave. In another case, I had an employer who had to leave my class because an employee was seriously hurt on the job at the employer's place of business. Further, I had a pregnant student whose unborn child jumped at the sound of gunfire.

In all of these aforementioned scenarios, the students were able to later complete the class with me one-on-one due to the fact that they had already listened to the attorney deliver his presentation on Michigan firearms law. Once they receive that info from a qualified person (i.e. a lawyer) I can teach the rest of the class any way I want as long as I follow the time requirements established both by Michigan law and the NRA's Training Department.

The student who quit on me was an older gentleman. I'd estimate his age at or about 60. He was noticeably fit and was very engaging when we met to handle his registration face-to-face at a coffee shop. Some folks are leery about computers; I can accommodate people who don't like to conduct business over the Internet.

During our conversation over coffee, he talked with me at great length about his experiences of being a gun owner over the years, his affinity for revolvers, and his growing sense of unease in the community due to crimes being reported in the media. He must have asked me a million questions that day but I patiently answered and addressed every concern.

On the day of class everything went along as expected. However, things took a turn for the worse at the range. It was at this point that he let me know that he was not going to shoot his brand new .357 caliber handgun. He wanted to sell it back to the dealer in an unfired condition.

Apparently, he told his wife about his desire to take my class and his desire to buy a gun. She was incensed and adamant about not having a gun in "her" home. So, he obeyed her. He still took the classroom part of my class and told me that everything was great. He complimented me and my staff profusely in an act - I guess - to not make me feel like I had anything to do with his decision.

Every time I teach my class, my thoughts often reflect upon the one that got away. I often wonder if he'll call me one day to complete the class. In the interim, I hope no one commits a home invasion at his residence while he is unarmed. His situation makes me wonder at times how many "men" abdicate their roles as the home protectors because the women in their lives have unfounded fears of guns. What will these women do to protect themselves, their children, and their husbands when bad men come their way?

Monday, December 22, 2008

How To Insure Your Guns Up To $1,000 For Only $35/yr Or Less!

Criminals are hard at work trying to steal your guns. Guns are their tools-in-trade for carrying out their illegal activities: murders, rapes, assaults, and robberies. Contrary to what the anti-gun forces in our society (e.g. liberal media) would have you to believe, criminals can't buy firearms at the local gun shop or at a gun show via "imaginary loop-holes."

Crooks gain access to guns on the black market. Specifically, criminals buy guns that have been stolen from their lawful owners. In fact, one of the best places for a brazen thief to steal a gun is in a parked police cruiser. A recent search on Google™ turned up the following stories:

Furthermore, despite the best efforts of many gun owners to secure their firearms, criminals also acquire sidearms via home invasions and burglaries of private residences. There was a time when securing a firearm in a safe was good enough to keep it protected. However, today's brand of burglar is not above sawing out floor boards and cutting wall studs. If a law-abiding gun owner should suffer a loss of a firearm, he should follow all applicable local and state ordinances regarding the timely reporting of the theft.

Personal protection quality handguns are not cheap. If an owner suffers a loss via a burglary, he may be set back several hundreds of dollars. Accordingly, he will be without a means of protecting himself and/or his family until a replacement can be obtained. To add further insult to injury, many homeowners insurance policies don't provide coverage for the loss or theft of firearms without an expensive rider - additional cost.

An inexpensive solution to this problem - expensive firearms insurance coverage - is to become a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). For the low cost of a one year membership, NRA members automatically receive, without additional fees, insurance coverage for the loss and/or theft of their firearms up to a limit of $1,000. Normally, a membership to the NRA costs $35. However, since I am a Membership Recruiter for the NRA, I can provide you with a link to join and save $10.

In the interest of transparency, I'll have you know that I do get rewarded for recruiting new members into the organization. The biggest benefit is bragging rights. Every quarter, the NRA publishes and distributes a newsletter to its recruiters. It's one of my goals, for now, just to be listed as one of the top 10 recuiters in the Midwest Division. However, I'll tell you this - if I didn't believe in the organization or the benefits of being a member, I wouldn't ask you to join.

I could go on and on about all of the other benefits of being a NRA member, but I won't at this time. This article's promise was to show you how to cheaply gain access to insurance for your firearms. Join today and be amazed at all of the other benefits that you will receive.

Trust me - no one has regretted joining the NRA. I am confident that you will be happy you did. How would I know? I am a life member.

Join the NRA now and save $10!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Defense Of Third Persons

Under specific circumstances, Michigan law authorizes Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders to defend other "third persons" who are in imminent jeopardy of severe bodily harm and/or sexual assault. This article will explore the potential ramifications of "getting involved" in a violent confrontation.

A person who is being assaulted by a criminal knows with absolute certainty that he is in imminent danger. In this situation, there is no confusion from the victim's perspective as to what is happening. Onlookers to an assault may not be sure of what is happening, which of the persons involved is the victim, and what actions caused the incident to happen. Uncertainty, a desire not to get involved, and a fear of being harmed are factors that lead to inaction by witnesses.

For example, on May 4, 2007 a 90 year-old Detroit man was severely beaten during a carjacking. The surveillance video (See below) of the incident was horrific; the senior citizen was struck at least 23 times in the face by his attacker.

This incident got national exposure - in part - due to the fact that there were five people standing around watching this crime unfold. In the aftermath, TV talk shows and news radio broadcasts were flooded with calls from citizens who wished that at least one of the bystanders would have intervened.

Moreover, in 2000 another highly publicized and witnessed attack occurred. A University of Michigan student was brutally beaten to death in a Kalamazoo Amtrak™ bus station bathroom by a man suffering from a mental illness. In this case, five people were reportedly situated within "shouting distance" from the crime scene but failed to come to the victim's aid. In fact, one witness found the victim unconscious and another bystander saw the victim's body lying in a pool of blood; neither person rendered aid or contacted authorities.

In both of the above cases, most people would agree that both victims were in jeopardy of severe bodily harm. Thus, any person - with a CPL or not - could have used force, perhaps even deadly force, to come to the aid of the victims. At the very least someone could have made a 9-1-1 phone call.

Other cases, however, may not be so easy to reconcile under the law. For example, if a CPL licensee witnesses a woman being violently beaten by her "significant other" in a domestic situation, should he intervene?

Domestic violence (DV) is a despicable crime. The violators of this crime should be severely punished for their transgressions. However, the ugly reality of today's world is that many DV victims do not want any penalties levied against their attackers, er, loved ones. Perhaps, the abuser is the sole wage earner. What ever the case, they will bend over backwards to sabotage the prosecution: not press charges, fail to testify, etc.

Now, after learning and knowing all of this, why would or should another person intervene in a third-party DV squabble? An intervention could ultimately lead to the use of deadly force. If an "attacker" in a domestic violence scenario is killed, will the victim be thankful for being rescued or vengeful for having her significant other slain? On whose behalf, will the victim make statements? The defense or the prosecution?

It is for this very reason that Good Samaritan Laws regarding violent attacks should not be enacted. The law should not compel a person to put himself in harm's way to save another. Doing so in some cases could also imperil his freedom. Every person has to decide for himself how he will act when encountering violence being committed against another. At the very least, a witness can make a 9-1-1 call but even that act should not be legislated.

What will you do?

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Reciprocity Agreements

Reciprocity agreements are formal accords - between two states - in which each state agrees to recognize and honor Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL) of the other state. For example, Michigan and Ohio have CPL reciprocity. Thus, Michigan CPL licensees can carry a concealed firearm in Ohio. Accordingly, an Ohio CPL licensee can carry a concealed handgun in Michigan.

Currently, the state of Michigan has CPL reciprocity with 35 other states:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

The official record of states that have CPL reciprocity with Michigan is maintained by the Michigan Attorney General.

Traveling Tip 1: Do Some Research Before Leaving
Before heading out of state with your loaded pistol, you need to first do some basic research. Make a list of all states that you will be traveling through on your way to your final destination. Visit the Michigan AG's Page to see if any, all, or none of the states have CPL reciprocity with Michigan.

If there are any states on your list that do not have CPL reciprocity with Michigan, you have two options. The first option is to plan another route to your final destination that does not require you to travel through states that do not have CPL reciprocity with Michigan.

If this is not possible or practical, you can follow the federal law which allows you to transport your properly secured handgun. In short, when you arrive at the state line of the non-reciprocal state you will need to unload the pistol, separate it from ammunition, and place it in your trunk. If and when you reach the state line of a reciprocal state, you may then reload and carry your loaded firearm.

Once you have planned your travel route, you will then need to visit each state's web site to research the specifics on their CPL laws. CPL laws can vary significantly from what a CPL licensee has to do to be in compliance in his home state. Pay particular attention to all of the following:

  • Pistol Free Zones
  • Police Stops
  • Castle Doctrine
  • Duty To Retreat
  • Lethal Force

Armed travelers are expected to know the firearm laws in the states they will be visiting. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and won't garner vacationers any leniency if they afoul of the rules because they didn't do their homework.

Traveling Tip 2: CPLs Are Limited To Home Privileges
A CPL licensee can only exercise concealed carry privileges recognized in his home state. For example, in Michigan a pistol is the only self-defense apparatus that a citizen can carry concealed in Michigan. Thus, if a Michigan licensee travels to a more "liberal" reciprocal state, he will only be allowed to carry a concealed pistol in that state.

Two years ago I visited the great state of Kentucky to attend the 2007 Gun Rights Policy Convention. Kentucky's version of our Michigan CPL Permit is called a CCDW (Concealed Carry Deadly Weapon). Their CCDW allows its residents to carry concealed devices - including pistols - that are illegal for Michigan residents to tote at home: batons, throwing stars, TASERs, stun guns, brass knuckles, and etc.

Thus, while in Kentucky I legally carried a concealed pistol. However, I could not carry the other "tools" that local state residents could carry. In a likewise fashion, a traveler from Kentucky with a CCDW could only carry a pistol in the state of Michigan. The limitation in this case is that those other devices - while legal in Kentucky - are not allowed in Michigan.

Bottom Line
As a gun rights activist, I believe that a person's right to carry a firearm should not be infringed simply because he crossed the state line. However, the law is the law and should be obeyed until we have the laws changed. There is a process for changing laws. We need to band together and get the laws amended. Until then, do your research before traveling outside of the state and stay in compliance of all firearm laws.

Be safe!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

5 Lame Gifts You Should NOT Give To Gun-Owners

Persons, desiring to give a "thoughtful" gift to a gun-owning friend or family member, may be in a quandary as to what they should buy. The general thought is that the donor wants to show the donee that the donor appreciates his hobby which the donor may not share. Be admonished, however, that no matter how well intentioned a desire to make a good impression on a donee, the gift selection exercise could backfire if donor purchases a lame gift.

In no particular, the top five lame gifts to give a gun-owner are listed as the following:

Lame Gift Idea #1: A CCW Badge
Nothing quite says "Loser" like a possessor of one of these badges. They have absolutely no merit from a legal perspective. If a member of law enforcement "pulls over" a Concealed Pistol Licensee on a traffic stop, the display of this badge may not only draw a stern lecture but also a ticket for "failing to immediately disclose" his licensee status. The officer wants to see the state issued Concealed Pistol License - not a badge.

Lame Gift Idea #2: A Magazine Loader
Every self-respecting owner of a semi-automatic handgun should be able to manually load his magazines without the aid and assistance of a cheap mechanical device. Granted, the act of loading magazines is a somewhat daunting task at first, however it is a rite of passage he should go through. In time, the owner of an "auto-loader" should be able to master the art of magazine loading with a little practice.

Lame Gift Idea #3: An "Uncle Mike's" IWB Concealment Holster

This particular model is widely available and inexpensive. Thus, without intervention it could easily become a X-Mas stocking stuffer. If you insist on buying a holster for someone, do not buy this model. They are made of an easily damaged faux suede-like material and the holster's clip does not reliably stay in place when drawing. A good quality holster is made of leather and will cost at least $50.

Lame Gift Idea #4: A Fanny-Pack Concealment Pouch

A individual with this firearms carrying device is signaling to everyone around him that he is carrying a concealed firearm, which defeats the whole purpose of concealed carry. In short, it's a lame choice for a gift.

Lame Gift Idea #5: Concealment Vest
As is the case with Fanny-Pack Concealment Pouches, these vests are "dead-giveaways" that the possessor is carrying a concealed firearm. I have yet to see someone wear one of these vests and fit into the environment. A vest of this sort will more likely draw stares from onlookers trying to guess where the gun is hidden - bad idea.

Hopefully, after reviewing this list you will not commit a faux-pas by buying a lame gift for a gun-owning friend or family member. However, if the gift is intended as a gag, you may find a winning selection. Of course, if the donee actually likes the gift, the joke will have back-fired and you will have labeled the person as a lamer to others in the gun community.

Good Luck! You only have 6 shopping days until X-Mas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

X-Mas Gift Suggestions For Gun-Owning Friends and Family Members

It's Christmas time and you know what that means! Presents! Yes, it's that time of the year when we show our appreciation and love for the people in our lives by opening our wallets and purses to buy them gifts. Some people are easy to buy gifts for; others can be trickier.

For example, what do you buy the "gun enthusiast" in your family or close circle of friends? If you are not a firearm owner, you may be reluctant to find that special gift which effectively demonstrates "thoughtfulness." You just don't know what they might want. Well, worry no more! This article will suggest several gift ideas for your gun-toting relations and buddies! Buying a gift on this list for the gun-owner you know will earn you major cool points - for a non gun owner!

In no particular order, I would suggest the following gift ideas for gun owners:

1. Gun Cleaning Kit
2. Automobile Gun Safe
3. Zombie Paper Targets
4. Gun Range Bag
5. Tactical Flashlight
6. 1 Year NRA Membership
7. Gun Range Membership
8. Bulk Ammunition
9. Guns & Ammo Magazine Subscription
10. Laser Sight Grips
11. Spare Magazines
12. Ammo Magazine Holder
13. Magazine Extender
14. Reloading Kit
15. Electronic Hearing Protection
16. Ballistic Pad

Hurry! There's only seven shopping days until Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

12 Days Of X-Mas Holiday Detroit CCW Class Discounts

Hello all!

Rick's Firearm Academy is getting in on the X-mas spirit in a big way! We are currently conducting a promotion on a CCW/CPL Class that we are conducting on Sunday, December 28th, 2008.

The program is very simple. Register by 11:59 p.m. on or before the listed date and pay only that tuition amount for the class. The tuition prices for our class starts out at the "never-ever-to be seen-again" price of $89 + Range Expenses. With each passing day of our "12 Days of X-mas" promotion, the class price increases.

This class is our regular firearms safety training class that qualifies students to apply for a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License. The seating to this event is strictly limited to 15 students, so register early and get the biggest possible discount. This class will sell out quickly!

Please note that the tuition prices do not include range expenses for gun rental, range time, ammunition costs, and a target.

This promotion is not on our official web site. You can only access the discounted PayPal payment links from this blog and links sent from inside our e-newsletter. Each day, I will delete the expired links from this post. When the class is full, all remaining registration links will be deactivated!

Day 1 - Tuition $89 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/16/2008 - Register!
Day 2 - Tuition $95 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/17/2008 - Register!
Day 3 - Tuition $99 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/18/2008 - Register!
Day 4 - Tuition $105 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/19/2008 - Register!
Day 5 - Tuition $109 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/20/2008 - Register!
Day 6 - Tuition $115 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/21/2008 - Register!
Day 7 - Tuition $119 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/22/2008 - Register!
Day 8 - Tuition $125 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/23/2008 - Register!
Day 9 - Tuition $129 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/24/2008 - Register!
Day 10 - Tuition $135 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/25/2008 - Register!
Day 11 - Tuition $139 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/26/2008 - Register!
Day 12 - Tuition $145 + Expenses - Deadline: 12/27/2008 - Register!

Register Now!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Exactly How Many Guns Does It Take To Make An Arsenal?

I consider myself to be an objective, fair-minded, and informed individual on a myriad of issues. I can appreciate a good spirited debate on a variety of topics as much as the next person. However, it truly bothers me when I read a newspaper story or watch a TV newscast that features a firearms angle with a subtle but highly biased bent. I may even agree with the over-all point of the story but I take a major issue with how guns in the story are being portrayed.

Case in point: Today I was reading the Detroit Free Press newspaper and came across a story about a gentleman who was being investigated for having elk antlers. Apparently, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources asked law enforcement to get involved.

So, the police went snooping around his house and looked into his window. They saw four long guns and got a warrant. I guess we'll find out later if the warrant was validly issued. However, an eventual search led to the discovery of a "cache of 27 guns." The over-all point of the story is that the man in question is a felon and by law can't possess guns.

I don't agree that felons should be barred from owning guns, however, that is the current law of the land. I agree that the man should have obeyed the law and not illegally possessed the guns. My issue is that the story gives the hint or the suggestion that 27 guns is a cache. Exactly, how many guns make up a cache? It's almost as if it is crazy, unusual, or perhaps even wrong to have a "large" number of guns.

Exactly who gets to decide how many guns are too much for any one person to own? I am not in the mood for divulging how many firearms I own, but I feel that I should have as many guns as I desire and can legally afford to own. I wouldn't feel that it is my duty to count how many things of one type that a certain person owns and cast dispersions on their character because of it. Can you see absurd this line of reasoning could go?

Let's say for example, a particular person likes and collect rare vehicles. Jay Leno, the TV talk show guru would be a prime example. Published media reports have stated that Leno owns about 80 vintage automobiles, 80 collectible motorcycles, and an antique fire truck in his 17,000 square foot garage. Who is anyone to say that he owns too many? Exactly! No one. If he has the money and the space - he can own however many he wants.

Don't bother Jay Leno about his cars. While you are at it, don't bother law-abiding gun owners about how many guns they have either.

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Saturday, December 13th, 2008

I am conducting a CCW Class on Saturday, December 13th, 2008.

If you have a desire to:

- Learn personal protection strategies
- Protect yourself and your loved ones
- Learn how to shoot a handgun
- Learn self-defense & lethal force law
- Get a Concealed Pistol License

Register for this class ASAP!

Visit my website at Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit

Monday, December 8, 2008

7 Facts To Help You Overcome Your Fear Of Firearms

In my travels, I meet quite a few people who desire to take my CCW/CPL Personal Protection Class but hesitate because of a fear of the firearm. It seems, that these prospective students have been conditioned to believe propaganda that distorts the truth about firearms. This article will dispel some commonly held beliefs about firearms in the minds of these future students.

Fact 1: A Gun Can't Hurt Anyone By Itself
Many people fear firearms because they have an irrational belief that a gun is inherently evil. Let's set the record straight - a gun is neither good or bad. It is simply a tool which can be used for good or evil purposes. A gun can't cause harm to anyone all by itself. In all the years I have been teaching firearm safety, I have yet to see a handgun jump off a counter and "do something" all by itself.

Fact 2: Guns Don't Just "Go Off."

It doesn't surprise me that many people believe that a handgun can just "go off" all by itself. This myth is perpetuated in the media whenever someone is unintentionally harmed by a handgun. The witness, speaking before the TV cameras, will say something to the effect of "the gun went off." Let the truth be told, guns can't be discharged by themselves. The only way that a handgun can be discharged is by its trigger being moved - either by a finger or another object in the trigger guard.

Fact 3: Guns Do Not Cause Crime
Many people like to blame guns for crime. A gun may be used to facilitate the commission of a crime, however, it does not cause the crime. A crime is caused by the criminal intent and subsequent actions of the criminal. A criminal with malevolent intent to perform a criminal act does not need a handgun.

Blaming a handgun for a robbery is like:
  • Blaming a match for an arson
  • Blaming a telephone for a ransom phone call
  • Blaming a car for drunk driving
  • Blaming a computer for hacking

Furthermore, there is ample evidence and research that proves that as more guns are present in a community, crime rates decrease. This is due to the fact that heavily armed areas present a hazardous working environment for criminals. This phenomenon has the added effect of also protecting unarmed persons because criminals have no idea as to who is armed or not.

Fact 4: Owning A Handgun Doesn't Make A Sane Person Crazy
A handgun is simply an object. It does not have any effect on the state of a person's mental fitness. A normal well-adjusted and mentally competent person will not become a deranged psychopath simply because he chose to exercise his Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."

In contrast, a crazy gun-owner is just as crazy without a gun. If current laws on the books are enforced, persons with mental illnesses could not be able to acquire firearms. This failure of our system was best seen at work when Seung-Hui Cho, an individual who was previously adjudicated as mentally unsound by a court of law, killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.

Fact 5: Pistol-Free Zones Are Not Safe Locations
Many well-intentioned but misguided law-makers enact legislation that has the opposite effect. Many states have so-called "Pistol-Free Zones" where law abiding citizens can't carry handguns. However, the law fails to address how criminals will be forced to comply with the law. Criminals, by definition, break the law. In fact, many criminals ply their nefarious trade in these "safety zones" with impunity because they "know" that their victims will be unarmed.

Fact 6: Outlawing Guns Will Not Keep Them Out Of The Hands Of Criminals
Many people advocate the outright abolition of firearms, despite the existence of the Constitution. Their rationale is that if guns are outlawed then nobody could be shot or assaulted with a firearm. Once again, criminals do not obey the law. They would still be able to acquire guns - through illegal means just as they do today. Disarming law-abiding citizens would mean two things: criminals would commit robberies without fear while armed and that only the police would have guns. Both scenarios are equally chilling.

Fact 7: If Fundamental Gun Safety Rules Are Followed, Nothing Bad Can Happen
There are five fundamental gun safety rules. If they are obeyed nothing bad can happen. They are listed as the following:
  • Always Treat A Firearm As If It Is Loaded
  • Always Keep A Gun Pointed In A Safe Direction
  • Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
  • Always Keep Your Gun Unloaded Until It Is In Use
  • Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Beyond It

A new gun owner can learn these fundamental rules under the guidance of a credible fireams instructor.

Bottom line: violent criminals are here to stay. There will only be more of them on the streets as they are released early to ease governmental budgetary constraints. Criminals have no qualms about using firearms to get what they want: your personal property, your dignity, and maybe your life. Get over your irrational fear of guns and protect yourself; the police can try but they can't.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Future Taser Option?

On November 12th of this year, Michigan State Representative Rick Jones created quite a stir at the State Capitol in Lansing. On that date, he voluntarily agreed to be "TASERed" by a personal protection device distributor while two Eaton County Sheriff's Deputies held him up on his feet.

Jones allowed himself to be "TASERed" during a show-and-tell presentation before a committee hearing that was considering whether to take action on a package of bills that could eventually allow Michigan residents, with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPLs), to carry these devices for personal protection. Currently, only law enforcement officers (LEOs) are allowed to possess them in the state of Michigan.

What Are TASERs?
The TASER was invented in 1974 by Jack Cover, a NASA scientist. He officially named his invention as a "Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle" as a tribute to a fictional character from an adventure novel series in the early 1900's. Thus, TASER is an acronym.

A TASER is a device, which in many cases has the same general physical form of a handgun, but instead of ammunition cartridges, uses two special metal probes that are fueled by a nitrogen based payload which propels itself along an aerial path with its attached wiring into a target up to a maximum distance of fifteen feet.

Upon TASER activation, the delivered metal probes deliver a pulsating shock - via the attached wiring - which lasts for a full 30 second cycle unless it is intentionally shortened by the user.

A TASER charge uses an 18 - 26 Watt electrical signal to completely override the target's central nervous system (CNS) and directly controls the target's skeletal muscles. The TASERed target's muscles are forced to contract and as result the target is essentially forced to assume the fetal position on the ground.

In theory, a 30 second incapacitation of a target could enable a victim enough time to safely escape danger. The victim at this time could either simply drop and discard the TASER while making a hasty exit or he could simply remove the attached wiring from the TASER before retreating and have - as a result of this action - the functional equivalent of a stun gun.

A stun gun is a personal protection device that is less powerful than a TASER. It uses an 7 - 14 Watt electrical signal to disrupt a target's sensory nervous system (SNS). The biggest difference between a stun gun and a TASER is that the stun gun must actually come into contact with a target to be effective.

If Legalized, Should Citizens Use Them?
Many people advocate the use of TASERs principally because of its perceived reputation as being less lethal than a firearm. While it is true that TASERs are designed not to cause permanent damage to a target, there are numerous documented cases in which a TASERed person had died as a result. Thus, death is a possible outcome when a TASER is used and applicable laws on self defense and lethal force should be followed when using a TASER.

TASERS are not without any down-sides. For starters, a TASER can only fired once. If a victim misses, he would then only be armed with the equivalent of a stun gun which requires him to be very close to his assailant. Further, TASERs designed for civilian use can only used at a maximum distance of 15 feet. In contrast, most firearms are designed to be fired multiple times and can be used across greater distances.

Michigan is the only state that grants CPLs but does not allow TASERs to be used by civilians for self-defense. Personally, I believe that a firearm is the best personal protection device. However, if a change in the law allows state residents to use TASERs, more people would apply for CPLs. This consequence would lead to more citizens being educated on lethal force, self-defense, firearms, and personal protection strategies. In short, Michigan would become an even safer state.

It's Never Convenient To Be Victimized

At 5:00 a.m. this morning, I was awakened from a sound slumber by a pounding of my front door. I wasn't expecting anyone at this forsaken hour, so I assumed the worse possible scenario. I quickly threw on a pair of jeans, jumped into my loafers, and reached back over to my bed to grab one of my trusty and "always-ready-for-action" 9mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic 9mm handguns.

I looked through the front door's peep-hole and saw a familiar face. It was the "newspaper guy." No, I don't know his name and I suspect that he doesn't know my name either. However, I recognize this guy and he's shouting something. After I fight through the adrenaline flowing through my veins, I pull back the blinds on a nearby window to get a better look at who is on the front porch. I see that he appears to be alone and noticeably jumps when he sees a gun in my hand.

It is now clear to me what he has been saying. He was telling me that my car was vandalized. Now, I am incensed. I thank him for delivering the bad news and I head out the door towards my vehicle. A few steps into my trek, I immediately notice that several boxed items, that were in my trunk, were opened and littered into the street.

My awareness is level is at "alert status" and I am looking for anybody who might be in the area. Not a peep is to be heard anywhere. Nor is there anyone around. I survey the damage. Apparently, some lost souls felt like breaking out a passenger side window to gain access to my car. Once inside, they looked for anything of value. Since I never leave anything of "real value" in the car. They didn't get anything valuable other than the four wheels.

Yes, that's right. They took all four of my wheels - rims and tires. My car was left on a mixed-matched set of brick pavers from someone's yard. At this point, I rolled my eyes and said "the word," despite it being banned by the NAACP.

I had just experienced a trespass. No, no one broke into my house. No, no one had the audacity to try to rob me. However, I am still ticked off.

Yes, I have been robbed at gunpoint before, so I know what that also feels like. Between the two incidents - the robbery and the vehicle being vandalized - nothing is different within me as far as how I feel about either incident. I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.

There is a side of me that wished that I had caught my malefactors in the act. That, obviously is the passionate and emotional side of me. The other side of me is thankful that I didn't catch them in act.

You see, in Michigan - unlike Texas - you can't just blast vandals who tear up your car. I know the law. I have it taught to my students over the law few years - twice a month - during my CCW/CPL Classes. The rational side of me is thankful for not having to prove that I act according to what I preach - acting lawfully and responsibly.

So, here I am - at home. I called off from work. Yeah, I still have a job. One day, it may become my "side-occupation" but, as of now, I still punch a time clock Monday through Friday. I had to assemble my documentation and make a report with the local police department, file a claim with my insurance company, arrange to have my wheels replaced, and have a company come out and fix my window. What a waste of a day. Time, at this point in my life, is my most valued commodity.

All I can do now is count my blessings. One, I didn't kill anybody. Two, I have insurance and can be made whole - other than having a lost day. Three, I own a handgun and can respond to loud poundings on my front door in the wee hours of the morning.

How's your day?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Michigan County Gun Boards: Appearance Tips

Some Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants will face an additional hurdle in their quest for the privilege of carrying a concealed firearm: an appearance before their respective County Gun Board.

The passage of Michigan PA 381 of 2000 essentially removed most of the discretionary authority from the County Gun Boards. Thus, instead of the County Gun Board having the last word as to whether an applicant will receive a CPL, a CPL applicant "shall" receive a CPL once he has demonstrated that he has met all of the the state's rigid requirements. Many Michigan County Gun Boards, however, still require an appearance before them as part of the official process. An applicant's failure to appear "without valid reason" can lead to a legally valid denial of the CPL.

Many CPL applicants view an invitation to appear before their respective County Gun Boards as a positive development, as a possible alternative could have been a "flat-out" CPL rejection. The prudent applicant, however, should view this appearance requirement as another opportunity to be denied their desired CPL. Thus, the appearance requirement must not be taken lightly.

An appearance before a County Gun Board is an official proceeding. CPL applicants should treat their impending participation in it with the same level of respect and reverence as they would if they were criminal defendants facing a trial. All applicants are sworn in by a County Deputy Clerk before they are interrogated. Further, all statements made by applicants are recorded and are kept as an official record to be stored and archived by the County Clerk for an unspecified period of time.

One the first things that a CPL applicant should decide, upon receiving a County Gun Board Appearance Notification, is whether he should hire an attorney to represent him at the hearing.

The CPL statute authorizes the County Gun Boards to conduct investigations on CPL applicants to the extent of determining whether he qualifies for a CPL. At the time that there has been enough evidence discovered to make that determination, the investigation ceases.

If an applicant "technically" meets all of the state's requirements but may have an item in his background that might make a "jittery" County Gun Board reluctant to approve his permit, a lawyer should be hired to represent the applicant. The lawyer's role in this process, at that point, is to explain why the applicant should be issued a CPL while at the same time preserve grounds for a legally viable appeal in Circuit Court if the applicant is rejected for a CPL.

Notwithstanding any items that are of particular interest to the County Gun Board about a specific applicant with "unusual" circumstances, the County Gun Board may ask an applicant a series of questions to determine "his suitability" as defined under the statute for a CPL. Questions that they often ask applicants, include but is not limited to the following list:

  • Why are you requesting a CPL?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • Have you ever been arrested on a drug-related charge?
  • Have you ever been arrested on a an alcohol-related charge?
  • Do you have any history of a mental illness?
  • Have you ever received a PPO from someone?
  • Have you ever issued a PPO against someone?
  • Have you ever served in the military?

Another consideration for a County Gun Board appearance could include the CPL applicant making the decision to take the day off from work. Gun Boards pretty much conduct business as they see fit. As such, they may tell you to report at 9:00 a.m. and not start conducting hearings until 11:00 a.m. They are not required to conduct business at any set time nor are they required to conduct hearings in any specific order. The best advice for a CPL applicant is for him to arrive at least an hour early, for him plan to stay late, and for him to not forget to bring his Appearance Letter with him.

Furthermore, if only for the sake of appearances, the CPL applicant should be dressed for business. You may not "have to" dress smartly but it only makes good sense to dress for success and make a good first impression.

Moreover, proper etiquette should also be observed: take off your hat, turn off your cell phone and pager, don't chew gum, or be a disruption by talking when other applicants are being vetted for their CPLs. All things considered, depending on your circumstances, proper behavior might make a difference especially if others are treating this exercise lightly.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How To Renew A Michigan Concealed Pistol License

Ask The Michigan Firearms Instructor

Q: How To Renew A Michigan Concealed Pistol License

No Additional Training Classes Are Required

Occasionally, I receive phone calls from persons inquiring about my "Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Renewal Classes." Let the truth be told, I don't have one available for students to take for the simple fact that the state of Michigan does not require it for CPL renewals. That fact, however, doesn't stop the charlatans and con artists in the firearms training field from "suggesting" it to prospective students.

I believe that honesty is truly the best policy. Accordingly, I would not feel right registering someone for a CPL Class that he did not have to take unless he was apprised of that fact and made the conscious decision to still take the class because it made sense for him to do so. Besides, I am just honored that he elected to contact me instead of calling the firearms instructor that originally trained him. That subject alone could be the basis of another article.

Many people, when their CPLs are about to expire, make an informed decision to retake the Basic Pistol Training Class for principally two reasons. For one, they know that in the relatively short few years that they have had their CPL, the laws governing the permit have changed sufficiently to justify a re-take. Furthermore, many people elect to re-take the class because they haven't fired their firearm since their original training class and want to brush up on their shooting skills under the oversight of a gun safety expert.

The CPL Renewal Process And Considerations

Renewing a Michigan Concealed Pistol License is a fairly straight forward process. As before, the person must submit a completed CPL Application at the County Clerk's Office in the county in which they currently reside - even if the county is different from the county which issued the original permit.

Be advised that at least one major metro-Detroit county web site has an outdated application on its web site which may not be accepted when you show up to turn it in for processing. You should always download the application from the Michigan State Police web site for principally this reason. The application should be submitted with enough lead time to allow "normal" processing. For most Michigan counties, you want to re-apply at least three months before your current permit expires.

As an aside, I spoke with one of my students today, from perhaps the slowest county in the state, who informed me that it took her nine months to get her permit in the mail. If she had talked to me months ago, I would have advised her of certain rights she had under the statute.

Furthermore, the application fee for renewals is exactly the same amount for first-time licenses: $105. Obviously, the state of Michigan is making a few bucks in generated revenue with this process; the state of Indiana only charges $75 for its CPL and it's good for a life-time unlike the relatively short time period of five years in this state.

After you pay your application fee, fold and staple your receipt to your current CPL. Depending on which county you reside, you may one day need to prove that your "expired" CPL is still being evaluated for a renewal.

Moreover, you will be required to sign a statement that you have reviewed your original Basic Pistol Safety Training Class educational materials for at least three hours AND that you have visited a target range and practiced firing a firearm for at least one hour within the last six months immediately preceding the date you submit your CPL renewal application. With respect to the shooting requirement, I know of at least one county that wants to see an applicant's receipts from the target range.

On the positive side of the renewal process, you will not have to be re-fingerprinted if the last time your prints were taken occurred after January 1, 2006; this was the date that the Michigan State Police started storing CPL applicant fingerprints with their "automated fingerprint comparison system."

Good Luck!

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
Phone: 313.733.74

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An Unsolicited Email From A Religious Critic

As a firearms instructor, I receive a lot of unsolicited communication from folks who do not have an interest in the services that I provide - firearms instruction. For whatever reason, they want to impart their moral judgement on what I do, as opposed to not reading my materials and attending to their life. Usually, I shrug these communications off and keep doing what I do best - teach. Well, today for whatever reason is different. Read below the unedited email I received today. I will post my response to it tomorrow.
"Training people to use pistols in a defensive way, i dunno know about that man. It's only impowering our young generation to kill each other regardless if it's for protection or not, consider what will happen now that you've train at least 10 or more people, what will happen when anger strikes them.

I am sure you've got much knowledge... and are wise in decision making, but i am 24 years old and i am telling you that had it not been for Jesus in my life i would be inquiring for information on your pistol training.

Just my thoughts, have a great day my friend!

Happy Holidays!"

(Name With-held)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Traffic Stops

Drivers with Concealed Pistol Licenses have certain statutorily defined duties to perform when pulled over by law enforcement officers (LEO) in the state of Michigan. Since there are no uniform state-wide procedures for LEOs when this situation happens, an uncertain environment exists where one misstep by either party has the potential for causing a disaster.

For example, on December 13th of 2007, the Detroit Free Press newspaper reported that the Detroit City Council had recently approved a $480,000 settlement payout to a survivor of a traffic stop conducted by a Detroit police officer.

Apparently, Mr. Melvin Rivers, a 63 year old male CPL licensee was shot - twice in the stomach and once in the chest - when the officer noticed a handgun resting atop the empty front passenger seat. Reportedly, Mr. Rivers had argued in his lawsuit that he had informed the officer that he had a CPL and at no time reached for or moved toward his firearm.

This article will specify a motorist's statutorily defined duties during traffic stops and suggest a few tips to minimize the chances of a mishap caused by uncertainty.

First, when directed to pull over by LEO a driver should carefully maneuver his vehicle through traffic to safely park his vehicle. Once the vehicle is stationary, the driver should turn off the engine. If the traffic stop occurs after dark, the driver should park in a well lit location and turn on the vehicle's interior lights.

Once this has been accomplished the driver should slowly but deliberately assemble the documentation that the LEO will most likely want to see: Driver's License, Vehicle Registration, Proof Of Insurance, AND the Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). The documentation should physically be in the hand closest to the window while both hands are positioned on the steering wheel at the "10 and 2" positions. If the driver has a handgun in the vehicle, it should be positioned out of view so that it doesn't "spook" the officer.

Drivers with CPLs, who are not armed, do not have a duty to inform the officer that they do not have a loaded handgun in their car. However, since their CPL statuses are connected to both their vehicle's registrations and their Driver's Licenses, it is a good idea to immediately disclose that fact to the officer when he approaches the vehicle. Further, if the driver is armed, he has a legal duty to inform the officer that he has a CPL AND has a gun in his possession.

The Michigan CPL statute authorizes the officer to temporarily take possession of the driver's firearm for the duration of the stop, if he so desires. After the stop has concluded the police officer must return it back to the driver. If the police officer wants to see the gun or take possession of it, the traffic stop gets interesting. At this point, the driver may want to question the officer as to how he would like for the firearm to be produced.

Caution: The driver should not do anything until he has verified that all police officers present - the one talking to him and any others who may present behind him - know that he will be drawing a gun. Failure to do so may result in a horrific incident.

Traffic stops are further complicated when the officer wants to take possession of the handgun. A firearm owner who has had gun safety training knows that he is not supposed to give a loaded handgun to anyone: the magazine should be removed and the action should be opened to verify that the gun is cleared.

A driver attempting to do this could have his actions misinterpreted. On the other hand, if he hands over the loaded gun to the officer in this highly stressed environment an accident is just waiting to occur - an accidental or negligent discharge.

In essence, the traffic stop language as defined in PA 381 of 2000, was poorly crafted and is a disaster waiting to happen. At a bare minimum, the state of Michigan's chief law enforcement training agency - MCOLES - should craft state-wide procedures to handle traffic stops involving CPL licensees and LEOs.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Michigan CPL law should be changed such that police officers are not allowed to take possession of the CPL licensee's handgun. The police officer is not made any safer when given a gun by a law-abiding CPL licensee. In fact, earlier that day, that very same officer may have written a ticket to a person illegally carrying a concealed weapon and didn't know it.