Saturday, September 04, 2004


"We recently took the safety course required to obtain a "concealed-carry" permit for a handgun..... We were very impressed by the confidence and alertness of our instructors and others in class. One instructor told us that when he is carrying his gun he does not play the role of "devil's advocate," nor act provocatively, because he realizes confrontations can escalate and deadly force is not the solution to mere disagreements. In our society, where most people seem to assume an entitlement to a second chance whenever they make a mistake in judgment, it was refreshing to encounter the attitude that our actions have consequences. The class stressed that one shouldn't handle guns when drinking or even when fatigued. Those who can legally carry deadly force are that much more aware of the consequences of making stupid mistakes, in every aspect of their lives. Such an increased awareness and alertness would make the world a safer place if more people adopted it....

There is a tremendous difference between shooting at targets on the range and trying to save your life when being attacked by an armed assailant! Statistics reveal that even expert police marksmen only achieve about 40% accuracy in such stressful situations. Take this into consideration when the media tells you how many rounds the police fired during a shoot-out, trying to imply that "unnecessary force" was used.

In Virginia, you cannot legally use deadly force to simply protect your property. You should only resort to it if you fear serious bodily harm to yourself or someone else. We were told in no uncertain terms that if we shoot and kill someone, it's a homicide. A jury will determine if it was a 'justifiable' homicide. In fact, except in your own home, it is your duty to retreat, to remove yourself from a public situation if possible before it becomes dangerous. Isn't that comforting? The law-abiding citizens who go through the trouble and expense of acquiring a handgun, taking the training and getting a permit are actually those who are most likely to use deadly force responsibly. They're not the trouble-makers. This of course, does not mean you can't call the police, but a gun permit does not mean you're a law enforcement officer.

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