A study by the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) showed using a gun in self-defense is more effective if the carrier is properly trained and maintains his or her skill level. That in and of itself is no surprise.
What the Victims Action Council is trying to do in this “study” is leverage a conclusion that concealed-carriers already take to heart: Train so they can deploy their firearms effectively and safely. At Law Shield, we heartily recommend training for our members because our members are fully aware of the criminal and civil liabilities inherent in the self-defense use of handguns.
In contrast, the Victims Action Council is pushing mandated training as a means of curtailing civilian self-defense use of firearms.
Purportedly, the research project, “Does the Quality and Frequency of Training Determine the Realistic Use of Firearms by Citizens for Self-Defense?” was conducted by professors of criminology, sociology and quantitative research at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Maryland at the Prince George’s County Police Department’s training facility on April 9 and 10, 2015.
Using the same simulation system on which Prince George’s County police officers train, volunteer participants were placed in three real-life scenarios — a carjacking, an armed robbery, and a suspected larceny.
Participants already had their guns drawn so they would not lose time retrieving them from holsters. Shooter’s reactions, including judgment and accuracy, were measured and recorded.
In the carjacking scenario, most if not all gun carriers would have been “killed,” regardless of their training level, the group said.
In the armed-robbery scenario, all the carriers who engaged the robbers got “killed.” (Many did not engage because the robbers did not see them so they didn’t feel threatened.)
In the larceny scenario, no one was “killed” because the suspect did not have a gun. However, the unarmed suspect was “killed” by carriers who used lethal force before ascertaining whether or not he had a gun.
In all of these scenarios, civilians, including trained ones, were unable to approach the accuracy and judgment attained by trained police officers.
“The study should be used to inform public policy,” said Elliot Fineman, CEO of National Gun Victims Action Council. “It proves that high skill levels must be attained and maintained for realistic self-defense when carrying in public. Just like an athlete’s skills deteriorate without ongoing training, low-skill carriers cannot defend themselves and are a threat to public safety.”
Mr. Fineman’s statement is illustrative of what NGVAC is attempting to do: slow the fast-expanding number of people who carry handguns. The premise is simple to understand: As more people recognize the difficulties and risks of carrying, and accept and prepare for those risks, Mr. Fineman’s job of disarming them becomes more difficult.
Five states have passed laws banning the passing of any legislation that would require a gun carrier to have any training, and nine more are planning to do the same.
Extensive training requirements appear to be just another way for NGVAC and other anti-gun rights groups to stop people from arming themselves for self-defense.
Is training a good idea? Of course, we, and every other pro-gun group recognize the importance of training and encourage it. After all, those who choose to carry a handgun for self-defense accept the responsibilities that go with that freedom.