We believe the Second Amendment offers protection for all law-abiding citizens’. For this reason, we would like to recognize two people who have taken the steps to empower, educate, and protect the Second Amendment rights of the Deaf and hard of hearing.
Teaching in American Sign Language
Lara Wagner of All Can Carry and Jonathan Galloway from Nardis Gun both recognized the need for firearms courses taught in American Sign Language (ASL).
“I met a fellow CHL holder and asked them what their favorite part of the class was," Wagner recounted. "They replied that they 'liked learning about the defense-of-the-third-person law'. My face must have looked confused because they continued, 'You know, the one where you can shoot to stop a fight between two people'.”
As she suspected, the student had been the only deaf person in attendance. Interpreting the class were two sign-language students from a local college. The students were not certified interpreters.
“It was then that I realized I could offer a better, more accurate, and, frankly, safer teaching method for deaf students seeking firearms education,” Wagner said.
Jonathon Galloway at Nardis Gun Club had a similar revelation. He had a conversation with a deaf friend who could not find an LTC course offered in sign language. Galloway knew he had the skills and the passion to create one himself, and that's just what he did.
Most ranges and LTC schools struggle to offer adequate options for the Deaf or hard of hearing. Even when competent and qualified interpreters are supplied, it can be almost impossible for students to pay attention to the different aspects of the class simultaneously. While it is a step in the right direction, making interpreters available is often just an attempt at adequacy, instead of a true effort for equality.
Recounting Stories of The Past
These students simply want to exercise their Second Amendment rights and learn how to be safe, law-abiding citizens. However, they often struggled to find a place that catered to their needs. Over the years, Wagner and Galloway collected stories that confirmed the difficulties the Deaf and hard of hearing often face.
Wagner recounted one student who had tried to attain an LTC in the past. This student was told by the instructor to “just sit in the front row and read the PowerPoint while I teach the rest of the class.”
Another student was promised an interpreter for a class on three separate occasions. Each time they showed up, there was no interpreter in sight. But perhaps the most disturbing was one LTC hopeful who was told by a gun range to have a 9-year-old family member interpret the class for them.
Interpreters Strive for Equality
Wagner and Galloway both offer LTC and basic firearms classes entirely in ASL. Class sizes for deaf or hard of hearing students are generally smaller. Classroom set-ups are typically arranged into a horseshoe or U shape. This layout is more accommodating and comfortable as everyone is ensured a clear line of vision.
Galloway utilizes computer-controlled targets to prep his deaf students and prepares them in advance for drills and scenarios. He also utilizes a flashlight to “sweep the range” and alert the students to various commands.
Wagner uses lighting as a substitute for verbal instructions as well. Her husband, an engineer, helped her design a remote-controlled lighting system that she brings to classes.
Making A Difference
Galloway has the privilege of instructing exclusively at Nardis Gun Club. This club features an indoor range, store, gunsmith department and training department that is open to all members of the public, including the Deaf.
Through her organization, All Can Carry, Wagner travels to local gun ranges and teaches classes there. Lara holds classes at Eagle Gun Range, Shoot Smart Indoor Range and Training Center of Fort Worth and others.
Whether teaching a course at Nardis or another welcoming facility, Wagner and Galloway make it as easy as possible for their students to earn their LTC and to take charge of their personal self-defense.
For More Information
To learn more about Deaf or Hard of Hearing classes, email Jonathan Galloway at [email protected], or Lara Wagner at [email protected]. Weirdo
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