If you are anti-guns, or afraid of guns, or just don't like them and don't want them in your house, then this blog is for you.
(It might just change your mind)

Monday, August 5, 2013

One reporter's experience in a CHL class

Learning (not) to Shoot
By David White

Seven years ago, only 1.6 percent of eligible Texans had a concealed handgun license (CHL) doubling to 3.1 percent today. During the first six months of 2013, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued 84,640 new CHLs, compared to 35,071 issued during the same time period in 2012 – a trend showing this number will more than double by the end of 2013.

Why the spike? Perhaps it’s relevant to mention that since 2006, the United States has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in its history, including one at a Connecticut elementary school in December.
Are Americans feeling more need for protection? Is there cause for concern with an increased number of Texans carrying concealed weapons?

According to CHL instructor and National Rifle Association (NRA) activist Mike Cox, everyone should take comfort in the fact that more responsible citizens are learning gun safety.

CHL instructor Mike Cox talks about firearm safety as well as the ever-changing laws that deal with carrying a concealed handgun. (photo by David White)

Cox teaches a 10-hour CHL course from his home in Driftwood and at Cabela’s. On July 13, Cox taught a class of seven students.

“Take a look at the people around you. These are responsible upstanding citizens that want to know how to protect themselves,” he said. “We’re not just a bunch of Joe Six-Packs brandishing guns.”
Cox says his students come from all walks of life.

“Some are retired people, some are recent widows, some are school teachers, some are businessmen that have to travel,” he said.

His CHL course concentrated on three basic areas: the ever-changing laws regarding handguns, conflict resolution and avoiding conflict altogether. Cox also shared his passion about protecting Americans’ second amendment rights.

A lot of myths about gun laws were dispelled that day as the class discussed various scenarios. Questions arose about when it’s okay to shoot someone.

According to Cox, “It’s against the law to shoot somebody… It is illegal!”

Displaying a handbook containing Texas concealed handgun laws, Cox said “… but these give you a defense against prosecution if it does happen.”

Cox warned that if anyone is involved in a shooting, even if they are acting within their rights, that person should expect to be arrested, spend at least one night in jail and face a long legal battle. He cautioned that even if a jury finds someone not guilty, civil suits may be brought on by others involved.

The best weapon in your arsenal is your brain,” Cox said. “Just avoid the whole situation if you can.”
Texas has what’s called a “Stand Your Ground” law giving individuals the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.

But Cox stressed, “If you can retreat, you should. Never shoot to protect your stuff… You’ll get over your missing stuff faster than you’ll get over having shot someone over it.”

Cox also said that in most cases when people use firearms to protect themselves, they are within arms reach of the attacker and are usually already under attack. He said 68 percent of Texans who used a handgun for self-defense shot their attacker from the ground.

At the end of the10-hour course, a couple of students questioned whether they would even apply for a CHL, because of the responsibility and liability involved. Without a CHL it is still legal to carry a concealed handgun in a car or home.

Number of Texas Concealed Handgun License Owners from 2002-2012

Year                 CHL Licenses          Percentage of Adult Population Adult Pop. with CHL
2012                584,850 18,840,803          3.1%
2010               461,724 17,501,310             2.6%
2008              314,574 16,899,229             1.86%
2006              258,162 16,212,627             1.59%
2004              239,940 15,500,225            1.55%
2002              224,172 14,959,247             1.5%


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