Training, Tradition, and Two World Wars

by: Justin Hinckley
LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

There is a veneration for tradition in the gun community. Perhaps a result of the historically conservative bent to the community overall, this love of tradition often manifests as a kneejerk rejection of new technology and shifting training doctrine. Now, the gun community is not immune to its share of fads and trends that catch on quickly, burn hot and bright for their 15 minutes, then die out once said thing has been tested by those the community relies on to sanity check new stuff. Because of this, a healthy degree of skepticism is needed in browsing the latest endorsements from your favorite gunfluencers (trademark pending). But this goes both ways. "That’s how we've always done it" or "that's how I was taught 20 years ago" are no better than "it's new so it must be better." This article is not meant as an attack on tradition, per se, but is meant to overtly challenge the dogma and relics held within that tradition simply for their own sake. Let's burn our sacred cows and make shiny veal out of our golden calves.

I recently watched a video of one of these aforementioned gunfluencers discussing the trend of concealed carriers putting lights on their guns and condemning the action based on the fallacious refrain loved by the anti-gun crowd to defame concealed carry in general: when's the last time you needed it? Certainly, needing your gun is a statistical rarity, more-so if you need to activate your light while doing so. Glossing over the obvious and weak argument normally reserved for the gun haters, perhaps we can evaluate such ideas and the reactions to them with less outright dismissal. And what else is the statement "you’ll never need it" meant to do besides dismiss an argument? You can’t prove that statement false, there is no open curiosity implicit in it, and it does not offer the opportunity for clarification of the person being addressed. Why do you feel you need a light? Let us accept that perhaps our view of the world is not the only rational one. Indeed, step one may simply be to restrain our desire to ridicule until we ask enough probing questions to find out if our peer is full of crap and deserving of said ridicule.

While at the range recently I was listening as a vintage shooter told me about how red dot optics were a useless gimmick since you're not gonna have time to use your sights in a real fight anyway. What data, personal experience, or testing did this gentleman cite to back up his argument? "Trust me, sonny."

Curiously, this gentleman embraced certain technological development, showing me his 9mm Staccato 2011 he uses for home defense. I guess those were acceptable upgrades to the 1911, the fabled pistol first discussed in some translations of the book of Genesis. In all seriousness, it seems an axiom in some circles that useful technological developments on firearms ended sometime around the turn of the century... the 20th century that is. This is the school of thought that says things like "if it's good enough to win two world wars, it's good enough for me" as justification for why they carry variants of the capable, but rustic, Colt 1911. They tout shot placement and "stopping power" over gimmicks like polymer frames, striker-fire systems, double-stack magazines, defensive ammunition, lights, optics, or kydex holsters.

So, what to do to make us, as a community, advance with useful, safe technology and avoid the litany of gimmicks and unsafe practices out there? For starters, I would encourage all of us to start asking the question "why" to ourselves about everything we do. Why do I carry the gun, caliber, and ammunition that I do? Is there a good reason to change any of these? If so, why is that a good reason and is it a good enough reason to make the change? Why do I shoot the targets I do at the range? Why do I shoot at the distance I do? Why do I shoot the drills I do (or don’t)? Once we have answered a personally sufficient number of these questions for ourselves and our actions, it may be time to look at others. I think most of us can agree that approaching things with genuine curiosity and a desire to learn is better than approaching things close-mindedly and with pre-conceived judgment. Certainly, if someone were to ask me why I carry appendix instead of telling me I’ll shoot my crotch doing so, that person is more likely to have a pleasant if not engaging conversation, instead of me turning and ignoring him or her.

Several training groups I follow on social media have rules related to people challenging others on a topic. The rule is usually something like: if you want to criticize someone who posts videos of themselves training, you better have posted some of your own videos in the group for people to see from what authority you speak. AKA if you want to act like the expert, you better post yourself doing some expert stuff first. Armchair quarterbacks not welcome. There is a reason most people are much more polite and humble at your local shooting match than they are on the internet. It's the same reason all your gun friends talk big but get real quiet once it's time to put rounds downrange in public. It's easy to talk crap until you're the one in the spotlight.

1 reaction Share

Gun Laws and the Holocaust

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

Read this article, and then check out Justin's site, Port City Firearms. Support your fellow Libertarians and protect yourself at the same time!

"The Nazis loosened gun laws right before the Holocaust"

This is a refrain I've encountered from the anti-gun crowd a few times. Mostly uttered by the slightly more experienced, but no more informed, types it seems this phrase has mostly arisen as a debate tactic. The assumption being the pro-gun person debating with them is not familiar enough with Nazi gun laws to deny the “citation.” So far no one I have seen utter such nonsense is actually able to cite the law they're supposedly referencing. In this article we will go over the gun laws of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich to arm you with the facts to debunk the above quote. Luckily, there is a succinct book written by Stephen Halbrook, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State", which is where all dates and details are taken from for this article.

First, we should acknowledge that, like most misinformation, there is a grain of truth to the idea that the Nazis loosened gun laws before the Holocaust. This notion is so vague as to be useless but let's talk details. The gun law I assume most people refer to when they cite loosened gun laws would be the 1938 German Weapons Act. This law was designed to aid the suffering German firearms manufacturing industry and to loosen regulations for Nazi Party members and regime officials. One specific loosened regulation was that a license was no longer required to acquire shotguns or rifles. In these very narrow manners, Nazi gun laws could be said to be loosened.

Licenses to obtain a handgun still existed for non-party members, permits to carry a firearm were still required and could be denied by local police for any reason, and police still maintained a registration of every firearms transaction and owner. Perhaps most egregious in the new law was the prohibition of Jews from holding ownership stake in any companies dealing in the trade or manufacture of guns and the prohibition of Gypsies from being issued permits to carry.

In order to understand the hollowness of this “loosening,” we should look at the myriad activity from German authorities both before and after the passing of the 1938 law. For instance, in 1935, Werner Best, chief legal advisor of the Gestapo, issued a decree titled “Issuance of Weapons Permits to Jews,” which resulted in the countrywide denial of issuing new gun permits to Jews. The day after Kristallnacht, Nov 10, 1938, Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, declared possession of a firearm by a Jew to be a crime punishable by up to 20 years in a Concentration Camp. The following day, Interior Minister Heinrich Frick issued the “Regulation Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons” which prohibited acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms and ammunition by Jews.

With all of this groundwork laid, it was a small but catastrophic step to begin the disarming of the Jewish population in earnest. This began with a series of declarations by local police throughout Germany requiring Jews to surrender weapons in the weeks prior to Kristallnacht. Confiscations at people’s homes and at police stations began immediately after the declarations. This is perhaps the climax of the evidence which disproves the spirit of the “loosened access to firearms” which continued seizures and arrests into, during, and after Kristallnacht, sometimes considered the start of the Holocaust. By the end of 1938, the German Jewish population was essentially entirely disarmed after years of piecemeal confiscations ending in the pogroms which seized en masse the remaining Jewish arms.

Some may attempt to distract from the reality of registration, confiscation, disarmament, detention, and finally extermination by claiming the gun control laws did not cause the Holocaust or that the Jews never had enough arms to put up significant resistance to the Wehrmacht. Do not be distracted by such attempts, as the primary concern with the reference to Nazi gun control is to demonstrate that registration has led to confiscation, which has followed further atrocity. Diving down the rabbit hole of what-if surrounding ownership rates, effective resistance, or whether all gun registration leads to confiscation and atrocity is pointless and often frustrating since those realities do not exist and cannot be proven or disproven. What is vital to point out is that, irrespective of whether registration leads inexorably to atrocity, what we know for sure beyond any doubt is that this atrocity was preceded by registration and confiscation.

1 reaction Share

A Short List of Gun-Rights Victories

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

Read this article, and then check out Justin's site, Port City Firearms. Support your fellow Libertarians and protect yourself at the same time!

For much of the Twentieth Century, the U.S. was on a downward trajectory with respect to gun rights at both the national and state level. The National Firearms Act (1934), the Federal Firearms Act (1938), the Gun Control Act (1968), the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986), The Brady Act (1993), and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994) are the major 2A anti-freedom laws enacted during this time, but there are quite a few others. However, since the 1960s the scales have slowly tipped in favor of the 2nd Amendment and the rights of the people. Below is a short list of the major actions occurring over the last 40ish years. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the major benchmarks by which we can measure where the country currently is with regards to gun rights. Please note, I have largely left the victories of 2023 off the list due to the current fluid nature of the many and conflicting rulings and laws throughout the US.

  • (2023) SCOTUS, NYSRPA, Inc v Bruen – Affirmed the duty of governments passing restrictions on guns and the exercise thereof to justify their new restrictions by demonstrating a contextual “historic tradition of firearm regulation” relating to the proposed restriction. It also reinforces the idea of a right to carry a firearm outside one’s home.
  • (2023) NC LAW, The North Carolina General Assembly overrides a veto from Governor Cooper to repeal the Pistol Purchase Permit and to legalize the carrying of firearms into churches attached to schools during worship service outside of school hours.
  • (2014-2021) STATE LAW Maine (2015), Kansas (2015), Idaho (2016), Missouri (2016), Mississippi (2016), West Virigina (2016), North Dakota (2017), New Hampshire (2017), Oklahoma (2019), South Dakota (2019), Kentucky (2019), Iowa (2020), Montana (2020), Tennessee (2020), Texas (2020), Utah (2020) all passed Constitutional Carry laws.
  • (2013) NC LAW, North Carolina passes major overhaul of their state gun laws, largely expanding the locations permit holders can carry including places that charge admission, parades, funerals, and places that serve alcohol. Pistol Purchase Permit repeal is defeated during this session.
  • (2013) FEDERAL COURT, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Illinois’ ban on carrying of firearms in public. Illinois passed a shall-issue carry law following this decision.
  • (2011) STATE LAW, Wyoming passes Constitutional Carry for residents. Wisconsin finally enshrines licensed carry into law.
  • (2010) SCOTUS, Mcdonald v City of Chicago – Extends the protections of the 2nd Amendment to state and local law.
  • (2010) STATE LAW, Arizona passes Constitutional Carry.
  • (2009) FEDERAL LAW, Obama signs “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010” in which Republicans inserted a provision requiring Amtrack to allow firearms to be transported in checked baggage.
  • (2009) FEDERAL LAW, Obama signs “Credit CARD Act of 2009”, in which Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK inserted a provision legalizing the carrying of firearms in national parks congruent with the state laws in which the park is located.
  • (2008) SCOTUS, DC v Heller – Affirmed the individual right to own firearms, specifically for the purpose of self-defense. This was also the first pro-2a decision at the SCOTUS in 122 years and the first ever SCOTUS decision that was focused on the individual.
  • (2003) STATE LAW, Alaska becomes the first state to go from a shall-issue permitting system, to a Constitutional Carry system (retaining an optional license for reciprocity and background check exemption). The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expires, legalizing AR-15s and many other previously banned rifles and shotguns.
  • (1987-1996) STATE LAW, Florida (1987), Oregon (1989), Pennsylvania (1989), West Virginia (1989), Idaho (1990), Mississippi (1990), Montana (1991), Alaska (1994), Arizona (1994), Tennessee (1994), Wyoming (1994), Arkansas (1995), North Carolina (1995), Oklahoma (1995), Texas (1995), Nevada (1995), Utah (1995), Virginia (1995), Kentucky (1996), Louisiana (1996), and South Carolina (1996) all passed bills legalizing the open and/or concealed carrying of firearms in public.
  • (1986) FEDERAL LAW, Reagan signs Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, limiting ATF powers, preventing the federal government from creating a central database of firearms transfers, and loosening restrictions on FFLs. This law is also listed as a negative above because it effectively banned automatic firearms.

Things are looking up for gun rights in the U.S.! We should celebrate these myriad victories and bring them up anytime pro-gun people try to say we are losing. We are winning, almost entirely because the culture accepts the fundamental truth that firearms are necessary for personal safety and protection. The fight continues to expand freedom and the place where we need to push the hardest is at the federal level, specifically the Executive and Legislative branches, who have done the least to expand and the most to restrict gun rights in the recent decades. Continue pushing, force politicians to take uncompromisingly pro-gun positions and actions.

1 reaction Share

First-Time Gun Buyer Guide

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

Check this article out on Justin's site, and then put the guidance to use and make a purchase from his store, Port City Firearms. Some basic rules for a first-time firearms purchase:

Rule 1: Buy a Gun You Will Shoot

First and foremost, Rule 1 is dedicated to the idea that if you are buying your first gun, you will need to spend a lot of time training, shooting, and practicing with it. Your focus should be on that singular aspect and there are a variety of reasons why. The biggest reason to buy a gun you will actually shoot is the learning curve from "no experience shooting" to "competent enough to defend my life with this gun" is a steep one which takes thousands of trigger pulls and many range sessions. Buying the wrong gun can all but ensure you never train enough to be confident in a life-or-death scenario. Conversely, buying the right gun can send you down a path of consistent practice, eager planning and preparation for live-fire range days, and constant pursuit of better training and skills.

So what does "buy a gun you will shoot" even mean, practically? We’ll break this down in several factors. In fact, there is really only one rule, buy a gun you will shoot. The rest are in service of this concept. As we go down this list, you may imagine a list of suitable guns in your mind getting shorter and shorter. This is intentional, since many guns are unsuitable for new shooters, and should help you make a decision by narrowing the options. These metrics are used for application to most people most of the time. There are always exceptions and if you walk into a gun store with the intent of following a rule but find yourself unable to find a gun that fits you and meets all the requirements here, adjust as necessary. 

Rule 2: Make it a Handgun

There are so many reasons to purchase a handgun over a rifle or shotgun. What it all comes down to is practical use. Handguns are simpler, easier, and faster. The logistics of shooting handguns are better. Handguns can be taken to the range in one briefcase-sized bag.  Additionally, the sights on handguns are generally fixed and pre-zeroed. No need for you to spend the time, ammunition, and frustration of trying to mount and zero sights correctly when you are brand new to all this stuff. Some may laugh this off, but the first time you spend an hour of your 90-minute range trip zeroing you will realize the truth here.

Lastly, handguns provide the joy of near-instant feedback due to the ranges at which most people train with them. You can see the target immediately after you shoot it. This cannot be overstated as a value for keeping new shooters interested and engaged while training. You also do not need to wait for the line to go cold, then walk 25, 50, or 100 yards downrange to assess your shots, repair targets, or post new targets. Awaiting "line cold" periods can easily turn what should be a 30-60 minute range trip into over two hours of waiting, boredom, and wasted ammunition.

Rule 3: Stick to Calibers of .22lr, .380acp, or 9mm

Calibers .22lr, .380acp/auto, and 9mm luger (9mm NATO, 9x19) are cheap, easy to find, and available in many options. They also happen to have very manageable recoil compared to other common handgun calibers, such as .45acp and .40S&W. These three calibers are also common enough in different handgun platforms that you can still shop numerous options to find something you like. It is important to note that .22 is fairly different from .380 and 9mm, categorically. While .380 and 9mm are true self-defense calibers with respectable terminal performance (and the moderate recoil to go with it), .22 is on this list because of how great it is for new shooters to learn on. Particularly of interest is the ability of .22 to be given to timid or fearful shooters and those same shooters being able to still learn and train, without the training scars imposed by larger recoil, muzzle flash, and noise. That said, .22 is not only for the less enthusiastic shooters, it happens to be cheaper and the guns lighter than .380 and 9mm, which makes for a good intro into the realm of training. A .22 can be shot all day and the shooter's hands and wallet will both be in good shape at the end of shooting.

Rule 4: Keep the Weight at Least 15 Ounces

This is a combination rule that considers recoil and size. Broadly speaking, a heavier gun means less recoil (unless all that weight is in the slide). When browsing, you will also notice most guns below 15 ounces are a subcompact or pocket pistol, which tend to be difficult guns to shoot, especially for new shooters. The smaller size usually indicates greater recoil and more difficult ergonomics than their larger and heavier counterparts. With a smaller size also comes less area on the gun to form a proper and stable grip. Being unable to form a proper grip easily provides an unwanted barrier to training as it makes it more difficult to train the fundamentals of shooting. This rule does not apply to .22s as the smaller round means barrels, slides, and recoil springs can all be much smaller, making them incredibly light, on average.

Rule 5: Start With a Barrel at Least 3 Inches Long

Your actual minimum should be 3.5 inches, but I put three inches because there are some good guns less than 3.5 inches in barrel length. This rule is another recoil consideration, but also factors practical accuracy. First, a longer barrel allows the powder from the cartridge to burn longer before exiting the barrel, creating less of an "explosion" at the muzzle, which is what actually causes recoil. When discussing practical accuracy, I am talking about what's called sight radius. This is the distance between the front sight and rear sight. This is not a function of the gun being objectively more accurate (although longer barrels do tend to do that as well), but of the ability for the shooter to be more accurate in his/her aim. The greater the sight radius, the more accurate you become. The longer sight radius provides some forgiveness for imperfect sight alignment.

Rule 6: Go Big on Your Grip Size

For your first gun, it is essential you find a gun big enough to be able to form a proper two-handed firing grip. While this is possible with most guns, focus on the guns that make it easy. When new to shooting, you do not want to spend your focus on how to achieve a good grip in spite of the size. Instead, just start with a gun large enough to have a grip which suits your hands. For some people, this means you can buy a pretty small gun and still be able to build that grip properly, easily, and quickly. For others, it means anything smaller than a full-sized handgun may feel small. Find what works for you and do not settle for cramped hands and floating fingers for your first gun.

1 reaction Share

Debunking Mass Shooting Myths Quickly

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

This article is meant as a sort of "pocket guide" for mass shooting discussions. As with any discussion worth having, this is one full of minute details, individual data points that require contextual understanding, and an incredible degree of nuance. With the citations, examples, and discussion in this article I hope to provide easily memorized and transferable data for casual conversations, since that is where most of these discussion happen. It is a difficult thing to expect any one person to have a wide and deep understanding of something as complex as "mass shootings." Therefore, it is our responsibility as the comparative experts in our families and social groups to disallow strong opinions from those who are almost totally ignorant of actual facts without challenging such stances at every opportunity.


MYTH: Mass shootings are shootings that occur at schools, churches, malls, and other similar high-profile vulnerable targets which kill a lot of people.

FACT: There is no agreed upon "official" definition of a mass shooting. It is a media term, not a legal, criminal, or scientific term. On its website, the US DOJ (without a reference to where it is published) cites the FBI (via a report written by a known partisan anti-gun group) as defining a mass shooting as any single shooting event that injures four or more people with a gun (1)(2). The FBI itself uses the term mass killing, since they have no definition for mass shooting, whose definition is laid out in US code in 28 USC 530C: "three or more killings in a single incident."(3).

For the purposes of this article, we will call the "four or more people shot in a single incident" the simplified definition of a mass shooting. As we can see from the myriad issues of simply ascribing a definition, we can tell this is a hazy and confusing topic. Part of the issue in discussing mass shootings, active shooters, school shootings, public shootings, etc. is the realization that any definition one uses will inevitably include multiple shootings that the user feels are not appropriate to the goal of the definition and will exclude multiple shootings which the user feels are relevant to the goal of the definition. For example, a quick search finds multiple instances of bystanders stopping shooters before they can meet the official definition of "mass shooting," but which met the template of what many consider to be a mass shooting.

A key element of most discussions surrounding mass and school shooters is the specific goal of the shooter of death and destruction for their own sake. The overwhelming majority of mass shootings in the US are actually related to more pedestrian criminality such as those tied to drug trafficking and gangs, which just happens to injure or kill four or more people (4). While we do not want to flippantly dispense with these examples of mass shootings, to say they are relevant to the discussion of young men entering schools (and other notably unarmed and usually peaceful places) with the intent of randomly killing as many people as possible is either vastly disingenuous or wildly ignorant.

In recent years, The Violence Project adopted one of the more robust definitions of mass public shooting, written by the Congressional Research Service:

"a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms—not including the offender(s)—within one event, and at least some of the murders occurred in a public location or locations in close geographical proximity (e.g., a workplace, school, restaurant, or other public settings), and the murders are not attributable to any other underlying criminal activity or commonplace circumstance (armed robbery, criminal competition, insurance fraud, argument, or romantic triangle)." (5)(6).

This definition provides a useful tool for what most people mean when they talk about mass shootings, dispensing with the inadequate (but usefully deceptive) simplified definition. For the purposes of this article, we will call The Violence Project’s definition the robust definition.

To see why these differences in definitions matter we can look at the disparity in results of gathering data using each definition. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which uses the simplified definition, so far in 2023 there have been 597 mass shootings (6). In 2022, there were 645. Contrast that to the data assembled by The Violence Project: 191 mass shootings so far in 2023. Oops, no wait that was 2022. Dang, messed up again THAT’S HOW MANY MASS SHOOTINGS HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 1961! All of them. That’s right, 62 years of data reveals a paltry sum of shootings compared to what manipulative politicians and corporate media constantly berates us with. Using the robust definition (which more accurately categorizes the types of shootings we generally mean when we say “mass shooting”), you get fewer shootings in 62 years than you do in a few months using the simplified definition! For comparison’s sake, in 2022 there were seven mass shootings and so far in 2023, there have been eight using the robust definition. 597 mass shootings with the simplified definition compared to eight with the comprehensive definition in 2023 so far. 645 versus seven for 2022.

The corporate media and politicians will of course point out they aren’t lying: they haven’t said that all 597 mass shootings this year were school shootings, or shootings which meet a more specific definition. Or that they all targeted unarmed people in public places at random. All shootings which kill four or more people are bad, aren’t they?! This misdirection is an attempt to paint anyone who addresses their deception as being callous, uncaring, and dismissive. They use the vagueness to their advantage and to avoid responsibility. While they’re not lying outright, they’re also not being honest.


MYTH: Good guys with a gun don’t really exist and they pretty much never stop mass shootings.

FACT: Bystanders regularly intervene in mass shootings. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center armed citizens stopped 35.7 percent of past active shooter events (8).

Good guys with guns tend to stop pretty much all mass shootings and some crime, if we were to include law enforcement in the definition. Since I am honest in my discussion, I can acknowledge that including law enforcement in the "good guy with a gun" might draw mixed reactions. But it is worth noting for anyone who says even if you had a gun, you couldn’t stop someone else with a gun. That is an idiotic statement mean to dismiss the idea of self-defense.

If we were to confine the good guy with a gun definition to that of only bystanders who are carrying a firearm for general purposes, there is still substantial data indicating it happens regularly. Yet again we are faced with a long breakdown of a seemingly simple fact. According to the FBI’s yearly report “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2022”, 4.6 percent (14 incidents) of active shooter incidents were stopped by armed citizen involvement (2). One of these is the infamous Greenwood Mall shooting in Indiana, stopped by Elisjsha “Eli” Dicken. In an analysis of the above-cited FBI reports, The Crime Prevention Research Center states that from 2014 to 2022 armed citizens stopped 35.7 percent (157 incidents) of active shooter events (8). The Gun Violence Archive so far this year have identified 1,022 defensive gun uses. They do not break out further to identify how many of these involved a mass shooting or likely mass shooting. There is little in the way of specific data related to mass shootings here as well, but the CPRC is certainly a leader. Currently, they host a web page documenting hundreds of specific instances of armed citizens stopping active shooters (9).

Of note here is also the rhetorical tool of citing individual, relatable incidents. To create an understanding of the reality of good guys with guns in action, we need real examples to recall in conversation. We already discussed the saga of Elisjsha Dicken, who stopped a mall shooter with 10 rounds from his concealed handgun at 40 yards (10). An example of someone stopping a mass shooting before it met any common definition is Jack Wilson who stopped the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting in Texas. The shooter stood up during Sunday service and shot two people in two seconds and within four seconds Wilson stood up and fired one round, hitting the shooter in the head from 15 yards (11). An example of someone stopping a mass shooting from transitioning to a second location, Stephen Willeford stopped the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The shooter was leaving the church after killing over 20 people and Stephen Willeford shot him twice with his AR-15 rifle. Following the initial engagement, Willeford and another bystander pursued the shooter with a vehicle until the shooter crashed, then took his own life (12).


MYTH: AR-15s are the chosen weapons of mass shooters.

FACT: Handguns are the chosen weapons of mass shooters. According to the Violence Project, AR-15s have been used in 28 percent of mass shootings (13).

In the interest of honesty, the trend of using AR-15s in mass shootings is rising. It is not unexpected, as the very things that make AR-15s good rifles for peaceful citizens also make it a good rifle for mass shooters. Compared to the historic favorite, handguns, AR15s have greater magazine capacity and are easier to shoot quickly and accurately because of the ability to stabilize the gun.

Once again corporate media and politicians often avoid the label of "lying" when they say mass shooters "prefer" AR-15s, a statement of opinion about what sort of preferences a third party has. The implication is of course the analysis of preference is based on how often the AR-15 is selected. Occasionally they stumble into the outright lie of stating AR-15s are used more often in mass shootings, which we see here is clearly false. More importantly, this particular point of how often this or that gun is used is an attempt to misdirect rather than discuss the underlying issues. Whether it is an AR-15 or a handgun, mass shootings are often so deadly more due to the unarmed nature of the selected populations and locations and less because of the specific firearm.

This point is merely addressed by the anti-gun crowd because decades of fighting for handgun bans in the 80s and 90s led to absolute defeat due to an inability to understand people want to be able to arm themselves for daily self defense when out in public. Now, the anti-gun people want to focus on AR-15s because they believe it is a more achievable target then handguns. My prediction is that, like handguns, it will take the anti-gunners way too long to realize that they do not have the pulse of Americans in pursuing bans on the most popular rifle in the US, despite their treacherous tactics of misleading people about what guns are used how often in mass shootings.


MYTH: Almost all mass shooters are white.

FACT: Once again using The Violence Project’s data, we find as a per capita ratio, white people are underrepresented as mass shooters. While 60 percent of the general population is white, 53 percent of mass shooters are white (13).

I decided to add this myth after I wrote most of the article because I stumbled on this data point while reviewing other data for this article. I never attempted to look up racial data of mass shooters, since I don’t find that to be a contributing or relevant factor in mass shootings. Prior to writing this article, if you made me guess the percentage of white representation in mass shooters, I would have probably said 75-85 percent.

This just illustrates how powerful the corporate media's propaganda is. I had never looked it up or even really discussed it, despite hearing it cited in personal conversations. I simply assumed it was true that almost every single mass shooter was white. The constant repetition of the "hundreds of white males murdering kids in schools with AR-15s" trope can burrow itself into your head, even if you spend uncommon amounts of time researching firearm and crime data. If you are not armed with the actual data then you may start to accept the crap the talking heads say, simply because it’s difficult to combat a narrative if you do not have a counter-narrative.


MYTH: There are hundreds of mass shootings every year.

FACT: There have been eight so far in 2023, and seven in 2022.

I’m adding this at the end because it is important to understand the malicious use of murky definitions and out of context data to drive fear and panic. As is the suspiciously common theme, we see that any subtopic in the "mass shooting" topic gets mired in the "what is a mass shooting" obstacle, and usually disintegrates into minutiae about specific guns and demographics following the inability to reach a suitable definition. If we define mass shootings using the simplified definition, there are hundreds of mass shootings per year. Corporate media likes this definition because it inflates the numbers massively, knowing if you were to look through each shooting individually, almost none of them would be akin to the types they cite in their reporting: Newtown, Pulse Nightclub, Uvalde, Sandy Hook, etc.

Just barely scraping the definition of lying, the special interests love being opaque here because they know most people are too busy to understand the many nuanced elements of their lies by omission and obfuscation. They know full well that when Americans hear "there have been X hundred of mass shootings so far this year," they’re envisioning several AR-15-armed white teenage boys walking into schools, hospitals, churches, and malls all across America and executing dozens of kids and families every single day.

They do this to summon emotional reactions and stoke fear, as fear blurs the mind and heightens emotionality, hence the constant calls to "do something," without any substantive policy prescriptions. At over 600 per year, it feels like just a matter of time before your kid’s school is shot to pieces, your chosen grocery store is preyed upon, your church is targeted, and on until you can barely walk outside without fear. After all, humans rapt in fear will shout down political opponents, dehumanize them, accuse them of being complicit in genocide or murder, and use shaming tactics to shut them up.

Well, I am not ashamed to support the idea that all Americans have the right to self defense and all peaceful adults should have the ability to arm themselves to effectively defend against would-be mass shooters. No amount of lies, manipulation, or intimidation will make me refrain from advocating for my fellow humans right to defend themselves with a firearm.


  3. Violent Crimes Act of 2012, 28 USC § 530C(b)(1)(M)(i):
1 reaction Share

Shotguns are Weapons from Hell, So Use 'EM to Send the Bad Guys There

by Andy Stevens, GRNC Vice President of Operations

Last month you heard Shotguns are for Birds, Not Bad Guys from Justin Hinckley, LPNC’s Second Amendment Issues Coordinator. He challenged me to provide a good-natured counter argument, so here it goes...

I’ll repeat Justin’s caveat: Rule One of every gunfight is have a gun! That said, and acknowledging circumstances among individuals differ, I take his challenge justifying my shotgun as my home defense weapon of choice.

Justin's argument last month to using an AR-15 to defend his castle can be summed up as follows. (1) he wants to shoot (numerous) bad guys, (2) without shooting friendlies, and (3) without overpenetration (4) by taking numerous follow-up shots with (5) the need for reloads while (6) protecting his castle. WHEW! Sounds like the Zombie Apocalypse!

Let’s instead look at the reality. In North Carolina, Castle Doctrine (thanks to GRNC!) is well established law. You have the right, assumed without question, to protect yourself and your loved ones "within" your "castle." This means you're not engaging mutant zombies hundreds of meters away but rather those immediately breaking through your doors or windows, or worse, already in the hallways of your home. In other words, distances of ten to thirty feet or so. Also, if there's more than two or three individuals, then it’s probably the ATF stacking up to take your guns and ammo and you're NOT going to win that fight.

If your loved ones are between you and the bad guys in this scenario then your odds of success are nil, so let’s assume that you’re engaging the bad guys directly to your front. (Your loved ones can be behind or adjacent to the bad guys or behind you.)

In this scenario your two or three assailants will likely be stacked up and channeled by the confines of the structure of your home. Your two or three rapid-fire shotgun blasts will approximate something between a softball to a basketball sized mass of 00 buckshot pellets that stand a far better chance of immediately tagging and incapacitating your assailant(s) than even emptying the magazine of your AR-15 will accomplish. Suddenly accounting for all thirty of your FMJ 5.56 or .223 rounds are out the window and your near-by neighbors are all at risk! There’s a big difference between a 500-meter and a 50-meter effective range, you know.

In these circumstances, the shotgun is the hands down choice of weapon between the two. After all, while the recently deceased Senator Diane Feinstein wanted to send your AR-15 to hell, my shotgun is literally a weapon from hell! Remember, the Germans in WWI not only wanted the shotgun banned from the battlefield but promised to summarily execute Americans found in possession of the dreaded weapon so effective in clearing trenches in that conflict. A hallway, or even a doorway is merely a ground level trench in a home defense scenario.

You can learn more about the trench gun here.

Keep in mind, too, the effects of noise and flash. Your thirty-round burst has probably blinded you (in a nighttime scenario) but worse, firing in an enclosed space, you’ve now most likely ruptured your eardrums, too. (Darn, I should have grabbed those earplugs on the nightstand, too, right?). Your indiscriminate firepower of your AR-15 is far more harmful than the surgical shotgun blasts pose to your eyesight and hearing.

So now the remaining assailants (if any and able, lol) are on the run and retreating. All fired up with adrenaline, you slap that second thirty-round magazine into your AR and start slinging 500-meter lead all over the neighborhood. Whoo Hoo – see the lawsuits coming? Remember, Castle Doctrine only protects you in your castle and not beyond, and certainly NOT once the bad guys start retreating.

In summary, I'll agree with Justin that an AR-15 (or a flamethrower, lol!) makes perfect sense in defending the exterior of your castle from invasion by marauding zombies but it is not the weapon of choice to protect yourself and your loved ones within your castle. For that you need your own personal weapon from hell, the tried and proven 12-gauge 00 buckshot firing shotgun!

1 reaction Share

Shotguns are for Birds, Not Bad Guys

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator

"Fire two blasts outside the house."

"You don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim, it's harder to use, and in fact you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun."

Look, ordinarily I would type a long-winded response about the inferiority of the shotgun as a platform. In the modern era, I need only cite Joe Biden's endorsement of the shotgun and condemnation of the AR-15 and that should be argument enough for all of us to dispense with the shotgun and install the AR-15 as the preeminent home defense tool. Since I have you here anyway, I may as well make a declarative statement: shotguns suck as home defense guns and so do you if you use one! Nerd.

That said, rule one of every gunfight is: have a gun. By that metric shotguns are adequate. But let's have a little fun and assume everyone reading this has "a gun" and now we're arguing about the best gun. And unless we're talking about birds or breaching, shotguns ain't it.

First, I'll define my terms. Unless otherwise noted, I'm referring to a 5.56 AR-15 with a 16" barrel using modern defensive or ball ammunition in a standard 30-round magazine. When I discuss shotguns, I'm referring to a tube-fed 12 gauge shotgun firing modern 00 buckshot with a 6-10 round capacity, either in pump-action or semi-automatic platforms. I won’t really discuss slugs because buckshot is my main concern as far as ammunition selection. Both guns are assumed to be properly zeroed and using quality parts in order to eliminate whataboutisms of specific brands.

Let's begin around the edges of the biggest issue in any home defense scenario: target discrimination. We only want to shoot the bad guys. Why is this relevant to the shotgun versus AR discussion? In order to appropriately discriminate a target from a non-target (friend from foe, as it were) we need accountability. Accountability in this context is the ability of a shooter to account for every round fired and all of that round. With an AR, this issue is mitigated. One trigger pull is one round. With a shotgun, the common home defense format includes buckshot, which typically carries 9 pellets per shell for 00 buckshot and the pellet count goes up based on other buckshot loads. This means that, with every trigger pull, there is more uncertainty in accounting for every "round" (each pellet being a fraction of a round) as I engage my threat. When I engage a target with a shotgun, the affected area usually starts at about 1 square inch and increases in size as the distance from muzzle increases. This means if I shoot with an imperfect sight picture, such as at a moving target, the chances I achieve a "partial hit" (only putting some of my pellets into my target) has relatively high probability. Relative in comparison to an AR-15 anyway, where partial hits are not really a thing, as the affected area remains the same at all distances. I have one round to account for and those rounds only go where I'm aiming.

I can already hear the screeching of the overpenetration crowd, so I'll address it here. This discussion is so commonly driven by rumors, urban legends, and anecdotes. (*Big sigh*) Here we go…

First the data is not conclusive as to whether 5.56 or 12 gauge overpenetrates more often because of the variability in ammo selection, barrel length, wall medium, shot placement, etc. That said, the data generally points to 5.56 as the superior round in terms of avoiding overpenetration. To disqualify an AR-15 because of overpenetration while endorsing a 12-gauge shotgun shows a fundamental ignorance of said data. Each can penetrate greater than the other depending on real-world factors, including round selection. I vehemently disagree with those who say 5.56 constantly, or even consistently, overpenetrates after striking human tissue. I challenge those who say that to produce either laboratory data or statistically significant observational data indicating such. 5.56 ball and defensive ammunition consistently catastrophically destabilizes inside human tissue, resulting in multiple small fragments which tear flesh and have minimal ability to cause damage beyond the first human target. Accuracy is the single greatest factor in how dangerous defensive ammunition is to bystanders. The greatest risk of "overpenetration" is really a miss. As it turns out, the human body is a great medium for projectiles to dump energy and reduces the overall ability to penetrate further. Our mitigation plan is simple; do not carelessly spray rounds of any caliber inside your home if you can help it. If you cannot help it, you are much better off missing with 5.56 than 00 buckshot.

The AR-15 is far superior in employment of the firearm for the shooter. I, personally, like follow-up shots. Scientifically, threats often need follow-up shots due to misses, multiple attackers, or a hit that does not stop your threat. The AR-15's recoil compared to a shotgun is minuscule and enables 2-4 shots for every 1 round out of a shotgun, typically. While a shotgun at this range is unequivocally more definitive in terms of terminal performance, this advantage exists solely on the first round and then further performance lags far behind the AR. If all you need is one round, a shotgun is sufficient, and maybe even best, but that is generally rare in a defense situation. For multiple rounds, the AR-15 prevails. You're still managing recoil with a shotgun, while with the AR you've already reset your sights, reassessed your target, and sent rounds out again or transitioned to a new target.

Then there’s the issue of round count. Hypothetically, you've managed to engage your threats for longer than an instant. You have 10 rounds, on the high end, before your shotgun is empty, which necessitates a time-intensive reload. My AR has easily thrice the round capacity and the ability to empty those 30 rounds accurately in a similar timeframe that 10 rounds can be accurately emptied from a shotgun. What's more, my magazine reload takes about the same amount of time as loading two shotgun shells. More rounds give you more options for more diverse scenarios. Shotguns exceed in a few niche scenarios but ARs carry the day when it comes to the ability to adapt to the situation. Since it is an axiom in the gun community that the scenario you train for is not the scenario you get, ARs allow us more flexibility to meet the specific context, particularly important in the moment which is likely high stress and unfolding quickly. Shotguns are hammers and we all know that when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start looking like nails, and only nails.

While my rhetoric in the defense of ARs could continue for several more pages, I believe I have stated my case for their superiority over the antiquated shotgun. The AR-15 allows us to engage threats without doubt as to where portions of my lead went. Those rounds, which are easier to account for, also dump their energy in human tissue better than buckshot. Thanks to these two facts, I can confidently engage with a standard 30-round magazine from my AR in a faster and more accurate manner than my shotgun. Thus, I get more potential damage to more potential threats with lower potential collateral damage. Whilst I am the king of my castle the AR-15 is the King's Guard. This King's Guard should have a post in every home to protect our castles with accuracy, lethality, and adaptability. The shotgun is "a gun" and allows us to protect ourselves, but in the world where "best" exists, use it. The AR-15 is best.


1 reaction Share

Bureaucratic Tyranny: New Rules for Concealed Carry Instructors

With the effective death of Constitutional Carry in NC for this legislative session, the NC DOJ is seeking ways to harass, violate, and abuse gun owners.

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator

As suspected, with the effective death of Constitutional Carry in NC for this legislative session, the NC DOJ, under the direction of Democratic Gubernatorial frontrunner Josh Stein, is seeking ways to harass, violate, and abuse gun owners. In this instance the state is focusing on concealed carry instructors and increasing the time and monetary commitments for them to operate. My guess is the state wants to drive more instructors and prospective instructors away from the certification. I believe they are doing this to drive costs for concealed carry of a handgun (CCH) courses up as fewer instructors means greater demand but lower supply and the additional time and materials burden causes higher costs which flow to the consumer.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 9, NC residents have the opportunity to show up to the public hearing to vociferously protest any new restrictions on CCH instructors, the course standards, or the documentation burdens. Long-term we should continue to badger the supposedly pro-2A Republicans to pass constitutional carry, an easy win for them in this legislative session.

A review of the timeline of the new restrictions highlights why it seems this panic arises out of nowhere; short answer, it did. On June 23, Bob Overton, CCH Program Manager, sent an email statewide to CCH instructors apprising them of the changes through a series of attached documents with no additional context in the body of the email. The attachments stated that the rules were to be effective October 1, 2023, indicating they had been reviewed and finalized without public notification. The email also conveniently forgot to mention the public hearing scheduled for August 9 at 10:00am at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh.

Thanks to active organizations who sounded the alarm, the outcry was enough to compel a follow-up email by Jeffrey Smythe, Director of Criminal Justice Standards Division, on June 23. Smythe first backtracked on the previously stated effective date of October 1, stating the rule changes were a proposed starting point for discussion. Smythe also indicated a public comment period began April 18, 2023, two months prior to the “public” announcement of the proposed rule changes.

This attachment was ostensibly an explanation for how the rule changes came about with a weak justification for every rule. The discussions of the background for each proposed change are brief and unconvincing. The division cites one specific instance in which the instructor is identified after a variety of rule violations in their course, two cases in which specific instructors are discussed but - not identified violating - current rules, and three instances in which no specific cases are discussed but broad trends are indicated. None of the cases discussed mention how criminals obtained CCHs, led to crimes being committed that otherwise would not have been committed, or offer any evidence that someone was hurt or victimized due to the violations. Additionally, the division fails to mention any sort of statistical trend for theses rule violations. A serious lack of justifiable evidence is presented in order to implement a serious overhaul of the CCH class process.

The proposed changes themselves are absurd and clearly-meant-to-be-burdensome. The first of the changes involve pre- and post-course forms to fill out and file with the state. At least 30 days prior to a course and within 10 days after a course, an instructor must file paperwork with the state indicating details about the proposed class to be taught. This means all classes must now be scheduled at least 30 days out, so, for example, a friend or family member cannot arrange a class with an instructor on short notice in order to get a CCH faster. This delay will likely cost lives.

What’s more, the post-class form must include all students' names and contact information. This is a naked attempt to compile more data about gun owners and CCH holders, as well as provide an additional avenue to harass instructors if they are accidentally inaccurate in their more intricate record-keeping in the future. In addition to the personal student information sent to the state, instructors will now be required to keep a roster for their own records which is to be kept indefinitely and made available to state inspectors upon request.

Adding to the financial burden, the new rules now state that an instructor is required to provide "red" books, of which the state is the only authorized dealer, to each student during each class. This means more books, which cost the instructor money as well as dealing with lead times waiting for the state to process and ship said books. Another hurdle to reduce the number of classes being taught throughout the state. The final restrictions include banning the use of steel targets for the range qualification of the course and the banning of a virtual presentation for the classroom portion of the course.

Make no mistake, this is the first of many attempts to use the bureaucratic state to forward the anti-gun agenda. It is no coincidence this effort only came about in the wake of the repeal of the pistol purchase permit law and began in the midst of the fight for constitutional carry. Josh Stein has enough distance from this to claim innocence while he runs for governor and needs undecided pro-gun voters to vote for him. He is also close enough to it to say it was one of his accomplishments as NC Attorney General when it is convenient for him. Surely this is a reason to vote for Republicans, right? Well, no, since it is Republican Speaker of the NC House, Tim Moore, who refused to hold a vote on constitutional carry, as we have previously discussed. It is Tim Moore and the NC Republicans who are continuing to allow unelected bureaucrats to harass gun owners and the instructors who seek to enable legal concealed carry for those owners. Those in power have a duty to wield that power in a way that protects and expands on the heavily violated rights of their citizenry.

Therefore, do not fall into the trap of believing that gun rights is a left-right, red-blue, liberal-conservative issue. No, politicians use the promise of expanding gun rights as a lever to win elections, particularly in North Carolina. While the left promises to restrict guns, and does it every chance it gets, the right makes the opposite promise but repeatedly fails to deliver except on the lowest-hanging fruit. They never pass any substantive reforms to roll back the consistent, decades-long assault on Liberty.

This is one of many reasons why I am a Libertarian. The Democrats and Republicans either actively hate your Liberty or are apathetic about it. Politicians reliably assault freedom or reliably make some mediocre defense of freedom during an assault, but are absolutely unreliable at going out and progressing in the fight to proactively advance the cause of Liberty. So I urge you to remember these bureaucratic assaults when next you are at the ballot box. Remember that Democrats and Republicans both love the bureaucracy, they built it! The only party who wants to actively dismantle the tyranny of bureaucracy is the Libertarian Party. The only party who wants to aggressively and unambiguously advance Liberty is the Libertarian Party. The only party who wants to give the government less power, regardless of the reigning party, is the Libertarian Party. Support freedom, support community, support Libertarianism.

Add your reaction Share

You Have a Duty to be Well Regulated

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator

In light of Independence Day and my reflection on those who rose up in defiance of tyranny, today we will discuss the duty bestowed on us by the 2nd Amendment. Yes, America is perhaps the greatest experiment in self-governance, individualism, and liberty ever, but the reputation of the United States is not something us modern Americans should live off of, but something we should live up to.

Being an American should be an injunction to live a life of service and responsibility. Americanism should not be a matter of geography, ethnicity, race, religion, or political affiliation. It should be one of values, a challenge to be good enough to call yourself an American. So often our focus in discourse is that of rights, freedoms, and liberties. While these are essential elements of our nation, it is a disservice to have any discussion of the former without also discussing what is demanded of us in return. Thus, our focus turns to what obligations we have as gun owners when we exercise our right to bear arms. What responsibilities do we have? What standards must we live up to?

If you own a gun, but have never received formal training in its use, you are violating the spirit of the 2nd Amendment. Likewise, if you do not train regularly, you are ignoring your obligations of being an armed American. As those who have accepted the responsibility of carrying and owning firearms for protection and security, it is incumbent upon us to be well-regulated in the matter. You may think I have lost my mind and have conceded a key point to the anti-gun side just then, but what was the true definition of well-regulated in the 18th century? According to Jack Rakove, Coe Professor of History and American Studies and Professor of Political Science, Emeritus at Stanford University and Robert J. Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law at George Washington University, in separate analyses they have individually found that “well-regulated” referred to a state of proficiency and readiness during the time the 2nd Amendment was written. Synonyms of well-regulated at the time of our founding could be well-trained, well-prepared, well-armed, or well-practiced. It did not mean regulated by government. This means within the actual text of this sacred right, there is a directive to be fit, trained, and prepared.

Do not let my challenge to the gun owning community be perceived as an endorsement of government regulation or decree related to licensing or training schemes. Quite the opposite in fact. I believe one of the best strategies to combating future government regulation is to forge a corps of such highly skilled and competent gun owners as to reduce crime, death, and “gun deaths” through the elimination of accidental gun deaths and reduction in criminal murders. Of course, if my plan is to come to fruition, in the short-term we may have to accept more gun deaths overall with the potential for justified homicides to soar before criminals realize the general population is armed, trained, and prepared.

Nonetheless, to treat each gun death as morally equivalent is a disingenuous attempt at inflating gun murders, an attempt the modern media and many politicians already engage in. If 10,000 criminals died each year because they were killed attempting to hurt or kill someone instead of the current 10,000 murders that occur with a firearm each year, corporate media and gun control groups would still lump these numbers in with the ambiguous term “gun deaths” to discuss the *emergency* of private gun ownership and espouse the need for greater infringement. However, raw reduction in overall numbers is an unambiguous benefit we should all recognize, and I believe a well-regulated gun owning population would do this.

As we look at gun ownership in the modern era, we see that the individual definitions of “fit,” “trained,” “prepared,” etc. are vast. Similarly, we see many gun owners who do not take such obligations seriously at all. How many of those who profess to own guns for protection do we see are unable to engage in basic unarmed fighting techniques? Likewise if we paraphrase Sun Tzu and agree that the best fight is the one we avoid, then seeing such self-defense aficionados who are unable to run for more than a few seconds calls their dedication into question, as they cannot effectively retreat. If we accept that all rights come predisposed with responsibilities, and that the 2nd Amendment itself refers to proficiency and skill, surely we should all agree that there is a standard to be kept for keeping and bearing arms.

Now then, what might that standard be? It seems axiomatic if these standards are born out of a responsibility which itself is born out of a right, the standard must be self-determined. I generally agree with this analysis, insofar as it excludes the role of a governmental body in setting standards. Of course, it is the nature of free people to debate and cooperate in setting such standards. It is beyond the scope of this article to attempt to define a specific standard for all, but I will attempt to layout the steps to create one’s own standards and a frame to progress towards those standards to ultimately meet them. It starts with a deceptively simple statement; train regularly. This means a training plan with specific, measurable goals set within a reasonable time frame. This also means if you do not know how to make a detailed plan, just do something.

In my experience, a successful training plan incorporates a few key elements, no matter the skill level of the trainee. Use of a shot timer, dry-fire in between live-fire sessions, and benchmark drills performed at regular intervals are all required tools in a training program. The shot-timer is a tool to collect objective data which, in conjunction with target analysis, measures your performance and allows you to track your progress. Dry-fire is a form of homework that allows you to make consistent progress in between live-fire range trips, especially if your range trips are a less frequent occurrence. Finally benchmark drills such as the FAST Test, Bill Drill, Failure-to-Stop Drill, El Presidente, and Dot Torture are methods to practice skillsets and track your performance over time. Putting these drills on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly cycle for evaluation is a way to regularly test your performance without getting bored of or discouraged by specific drills. This technique is akin to regularly testing personal records in a weightlifting program or regularly running a specific distance for time in a distance running or sprinting program.

What about how to balance the real-world restrictions such as budget and availability? To incorporate these very real difficulties, training regularly might mean live-fire range time on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. I argue a quarterly range trip is the bare minimum needed to continue to progress in skill. Regardless of live-fire range time, dry-fire practice should occur multiple times per week. Dry-fire practice is a no-cost, low-time commitment activity. 10 minutes per day can show tangible progress for someone who currently does not dry-fire at all. Dry-fire schedules can be modified to fit almost any schedule or gear setup.

Throughout this discussion, I have discussed what is required of us as gun owners. I have made these claims and challenges mostly separate of the real-world considerations to employ them in an effort to increase awareness of what we all should be doing, regardless of what we are doing or are theoretically capable of doing at any given time. Throughout my life as a gun owner and regular conceal-carrier I have met my own goals and standards with mixed success. This not justify my inadequacy and it turns out criminals do not care at all how much dry-fire practice I planned to do, but skipped. So, in the interest of increasing the amount of training the Libertarian community does, start with something. Whatever you currently do, add one more thing or 10 more minutes per day or per week. You do not have to make a full training plan before you start dry-firing. You don’t have to have a monthly progress chart made in Excel before you start using a shot-timer or shooting specific drills. Just add something that you’re not currently doing to your training. Get up and do 10 perfect trigger pulls of dry-fire in the morning (or right now). Before you leave your house for the day with your gun concealed on you, do 10 draws with full presentations and good sight pictures (with an unloaded gun).

Then, put those on a clock and start trying to get faster every day. For those who do not currently train at all, if you start doing any of these things you will see huge improvements in your skill levels related to the employment of a firearm in a real-life situation. It could be draw speeds, sight tracking, first shot accuracy or speed, or any of a number of improved skills. Perhaps most importantly you will see your deficiencies and want to improve them so you have a better chance of living and winning in a life-or-death encounter.

This is the ultimate goal, greater survivability in deadly encounters. We should all be prepared to defend ourselves at a moments notice. Unfortunately, the time to make yourself prepared exists only in the months and years before your deadly encounter. In the moment when need arises to employ your gun, all you have is the training you actually did, the progress you actually made, the rounds you actually fired. So, start training now so that one day you might save your own life.

1 reaction Share

Guns are Not Cars

Analysis of a bad analogy

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator

Cars kill more people every year than guns! You need a license to drive a car! We register cars! A car is also a weapon!

Whether you are pro-gun, anti-gun, or some other prefix related to guns, you have probably heard and used analogies related to cars. I'm not sure why or how this comparison gained popularity, and I admit to using car-related analogies in the past, but we need to put an end to it. In almost every debate or discussion I have, it comes up.

Cars and guns share very little in common insofar as their typical usage and the nature of these tools. Even semantically, cars and guns share very little in common. Pick most of the varied metrics people choose for comparison of differing items and cars differ vastly from guns in average price, fuel used, size, commonality of use, demographic distributions, market annual revenue, and number of parts.

Perhaps most importantly, cars and guns are actively employed for totally different reasons. What do I mean when I say "actively employed?" I mean the tool is being operated mechanically in a way that its parts were designed to function. With that definition we immediately see the disjunction in analogies. In order to have performed their duty, cars must be actively used. We get in our car and drive from point A to point B. Without this transportation, your car has not helped you and has not performed its duty. Cars are active tools that require active employment to receive value from them.

Now take guns. How often does your typical concealed carrier say a gun has done its job? Everyday they carry it. Now, how often does your typical concealed carrier employ their handgun actively by firing it at a threat? What about pointing it a threat? Most data indicate firing or pointing a concealed firearm at a threat is a once-in-a-lifetime, or less, occurrence, far less if we look only at actually firing the gun. Most concealed carriers will never fire their gun at an aggressor. Yet those who carry still think of their gun as having done its duty at the end of every day.

This tells us that a concealed firearm (or home-defense gun for that matter) is a tool which can be passively employed. "Passively employed" means a tool which can perform its duties without being mechanically operated. Firearms are not carried everyday because we know that in order to successfully complete a task we need this specific tool, akin to a screwdriver or a laptop. No, firearms are carried in case of the need to complete one very specific task; self-defense.

Most of us do not find ourselves with the need to defend our life with any sort of regularity. In other words, we carry not because of the odds we need to use it, but because of the stakes if we need it. Should we need our gun, we know our life (and possibly the lives of loved ones) is on the line. Therefore, the defensive gun is a passive tool. It is on duty just in case. It is a fire extinguisher, an AED, a seatbelt, or an airbag. All devices designed specifically for a narrow set of circumstances and to accomplish one primary mission. Extinguish the fire, fix an irregular heart rhythm, prevent ejection, reduce the trauma of impact, and stop a violent attack. Mostly, they sit where they are supposed to sit and do nothing.

Except only to the uninitiated are those tools doing nothing. Those of us who envision and prepare for the worst know there is value to preparedness, even if the tools are never actively employed. Better to need it and not have it, the saying goes. I do not want to leave it up to the fire in my kitchen to decide how much of my house is destroyed. I want a vote, and my extinguisher gives me a vote. All safety equipment is of this nature. It exists for a worst-case scenario and provides you a tool to employ to influence the final outcome of the given circumstances.

In the same way, firearms provide us the tool for survival or victory. Guns are safety equipment, let us start comparing them to other pieces of safety equipment. All these tools are great in the moment, but require thinking ahead. So too, do guns. The first step in accomplishing their respective missions is to be present prior to the emergency. Without that prior preparation, no amount of wishing or running will provide us the reprieve a properly staged emergency tool would have.

Contrast this requirement to that of a car. For the true purpose of a car (easy and fast daily transportation), no such prior planning is required. We can predict and plan for work, school, errands, vacation, and socializing in a much different and less catastrophic way. Work does not jump out from a dark alley at a moment’s notice, contrary to the feeling of dread many people have on Sunday evenings. Errands do not kill me or my family if I am not prepared for them at a moment's notice. If I am unable to socialize because I do not own a car, I can decide to purchase a car and go socialize at some point in the future. The immediacy does not exist in the car ownership paradigm in the same way as guns.

Going forward it is time to put the cars versus guns analogy in the rearview mirror (groan away...). Let us leave such comparisons to rust in the field, ironically one of the few topics where cars and guns have similar traits. There are narrow areas where comparison may be useful between cars and guns, but the broad level with which we often analogize is inappropriate. When it comes to deaths, implementation, training, and general purpose we should find better comparisons. Cars are vital tools to vastly increase the efficiency of our lives. Guns are safety equipment which save lives in specific circumstances.

Do not let yourself be limited to the suggestions offered above for analogy. Find your own piece of emergency or safety equipment you stage in your daily life to save or protect you and use that as the comparison going forward. In this way, we can reclassify guns via our discussion. They are not neat tools that improve our life like a car, but the life-saving means we use to protect ourselves. Let’s talk about them as such.

1 reaction Share

Get Involved Volunteer Donate