Why I do NOT believe firearms training should be mandatory


Recently, I wrote an article about Why I don’t open carry and don’t think you should either

I got a lot of great comments, with most of my readers agreeing with me.

But one type of comment kept coming up again and again. It goes something like this:


“Yes, I think you should be able to open carry or conceal carry, but I also think you should need some form of mandatory training like taking a class before you can do it!”

I completely, whole-heartedly do NOT agree with this statement.

Here’s why …

Self-Defense Is A “Natural Right”, Not a “Legal Right” Granted To You By The State …

They don’t teach you this in school, which is why much of the population of these United States is so confused about the role of the government in the lives of the people …

There are two types of rights:

1. Legal Rights – are those given to a person by a legal system (i.e. rights that can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws)

2. Natural Rights – those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws).

When Thomas Jefferson and the other founders of America wrote the Declaration of Independence they started with these natural rights — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …

The signers of the Declaration of Independence deemed it a “self-evident truth” that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

Whether it’s Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence) or Life, Liberty, and Property (John Locke’s version) — Life and Liberty are the the most important.

It therefore follows that you have the unalienable right … the natural right … to defend your life and liberty … You have the Natural Right to self defense.

This is NOT a legal right. That means no government or system of laws created by man can give you these rights, nor can they take them away.

Self defense is a natural right and famous Supreme Court cases (Heller, McDonald, etc) have recognized this.

Hopefully by now you can see why I believe 1.) Anyone should be able to carry a gun concealed or otherwise and 2.) there should NEVER be mandatory training in order to exercise that right.

The 2nd Amendment was written to recognize the natural right to self-defense and to ensure that it was protected from the Government.

I basically find myself nodding along with everything Reid Henrichs says in the video below:

You Don’t Need Training To Exercise Any Other Natural Rights (Nor Should You) …

There should never be “mandatory training” legislated by the state to exercise your fundamental natural rights …

It’s important to remember, the Bill of Rights were NOT written to give you any rights. They were written to recognize your natural rights and restrain the state from infringing on those rights.

Imagine if you had to get “Good Citizen Mandatory Training” before the 4th Amendment — the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government — applied to you?

But that’s silly Caleb! That would never happen! Think of all the reasons “mandatory training” for privacy in your own home makes sesnse … What if you’re harboring terrorists in your home? What if you’re building bombs or making drugs? What if there is child abuse in your home?

Should the government mandate “good parenting mandatory training” before allowing you to be secure in your home? After all, you could be a child abuser without proper–government mandated–training in how to be a parent!

And the favorite card of the liberals, “If we could save just one child we should pass mandatory good citizen parenting training!”

I Am Totally For Everyone Getting Firearms Training …

To be clear, I have spent into the 100’s of hours attending firearms training classes. I’ve exceeded the standards needed for FBI Firearms Instructors to pass the FBI Qualificiation Course. I am totally, 100% in support of all gun owners getting more training.

But I’m 100% against it being mandatory.

Imagine if you had to take some form of Martial Art and achieve some arbitrary level of skill — let’s call it a blue belt — before you were legally allowed to defend yourself with your hands and fists if you were a victim of criminal violence. It’s ridiculous!

The truth is that the more power given governments to write laws, the more that power will be abused. It is the natural course of history.

Making Training Mandatory Would Hurt Many People Who Need a Gun NOW

Greg Ellifritz shared an interesting story on his blog before. Greg is a respected firearms trainer, and I’ll share a snippet with you here:

“Interesting experience at the shooting range this afternoon….

The range is packed. Everyone got new guns for X-mas and wants to shoot them. There was about an hour wait for a stall. I sit down and start reading as I wait my turn. In a few minutes, a young girl sits down to wait in the chair next to mine. She’s by herself and appears to be in her early 20s. She’s the only black person in the room and one of the only women. She seems nervous as she fiddles with the gun case in her lap. She’s obviously uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable people with guns in their hands shooting in the stall next to me isn’t what I like to see. I decide to talk to her. Keep in mind that no one at this range knows me or knows what I do for a living. That’s why I like shooting there; I have complete anonymity and can focus on my own training rather than teaching others. I rarely talk to anyone, but something told me that I needed to talk to this girl.

“It’s a long wait, huh?” “What kind of gun did you bring to shoot?”

She smiles and seems visibly relieved that someone was being nice to her. She says “It’s just a 9mm. Nothing special, but it’s the only thing I could afford.”

We keep talking. I find out she’s a single mom with two kids. Her house has been broken into three times in the last two months. The last burglary attempt occurred while she was in the house with her kids. She has never shot a gun, but she recognized that she had a duty to protect her family. She went to a gun show and bought a Jimenez Arms JA-9. She asked all her male friends and family members to go to the range with her, but all of them turned her down.

She tells me that she has a bad feeling that the robbers are coming back tonight to get the x-mas presents she bought for her kids. She doesn’t know anything about guns and doesn’t know anyone who can teach her. She’s signed up for a CCW class, but no one teaches classes on the week of Christmas and she can’t find an opening until January. The problem is that she thinks the robbers are coming TONIGHT. A January class isn’t going to help.

She told me that even though she didn’t know what she was going to do, she knew she better figure out how to shoot the gun before she has to shoot the robbers tonight. That’s why she was there by herself at the shooting range. It didn’t matter that she was by herself, that she was the only woman in the room, or that she knew nothing about guns. She had babies to protect and was going to figure out how to do it, come hell or high water.

It got me thinking about the courage and commitment that this woman was displaying. How many people would intentionally place themselves into a situation where they know they will be the outsider and probably look stupid and inept to all the other “experts” at the range? Not many. The woman had guts.

“I think I can help you. Let’s share a stall. I’ll show you how to shoot your gun.”

Helping her seemed like the right thing to do. No problem there. The problem was that the range was closing in an hour and she could only afford one box of bullets. How’s that for a dilemma for you instructors out there? You have less than an hour and one box of bullets to take a woman who has never held a gun before and prepare her for a gunfight that she thinks will happen TONIGHT.

Game on. Challenge accepted.

Gun function, loading, stance and grip and sight alignment in 15 minutes. On to live fire. Slow fire two handed at first until she got used to the gun, then some faster shots, a few shots right hand only/left hand only so that she had the confidence she could do it if she had to. Finished up with a few reps of malfunction drills. I’m pleased to say that she kept all of her shots in the chest area of a silhouette target at 10-15 feet. The gun puked a couple times, but it gave her a chance to practice her tap/rack. She sucked up the information I provided like a sponge. She was a better student than any of the thousands of cops I’ve taught.

The range closed. I wished her luck She packed up her new gun and left. I told her that I was a cop, but not that I teach people to shoot for a living. For all she knows, I’m just some friendly dude at the range. I like it that way.

The whole experience gives me pause. How many times have you been at the range and looked down your nose at somebody shooting a HiPoint or Jennings? How many times have you silently thought “idiot” when someone fumbles with their gun? How many times have you looked askance at shooters using the “wrong” grip? I know I do all of those things almost every time I’m at a public shooting range…but I won’t do it anymore. What if those “idiots” are really just people like this woman…inexperienced, poor, and without anyone to teach them how to do things right? By the luck of the draw, this woman pulled up a chair next to a professional firearms instructor at the range. She could have just as easily sat next to “Bubba” who will tell her that her gun is a piece of shit and that there’s no way she could ever learn to defend herself in an hour.

We shooters need to do better. It doesn’t matter if someone has a shitty blaster or if they don’t know how to hold it correctly. They might be in a situation like this woman was in. We need to help these people the best that we can. Who knows what an impact we will have? Save a life or sneer at an “idiot.” It’s your choice.”

In other words, there are a lot of poor, inexperienced people out there, who have no chance of defending themselves with their hands who may need a gun and they may need it right now. They don’t need “mandatory training” to get in the way of defending their lives or the lives of people they love and are responsible for.

Todd Green Has a Great Idea For A Two-Tiered Carry System …

Todd Green posted a great idea for a “Two-Tiered” carry training idea that I think would be something I would agree with:

“Rather than mandatory training, what I would like to see is a two-tiered system. Simply carrying concealed should be legal without a permit (or training). But because it is legitimately in the government’s interest (and the community’s interest) to encourage training, instead create benefits — incentives — for gun owners who get serious training… like most readers of this website do already. Just a few examples of what could be offered, some of which already exist in certain jurisdictions:

** fewer prohibited places compared to the “Constitutional carry” option

** exemption from “NO GUNS” signs posted at businesses

** additional legal protections (e.g., civil immunity for lawfully exercising self-defense determined either through a not guilty verdict or a grand jury returning a no bill)

** NICS-exempt status for firearms purchases
access to state-sponsored facilities/training exclusive to trained CCW permit holders

** in states where even the no-training CCW option requires a permit, reduce or eliminate the permit fee for folks who take the optional training

A system like this protects the Constitutional rights of every gun owner while creating enough benefit to encourage regular ongoing training. Reward good behavior and you’ll get more of it.”

What Do You Think? Should Training Be Mandatory?

What do you think?

Should there be mandatory gun training before you’re allowed to carry a gun to defend yourself and the people you’re responsible for?

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Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.


  1. I concur. Though getting some education and training is always a good idea, it should not be mandatory, and self defense is a natural, not a legal right! Good article!

    • Many States require a two day process of getting a concealed permit with one day on the laws of shoot don’t shoot and a second day learning or proving you can handle a firearm safely at a shooting range, So this exists to some extent already !

      • State of VA non-resident carry-permit is best as it’s been recognized with reciprocity in many states…no course, exam, shooting lessons, etc…and it’s obtainable w/o having to go to VA


  2. Yes to NO mandatory training!!!! Train does have it’s benefits though. I have training and am a platinum plus member of USCCA!!

  3. I absolutly agree with you Caleb. Mandatory training would be another resriction on our givin rights as american citizens. Any one owning or carying any kind of weapon should train in the use of that weapon, but that training should not be put in the control of any government.

  4. I agree completely with your rational and would add that mandatory training is just another way for the government to make it harder to exercise your God given right to defend yourself, your family, and your community. I like the ideas for incentives to encourage more training.

  5. Now if Maryland would allow people who have NO criminal background to get a carry permit. They do not think that wanting to be able to protect oneself is a good enough reason. I was told that if that is the best reason then I should stay home. Anyone have a better idea as I was brought up to tell the truth. So I need your help please.

  6. I am a retired LE officer and weapons instructor with extensive firearms training and experience including FBI SWAT training. As such I am entitled to carry in all 50 states, but must qualify yearly with my old department. This includes a daytime, night time and cold weather qualification. Three separate qualifications each and every year. John Q. Public can take a one day course, pay the fees and are issued a 5 year permit with no further training. I have taken this course and it is a farce. A bunch of handouts, unqualified instructors stumbling through the mandatory material, then 40 rounds down range standing at 7 yards and you’re out the door to pay another fee to the local sheriff or police chief to exercise your “rights”? Constitutional carry should be the law of the land for everyone not legally prohibited from owning firearms, but if the current resident of the White House is allowed to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, you can kiss away all the hard fought gains of recent years (i.e.: the Heller decision) and all this will become moot.

    • I am also a retired LE officer and police/SWAT firearms instructor. I had to get a CCW permit as it is pretty difficult to get back to my department each and every year for the requal and background check. In the state I retired in, I only have to requal every 5 years for CCW in that state, so I try to get back there every 4 years or so. The feds passed a law to allow LE officers to qualify with a LE agency in his current county to get around his having to return to his agency state, however the sheriff of my county doesn’t even authorize his own personnel this option, so he certainly wouldn’t give it to me.

    • Not necessarily, Curmudgeon, we are still an unruly group of people, whose favorite hand sign is “You’re Number One”. We were born in revolution, and are not very likely to turn in our weapons just because some clown in Washington (or FIVE of them in black dresses in Washington) say so. You remember the movie “Casablanca”? There’s a scene where Bogart is being interviewed by some Nazis, one of whom alludes to invading the US. Bogart makes a comment that there are some neighborhoods that wouldn’t be safe to invade. That’s the unique quality of the USA. There is a tipping point, at which the vast majority of Americans will not only say “that’s enough,” but will also do something about it. People often say stuff about how, if O declares martial law, the army will be pounding on our doors. Oh, yeah? There’s an oath we all took, that had to do with protecting and defending the Constitution, not some individual person. I think it very unlikely that the military would blindly obey him. Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes radio communications get garbled, or break up, and teletype machines can turn a whole message into gibberish, and hand messengers can make a wrong turn in a corridor and get lost? Frankly, I wouldn’t want to take a job at a gun turn-in center in the USA; or if I did, I’d bring a good book along with me, and a big thermos of coffee……

  7. I agree with you but if someone is going to carry they need instructions on how to use the gun.
    Do you think Isreal is better off training everyone in Military? Do you think our country would benefit by having everyone at 18 go in Military for one year?

  8. GREAT ARTICLE!! I agree, but I think it would be more useful to include benefits like a tax break for those who take extra training and perhaps pass a qualifying test. The book “Molon Labe” hypothesizes about a “free state” scenario, in which those who qualify with a rifle (we could as easily do it with a pistol today) get tax breaks for passing an annual qualifying shoot. I’d prefer something like this to increasing the places where you could carry, etc. because I believe in the concept of “Constitutional Carry.”

  9. Caleb,
    You are one of the few who actually gets it. Making training mandatory is just another excuse for the government to exercise control over one of our natural rights and should never be imposed on citizens. Note that I distinguish between citizens and non-citizens. It is my opinion that the rights recognized (and supposedly protected) by the constitution should only be protected for citizens or others who are legally in our country. That is not to say that others do not have natural rights, only that our government has no constitutional obligation to protect those rights.
    Mandatory training means that somewhere there is a record of your training, which is a pretty good indication that you are a firearm owner. It also means, as you point out, that people do not have immediate access to their best means of self defense.
    It might be interesting to press a test case where a citizen, injured because he was denied the ability to defend himself, sues the governmental body responsible for denying him that natural right, and presses the case all the way through to the Supreme Court. It would take deep pockets to do so, but it would be a true test of whether the constitution actually does what it purports to do in protecting our natural rights. Of course, given the recent distorted, progressive liberal bias shown by SCOTUS, it might not be such a good idea to do this until the court has a more rational makeup.
    In the same vein, there has never actually been a legitimate case pressed to SCOTUS truly challenging the NFA on constitutional grounds. There is no doubt that, given the right arguments, the NFA would be overturned. The original challenge had no lawyer on the challenger’s side because he could not afford to travel to Washington to plead his case. The Treasury Department (which was originally the host of the ATF) argued that it was only a tax regulation and not a bill of rights issue. That was patently false, given that when the regulation was enacted, it placed a $300 tax on a $3 sawed-off shotgun during the great depression. If it walks like a duck…
    If the NFA was unconstitutional when it was originally passed, then all of the framework subsequently built on it is also unconstitutional. The purpose of the second amendment is to guarantee to the citizens to right to defend themselves not just from criminals, but also from an oppressive government that is backed by an army. The founding fathers recognized that to actually do that, citizens had to have the right to equip themselves adequately for that type of defense, and logically that can only be done if they retain the right to acquire the same arms that their opponent bears.
    This may seem like a ramble, but it ties right back to the protection of our natural rights.
    “Molon Labe!”

    • “If the NFA was unconstitutional when it was originally passed, then all of the framework subsequently built on it is also unconstitutional.”

      In law, that concept is known as the Fruit of the Poisoned Tree Doctrine.
      In that, the Law recognizes that if one apple on a tree is poisonous, all
      the apples on a poisoned tree are also poisonous. You may hear of the
      law referenced as Fruit of the Poisonous Tree, but both references are
      of the original doctrine.

  10. I agree wholeheartedly with your observation of our laws, and of the irresponsible mandates of Government to require firearms training before people can get a CCW permit. Personally, whether it be open, or concealed
    carry, I see this as a right, as you have clearly stated.

    I also agree with the idea of firearms training for everyone, but not because it is mandated. Not everyone needs such training if they have had it before. But, when a person has had such training before in LE, or NRA classes they, most likely, do continue to practice their knowledge and skills even when they no longer work in, or associate in their former field where it was being taught. Those persons would go to a range on their own
    to practice their skills anyway.

    New people, such as the woman you mentioned, would still want to know, and would seek out anyone they
    could to help them. If, as in the case of the woman you mentioned, they did not find someone to help they would still do just as that woman did to learn whatever they could.

    I have a young granddaughter (30’s, but young to me) who felt she needed a gun for her home. She is
    unmarried, and lives in an apartment alone. She talked to a number of friends, etc, and finally made a
    choice in a weapon for her. Then she wanted to learn to shoot it properly for self defense. Now she gets
    to the range regularly to practice what she had learned, and to improve her skills.

    I have another granddaughter who had never fired anything before, and had never even seen a real
    firearm other than on officers carrying them, and in movies. She did not really want to get one for
    herself, but figured that with being alone with two young boys she should learn how to safely handle
    various types of firearms. She gathered that idea from lectures of mine on “In whose hands would a
    gun be safest? Mommy’s or little Joey’s from down the street?” Mommy being one against guns, never
    having one, and not wanting anything to do with them.) Now, that granddaughter has had a good
    familiarization with everything from black powder guns. revolvers, automatics, rifles, shotguns
    and sub-machineguns. (Of course, that amount of familiarization just can’t be handled in one class,
    alone. It just doesn’t get into enough detail that way.)

    I have had the same type of thoughts you have been expressing here for many years now. I am
    very glad someone is getting those ideas out in media to make many aware of the thinking.
    Keep it up!

  11. I have to agree with you. Now if gunstores would do a free customer service ‘Act’ and provide at least a 1 hr training course when buying, it would be beneficial for both parties. If it was mandatory, you and I know there would be ‘jerks’ out their trying to make a quick buck. It would be like ‘ObamaCare’. What happened to the so call ‘Affordable Care’. Everyone would start charging ‘High Fees’ for their training, and like everthing out their, in the poorer neighborhoods they would charge higher prices, because they need the training

  12. I carry a gun EVERY WHERE I go. Not in the open but readily available.Have ever day of my life after I left the
    Military.Grew up with them. Have never shot A civilian.
    No need to. Pulled it twice, worked well. Saved a lot of
    Trouble. However it is a right, but all should have basic
    Training in the handling by someone who knows guns.
    If you need a gun to protect yourself you pull it you at
    Least must know how to operate and hit what you are shooting at. Do not need to be Anne Oakly but some
    Point and shoot skills.With out that you are a danger
    To other people who are in the area that have nothing
    To do with what’s going on.Thats why training to shoot
    Is so important in the military. So you are not a danger
    To your buddies. Does not take long and if you can
    Afford a little expense to learn which end the round
    Comes out of is needed.From experience .

    • It sounds like a good idea, It’s not. If anyone thinks that a state or the Feds will give up the NICS backdoor registration, think again. And no offence, but you are creating a two tiered system of justice for defending ones self like the airlines do on seats for frequent flier miles….then the quality of the training courses will come into question and the slippery slope is in play. It might be better to just strengthen self defense laws.

      • Hey I’m all with you.

        It’s just annoying that the current system has you undergo a background check, etc to acquire a CCW permit — and then you still have to do a background check everytime you purchase a gun?

        But yes, I have full faith that the .gov would use any legislation as an excuse for more tyranny … Thanks for chiming in!

  13. Driving a car’s a right- shouldn’t lessons be taught do do it properly? I observed some youngsters in my ccw quals who really needed more training than what was provided.

      • …well regulated… apparently means don’t check anyone, if you do – dare not keep a database, don’t train anyone… just stock up? Just what is being acceptable to being regulated by these assertions? Just the bullets mass and powder? Naa – Not even that… Then we’d hear claims the gov is trying to make our bullets too weak.

        Any thought just what well regulated self defense means? Rather than the suggested free-for-all so often suggested as the right handed down? Or are we just going to accept the parts we like and forget the contradictions?

        Note: A mans house is his castle – but I’m pretty sure if it’s a shanty, or in a condition endangering others something will be done… Same for any other “natural” right… Cept guns, of course.

    • The right to live is your primary right. Without that, what good are any of your other rights?

  14. I am in favor of some firearm training for people who have never owned nor fired a weapon. There
    are rules of safety, when to pull a weapon and how to Hit the target if you have to fire it. Too many
    people get weapons, do not have any knowledge of even how to load a weapon and think they are
    Gun Fighters like in the movies. They wind up getting hurt or hurting someone else and that does
    not do any one any good. I personally think that firearm training as an elective in schools should be
    available or some other outlet where it can be for a minimum fee to provide some basic firearm
    training with a real weapon. I know one gun store that sells all sorts of fire arms, they have a
    indoor range and offer a free 4 hour course on firearm safety for all who purchase a weapon from

  15. as long as we elect liberal democrats we will never have the full rights of the second amendment,they will keep chopping it up and telling lies about guns until guns are gone, so first things first vote for freedom

  16. I think you are assuming Caleb that most Americans already have some inherent degree of firearms knowledge. And while that may have been true at one time when the Nra was in our public school systems teaching and training young children and high school students it is not the same now. I would like to see people be competent with their Firearms if they’re going to carry. if you’re going to open carry, I believe that a retention class is needed. I am sure you have seen many pictures of people open carrying in holsters that are crap. I teach weapon retention it is vitally important and something your average Joe will not think about until after he has had his pistol snatched from him or they are facing recklessness charges because their firearm fell out in Walmart as they bent over to pick up a jar of pickles on the bottom shelf and their firearm falls out other leather CCW jacket because the snap came open , this is something the average Joe will not think about until after he has had his pistol snatched from him. I also believe that a degree of marksmanship training is also needed if a person is going to discharge a firearm in public and trust me it does happen and people do miss and those bullets end up somewhere. about a year ago in Tulsa where I live a deputy sheriff on the courtyard grounds had to return fire and while he did strike and take down the bad guy one of his bullets hit an innocent bystander. But as a cop he can get away with it and the injuries sustained by the innocent person was not charged against the officer but was charged against the perp that was shooting at the officer. We as common citizens don’t get that luxury . As for open caring I believe it is a choice and I believe that it should be exercised by those who feel confident enough to do so. confidence comes with firearms training. Well Caleb I support your right to believe whatever you wish to believe but I’m looking out for the individuals safety and for the public safety. I also disagree with you telling other people how they should carry

    • Not sure how to answer this … but my opinion remains unchanged. Thanks for chiming in anyways.

      P.S. I’m aware of multiple studies that show Armed Citizens Make Fewer Mistakes Than Police (despite the training of police).

      • I AGREE TRAINING SHOULD BE OPTIONAL ! ALTHOUGH I RECOMMEND HIGHLY GETTING TRAINING! I have had and handled guns for over 60 years. and I went to a 4 day hand gun class at Front Sight last year! I even learned some things. I plan to go to the advanced class soon.

        THE PROBLEM IS WE KEEP GETTING NEW RULES! BOATING FOR 1. After having boats and handling them for over 50 years I now have to pass a test and get a license (another fee?) It’s not a problem (my grand daughter (12) passed it without ever running a boat on the internet) JUST ANOTHER INTRUSION ! THE WAY IT’S GOING, PRETTY SOON YOU WILL NEED A LICENSE TO WALK DOWN THE STREET !

      • A point of fact: 2 n.y. police officers shot 9 by standers while taking down 1 shooter! TRAINED?

  17. I liked your snippet about Greg Ellifritz, the former Law Enforcement Officer and now Firearms Instructor. I am glad he helped that women. I think one thing a lot of people fail to realize is that we were all those “idiots” once fumbling with our guns when we first learned to shoot. It could have been as a pre-teen youngster hunting with our Dads or as an Adult. It is so easy to forget that we were at that stage also at some point in our lives. I spent many years as a youngster learning Archery and Firearms Skills from my Dad and I grew up around guns, but I have not really shot a Handgun very much in the last 20 years, so I will also probably be considered an “idiot” on the Gun Range because my skills are rusty. I think those that are highly trained should stop to think about when they first started their training and try not to label other people.


  18. Your choice of “mandatory” might be better expressed as “prerequisite for certification”, or something like that. that would say, “you don’t HAVE to take this training to avail yourself of your 2 A rights.” As for mandatory training, I’d rather see it in , say, 6th grade or so. Teach them what it’s all about when they’re young, remove the aura of “magic” from it, build in them a sense that they can and should handle all weapons in a safe manner, and when they are older, they already meet a minimum qualification, i.e., handle it without hurting someone, and hit the target a majority of times, from a reasonable COMBAT distance.

  19. In the State of California, in order to get a hunting permit, you must take a hunter safety course. So why not a gun safety course before getting any kind of gun, (rifle, shotgun, or handgun). Then perhaps there might be less shooting of the wrong persons.

    • In my home state of VA — you don’t need any “Safety course” or anything to get a gun. If you’re an adult you buy one. And then you could open carry it if you like (only concealed carry needs any type of “course” to qualify for).

      Our crime rate is quite low and there is very little “shooting of the wrong persons” here.

  20. Training should be a highly recommended option, never a mandatory requirement. When you start requiring training you start handing the state your natural rights and turn them into legal rights. That is not acceptable. We need to learn the difference and fiercely guard our natural rights or the state will turn them into legal rights and then take them.
    As far as where you’re allowed to carry, it should be legal at all corporate owned businesses. Only privately owned Mom & Pop businesses should be allowed to refuse carry on the premises. The reason is because the rights of the individuals must be paramount and not be infringed.

    • IMHO, any place that wants to be a so-called “gun-free zone” should either provide armed security, or be held legally liable for any harm that befalls any visitor to the premises by the actions of an armed criminal.
      Almost every mass shooting took place in a “gun-free zone”.

  21. We had training before we dropped the Draft. It was and still is a gigantic mistake when our legislators dropped the Draft. Two years of military training would solve many of our problems.

    • I respectfully disagree …

      A draft implies that the Gov owns your body. You’re nothing more than a slave that has to fight the Gov’s wars.

  22. Good article and comments but one point has been missed: Anyone who has been trained in the proper and most effective use of any weapon has a distinct advantage over those who are not. If you are in a situation where a gun is needed, this can make the difference in who survives and who doesn’t.

    • Yup it would be great, but still, a person having any tool even if they’re not that skilled in using it is at a better advantage in a violent encounter.

  23. I believe that proper training is necessary,and a great idea, but not all great ideas should be made into law. We already have so many laws (of one kind or another) that, I doubt that anyone could live for more than a week without unintentionally breaking some law—be it local, state,or federal.

    • You are correct! and actually it’s just one day … the book 3 felonies a day talks about this.

      “The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior.”

      Good stuff and thanks for chiming in!

  24. Maybe you can help me. I live in Maryland and can not get a carry permit. I have NO criminal record of ANY kind. I told them that I do not feel safe when I go out to a resturant in the evening or shopping. I am 67 years old and have spinal injury so Iam not the young man I once was. I was told that this is not a good enough reason for a carry permit and I should just stay home if that is how I feel. So I need to come up with a better reason. Anyone have a better but honest reason. A friend of mine was going to say I do his bank runs and help with road service. Like a hot shot or something easy. Then he had to go in for some surgery and then died while in recovery. So that plan failed and had to go to a funeral instead. My world sucks and now have one less friend and his other half shut the business down.

    • Wow that sucks so much. I’m so sorry.

      I have heard that “fear of crime” is not a valid reason in MD … which is completely bogus.

      I have also heard that yes, if you have a small business or anything that makes you have to deal in cash/make cash deposits, that can be a valid reason. Hope that helps!

      • Caleb I did not know the first one went through. I had that taken care of but the police won’t be able to find me there, as it is no more, anymore. I have been told to carry anyway by some of the police I know. But they carry a badge. I am to old for jail etc. as I have NEVER done anything illegal and not about to take that chance now.

  25. I need some help. I live in Maryland and went to get a carry permit. I have NO record, criminal or otherwise. I told them I did not feel safe at night when going out to dinner or shopping and that I am 67 and have spinal injury. They told me that is not a good enough reason and if I feel that way then I should just stay at home and not go out to dinner anymore. This SUCKS!! I do NOT lie but would love maybe another reason that they would find acceptable. I won’t even go into the ID photo which I have no problem with. Or proving myself at the range. Both of which I will be charged for with a fee of almost $300 and if turned down the money is not refundable. I did have everything taken care of as a friend was going to write me a leter telling them I do bank runs and do minor road service. Like a hot shot or some gasoline. All of which are true as he has no legs and it is MUCH easier for me and I do the minor road service which is something he can not do. He went in for some surgery and went through the surgery was fine then he started to bleed internally and they could not stop it in time and died the day before coming home. His other half closed to business down so that ended that idea. And no I do not know anyone one else that I could use. The police dept. was going to accept the letter and they could come by and see it is real. So now I have no idea or know anyone that could assist LEGALLY.

    • I would suggest moving out of Maryland to a state that is not run by communists/liberals. Perhaps there is a reason you have to stay, that would be up to you. I am living in Colorado and am somewhat stuck here because there is a Veterans hospital here and my health is not the best. I am thinking of looking for a place in Arizona, Texas or Utah or in the southern part of the US that is more accepting of our natural rights. If I can get a place within one hour to a VA facility it would work . My dream is to be able to step our of the back door and blaze away.

  26. Mandatory training would be a very slippery slope. Some of us can recall when a number of states had literacy requirements for voting. A very good idea on the surface, but the ensuing abuse of the criteria was deemed unconstitutional restriction on voting rights. The same could (and in some states probably would) occur with mandatory training for weapons carry, and be used as a tool to keep political opponents (or other people the party in power does not like) from having the means to defend themselves. Keep in mind that the writers of the Constitution had in mind defending ones self against any threat, including the government.

  27. I understand your comments on reluctance to have mandatory training, in view of the way the government tends to make everything so involved and complicated. However, I got my training in the military. I am a retiree) and I have run the mandatory annual training for my units. During my tour in Germany, I earned a Jagdschein (German hunter’s license), which required a good deal of training, and required qualification in rifle and shotgun. Further, during my military time, I was trained in use of the Smith and Wesson revolver, the combat shotgun, the 1911 pistol, the M9 pistol, and the AR-15 and its variations. I was fortunate to receive this training, plus I received personal instruction from individuals who had been in the Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning. I practice frequently and learned a good deal of firearms repair. Further, I have learned to handload, as well as cast bullets.

    A good deal of my instruction was not required. I am concerned regarding the number of people who buy a firearm and ammunition, and simply throw it in a drawer, thinking they are prepared. Somehow, even if not mandatory, the need for this training should be made obvious. Many people have little knowledge of the inherent dangers in firearms.

  28. People take mandatory courses, usually in middle school, to learn how to manage their money. People take swimming lessons to keep from drowning. People need to take basic firearms skills training to learn how to handle, clean, and store a weapon. In the old days parents taught their children, how to handle a weapon and, a weapon is not a toy. Nobody got shot accidentally. Children were given a weapon, ammunition, and sent out to get the family’s dinner. If they missed; well, let’s just say that they didn’t miss very often.

    • Hey I’m all for more firearms education … it just shouldn’t be mandatory to exercise your right to self-defense.

      It would be great if we still had rifle teams in high school or air gun leagues or something in middle school or younger. Kids could be taught from a young age how to handle firearms, etc

  29. Back when I was a kid 10 or 12 years old I was given a 22 cal. my mon and dad, would not take to shoot it till I took some class to learn more about the 22 so I ended up taking a hunter safety class back then Sears offer the class it took up the hole weekend I learn a lot in that weekend it gave me a good grounding in gun safety best thing my mon and dad ever mad me do. every one should get some sort of training be for they can get a gun, it would have to be in two parts one day for the book and talk the other for shooting. with out the basics they will shoot them self in the foot.

  30. That certain;y sucks. If that were my circumstance I’d carry anyway,ones lifestyle is more important than a rule that can change or be amended on a daily basis if “they” choose to. You might consider relocating to the west coast, My permission slip cost $52 and inky fingers and I went home with a piece of paper. One shouldn’t pay a tax for a right so I look at it as insurance.

    Caleb,love your attitude man,whatever anyone throws at ya you stick to your fundamental philosophy completely unwavered, a rare trait and I respect that in a person

  31. Caleb, nearly always I am 100% in agreement with your position. I must make an exception here-not because your position is wrong but because the question is wrong in that it carries an unstated assumption. I refer to the part that doesn’t say “to own a firearm”. An eon or so ago, when I was in grade school; we had annual, mandatory, gun safety classes. Parents (or students) could opt out of the hands-on portion but everyone sat through the generalized and weapon-specific portions of safety. Back then we had 10 rules for firearm safety; and the course also covered a bunch of shoot or don’t shoot photos; the written test was around 20 questions and so far as I know the only time the card was required was for receiving a Jr. Hunter’s deer tag.
    A good add-on to that, mentioned above, would be the option for lesson at time of purchase. A common knowledge base would help a lot with the fearmongering and disinformation; and would not intrude on any rights.

  32. First you live in Maryland by choice. Move! I have never understood why any shooter would pay taxes to live in a communistic state. As a lifetime resident of Virginia we are now dealing with a liberal democrat governor who has been forced to back off on his ag’s foolish move in attempting to deny other states conceiled carry permit holders the right to carry in Virginia. This thank God that has been overturned.
    Right now America is facing the most important election possibly in its entire history. We are going to not just elect a new president but replace possibly three supreme court justices. This will define our country for the next fifty years and beyond. It’s not just the second amendment that will be under fire but the fourth, fifth , and tenth as well.

  33. In the past, I was the Match Director of a International Defensive Pistol Association club. I designed and conducted all the stages run each month. I’ve also shot in many, many, IPSC matches. The problem with this type of “training” is that the shooters are conditioned to respond to an audio cue to start shooting – no thinking involved. In a real world situation there is no audio cue that tells the shooter something bad has happened and it’s time to get out your gun and blaze away. The “real world” requires not only expert shooting, but expert judgement as to when to shoot, who to shoot, and when it is best to keep your pistol in your holster. In my view, this is a major weakness of “civilian” training environments. Nonetheless, these simulated “combat” environments are better than no training of this type.

  34. I’ve just recently to TX from left coast state/commune.(WA State). Decided to drop by a gun store to look @ a slim-profile 9 for CC as I’m an old duck and no longer feel safe going to grocery after dark. Asked the gun-store clerk about TX “carry” laws and learned that TX has mandatory “training course” with required range time, exam & hefty fee that’s required in order to get carry permit here. Being naturally curious I had a look at internet and learned that a legal alternative is to obtain a VA carry-permit which is available non-resident and is reciprocity-recognized in a lot of states including TX. And the VA permit requires no course, exam or ammo wasting (raised in TX shooting every kind of gun since my Dad taught me to shoot from about age 5 so I didn’t want to waste ammo while being “taught” to shoot by somebody with less experience than my own. Check out VA carry permit and see if your state has reciprocity agreement with VA.

    • To be fair, it is easier to get a CCW in Washington state than many other “gun friendly” states. There is no mandatory class, the response time on your permit is 30 days and it is about the same price as a drivers license.

      As a CCW instructor in Oklahoma, I definately see a need for training in firearms. This applies to those who are both inexperienced and those self-professed experts who think the class is a waste of time. In my experience, these “experts” don’t know as much as they think. Many times this makes them difficult students because they are not open to learn. In contrast, the new shooters, especially women, are a joy to teach because they are wanting to learn. And the CCW class is more than learning to shoot. I spend more time on the legal aspect. Shooting is the easy part. Knowing when and why you are justified to do so is a more difficult thing to understand and practice.

      Concerning our rights as citizens, I tend to agree with Caleb. But more needs to be done to educate citizens on the use of deadly force.

      • A CCW class instructor who thinks CCW class-taking should be made mandatory. Nope, no conflict of interest in that.

  35. I believe constitutional carry should be the law everywhere Firearms safety training (including firing of long guns and hand guns) along with a course on the laws of self defense should be taught in school as a requirement, with an opt out provision for the firing portion.

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  38. First of all that’s the most irresponsible statement anyone who has ever owned a gun can make. When our founding fathers wrote the constitution do you think there were Wal-Mart’s and gunshops in every city and town?
    Growing up on the American southwest my family owned guns. They hunted for their own food., but the young ones were not allowed to touch the guns. As was in older times. Only those who were trained could touch the gun. Oh sure every now and then the wife or the oldest boy would have to would a gun to scare off a wild animal. But for the majority of the life of the gun one maybe two people ever touched it before it was passed on or sold.
    Training came before the honor of owning a gun. As we grew out of the need to hunt it became a pastime and an industry. Which does not care if your kid owns a gun they actually prefer it. More guns demand means more revenue. But I digress, today people who are not familiar with guns own guns. People who own guns are not trained. Those few who are see everyone else as being equally suited and they are not.
    Most of America are nothing more than grown children when it comes to guns. Their experience comes from gaming online.
    It is my very solid opinion that anyone suggesting anything other than a required training to a wild a gun are either working for the gun industry, or a self absorbed idiot who cares about themselves only. The same goes for any of you who agree with this article. If your not working for or with gun industry your a sheep. A sheep with a gun.

    • Yeah, you’re wrong… on so many levels.

      I don’t even need to rebut your comment because I wrote an entire article that does.

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …”

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