by Ben Small
How do you feel about twenty-one-year-olds packin' concealed heat... with no gun training whatsoever?
Me, I'm not so hot about it.
You might be surprised. Maybe you've noticed I've written quite a few gun articles, am an avid shooter, and if you're my Congresswoman, you think I'm some kind of right-wing gun nut.
Guilty as charged, mostly.
But I think it's nuts to give twenty-one-year-old kids high powered weapons, complicated pieces of machinery capable of dealing death faster than the blink of an eye, without one iota of required training.
And in Arizona, that's exactly what's happening.
The Arizona legislature passed a Bill last week permitting concealed carry by anybody over the age of twenty-one -- no training or permit required. You must be legal, of course -- you know, not a convicted felon or someone who beat up his girlfriend. But there's no other limitation. A twenty-one year-old kid can, under this Bill, legally carry concealed. Yup, he might be the pimple-faced kid in front of you at McDonald's, the one who goes postal over cold fries.
The governor signed the Bill into law, effective sometime this summer.
I possess an Arizona Concealed Carry permit. So much for that. To obtain my permit, I endured a day-long, boring presentation on civil and criminal law -- Yawn, I'm a lawyer -- a shooting test a blind guy passed, and a written test, the correct answers provided in advance.
Yeah, my Concealed Carry Class was a torture chamber, a real intellectual and physical challenge.
But the class was worthwhile. I appreciated the pointers and reminders, the safety tips, the hypothetical examples we mulled over, the discussion among students and instructor, the methodology training, the proper marriage between gun and holster and method of carry, shooting tips, etc. I even enjoyed some of the stupid statements people made, threw some out there myself. But these stupid statements reminded me just how dumb some people may be.
And these people may be carrying concealed guns. Throw in youth, immaturity, beer and hard stuff...
I may be staying in more.
If you're gonna carry a gun, you must have a cool head; should know your weapon; have tested your weapon; have a gun and holster and carry mechanism that meets your needs, style and size, and you must realize the legal and moral aspects of your situation. You need to practice, both shooting and the draw; you don't want to be pulling on the trigger as you're drawing. Duh. And you need to be aware of your circumstances, always take the avoidance route if one is available, use restraint... unless presented with a direct threat of grave bodily harm to you or your family.
Concealed Carry Classes teach all this. And they fully inform you what will happen if you do pull the trigger, justified or not, accidental or not.
Scary stuff. Good to know.
And Arizona just threw this training requirement in the dumpster.
So what good is my Arizona Concealed Carry Permit now? It's not worthless. It shows I took the time to ensure I was prepared; it shows I'm a law-abiding citizen; my records withstood a background check. And it frees me from BATFE approval delays because of that background check. My permit's even gotten me out of a few traffic tickets. Seems some cops like responsible citizens, are actually nice folks, and occasionally give breaks to people they deem deserving.
Another good deal.
No, I'm not happy about this new development. Scares me that kids with no training will be brandishing concealed guns, waving them around, pulling them because their friends think it's cool. Or maybe just having a poorly paired gun-holster-carry package, dropping a gun in the Safeway frozen pizza aisle.
Guess I'll re-think flipping off the next pimple-faced kid who tail-gates me in the passing lanes.