I moved to Colorado about ten months ago. And though I am a native Texan, Colorado is my adoptive state. In my 31 years, 18 were in Texas and 12 were in Illinois, so that should tell you something. I love this state and the people in it. Just as the people of Texas are my people, the people of Colorado are my adoptive people.
Recently, my Colorado people have suffered through forest fires. And now they’ve suffered through an horrific tragedy. My upbringing has been between one of the most conservative states in the union and one of the most liberal, as far as gun laws go. So I have a lot of friends on both sides of the gun issue that want to share their thoughts. And you know what? You can shut up about gun control for a day or two.
You can shut up about gun regulations and gun bans
I own an assault rifle, two handguns and a shotgun. And, of course, I purchased them all legally. I have a college degree and I don’t have any criminal history beyond speeding tickets. If you’re looking at a background check, I’m no different than James Eagan Holmes. Compare resumes and you’ll pick him; he had a better GPA than I did and actually pursued a higher education than I have.
The difference between James Holmes and me is that one of us walked into a theater and murdered people. One of us wanted to make our home into a giant bomb to kill our neighbors. One of us values human life. There’s no law on the planet that will change how a man values the life of another. Outlaw online sales, assault rifles, guns, liquids over 3 ounces, and he still would find a way to murder.
You can shut up about how concealed carry fixes everything
Colorado isn’t much different from Texas as far as gun laws are concerned. In fact, Texas is the only state in the union where open carry is illegal (the ability to carry a gun in public for all to see). Concealed carry is legal and fairly easy to obtain in the state of Colorado. In fact, my wife and I went through the class. Our course was taught by a police officer and firearms instructor; he was rarely qualified to educated us on conceal carry rules and the actual gun laws in Colorado.
So here’s a few things you should know:
- It is perfectly legal to conceal a firearm in a movie theater in Colorado if you have a license
- Colorado concealed-carry classes aren’t required to be taught by law enforcement
- Colorado concealed-carry classes don’t require that you demonstrate proficiency with a fire arm
- Colorado concealed-carry classes don’t require that you even shoot a firearm
You can shut up about how things would have been different if someone had a gun
I’ve fired and used guns my whole life. I don’t claim to be an expert or even overly proficient. And though I have shot a few thousand rounds in my life, I don’t think that would matter for me or others in this situation. So here’s what you soon-to-be heroes with conceal weapons permits should know:
- You’re not Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, or Bruce Wayne. Situational awareness takes training that you don’t get as a civilian. You won’t recognize a threat until it’s too late.
- Unless you’ve trained with the exact weapons system you’re carrying, you’ll miss. It takes hundreds of hours with a firearm to really be proficient. Do you know what you’d do if it jams? Can you reload before the last round leaves your chamber? How many rounds in your magazine? Have you even practiced drawing your weapon if it’s concealed?
- Proficiency deteriorates without practice. When was the last time you fired your gun? Police and military practice regularly for their jobs. You do it irregularly for fun.
- A thousand hours on the range aren’t the same as a hundred seconds in a real shootout. Can you recognize the threat, obtain a site picture, and neutralize the target with a gun pointed at you? Police and military don’t just learn how to do this once, they actually train in these situations.
- There’s a solid chance you won’t even pull the trigger. There is huge psychological trauma associated with taking a life. Estimates are that between 1/3rd and 1/4th of guns on the battlefield in WWII were never shot. There are even police officers and soldiers who have been killed because they didn’t have what it took to kill.
- Even if you train with your gun, you do it until you get it right. Police and military do it until they don’t get it wrong. You’re just not ready like they are to use your gun.