A question of competence

This is a discussion on A question of competence within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; In one of the discussions there was a rhetorical question about an IQ test to own a gun. Somewhat along the same lines, do you ...

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Thread: A question of competence

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    A question of competence

    In one of the discussions there was a rhetorical question about an IQ test to own a gun. Somewhat along the same lines, do you know of a person who probably should not own a gun?
    I have such a friend, he is a nice enough fellow, but in a fire fight I wouldn't want him anywhere near me.
    I do not mean to imply or sound like an elitist, but there are people who are good eggs, but probably should not be included in realm of fire arms. If the fellow ever asked me the question about owning, I probably would become speechless.

    How would you handle the question if you had a comparable friend who asked about owning/carrying?

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    Senior Member Array Knuckledrager's Avatar
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    Is this person not a good CCW choice because he is a "bad egg"? Or is this a person who may not have the smarts to wrap his head around all of the responsibilities of CCW? If the latter, is he able to learn with the right teacher/mentor?

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    In a similiar situation I would strongly encourage them to take a basic firearms course, as well as a personal defense course.

    Also, I would encourage them to join this forum--to reinforce we are all not 'mall ninja' practicing the martial art of "klik-pow"...that there is ettiquette to carrying. In the last couple of years I've noticed the 'mall ninjas' have fallen by the wayside, either from outright bans to slinking off into their mom's basement to play Halo 3--because reality is too harsh for them.

    Other than that, don't be where he is--for all of you know, he's an ND ready to happen.
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    The fellow is not a Barnie Fife, or an Elwood P. Dowed (Harvey), or a bad egg, he is just lacking some elemental ingredient necessary to make a trustworthy/competent gun owner.
    I am sure training would help, but no matter how much time, effort or resources are invested, the outcome will still be less than satisfactory.
    I guess my greatest fear is watching the 10 o'clock news and having the fellow lead the top story. (A newscaster once stated - If it leads it bleeds)...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GBS View Post
    How would you handle the question if you had a comparable friend who asked about owning/carrying?
    I'd handle it by being honest, and encouraging the individual to get more training.

    I work at a gun shop. I get HUNDREDS of people who come in looking for a gun and don't even know the first thing about firearms.

    Just because someone doesn't know anything about guns doesn't mean they can't learn.

    A way I have learned to help people understand the responsibility of what they are about to do is to ask them questions and engage them.

    For instance...

    A woman comes into our shop a couple of days ago with her husband and son. She wants a gun for carry but she wants a semi-automatic.

    I show her a couple compact 9mms and tell her to hold the gun exactly like she's going to if she was going to fire the weapon.

    I notice her grip is EXTREMELY weak but telling her that would probably do nothing. Most of the time people need to SEE FOR THEMSELVES what they are doing wrong. I grab the slide of the gun and ask her if she thinks she has as secure of a grip as she can get.

    She assures me it's secure.

    I twist the gun right out of her hands.

    She looks at me in almost shock at the realization that what she thought was acceptable couldn't even stand up to a little 105 lbs woman.

    I instruct her on the grip I have learned and grab the slide again and pull. She hangs onto the gun like a pro and a smile stretches across her face.

    "That feels SOOO much better," she says, "Thank you."

    After that, the questions just started coming. She mentioned that she wanted to carry in her purse and I started to tell her of all the reasons purse carry is a bad idea.

    She admits she had never even thought of half of those reasons before and started asking about holster options.

    Quote Originally Posted by GBS View Post
    I am sure training would help, but no matter how much time, effort or resources are invested, the outcome will still be less than satisfactory.
    I'm not sure why you think this is true. A person can learn, they can be instructed, they can develop and grow. Even if one method of teaching doesn't work another should be tried and it may very well be just the instruction that person needed to "get it." The key is to first let them see that instruction is necessary. That's the hardest and often the most exasperating part, but necessary.

    It's not weather or not we think they should or shouldn't have a gun, it's weather or not we are going to take it upon ourselves to help them learn what an awesome responsibility they have taken onto themselves.

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    There are lots of people who should not have access to firearms. Some are irresponsible, immature, all book smart and no common sense and some are just plain stupid.

    Firearms are a serious subject matter, and you cant beat around the bush. If asked for my opinion, they will get it. I might suggest that they take a few courses, and hopefully they will come to the conclusion that it just isnt for them. I can and shouldnt be able to prevent anyone from their 2A rights, but I can make sure I'm not a part of it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Quote Originally Posted by GBS View Post
    How would you handle the question if you had a comparable friend who asked about owning/carrying?
    I would simply describe how I went about it, including my thought processes and the questions I asked myself. I spent two years gaining competency first, knowing I would never want to carry unless I could ensure I'd never hit the proverbial 3yr old across the street by accident, if forced to defend myself. Then, and only then, did I pursue a carry license, and only then with a gun with which I was competent, had trained extensively and could carry without concern for others. In the end, though, it's about one's own ability to be protected. That's a right. It's not something I should get in the way of.
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    Lima - great post, as usual. I'll add this, however:

    People can only learn when they want to learn. You can lead a newb to proper gun handling techniques, but you can't make him drink. I've been teaching/instructing various subjects to troops (and others) for a loooong time, and there are always a few who just don't want to learn. The information flows right over them, and is never internalized, is never taken as "their own." These are the dangerous folks - they will now say "I'm trained, I had the class," but they will never accept or practice what they have been shown.

    I don't believe in mandatory training requirements or competency tests for owning/carrying weapons - they are, IMO, unconstitutional. However, I believe that, if you harm someone with a firearm through your own negligence, lack of training, lack of discipline, or stupidity, that you should go to prison for a long, long, long time and never be allowed near a firearm again.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Lima - great post, as usual. I'll add this, however:

    People can only learn when they want to learn. You can lead a newb to proper gun handling techniques, but you can't make him drink. I've been teaching/instructing various subjects to troops (and others) for a loooong time, and there are always a few who just don't want to learn. The information flows right over them, and is never internalized, is never taken as "their own." These are the dangerous folks - they will now say "I'm trained, I had the class," but they will never accept or practice what they have been shown.
    I do agree completely!

    That's why I said the hardest part of instructing was getting people to see that they NEED instruction.

    Once people accept that they need the help, they are relatively easy to teach.

    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    I don't believe in mandatory training requirements or competency tests for owning/carrying weapons - they are, IMO, unconstitutional. However, I believe that, if you harm someone with a firearm through your own negligence, lack of training, lack of discipline, or stupidity, that you should go to prison for a long, long, long time and never be allowed near a firearm again.
    I also agree.

    That's why I think those of us who understand should try very hard to impress responsible gun ownership, carry and training on those who are a little more hard-pressed to accept they are not Clint Eastwood, Rambo, or G.I. Joe.

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    I don't think we need new laws to deal with people who act negligently and hurt other people (or themselves). This is a slippery slope to increased government control over the population and I honestly can't guess where it might end. A test to determine whether you can excerfcise your constitutional right seems like a pretty close relative to a test to determine if you are likely to commit a crime and then proactively incarcerating you to prevent that crime.

    Yikes...

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    Yup, there's lots of people who shouldn't carry a firearm.

    I'd say, with 100% assurance, that some of the elected leadership of this country would put EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US ON THAT LIST!

    You and I can cringe at poor firearm handling skills and lack of basic knowledge all we want, but (luckily), that doesn't give us the ability to take away someone's rights. If we as a group support legislation putting ever more restrictions and limits on our rights we will soon have no rights. Take a look around next time you're on the highway... do you think that the mandated licensing and testing program for drivers is effective? Why would a mandated licensing and training program for firearms be any more effective?

    As I've always said, carrying a firearm without proper training is stupid. Legislation against stupidity is even more so.

    My nephew committed suicide with a hand gun last month. He never demonstrated any reason, in the 23 years that I knew him, that would make me believe that he would do such an incredibly stupid thing. We must need more laws... 21 (or 23) is evidently not old enough... a tendency to wear black clothes must be looked at with suspicion... Perhaps a law preventing people with tattoos would have saved my nephew's life. As much as I miss my nephew, I would not support any law that would have prevented him from legally obtaining a firearm. He had done nothing that would justify taking his rights away. I helped him buy that gun. As I look back, I still don't see anything that I knew at the time that would have prevented me from doing so.

    I've got a good friend that demonstrates poor muzzle control while at the shooting range. I point out the fact every time I see it, but I still encourage him to go to the range. Every one of us was new to firearms at one time. We learned.

    Many of the people who have fought and died for our freedom were not rocket scientists. Low IQ did not prevent them from defending the gates of this nation. I want no part in taking away the rights of law abiding citizens, no matter what their IQ is, no matter what their current skill level is, no matter what their education, social standing, income level, background, race, sex... you get the point.

    A right 'of the people' either applies to all of the citizens of this great nation, or it doesn't. If it's not a right, then it's a privilege. You tell me... does the 2nd amendment protect a right, or does it talk about a privilege that should be reserved for an elite few?
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. It's worth it.

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    If he/she is that bad... Why are you friends?
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    I would encourage them to get as much training as possible. The Missouri Department of Conservation provides many firearm safety courses to the public. http://mdc.mo.gov/areas/ranges/busch/ - other states may have these opportunities also. I would not discourage them unless they have some type of serious alcohol problem, are extremely violent, or have a drug addiction of some sort - not an opinion but something that has been documented by law enforcement, etc. If they are a friend, you'll most likely know if they have been in the poke for a time or have had serious issues of some sort in the past.
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    When a person makes the decision to protect themselves, we should support that. To support that we should aid in showing them the proper ways, and give any additional training. I'm 23 and recently starting carrying. I've been shooting and training with my dad for years. Do I feel like I know everything, nope. I still feel like yesterday was the first day I picked up the gun. Now we have a family friend, who is a gun fanatic, but I wouldn't trust to ccw strictly because he "knows it all". When I got my browning hi-power, he asked why I would spend so much money on a gun?? He also chastised me on my choice to buy a ruger mini-14 and said I should have bought an sks. I understand that sometimes there are options out there that may be cheaper. But cheap isn't always better. When going for my ccw course, I didn't pick the cheapest easiest course. I chose the course that I thought would give me the best instruction and experience. Here in lies the problem. So many of us are on a budget which is fine and understandable. But should the protection of your loved ones be on that same budget? An emphasis should be put on the responsibility of choice more than anything, and a realization of each possible outcome of the said choice. This creates for a smarter carry, and an accepting attitude that must be established before carrying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    I don't think we need new laws to deal with people who act negligently and hurt other people (or themselves).
    I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm following you here... If I drive my car recklessly and kill someone, I should go to jail. If I handle my weapon recklessly and kill someone, I should go to jail. (If you hurt/kill yourself only, obviously that's another story). Do you disagree with these statements?
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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