Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 23 Should I Shoot? Are You as Prepared as You Can Be?
- Ep. 24 Should I Shoot? You Have Legal Justification to Shoot, But Do You Have To?
- Ep. 25 Should I Shoot? Take a Deep Breath
- Ep. 26 Should I Shoot? Do I Assist An Officer Engaged in a Gunfight?
- Ep. 27 Should I Shoot? If You Fail to Train, You May Fail to Fight
I’ve always looked at gun-free zone signs like putting a sign on your front lawn saying you are on vacation for two weeks and there is no alarm on your house — “Please burglarize at your convenience.” The sign, like a restraining order, has no teeth.
When I enter an “enforced gun-free zone,” I never relax. I’m depending on the security measures implemented by someone else to 100 percent keep someone from entering with weapons and going active. I have to say I’m not a trusting type of guy anymore, but I do find myself having to go into facilities where the metal detector is in use. It’s a choice I have to make and so do you. If you have to be armed, then you don’t go in.
I get asked quite often, “What about the places where there is only a sign saying ‘this is a gun-free zone’?” It means there are no guns allowed! What should they do if they are carrying concealed? Businesses have a right to refuse services (or at least they used to be able to, don’t get me started on that one), but as a consumer, you can make the choice where you spend your money. If a business doesn’t want its customers to be armed, then shop some place else.
Know Your Equipment
In a recent class I watched a guy have all kinds of problems running his 1911. The gun was a higher-end custom and, when he ran it properly, it was superbly accurate and reliable. What wasn’t reliable was his lack of proper training coupled with a false sense of his abilities. He failed to take the safety off on more occasions than I could count, and even more dangerous than that was not putting it back on when he attempted to re-holster. The grip safety also did its job when he failed to get a proper firing grip on a few drills.
He insisted he’d been a 1911 guy for almost two decades and he’d never had any problems before. (What I took that to mean was he’d been a 1911 fan for almost 20 years and he’d never learned how to properly run the gun.)
Don’t let overconfidence and stubbornness be the reasons your family all gets together to say goodbye at your funeral. Identify weakness in your personal defense skills and work a plan to fix them. Then go looking for more flaws and fix those. Don’t every stop trying to get better at life-saving skills. Whether you should shoot won’t matter if you can’t operate the tool you carry to save your life.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.