Archive for the ‘Firearms and Children’ Category

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While there are many talking heads blathering on about who “should” or “should not” be allowed to own a gun, this article isn’t about government regulations. This article is designed to help a mature, responsible adult decide if gun-ownership is right for him or her. Many people across this nation are growing ever more concerned about the direction this country is going. This concern is part of the dramatic rise in gun sales over the last few years. However, instead of a knee-jerk, gun-buying reaction, potential gun-owners need to ask themselves some hard questions (Main questions borrowed from Kathy Jackson at CorneredCat.com) before purchasing a firearm for self-defense.

1. Is it Ever Permissible to Kill a Human Being?

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Is there any situation in life that makes it OK to kill a person? If you answered Yes, please proceed to Question 2. If you answered No, carrying a lethal weapon of any sort is probably not a good idea for you. Mace is probably a better idea.

2. Are You Willing to Take a Life to Save Your’s or Your Loved One’s?

self-defenseWill you do whatever it takes to live? Are you willing to fight with everything in you to protect yourself or your loved one’s? Are you mentally prepared to pull the trigger and take the life of another? That attacker is somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s loved one. And the family will grieve upon his death. You must know down deep in yourself that the as soon as an attacker produces a lethal weapon (a gun, knife, bat or fist) he has decided that somebody is going to die. The only variable is the identity of the body. Will your family be grieving a lost brother, sister, wife, mother, father, or grandfather or will his? The attacker decided the possible reward was worth a human life and by that decision he forfeited the value of his life. “Not Me. Not Mine. Not Today.”

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Part of the decision to fight back stems from realizing what you would lose if you do not. You might lose: your life, family, health; a fighting spirit; getting married; having children; your family might lose a sister/brother, father/mother, or husband/wife; seeing your child’s first steps; all your dreams and callings; and so much more. What are you willing to fight for?

3. Under What Circumstances is it Permissible to Kill a Human Being?

Rape prevention tipsOnce you have wrestled Questions 1 and 2 to the ground, it’s time for the next soul-piercing question. When do you shoot or not-shoot? When does the situation justify lethal force? The standard answer in Georgia is: if you are in imminent threat of great bodily harm or death you can shoot. But what does that really look like? The situation you face could be one of a myriad of scenarios: it could be a forceful entry in the middle of the night, it could be a group of attackers on the street, or it could a mugger in the parking lot. For other possible scenarios, simply pull up the local news of a major metropolitan area. There is an abundance of examples we can learn from. Due to the inexhaustible list of possible scenarios that evil men create, it is impossible to mentally run through and train for each one. What we can do is pick out some key principles from the crimes and develop a list of personal boundaries that we will not allow the criminal to cross. For example: I will not go with anyone to a second location. The second crime scene is nearly always more gruesome and heinous. Right then, right there is all I’ve got. Better to be shot down in the parking lot than tortured for days in a hidden location. Fight, and fight hard! My second rule is: I will not be tied up. The only reason to tie me up is to make me more vulnerable. My best chances are right then, right there. Odds of getting untied and escaping are slim to none. Criminals want easy victims. Make it as hard as possible on them. Fight back with everything that is in you.

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4. What Are the State and Local Laws Regarding Lethal Force?

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Make yourself very familiar with your state and locals laws. After you are academically familiar, I recommend you find a local lawyer who deals with lethal force cases and talk with him or her. Should you be involved in a defensive gun use scenario, not knowing what you legally can and cannot do may cause you to freeze up at the most inopportune time. Confidently knowing what you are and are not allowed to do will also make the aftermath less stressful and intimidating.

 Concluding Thoughts

I write all of the above from the natural man’s perspective. However, there is more to life than this natural body and I must add a caveat. As a Christian, I must temper my innate desire and natural-born right to defend my life and liberty with total submission to the Holy Spirit. There are times to fight physically and there are times to fight spiritually. At times He asks us to lay down our lives and other times He asks us to stand right in the face of the enemy. I do not find self-defense to be contrary to the teachings of Jesus, after all He told His disciples to go buy a sword (an illegal weapon, at the time) and spoke of a strongman defending his house from a robber, yet I also see a Christian history full of martyrs. Men and women who did not fight back but laid down their life for Him, as He also did not fight back but laid down His life for us all. My only conclusion is that in this area too, I must be completely governed by His wisdom and love. Besides, He does a much better job protecting me than I ever could.

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For More Information…

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/mindset/making-the-decision/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/mindset/like-a-cornered-cat/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/mindset/finding-your-reason/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/mindset-facing-fear/could-you-really/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/ethical-questions/why-the-gun-is-civilization/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/ethical-questions/does-an-attacker-deserve-to-die/

http://munchkinwrangler.blogspot.com/2007/10/give-them-nothing_6836.html

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So you’ve looked at the statistics. You’ve read the testimonies of survivors. You’ve dug up your state laws. You may have hinted around or just bluntly asked your church leadership. You may or may not have included your spouse in on your decision. I trust you also turned to the Bible and sought God for His direction and counsel. (Since it’s His house, that would seem the respectful thing to do.) Finally, after all that soul-searching, you’ve decided. If you decided not to carry in church, then nothing really changes for you. Aside from a new mental awareness of your situation, your habits are unchanged. However, if you decided to carry, then there are practical concerns you need to take into consideration. While concealment can be difficult enough with daily carry, there are specific challenges that are unique to church attendance. 

Concealment Challenges at Church
  1. hug-in-churchHugs: Some churches have huggers, others do not. Personally, I love hugs. I think they are a wonderful thing. However, hugs are also one of the best ways to unobtrusively frisk someone. And while I have a hard time imagining Grandma Betty is trying to frisk anyone, the results can be the same. She feels your firearm and says, loudly, “what’s this?” Suddenly, you’re made. Now you’ve got to talk your way out of it. I personally pass it off as a “personal health device.” However, this whole awkward situation can generally be avoid by keeping your arms low and close to your body, causing the other person to reach up and around your arms to hug you, thus shielding your firearm under your arms. *This technique does not necessarily work if you are carrying somewhere other than where your arms will shield.
  2. Attire: Depending on the church you go to, clothes conducive to conceal carrying may or may not blend in. Suits are great for hiding firearms, however skinny jeans and T-shirts are not (and yes, I have been in a church where the common dress for 12 to 30 year olds, of both genders, was skinny jeans and T-shirts). Of course, you can always be fearless and dress whichever way you like but suddenly dressing in a suit when you’ve worn jeans for years may get a few raised eyebrows. An additional challenge for women are the flimsiness of dressy clothes. We women, often find it far more difficult to carry in dressy clothes than our everyday clothes, unless our holster is independent of our clothing.
  3. worshipHand raising: If you go to a hand raising church, make sure you raise your hands in front of the mirror before you go off in that cute little outfit. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised by how high my shirt will raise just by lifting my arms. And you do not want to inadvertently show off your new S&W 642 while you worship Jesus. You never know who’s eyes are open… You may just hear, “Mommy, look!!! Ms. Smith’s got a gun!!”
  4. Bowing: As a minimum, bowing will cause a small-of-back, behind-the-hip, or possibly even on-the-hip carry gun to print. Depending on how far you lean over, the cover garment may also completely slip off of the gun. Additionally, an appendix-carried weapon will be rather distracting and discomforting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.
  5. praying_man_at_altarKneeling: Depending on the position, kneeling is great way to reveal ankle and/or back holsters. If you expect to over, the cover garment may completely slip off of the gun. An appendix-carried weapon will also be rather distracting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.  
  6. Prostrating: Laying on the ground on your stomach will not be very comfortable if you are carrying anywhere on your front,  your cover garments will probably print badly if you carry on your back, and an ankle carry could easily be revealed. Pocket or shoulder carry may be the only options available to address this situation.
  7. Blues_Brothers_2000_14884_MediumDancing: My or my, how do you get a hard, heavy, metal object to bounce, jump and move with your body instead of away and to the floor? Pocket carry may work. A holster designed for joggers would probably go a long way to keeping the gun on your person instead of on your toes. A good shoulder holster would keep the firearm in place, but I imagine it wouldn’t feel too good to have that banging into your ribs. I have never tried dancing while carrying so I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking a belly band would probably be the only way to go.
  8. Falling out/Slain in the Spirit: There are a couple of concerns with this one: 1. The firearm being in a painful place once it is between you and the floor. 2. it needs to be so deeply concealed that nobody will see it even when you are not conscious enough to keep your cover garments aligned. Bodies can end up in some very unusual positions and the last thing on their mind at that moment is keeping covered. 3. the ushers/catchers getting caught up in it as the lower you to the ground. A belly band with the firearm in the appendix carry position might be the best answer for this one.
  9. religious-revival-meeting-TULSACatching: If you are an usher and part of your job includes catching people, then I would recommend against a large gun carried in an appendix or shoulder holster. The back of a person’s head does not make a very spiritual sound when it connects with the butt of a gun (or worse, the hammer). You could probably get away with it if you carried on your hip or just behind, but remember the remainder of the congregation is typically behind the prayer line. They may all get a real good look at your Colt 1911 if you are not careful.
  10. abdresbisonnistrekkerut_file_81742__t2Leading the Service: If you are going to be front and center for any duration of time, and you want to keep it a secret that you are carrying, may I recommend pocket carry, the flash-bang holster, or a holster shirt… something for deep-concealment? Because every eye will be on you at some point and humans, being humans, their attention will be looking for something to wander off on. An intriguing bulge on your hip will be just the thing their attention was looking for. I can hear it now… “Hmm, lets forget about this true and powerful Word I need to hear and lets focus in on this lump under his coat. Has he gained weight? Nope. The lump is only on one side. Hmmm. Cell phone? Nah, he never has his cell phone on…”
What are your challenges?

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Depending on the church you go to, none or all of the above may apply to you. There may be some other challenge you struggle with at your church. I developed this list based on my past experiences in my churches. Some of the churches I’ve attended would have been quite easy to carry in. Hardly more difficult than daily carry. Others would have been extremely difficult to adequately conceal carry in (if I had not been too young to own a firearm at the time). I’d love to hear feedback from everybody on this topic. What have you found that works? What doesn’t work well? Any other situations you can think of?

Thanks for Reading.

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Many people feel it is NEVER OK for a child to handle a gun.

There are many people in this country that are very uncomfortable with combining children and guns. In light of recent national tragedies, the statistics on accidental shootings involving children, and the media’s propensity to overreact, it is certainly understandable for those unfamiliar with firearms to think it is crazy to encourage children to shoot. However, as demonstrated by young Katie Francis, Dylan Holsey, and Miko Andres, children are just as capable of mastering firearm safety and control as adults. Clearly, these children (and the hundreds of other young, well-trained shooters like them) are in no danger and do not pose any threat to themselves or society. In fact, I would feel safer next to them on the range than many of the adults I’ve seen shooting. So what makes the difference between these children and those that end up on the front page? Training.

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In interviews, these young gun enthusiasts frequently, and quite unintentionally, offer valuable information for parents and firearms instructors. What training advice can we glean from these children?

  1. Teach gun safety first.

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    If you want to encourage your child to shoot… start small. If you want to scare your child away from guns forever… start with the biggest calibre you have.

  2. Once safety is ensured, introduce firearms under close supervision.
  3. Begin with a small-calibre firearm.
  4. Prevent the firearm from having the “forbidden fruit” mystique by allowing the child to gain (closely supervised) experience with a firearm.
  5. As the child matures, gradually increase their responsibility for maintaining safety.
  6. As the child matures, gradually increase the challenge.
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Increased Challenge… Increased Fun!!

These six steps appear as common themes throughout interviews and conversations with current young shooters and in the memories of many adult shooters. How you, as a parent or instructor, implement these steps is completely subjective. Given that no one knows your children or your family better than you, I will not presume to give a specific age at which such instruction “should” begin nor which methods to employ. You are the parent (or instructor) and I trust you know what’s best for your specific situation.

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However, it is vitally important that you as the instructor are competent and well-trained before you attempt to teach somebody else. A poor instructor will teach poor habits. For example, during a recent interaction with a couple I noticed the wife (a beginner) repeatedly putting her finger in the trigger guard (particularly while attempting to rack a slide). I gently corrected her but she repeated the action a few minutes later. A while later, I stepped out onto the range and noticed her husband placing his finger in the trigger guard while racking the slide. There is no shame in being a beginner or making mistakes, however please do not pass those mistakes on to others. An instructor with poor safety habits will only teach poor safety habits. If you have never received professional instruction, please get some before you begin teaching others. Or, better yet, bring your children with you to the class. You will all learn valuable information. You will be able to help each other remember the key points. And you will have fun together.

With the dramatic increase in gun sales over the last few years, many families are now grappling with the concerns of firearms, safety and children. Locking the firearms in a safe, or otherwise making them inaccessible, is certainly a key component to a family’s overall gun-safety plan, but training must not be ignored. Firearms safety instruction for the whole family will give you a peace of mind that will not be achieved by locks alone.

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Other Reasons to Teach Your Children:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiiQQP4-Ijw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPfz7ENFUB0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz3VX1ZAqoA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-q2zHIovOE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQcoNr6ZIEc

And finally… They win scholarships and gain the confidence to stand up to a bunch of gun-banning politicians…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_-N9_tnWBo

Child_Gun_SafetyAs most of you know, gun ownership increased dramatically this past year. Many of these new gun owners are facing a challenging array of dilemmas: to carry or not, how to carry, where to keep the gun at home, what type of ammo to use, what to tell family members, what about the children? Of all the issues new gun owners face, correctly addressing gun safety with their children is without a doubt the most important (carrying coming in a close second). Some parents take the approach of simply hiding and/or locking up the firearms. Some tell the children never to touch it. Some teach their children safe ways to use the firearms. The same parents may use all three approaches depending on the age of the children. While methods are debatable, one thing is clear. There are far too many tragic stories of children killing or being killed with their parents’ firearm to simply ignore the issue. And while you may successfully hide your firearms from your children, not everybody is as successful and your child may discover a firearm at a friend’s house.  As common as firearms are and as little accurate information children receive from society, it is vital you, the parent, teach your children gun safety.

childgun_lgMany parents seem to believe their children are too young to learn about guns. However, modern media does not share that concern. A child will easily learn dangerous firearm handling habits from movies, video games and cartoons. Left with TV for their only guide, children will automatically pick up a firearm, put their finger on the trigger and point it at somebody. Why? That is the behavior of every TV character with a gun. It is up to parents and other concerned adults to correct such perilous impressions. Many times this correction can be done through repetition of key words and practice. Similar to “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” gun safety rules may be taught to very young children. (I personally have seen parents begin gun safety instruction when their son was but three years old.) The nationally renowned NRA’s Eddie Eagle program is directed at pre-K through 3rd grade students. This program teaches children four simple rules.

If you see a gun:
STOP!
Don’t Touch.
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.

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While this method works well for the majority of children, I realize there are children that insist on learning things the hard way and will automatically reach for whatever you tell them “don’t touch.” For these children some extra steps may need to be taken to impress upon them the severity of the consequences of mishandling a firearm. A trip to an indoor range, exposing the child to noise and recoil, may be enough to convince some. I’ve heard of other parents, with the intention of demonstrating the destruction a bullet traveling at high speeds will cause, shooting watermelons or some other such object. Children raised on the farm typically learn this lesson watching an animal being put out of its misery, slaughtered for meat or killed to protect livestock. In some cases, simply allowing the child to handle the unloaded firearm under direct, constant supervision is enough to satisfy their curiosity.

learning-to-shoot-300x199In the case of the 3-year-old mentioned above, he was shown a firearm, informed of the basics of firearms, warned of the danger, strongly cautioned (nearly threatened) to never touch one unsupervised (and never to let his younger sister touch one), and promised to be taught all about it once he is older. This satisfied his curiosity and from there on he has been content to play with his Nerf gun (and has even gone so far as to carry it on his hip, inside his waistband). His parents are careful to answer any questions very matter-of-factly, without any sense of secrets or hiding. This approach, combined with adults being careful to keep all firearms inaccessible, has eliminated much of the fear associated with kids and guns. We gun-owning adults are careful but we are also confident this child would know what to do if he ever came upon a firearm unattended. I believe this honest, forthright method (and other similar methods) restores firearms to the “trusty tool” label of the past and strip off the “evil weapon” label of today. Removing the “evil” label also removes much of the curiosity from young minds. It becomes simply another tool, like a chainsaw, that they will learn to use as they get older instead of a sinister object of terror that makes grown men afraid (as the schools and media would have them believe).

nssf-dad-kidsAs a single woman, I have not yet had to traverse these murky waters myself but I have studiously observed others navigate their way to safety. That observation, coupled with common sense, says the best way to keep children safe around guns is to teach them about guns. Ignoring and pretending firearms don’t exist will only feed curiosity. Depending on always locking them up is also flawed, because we are flawed. We are humans and humans make mistakes. Teaching a child to avoid a firearm is similar to backing up the computer. You backup your files just in case your hard-drive crashes, why not train your child just in case you forget one time. I’m sure many of you have faced this issue before. Please share your stories, as well as advice and tips in the comments.