Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No Virginia, There Are No Warning Shots In Michigan

I sympathize with the view of people like Tam and Kathy that training should be hortatory but not mandatory for carrying a firearm, but I respectfully disagree.

After all, I've gone beyond the minimum required training in Michigan by far - not just the 8 hour CPL class but two Massad Ayoob classes (back when they were LFI-1 and LFI-2) (both worth their weight in gold btw, if you get a chance to take him, do so). I became an NRA-certified instructor. I've gone on to take a Todd Green class in shooting skills (again, worth its weight in gold - hopefully Todd fully recovers and gets back to teaching soon, as the man is one fantastic teacher). I've done and other training and competition, as well as regular practice, not to mention further legal studies in the self defense realm all on my own and the only mandated class was the Michigan CPL one. But then again, it led to all the others.

I understand the fear that training requirements will be, as they are in some states, deliberately made so expensive and onerous as to discourage firearms ownership, but that's a bare minority of states and most states that have required training have it so that it costs less than the firearm you plan to carry and at least covers safe operation and the basic legal requirements of using deadly force in self defense.

Those of use who are responsible and serious about self-defense tend to take a higher view of such things and expect others to behave likewise as rational thinking beings to go out and get training. They won't.

I understand the argument that requiring someone to take a class may make them less likely to seek to self-improve later, but its an unproven assertion at best. How any people have really said after taking a single training class that they now know everything and will never take another class again? If it happened then their instructor failed to tell them about all the other training opportunities there are out there and how they should seek such.

On the other hand, a lot of people may carry firearms and not seek to self improve at all, but requiring them to take a class, so long as it is serious, reasonably comprehensive and has a legal component to it, may just open their eyes to the realities of the responsibility they've assumed as they exercise their right to own and carry a firearm. It should also, assuming it's a good class, inspire them to seek additional training to get better.

Otherwise, you're expecting people to be self-motivated enough to get out, get training on their own that they would have to pay for when they otherwise would not. If they lack that motivation or even the bare information that such classes exist, they instead could then remain blissfully ignorant and depend on what they've learned in the media and in the movies for self-defense law. Many will choose the second option.

And therein lies the problem because what they think they know, with no one else to inform them otherwise, is so very, very wrong.

Let's take X for example.

X moved to Michigan from another state.

X did not take any training on Michigan's law of self-defense, and did not get a carry permit so X didn't need to do so, and seems to have only a hazy idea on what self-defense law was in X's home state even though X did have a carry permit there.

So, one night X hears pounding on the door of X's home and an angry male voice X does not recognize demanding entry. Continual pounding with an angry voice that sounds like the locked doors is about to be broken down. The doors, yes in this case more than one, remain unbroken and in place.

X, determined to exercise X's rights and not be a victim doesn't grab a phone to call the cops. Instead, X grabs a pistol.

To help prove the point, due to a lack of training, X is unable to operate the pistol and it will not fire.

Dear Reader, had X stopped at this point we would be happier with that displayed level of incompetence, we could have had a rueful chuckle at X and helped X get some competent training. But no, X then grabs a second pistol and manages to make that one work.

X then cranks off a "warning shot" aimed high that ends up going through the upper portion of the closed door. Said shot penetrates both doors and goes off into the night

X then cranks off Three. More. Warning shots.

The person pounding on the door apparently leaves at some point in this fusillade but is never identified, never seen by X, nor is there any evidence of his presence, nor are there any marks on the door or outside of the house aside from the four exit holes from X's warning shots.

Please note that there is no such thing as a warning shot in Michigan law.

X gets arrested, makes a long incriminating and 100% admissible statement to police with all of the above details, and only then calls an attorney.

Guess who gets to try to reduce the stupidity tax that X is about to pay?

That people, is a gun owner without any training mandated or otherwise, who not only is in a world of legal kaka (it's a family blog so we won't use the more appropriate term here) but will be used by the media as a shining example of the stereotypical gun owner.

Now wouldn't you wish that X had to go through at least some minimal training on firearms operation and self-defense law?

Would you want X out carrying in public at X's current level of firearms training and understanding of the use of deadly force?


B said...

That idea has merit....except that it is a slippery slope. A VERY steep, slippery one. The benefits don't outweigh the negatives.

To require a class on the legality of when/where to shoot is another class that can be used to make the requirements so onerous that it will dissuade people from owning firearms.

Sorry, but I gotta say you fail to see that the responsibility is on the person wielding the firearm.

Oddly, Indiana has zero training requirements, but we are not, statistically, a more dangerous state than any other.

Besides, this person ("X") had the firearm in her/his home, not carrying it.

Murphy's Law said...

The problem is that for every "Yew kan't make me take no class!" type out there, there are a dozen or more normal people who think that they are smart enough or well-trained enough to carry and use a firearm, yet in reality, are not. The basic NRA 8hr. Personal Protection course or it's equivalent, with focus on state laws concerning self-defense, it not a real burden on anyone, IMHO, and I would assert that the benefit outweighs the burden hands down.

Aaron said...

B: I'd argue the opposite. The slippery slope can be controlled as it has in the vast majority of states with training requirements - generally an 8 hour NRA class where part of the class is a section where the instructor is supposed to advise the participants to go forth and seek even more training and they get a baseline level of competency.

Also note as I said in the post, X did have a carry permit in X's home state and was going out in public carrying with this same level of education and training. By grace, luck or what have you, X managed to avoid goofing up in X's home state but waited until arriving in Michigan to screw up royally. X could have done similar while toting, and it's only the luck of fools that X did not.

B said...

So what we have is an argument over how to interpret "Shall not be infringed".

Again, oddly, Vermont and indiana have no requirements but are no less safe than other states where the classes are required. If your suggestion had merit, I am sure that there would be glaring differences between Indiana and Michigan. But there aren't.

You cannot stop people from being fools. "X" wasn't following the laws in Michigan as it is, even before this incident, why do you think an additional legal requirement would have made a difference?