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The horrific murders in Aurora prompt me to write this to our concealed handgun permit holders, reminding them that, along with the exercise of your Constitutional right to carry a firearm comes weighty responsibilities as well. 

Envision yourself in that darkened, packed theater when that satanic lunatic, clad in protective body armor, started shooting: darkness, gunfire, the sound system blaring, people screaming, eyes burning from tear gas…  What would you do?  Is your first duty to yourself and your family?  Or would you feel compelled to take some action in defense of others as well?  Are you competent in your skills with a handgun to respond?  Is the firearm you carry adequate to the threat?  If you elect to intervene, how will you identify yourself to responding police officers so they know you’re not the problem?

Studies of police-involved shootings indicate that typically they occur at relatively close distances, from five to seven yards; during low-light conditions; involve more than one adversary; with no more than a half-dozen rounds fired by the officer during the exchange.  I do not know what the comparable statistics are for civilian encounters of this nature, but I train for the worst scenario.  Maybe you should too. 

The requirements for a Colorado concealed handgun permit are minimal.  It is imperative therefore that you think through the circumstances that might involve you in an actual gunfight and to prepare for these before you are faced with a life and death situation.  This is grown-up stuff, and if you carry for any reason other than to be prepared for a lethal confrontation you should rethink your motives altogether.

 My suggestions:

 Carry enough gun and be thoroughly proficient in its use.  Experts almost unanimously agree that a self-defense firearm should be of caliber 9mm or greater.  Select your ammunition carefully as well, considering variations of expansion, penetration, and stopping power.

Invest in quality equipment.  The firearm itself and any holsters, magazines, or other items should be of the type and quality that best suit your purpose.  Don’t scrimp.  Shoulder holster?  Inside waistband?  Ankle holster?  Fanny pack?  All have their use, and you may wish to consider more than one.

Keep it simple.  A revolver is the safest firearm for someone who isn’t able to practice regularly.  Conversely, if you’re carrying a 1911-style semiauto you MUST practice with this weapon more frequently if you wish to be competent, confident, and safe in its use.  Once you select a firearm that suits your purpose, learn it well, know how it works, what it’s capable of, and its limitations.  

Practice.  We have an excellent range in Chaffee County, free to the public.  Get out there at least once a month and cook off a few rounds.  Accuracy is primary, speed is secondary.  The more you practice, the more these two skills will converge.

When was the last time you fired your handgun?  Did you clean it afterwards?  Did you properly lubricate it, especially critical with a semiauto?  Have you fired it in low light so you know what to expect from its muzzle flash?  Ever tried using your handgun with a flashlight?

Carrying a firearm for self-defense against a human adversary is your right, one I fully support.  At the same time, responsibilities attach to that right, responsibilities that too often are not fully considered or are ignored altogether.

Thanks for reading.