To Shoot or Not to Shoot…more Difficult than you Think

Being a gun owner carries with it tremendous responsibilities. While we intellectually understand this to be true, until you are faced with a difficult decision about using your firearm you may never know just how much responsibility you have. This is where training becomes more critical than ever for a gun owner.

To illustrate this further, there was a great article in the Yakima Herald out of Washington State that demonstrated this need for training when someone decides to own a firearm. The article, “To shoot or not? A reporter finds it’s not always an easy call,” told a great story about what every gun owner should know when they decide to take on the responsibility of gun owners with intent to use it for some level of protection.

The article described how a reporter, Molly Rosbach of the Yakima Herald, took on the task of seeing what it’s like to be in this situation. Part of this training was to demonstrate what a difficult situation most police officers find themselves in on a day-to-day basis…to shoot or not to shoot. They demonstrated through video training what it’s like to be a police officer in different situations they are confronted with during the course of a day. It is a constant high level situation of what to do given certain circumstances…and in seconds.

“Oftentimes, what humans are capable of — sometimes under stress — is not incorporated into the calculus of ‘objective reasonableness’ in whether or not an officer uses force,” he said. “In high-stress situations, what we hear and what we see is going to drastically change.”

One example clip showed a cop freeze, repeating the same command nonsensically until a gunman killed him on screen, despite plenty of warning time. In another, TV reporters replayed footage of a cop fatally shooting an unarmed man, along with interviews from his grieving relatives.”

These are trained police officers…not the average citizen. So when the average person purchases a firearm with the intent to use it for physical protection, they generally have no clue how complicated this can be. This is where extensive training is required and should be a part of every gun owner’s plans in addition to which firearm they want to purchase. When I think about the amount of time invested in purchasing a gun and trying it out, I would highly recommend significantly more time being invested in the proper use of the firearm and situational training.

Owning a firearm is great…but it can also give a false sense of security unless you are very well trained to react in difficult and unknown situations. This is where taking responsibility for ownership should be on every gun owners mind when they make the decision to purchase a firearm. Being trained on the proper use of the firearm is a starting point. Then being trained on situations where you might have to use it for protection is another complete level of training. Finally, understanding the law is a critical component so you know what rights you have and which actions will break the law. It’s complicated, but certainly manageable with the proper training.  Get it and you will…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.

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