Responsible Gun Ownership
The following is a hot button issue and I want to make it quite clear that I'm speaking on my behalf only and my opinion here is not necessarily reflected by the company or anyone else associated with it and may even be in conflict with the opinion of some of my peers.
That being said, one of my key points of interest is responsible gun ownership, to include knowing where your weapon is at all times, proper storage and handling and above all practical training in pistol craft and safety. Being well versed in the laws pertaining to these matters is also paramount. You will notice that our User Guide constantly references safety in gun handling and reading that document is a good reminder of our duty as gun owners and to society at large, and in particular to our families with respect to the burden of being in charge of a dangerous weapon.
The State of Florida (and others) have passed what is referred to as 'Constitutional Carry' which in effect has increased the burden of responsibility of the points that matter in the first paragraph on to our shoulders with regard to firearms ownership. We are no longer required to prove our proficiency and understanding of weapons before we carry them. We no longer have to attend a class by a qualified instructor to be educated on the laws governing the ownership and use of firearms. We no longer are subject to background checks to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon. This is a seismic shift in the load we now carry as gun owners in this state. The statement that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" has a new level of meaning in this regard.
There are approximately two million gun owners in Florida who have concealed weapons permits at this time of writing. As of the first of July we will loose track of how many people are permitted by law to carry concealed weapons. We as trained weapons handlers must now assume that everyone we come in contact with is carrying a handgun or other weapons for that matter; we have no choice. This may very well be a good thing because the old addage "an armed society is a polite society" hopefully holds good but the problem is that there is a growing concern that society is changing and not necessarily for the better.
I believe that everyone has the right to carry a weapon on their body for self defense but they don't have the right to put me or anyone else in personal jeopardy through their potential ignorance of safe weapons handling and the law. Therefore, I'm going to strongly recommend that all potential gun carrying individuals continue to get the training required to keep themselves and everyone else safe. Learn to operate the weapon efficiently and seek training form a well established school or individual. Of equal importance, study the law as it pertains to firearms in your state and at a federal level.
Another point of interest is that the current Florida permitting system is not specifically gun related. It is a 'concealed weapons' permit allowing holders to carry a myriad of weapons concealed. There are certain weapons and devices that are not included in the bill and there are also a significant number of restricted places one can carry a weapon. This can be problematic because while you're in carry mode you could easily need to secure your weapon somewhere other than your body while doing certain business in Florida and other states. It's up to you as the recipient of this right to be fully familiar with restrictions and secure those weapons when not under your direct control.
Being able to carry a weapon unrestricted is not a free-for-all and doesn't come at zero cost. Florida has reciprocity agreements with 36 states in the union. Only a few of them will recognize the Constitutional Carry status of a State. The good news is that Florida will continue to provide weapons permits to those who choose to have them and hopefully will continue to require training and knowledge of the law before issuing them. That will allow us to cross into a 'friendly' state and be legal.
The other matter of concern is that untrained people may not know that if they're forced to revert to their weapon in a self defense situation outside of their personal domain (house or car), even if you're totally in the right to do so under the circumstance, your life will likely change, for ever. In many cases, you will be arrested, you will have your weapon confiscated and you will need a lawyer. Period. Even if you are cleared of all potential charges you will more than likely be sued keeping you in court for months or even years and it will cost a lot of money, win or lose. Therefor my recommendation together with quality training is to join ....it could save you a bunch of mental and financial anguish down the line.
Over my lifetime I have fired close to three quarters of a million rounds of ammunition in controlled environments without an incident. I believe that the longer you go without an accident the more likely one will happen. Therefor as I get older and fire less rounds I've become even more vigilant because I intend to get out of here without hurting myself or someone else unintentionally. Part of my success so far is due to the fact that I don't 'play' with guns, even though it's my business. Nobody knows if I'm armed or not and I make it quite clear to my students and anyone else that if you see a gun in my hand outside of my work environment you better put your fingers in your ears. Most accidents are caused when people are handling weapons when they shouldn't be and I only do so when I need to.
I hear or read all too often someone who is a firearms enthusiast (especially some gun scribes) make a statement like, "gee I can't wait to play with the new blah blah gun". Those that now me will attest that if you tell me you're going to 'play' with a firearm, even though it's just a figure of speech, you won't be playing with one of mine or even your own in my company.
So, in closing, don't assume 'Constitutional Carry' is a big win for gun owners and saves us the cost of paying for a permit. The cost of the almost obligatory legal protection to cover you in case of an incident alone will offset that amount in spades. So my recommendation is to get trained, understand the law, don't 'play' with guns, don't blow your mouth off on the Internet forums and practice the drills your top tier instructor teaches you; and then get a concealed weapons permit if you don't already have one or keep the one you have renewed.