On March 8, 2020, right before the Pandemic shut everything down. I completed Massad Ayoob’s Mag 40 class here at Boondocks FTA. The 4-day class includes 20 hours of classroom and 20 hours of range time.  While I love being out on the Range, the classroom portion called “Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement” was a real eye-opener. Massad details what happens in the courtroom to law-abiding citizens that were forced to defend themselves, and how the prosecutor will try to paint his client as the victim and you as the aggressor or “blood-thirsty” vigilant.  The weekend revelations were still fresh on my mind as I hopped on a plane a few hours later headed for West Bend, WI to receive additional training on benefits of a USCCA membership and the legal protection it offers to Responsible Gun Owners.  For two solid weeks, I was immersed in the legal aspects of self-defense and the importance of having a legal plan in place BEFORE you are forced to defend yourself.  

Shortly after my return, the media pounced on a couple of incidents that validated everything I learned in the classes. In late June and early July, two stories emerged as front-page news when a couple in St Louis, MO held off a mob of protesters that broke through their front gate, and another couple in Detroit, MI was forced to brandish a firearm to escape a group of people who closed in on them and tried to prevent them from leaving after a verbal altercation in a fast food parking lot.  Currently, both couples are facing felony charges, have had their guns confiscated, and the Michigan couple has had their carry permits revoked.  With the social media backlash, both couples have reported that they have received numerous threats, and they are completely unable to defend themselves or their families should someone wish to them harm.  I know it sounds crazy, but it happens all the time, even in cases where no shots were fired.  In cases, where you are forced to shoot, you may be facing not only criminal charges but civil charges as well.  Just a few years ago, an incident here in Jackson, MS left a business owner financially ruined after he tried to stop a broad daylight vehicle burglary. Initially, no charges were filed, but six months later he was charged with 1st-degree murder. Even though the criminal charges were later dropped, he still faced tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and he was later sued civilly by the family which was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Conversations with some of those who know him said he lost his job, his home and his business! 

As if the assault on gun owners wasn’t enough, the events surrounding the death of George Floyd and Rashard Brooks has once again brought widespread media attention and scrutiny to our Law Enforcement Officers.  Police departments who struggled to keep and hire officers even before the current crisis are now faced with politicians that want to reduce the Police budget and “re-imagine” law enforcement.  This “defund the police” movement has left law-abiding Americans fearful there will simply not be enough officers to keep the peace and have driven them to buy firearms and ammunition at a record pace.  Americans are scared, and many are wondering what are some ways they can better protect their families both physically and financially.  Here are 3 quick tips! 

1.  Join the USCCA! – The United States Concealed Carry Association is a National Organization with over 400,000 members. They specialize in Education, Training and Legal Protection for Responsible Armed Americans. You don’t have to be a Concealed Carry Permit Holder or even own a firearm to join the USCCA.  The education and training USCCA members receive in the award-winning Concealed Carry Magazine, their monthly “First Line” Newsletter, the Membership Portal and the USCCA Smartphone App contain tons of information on how to be better prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones, both in and out of the home, and with and without a firearm.   The legal protection benefits cover you in all 50 states, for any act of self-defense and with any legal weapon (firearm, knife, pepper spray, etc.)  When you join the USCCA you will be issued a membership card that gives you access to over 1,200 attorneys across the country and instructions on what to do if you are involved in a self-defense incident. In fact, when I trained with Massad Ayoob he told me he travels to the USCCA headquarters to train the employees about once a year.  When he asked to see my membership card, he said “Yep, that is what I told them they should have on the back of their card”  In the cases we listed above, each of the defendants made some tactical errors that could have cost them their lives, and they either have spent or will spend tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars on legal fees. The USCCA is simply the quickest, easiest and least expensive way to get access to the most education and training, while at the same time protecting your family from the potential financial ramifications of a use of force incident.  For as little as $22 a month you can try out a USCCA membership for an entire year.  If at any time in that year, you decide you no longer want to be a member, the USCCA will refund ALL of your money.  You simply have nothing to lose. You can sign up at www.uscca.com/remote and use the Class Code BOON to receive a free bonus gift including a USCCA Hat, Ammo Can, Patch and a Bullet-shaped USB drive with 16 hours of training tips, drills, videos and checklist.   

2.  Get “In-Person” Training – No matter what your experience level is with firearms, everyone can benefit from good training.  I grew up around guns!  I have hunted, shot skeet and trap and even competed in silhouette shooting with rimfire pistols and rifles since the age of 6, but none of that taught me how to use a firearm as a defensive tool.  Most gun owners have simply never had a formal defensive firearms training class taught by an experienced trainer.  And NO, your concealed carry permit class is not a defensive firearms training class.   Most states ONLY ALLOW the instructors to teach the bare minimum of firearm safety and the legal aspects of carrying a gun.  A good defensive firearms class is going to be at least one, but ideally, two or three days of training where you shoot at least 400 -500 rounds of ammunition.  The class should include drawing from a holster, engaging multiple targets and incorporating some sort of timed shooting situations. I know this sounds like A LOT, but consider this. Currently, most Police Officers get an initial training of about 40 hours of firearms training while in the police academy, and then they only shoot about 50 rounds twice a year to qualify.  The truth is, if you complete our Defensive Pistol I and Defensive Pistol II classes, you will have more training than most Police or Military Personnel!  

3. Carry Your Gun! – One of the most recent classes I completed was Tom Given’s Master Instructor Class.  Tom was a member of the Memphis Police Department before opening his own indoor range called Rangemanster, where he taught thousands of civilian, military and law enforcement students. Tom has what is considered the most complete database of civilian self-defense statistics. To date, he has had 67 former students who have been in gunfights, their records are 64 wins, 0 losses and 3 forfeits, meaning they did not have their gun on them and they perished! The majority of the incidents happened away from home and in public areas such as parking lots or malls. Most of them occurred at a distance of 3 to 5 yards, required about 3-4 shots and were over in about 3 seconds. The bottom line, you need to be able to draw your firearm and accurately place 3 rounds on target from 3-5 yards in 3 seconds or less! 

 We are entering a new era in this country, where the media and politicians paint everyday Americans and Police as the aggressors and violent protesters and rioters as advocates for justice.  Police who are already overworked and underpaid are retiring or leaving the force and new recruits are hard to find.  Americans can read the spray paint on the walls and are rushing to purchase arms to defend themselves and their families.  Now is the time to invest in your safety and (1) Join, (2)Train and (3) Carry! 

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