Below is an excerpt from Travis Haley’s facebook status after the Aurora, CO mass shooting:
The majority of concealed carry and open carry armed citizens are a liability. Just because you go through a 1 day course doesn’t not mean that you can problem solve an armored active shooter in a never expected, dark, tear gassed disruptive environment with screaming people while stepping over dead bodies. You must understand advanced applications under stress. Just like a pilot graduating flight school doesn’t mean he’s ready to jump into air to air combat.
I’ve seen this making its rounds on several forums over the past couple days, with people on both sides of the fence about this statement. Many people are saying that they are good enough with little training, and others are saying that extensive training is needed in order to prevail in a situation where deadly force is justified.
I personally can see both sides of the situation. I think Mr. Haleys statement that most concealed carry permit holders are a liability is a good statement. However, time and again we see justified shootings where those with little to no training are prevailing over those who wish to do them harm. What I have seen is shooters who are diligent about carrying their firearms, and who take self defense seriously show up to defensive pistol shooting matches and have no idea how to do anything but shoot on a static range at a static target.
I was one of those people. When I first got started in competitive shooting, I thought I was a hot shot, because I could shoot pretty well on a static range shooting at a stationary target. I had been a concealed carry permit holder for a couple years at this point, and like I am now, I was diligent about carrying everywhere. What I learned was that I had no idea how to effectively draw a pistol from holster, conduct an efficient reload, shoot on the move, or engage any sort of moving target. I believe these things are what Mr. Haley is referring to in his quote, not that concealed carry permit holders will go blindly firing into a crowd at the sound of gunfire.
I shared Mr. Haley’s status update on the Triangle Tactical facebook page, and Chris Clifton from Defensive Concepts North Carolina responded, and after some conversation he agreed to write a couple paragraphs about this topic with his observations as an instructor:
Travis Haley’s “liability” comment seems to have ignited a firestorm of controversy. As to be expected many internet gun owners are offended by the statement for various reasons. Some see it as a statement that is against their 2nd Amendment right while others seem offended that someone is telling them that they might not be ready for such an event as Travis is talking about. While I won’t go as far to say that the majority of concealed carry holders are a liability; I will say that many people that carry a firearm for personal protection are not prepared to effectively use their firearms in that role. There are several reasons why I say this. First, in my experience the people that only take a concealed carry permit course tend to be very poor shooters on the square range and do very little, if anything, to correct this. If a shooter is unable to accurately produce a tight, fist-sized group on a large silhouette while remaining stationary and at a distance of 7 yards or less then how will that same person be able to place accurate, fight-stopping hits under rather high amounts of stress? Second, most shooters don’t have a firm understanding of tactics which is critical during these types of incidents. Many seem to think that resolving the issue is as simple as putting the attacker under fire. While it is that easy in theory, you have to know how to address various issues such as: low light conditions, numerous people moving around the attacker, numerous people moving around the “good guy”, and other associated issues. An understanding of these issues generally only come through extensive training and experience. Sadly there appears to be a very vocal pushback against Travis’s statement. Unfortunately these critics seem to be a victim of not knowing what they simply don’t know. Only by getting out on the range and actually training, plinking in the back 40 doesn’t cut it, will they begin to gain the ability to successfully use their firearm for personal defense thanks to skill and effective tactics instead of just dumb luck. Chris Clifton - Defensive Concepts North Carolina
I think Chris hit the nail directly on the head, in that many concealed carry permit holders do not know enough to know what they don’t know.
Getting training is something that anyone who is serious about their self defense should consider. I’m not talking about the “training” you receive by taking the concealed carry permit class, where you have to shoot at a man sized target from a distance no further than 10 yards and hit it…somewhere, I’m talking about seeking out an instructor, and learning a proper draw, how to shoot and move, mindset, weapon retention, etc. We have a great group of instructors here in NC with many of the big nationally known instructors passing through frequently, so there really is no excuse not to get some training.
When we hear about police officers getting in shootouts, or emergency medical personnel put into a hairy situation one thing that they say afterward time and again is “My training took over”. If we as citizens take our self preservation seriously, getting some training, and practicing what we have learned will do nothing but help in the future. Getting your concealed carry permit is a good thing, and a great first step, but afterwards, getting some training should be the second step. I also feel that getting involved in some competitive shooting helps as well. You will learn to shoot under the stress of the timer (and it does place stress on you, believe me) and you will get a lot of practice shooting on the move, transitioning between targets, etc. I do not buy the line that competitive shooting degrades self defense readiness. Not one bit.
Now that we have found out that the shooter in the Aurora shooting was not wearing any sort of ballistic vest, just a nylon vest made for carrying gear, I feel that is very likely that someone with a concealed carry permit could have engaged the shooter, and possibly stopped the tragedy before the shooter was able to harm as many people as he did. After all, the shooter did give up as soon as he was confronted with a gun…
Be safe, carry often.