I took a concealed weapons permit class on Saturday.
I have no gun or intention of buying a gun. But, by God, it’s now only a matter of sending in paperwork before I’m able to pack heat all hours of the day, barring I don’t enter any public facilities.
Scary? Absolutely.
I couldn’t load a pistol if my life depended on it. Couldn’t clear a bullet from a chamber. I learned Saturday and retained it in my short-term memory, but guess what? It’s long gone.
It makes me wonder how many are out there who are like me but actually do have a gun. Is this safe?
Before I go further, though, I just want to gloat a bit: Out of a possible 250 points on the shooting range, I scored 250 … that’s right – apparently I don’t miss.
It was fun shooting. I love new challenges and sporting event-type things. But it was also very scary. If you twitch your wrist with a rifle or shot gun, odds are it’s not going to move.
But I kept thinking as I was holding that loaded .9 mm that one false move – even a slight one – could completely change the direction that 8-inch barrel was pointed.
It was like witnessing a car wreck when it came to the thoughts in my head – I tried to “look away,” but couldn’t. I saw the man shooting next to me lying on the ground dead, blood running from his side, due to a bullet from a gun I was controlling.
I’m not exaggerating this.
Luckily, I survived and refrained from bringing any casualties about the scene. And in the end, you know, it was a good experience for me. I hate holding the beliefs I have regarding guns without any experience to base them on.
I also wrote a really long story on the course, which wasn’t too painful to read. I used some quotes from the instructor – who was very nearly the exact definition of a gun-totin’ good ol’ boy – to break up the monotony of a serious topic.
Best news is I think it impacted some people. I got several e-mails and phone calls from folks in the community asking about it. Several comments on our Web site indicated people saw what I was trying to do: Share the lessons of a gun safety course.
A few people at a council meeting I attended tonight even said they might take the course. They had a gun, but had never been taught how to properly handle it.
I decided to do the story for one reason: It is easier than shit to obtain a gun in South Carolina. Seriously. Over the age of 18? Don’t have much of a criminal record? Born in the U.S.A.? Sold!
There’s no law requiring you to know how to use it, although a concealed weapons permit gives you the right to parade it around town. People, unfortunately, have the idea the course isn’t worth taking if they’re just going to keep it locked up at home.
I am in journalism to impact the world. Truthfully, I’ve given up on society so much that I don’t think the government makes a huge difference in the grand scheme of things – being a “watchdog” for the taxpayers isn’t what I’m about. But knowing I might have prevented a gun accident is.
Although I will never know for sure, it makes me sleep better knowing it’s possible.

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