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Friday, August 18, 2017

Who needs protecting from who..

So you are happily sitting at home, maybe this evening, enjoying a nice bottle of red, watching Dancing with the Stars, and you get a knock at the door. Strange you think, but it could be a neighbor looking to borrow some sugar, so you open the door. Standing there are the Police, all sorts of things rush through your head, has a family member had an accident, is there a situation and you need to be evacuated? After a few seconds the cop says he's there for your guns!!

Think that sounds like an alarmist scare story, it isn't! It seems that up and down the country, errors are being made which result in people ending up on lists that they really should not be on. The SAFE act 2013 contains a provision that allows health care providers to report patients they believe could be a danger to themselves or others.

On the face of it, that sounds like a great idea right? You would think so, but then good intent is always the mother of all F ups I believe the saying goes. There have been numerous incidents of people having their firearms seized when they have not even visited a facility, or where they are demonstrably not a danger to themselves or anyone else, and the 1st they know about it is when the police are knocking on their door!
That, although bad, would seem easily corrected when the error is discovered. But it would seem that even that can be an issue. In a case in New York, a Mr Hall had to hire a lawyer, and obtain a number of affidavits to confirm he had not been treated for mental illness! Now not withstanding the obvious problems with trying to prove something didn't happen, how many of us have the time, money and ability to resort to law to ensure our rights are not infringed?

Think that's bad, it gets worse. It seems that not only can errors be made, and you can lose your guns without without warning, but it seems that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that it's also now acceptable, without a warrant or charges, for the police to smash down your door, search your property, and take your guns if they deem that it's in an individuals best interests!

Now where do you start with that! If there is no warrant or charges required, who decides who is a danger to themselves, and on what basis? Could I call the police and settle a score with my neighbor having told the police I thought he was depressed and had spoken about harming myself? How about if someone has one of those times in their lives when a little help is required. Bereavement, divorce & job loss are 3 things that a lot of us suffer through our lives, and some need a little temporary assistance from the medical profession, with maybe anti depressants, sleeping pills or maybe counselling.

Does that now mean that seeking a little temporary assistance will cause people to lose their guns and 2nd amendment rights? Is there a set route back from losing your guns to regaining them, or does a person have to resort to no doubt expensive and difficult litigation?

Possibly most worrying of all, if someone is in a situation where the assistance of the medical world would help them through a tough time, will they seek that help, if they know or suspect they could end up having the police storm their house?

Do we really need protecting from ourselves for our own good?

Police take veterans firearms

Friday, August 4, 2017

Where does the 2nd amendment apply?

While watching what was happening in the media this week, always an entertaining pass time, several stories that relate to the 2nd amendment, gun  rights and the shooting sports have arisen which have lead to me receiving some interesting questions online, and even a visit from a
film crew for Channel 3.

Earlier this year, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow individuals with concealed-carry privileges in their state of residence to exercise those rights in any other state while abiding by that state’s laws. Now not having given it much thought before this week, except for trying to keep abreast of which states have reciprocity with the US, I never made the mental leap to compare CCW permits to driving licenses.

Think about this. The driving tests throughout the US are different, which each having it's own unique requirements and tests. In Europe, that is even more apparent, with tests in some countries requiring no more that drive a straight line backwards and forwards, right up to the UK, where tests can be hours long, and require 45 hours of lessons to give you a fighting chance of passing.

Yet with all the disparate requirements from the states here, and even different countries in Europe, you are free to drive coast to coast, without having to worry about not having the licence issued by the state/country you are driving through, so long as you don't break the laws of the locality that you find yourself in.

So why is it if I drive 200 miles West, carrying my usual unspectacular self defence weaponry, I could find myself in prison for a number of years? Why is it that if I take a flight that routes through New York, and check-in my gun, when changing planes in New York, I could find myself on the wrong end of a lengthy jail term?

Whilst individual states have different laws re guns, can it be right that simply possessing one in some parts of the country will lead to your incarceration a not inconsiderable length of time? Surely, as with driving licences, the more basic tenets of the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms should be available to all those for whom gun ownership is legal, from coast to coast?

And while thinking about that, the news about the shooting at Walgreens appeared on my newsfeed, followed by the road rage story, a call from Channel 3, and numerous emails from customers and Facebook messages, all wanting to know whether the Walgreens and road rage shootings were legal.

Now to ask that question is similar to asking whether it's you should brake for an amber light when you are 20 feet from the crossing, it all depends. In cases like those above, there are a great many factors that determine whether you should take action with your firearm, or even whether you should take any action at all, it all depends on the circumstances. And that leads me onto my next point, that loosely connects with my previous point.

Although Arizona is a constitutional carry state, and you are not under any obligation to do so, why would you now take the class, and apply for a CCW permit? The cost is minimal, but the amount of information you will receive is HUGE, and could save your life and liberty, why would you not do it....

Link to story about country wide CCW permits

Walgreens shooting

Roadrage in Arizona

Friday, May 12, 2017

Who keeps you safe?

An interesting question. Is it the Police, the Fire Department, City Hall? All have their place of course, but in those minutes before the forces of law and order can arrive, it's YOU that keeps you safe. Scary thought, it should be because we don't consider what can happen in those minutes before the uniforms appear.

Being British, it was very strange when I first starting a loaded firearm with me almost everywhere I go. It felt not only like I was carrying a brick on my hip, but that everyone was looking at me! For the first few months, I carried it without a bullet in the chamber, as I didn't trust myself to not to add extra holes that my body was not designed for!

Then I started working at Caswells, and taking the classes from some of the best instructors in the business. And aswell as the realization that - for the first few minutes anyway - mine, and my families safety is largely in my/our hands! It's like having a fire extinguisher, could I put out a raging inferno with it, no, of course not. Could I create enough time for the fire department to arrive, and/or create an opportunity for me and my family to escape to safety, absolutely.

As I grew more comfortable carrying my firearm, it became natural to me to carry with a round in the chamber. The reasons are several fold, and in no great part having seen some of the videos I have linked to below whilst looking for content for the newsletter, and the radio show we used to do at www.radiocaswells,com.

Here's an experiment for you. CLEAR YOUR FIREARM before you start, Now draw it and bring it onto target ready to fire, how long did that take? 3 seconds, maybe 4, longer if it's in a purse or pocket. Now do the same, but racking the slide aswell WITH NO MAGAZINE IN THE FIREARM (please be careful), how long did that take you, maybe 50% longer?

Now here'e an interesting statistic for you, from the font of all knowledge, wikipedia. This tells us that athletes can run a 40 yard dash in 4 seconds, that's 120 feet!! Can you draw your weapon, aim, and shoot on target someone moved at a quarter of that speed, especially if you have to rack the slide before you start?

I am NOT suggesting that you all go home, lock and load your favorite 45, and hope all goes well, far from it. Come down to Caswells and get trained, get comfortable with your firearm, learn to be comfortable loading, unloading and clearing your weapon, holstering a firearm with a round in the chamber, and or course drawing your weapon, until it becomes as second nature as driving a stick shift has become.

And no matter what you do, BE CAREFUL out there, you NEVER want this to happen!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Who ya goner call....


It's an interesting concept, who is responsible to keep you safe? We as a society have over the years developed to make the best of the skills that people have to offer, and probably rightly so.

When I want new kitchen cupboards, the last person my wife would allow to build and install them is me, my spirit level was damaged some years ago, resulting in the bubble now being in the wrong place!! My wife was equally distressed when I suggested we convert our cooker hood to gas, and that it would be a great idea for me to run the gas line, and hook up the gas.

I realize with some depression (and admission of defeat) that there are some things I should leave to others who have some kind of affinity and skill to complete the task properly, without the possible terrible consequences of me doing over reaching at something that is not necessarily my top skill set.

This is where it gets interesting. I would suggest the same applies in various emergency situations. I have fire extinguishers in my house, garage, cars, truck, and even one that I take camping. Now, does that mean that when I am up in Payson, camping for the weekend, and a forest fire erupted, I could or should tackle it beyond the immediate response of maybe a mishap within a tent or maybe a cinder igniting a small fire, no, of course not. My fire extinguisher at BEST is to try to keep me, my family and my stuff, aswell as others should they be in danger, uninjured until the fire fighters turn up (much to my wifes approval) to deal in a professional and safe way, with the proper equipment with the problem.

In my view, the same applies to the concealed weapons we carry, and to the the weapons we have in our homes and vehicles. I am not in a equipped nor more importantly trained to fight a small war against insurgents, nor take on hoards of bloodthirsty terrorists. I am equipped to deal with an immediate issue, to keep myself and loved ones safe in situations where I do not have a police officer standing next to me to take care of the problem.

When my lovely wife decided she would go jogging in the early mornings, it was obvious to me that she needed to be able to defend herself should it be required. Only last year, and woman was mugged whilst jogging early in the morning. Now we don't live in  downtown LA, it can happen anywhere, at almost anytime, being prepared is what it's all about. Not prepared to fight WW3, just prepared enough to get to a place of safety, or perhaps until the professionals arrive.

I met a lovely lady and her daughter on the range on Wednesday. She was thoughtful, considerate and looking to make informed choices. She wants to buy a gun, and be proficient in it's use, so she is able to defend herself and her family from the threats of the modern world.

Her view is that she wants to be able to defend family and home against those who would do them harm. And that is exactly to the to look at it. The police are there to deal with big issues, any issues BUT they are not next to you every moment of every day.

It simply makes sense to be able to deal with a fire or someone who would do you harm in the 1st few minutes of any issue, until the professionals arrive. The fire, nor the mugger, thief or home invader will not quietly wait until the professionals arrive, You need to be able to defend yourself the same as you need a fire extinguisher.

A HUGE reason to be prepared!

Caswells Training classes

Private lessons at Caswells

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Friday, February 17, 2017

CCW holder going to PRISON!!

That got your attention as it should!!

But lets start at the beginning a great piece appeared on my Facebook feed earlier in the week, and below is a section of it.

It's not the police who need to be retrained, it's the public. We have grown into a mouthy, cell phone wielding, vulgar, uncivil society with no personal responsibility and the attitude of 'it's the other person's fault', 'you owe me'. A society where children grow up with no boundaries or knowledge or concern for civil society and personal responsibility. 
When an officer says "Put your hands up," then put your hands up! Don't reach for something in your pocket, your lap, your seat. There's plenty of reason for a police officer to feel threatened, there have been multiple assaults and ambushes on police officers lately. Comply with requests from the officer, have your day in court. Don't mouth off, or fight, or refuse to comply... that escalates the situation. 
Police officers are our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. They're black, white, brown, all colors, all ethnicities, all faiths, male and female, they are us. They see the worst side of humanity... the raped children, the bloody mangled bodies of traffic victims, the bruised and battered victims of domestic violence, homicide victims, body parts... day after day. 
They work holidays while we have festive meals with our families. They miss school events with their kids, birthdays, anniversaries, all those special occasions that we take for granted. They work in all types of weather, under dangerous conditions, for relatively low pay. 
They have extensive training, but they are human. When there are numerous attacks on them, they become hyper vigilant for a reason, they have become targets. When a police officer encounters any person... any person, whether at a traffic stop, a street confrontation, an arrest, whatever... that situation has the potential to become life threatening. You, Mr & Mrs/Miss Civilian, also have the responsibility of keeping the situation from getting out of control.
Many law enforcement officers are Veterans. They've been in service to this nation most of their lives, whether on the battlefield or protecting us here at home. They are the only thing that stands between us and anarchy in the streets. 
If you want to protect your child, teach them respect.
What does that tell us? I have seen a great change in society in various countries over the year, and not for the better. It now seems that there is a large element in society that hangs on everyone they disagree with's every word, looking for something with which they can be offended, and use that as a stick with which to beat that person, until they achieve their aim, usually the removal of the person with whom they disagree. If they are prevented from doing whatever they choose, they the ACLU turn up almost as an emergency service.

Yet. they think they can treat anyone they perceive as not agreeing with their cause, whatever it maybe, in anyway they choose, and drag in ordinary members of the public, and remove their rights for as long as they choose in the name of "protest". The way that law enforcement is treated by this element of society is beyond contemptible, yet they expect to be treated with kid gloves as they stop traffic on motorways, and throw abuse at anyone who dares to disagree.

Michael Aaron Strickland
We now have new laws making their way through various legislatures that provide for a defense for people who find themselves in the position of tragically hitting protesters who choose to try and block roads, but is that something anyone should have to go through, along with the inevitable protracted and expensive civil suit?

Take the case of Michael Aaron Strickland on Portland Oregon. Carrying a legal firearm, he was in what he deemed a life threatening situation whilst apparently doing his job as a radiographer and journalist during a demonstration. This guy drew his firearm having apparently been assaulted and verbally abused by a large crowd of protesters. Lets be clear, he didn't shoot anyone, nor did he he resist arrest, yet he finds himself convicted on various charges, that could see him in a state prison for some decades. Again, it seems that if a group is offended enough, they can change the course of someone life dramatically, simply because they disagree with them or their actions.

Where does all this lead I hear you ask. Well, it's a message I have put out there several times. Training is everything, whether it is how to use the resources you have available to you, to CRUCIALLY knowing WHEN you can and even more important when you can't use those resources. Even training with people who are ex law enforcement as many are at Caswells, can save not only your life, but your liberty. Know the law where ever you are. If you utilize the reciprocity that the AZ CCW affords you, don't think that the laws surrounding self defense or even how you carry your firearm are the same, they aren't, and it's VERY easy to be caught out.

Knowledge IS power!!

Get trained, PLEASE don't be the next news story! Follow this link, and you will find yourself on the Caswells CCW page, book into the CCW class on Monday the 20th, Presidents Day, and send me a mail with your confirmation number and "Presidents Day" in the subject line, and I will give you a free special offer voucher when you come to take your class on Monday! Just follow this link, and as spaces are 1st come 1st served, don't delay!

North Dakota passes law to protect motorists who accidentally run over protesters

Man who pulled a gun on protestors convicted, faces decades in prison, and permanent loss of 2nd amendment rights

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Desert or range?

The age old problem in Arizona. With desert all around us, why wouldn't you want to take a trip out into the desert, and shoot for free?

On the face of it, great idea, lots of space, you can do what you like, shot what you like, with what you like, take the family, and not be troubled by those pesky RO's, right?

Well lets think about that for a moment.Can you do what you like? Sort of is the obvious answer. For  parts of the year, the state, city, county close parts of the desert to shooters, with heavy penalties for those ignoring the restrictions, but do you know where to look to find out where you can and can't shoot? Safety can also be an issue in the desert when you are in locations that allow shooting.

Not withstanding the local fauna wishing to take a bite out of you if they get the chance (no I have yet to see a snake, and hope I never do, but they are out there!!) especially in rocky terrain that makes up a lot of shooting locations, do I want to come across one when placing/retrieving targets?

Targets, another consideration is of course targets. Can you just press a button and have your target run out 65 feet, and come back when you have shot a perfect 1" group, or is it time to send family members trudging over open group that others may shoot over?

But far more importantly, what is everyone around you doing? No matter how safely you behave, and how sensible your gun handling, do you know what everyone else is doing, and how they are going about handling their firearms? Have a look at this video, what you see is someone firing a .50 cal Barrett and yes, that is the bullet he firing that comes back. No matter how careful you are, do you know what others are doing?

With lane rental fees at only $15, is it REALLY worth the effort to drive miles out into the desert?

Friday, January 27, 2017

National CCW permit, possible or pipedream?

Writing this piece has been an interesting intellectual exercise. I want to address the changes that face the shooting community, the changes to laws and ways of doing things that it would seem are on their way to us.

As a British guy in the US, it took me a long time to get my head around how the laws of the US work, the differences between federal and state law, and how they interact, and to be honest, it still confuses me!! Take medical Marijuana for example, legal is a number of states, yet remains federally  illegal. I make no claims either way as to whether that is right or wrong, it's just very confusing that someone can do something which on the face of it is legal, but for which you can find yourself in hot water if caught be some agencies, but not others, and although ostensibly legal, means that you become a federally prohibited possessor of firearms.

Now lets move to where this kind of legal dichotomy really starts to effect your life and potentially safety, the concealed carrying of firearms. As we know, in Arizona, we are lucky enough to be able to carry pretty much whatever we choose, concealed or open, under the "constitutional carry" definition of the 2nd amendment. But as we know, various states don;t share that definition, and if you were caught with a concealed firearm, you would find yourself with all sorts of legal difficulties.

As the US's 45th President enacts executive orders with a speed never seen before, what do you think of his pledge to bring conformity to the states as regards gun laws, and concealed carry? As I look West to California, I don't see their politicians simply accepting that conforming to what the President has decreed on this issue without a serious fight.

But turning to the law as it stands today, it is a LOT easier to find yourself in jail, facing a felony charge that you may think, and for simply passing THROUGH an airport! Does it actually make sense that something you can do perfectly legally in one state in the country of the United States can see you facing serious charges in another state in the same country, even if you were simply passing through an airport that happened to be in New York, and you had studiously followed federal law, the airline's rules and all the relevant TSA requirements?

With 50 states, the rules that govern what concealed carry holders can and can't do in various other states they maybe visiting is a minefield that changes daily, and to keep fully informed about, you would have to have a staff lawyer present at all times. There are websites that I have listed below that will assist you to understand which states have reciprocity with your home state, but you still have to abide by their concealed carry laws when you are in another state, meaning many hours of reading state law!

Can that really be right in the 21st century, in a united country like the US? Personally I have the feeling that the 45th President will take the issue of conformity of gun laws forward, and make changes that could potentially improve lives of gun owners. It's now up to gun owners to show responsibility and good judgement in how they go about exercising the rights we in Arizona in particular are able to enjoy.

Training and knowledge are vital to any part of our lives where we have the rights that we have to exercise responsibly. Taking a CCW class in your home state, whether you are required to or not, is a great and VITAL 1st step, but don't stop there, train, take classes, and protect not only yourselves, and your families, but the sport of shooting that you have come to enjoy.

Train for the Arizona CCW permit, and learn about the sport of shooting

Passing through New York with your firearm? Read this.

What is Constitutional Carry?

Which states recognize your home states CCW permit? (reciprocity)

What is the law in Arizona regarding concealed carry of firearms?