Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: CCW Class and Basic Gun Training with 4YourDefense (Mt. Sterling, OH)


CCW Class and Basic Gun Training with 4YourDefense (Mt. Sterling, OH)

This is what I did with Matt and our guns this weekend. We got to know them a little better.

I have never shot my pistol in 20 degrees with a 10MPH wind, but it was definitely an experience to be out there being tested for basic marksmanship and proper gun handling in the freezing cold.
As part of the path to obtaining a CCW (carry concealed weapon) license in the state of Ohio, we took the required 12-hour training course with 4YourDefense, a CCW license certification course run by the husband of one of Matt's co-workers. Aside from bringing other coworkers along to enjoy the day with us, it's also the least expensive place to take the class in Central Ohio. With the thoroughness of the material, the comprehensive course, and the experience of both of the instructors who taught both the classroom and range portions of the day, it was well worth the time and the drive from Columbus to Mt. Sterling, about 30-40 minutes south of the city.

The class itself went through several modules. At the beginning, we went through the basics including understanding the parts of a gun, how a bullet is fired, basic gun grip, and firing techniques. We then went to the outdoor range to put those lessons into practice and to pass the qualification portion of the course which involved shooting at a target approximately 7ft. away (the average distance of an assailant in a conceal carry situation) while demonstrating the safe way to handle a gun. After the range exercises, we returned to the classroom to discuss the reality of making the conscious decision to carry a firearm every day and the scenarios when a gun would have to come into play. It was a very eye-opening course that really made me more aware of what I need to do as a citizen to decrease my chances of being victimized in a crime.

The choice to obtain a CCW license is not a light one. It is a heavy responsibility to carry a weapon at all times for personal defense. It is also one with a bit of a stigma with even the thought of carrying a weapon in a public area. Unfortunately, my home state (California) does not have a very favorable image of guns because of the amount of crimes that are committed with them (and the innocent people who are victimized because of their inability to use them). I wonder how long it will take until someone realizes that "Gun Free Zone," as safe as it may sound in theory, is a euphemism for "I'm vulnerable, please attack now."

So that leads me to my take on firearms. Agree or disagree if you'd like. And really, I don't need to hear the debate about "guns are bad, they kill people, ban them, etc." I'm not big on political arguments and this is simply my opinion. Save yourself the time and don't try to sway me the other way, because I'm not going to waste energy to change your mind.
There are many people out there who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. I know this because I've lived a good portion of my life with people who stuck to their choices although they were very destructive. The downright unwillingness to admit a mistake is a hubris that comes from an excessive amount of pride and the need to make oneself look better than others. But for me, the definition of a great person is one who can temper that high regard for oneself with the understanding that it does not make one a lesser (wo)man by needing to reassess and adjust their ways if the occasion arises.
With that being said, it is, and always has been, an easy cop-out to blame the objects used in a catastrophic event rather than the carelessness of the operators who utilize them. As a motorcyclist, I hear this argument all too well, when I get the non-motorcyclists who tell me that I'm on a "donorcycle" or a "suicide machine." The motorcycle itself is not what kills you; the onus is on the operators of the vehicle to do everything in their power to operate the unit as safely as they can while avoiding the obstacles in front of them. If we used this rationale on every tool we use in society, be it a gun, a car, a hammer, or a pencil, we would be not just be fearful of the tools, but of the things we can potentially achieve by utilizing them in a humanity-building manner.
It boils down to common sense. If it is absolutely obvious that a dangerous person has access to a dangerous object, there must be guidelines in place to make sure that the aforementioned person does not obtain the object! Unfortunately, there aren't the right policies or enough enforcement in place to block the DANGEROUS people.
For the rest of us who simply choose to live our lives in safety, the 2nd Amendment of United States Constitution affords the right "of the people to keep and bear arms" and defend ourselves from tyranny, both foreign and domestic. It's not the foreign tyranny I'm not afraid of (that's what our military is for); it's the domestic tyranny, the people within our own society who choose, by whatever influences they have, to inflict harm on their fellow man. And that is why I chose to learn how to defend myself, using the same tools used by those who work to uphold our laws. If you fall into the group of people who believe that you have the right to live your life confidently, then taking a CCW class is for you.

So after 12 hours of classroom, range shooting, and a written test, this was a certificate I was happy to earn at the end of the day. Even if you're not planning to conceal carry a firearm anytime soon, a little education about one of the most important tools in our society can go a long way. If you're in Ohio, check out the guys of 4YourDefense at They're a great resource for any information regarding obtaining the CCW license in this state.