Although she was raised around handguns, during May’s class introduction she told us that both her dad and her brothers owned handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Still, May remained terribly afraid of handguns. May recently decided that the thought of owning a handgun was not a bad idea. She admitted she had recently visited a local store to browse the handgun section and even thought she might like to own a revolver.
Safety is the beginning of any good class but when we got to the actual handgun portion of the class, the first thing I did for May was introduce her to the rubber training handgun. To my surprise, she immediately started shaking, confirming her fear. I tried to remove the rubber handgun from her hands but she was determined to shed her fear, and held on. I told May and all of the students present that the most important thing to remember is that a handgun is a tool. A tool cannot function without human interaction. We must remember that fear is based on conditioning, which is a learned behavior and can be reinforced through thought and memory of past experiences. When we identify our fears, we immediately have a chance of overcoming them.
It turned out that May’s fear was conditioning. With May’s fear, came respect for the tool. We should all have a certain amount of fear of firearms less we become too comfortable, sacrificing our safety and those in our presence. As it turns out, May having both fear and respect for firearms, payed off in her favor. She was the best shooter of the day during the required North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun qualification requirement.
After completing her concealed carry qualification, May admitted that she still felt some anxiety, but was much more comfortable with the thought of purchasing and owning her own handgun, which she never would have considered before. I tell all of my students that Concealed Carry, if your first class, should be considered a first step in your firearms training journey. With continued training comes the ability to utilize your tool with safety, precision and accuracy, if needed, which we all hope never happens.