To carry a firearm with you in your day to day is a right we are granted by our constitution, but with that right comes a great deal of responsibility and accountability. To carry a CONCEALED firearm bears even more weight. Law makers in my home state of New Mexico understand that and have established requirements within the state Concealed Carry Law necessitating a certain level of preparedness and training for any individual (who has the legal right to bear arms) who wants to carry a concealed weapon. According to Chapter 21, Article 19, Paragraph 7 of the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act of 2003:
The department shall prepare and publish minimum standards for approved firearms training courses that teach competency with handguns. A firearms training course shall include classroom instruction and range instruction and an actual demonstration by the applicant of his ability to safely use a handgun. An applicant shall not be licensed unless he demonstrates, at a minimum, his ability to use a handgun of .32 caliber…The firearms training course shall be not less than fifteen hours in length and shall provide instruction regarding:
(1) knowledge of and safe handling of single- and double-action revolvers and semiautomatic handguns;
(2) safe storage of handguns and child safety;
(3) safe handgun shooting fundamentals;
(4) live shooting of a handgun on a firing range;
(5) identification of ways to develop and maintain handgun shooting skills;
(6) federal, state and local criminal and civil laws pertaining to the purchase, ownership, transportation, use and possession of handguns;
(7) techniques for avoiding a criminal attack and how to control a violent confrontation;
(8) techniques for nonviolent dispute resolution.
These all seem like perfectly reasonable, rational, and realistic expectations/requirements for anyone who wishes to carry a concealed firearm (a deadly weapon). In my never to be humble opinion, I feel this level of training would be ideal groundwork for any person who wishes to use and/or carry any firearm whether concealed or not. But to one lawmaker (and some of his police department constituents) in my state the training requirements outlined above are too numerous and prohibitive and they would like to see the instruction/classroom requirements lifted from the law.
Republican State Senator Steve Neville of San Juan County (county seat: Aztec, largest town: Farmington) is looking to introduce a bill which would remove the barrier of training and grant the right to any person legally allowed to carry a gun to carry that gun concealed on their person. When I heard about this on a local news broadcast out of Albuquerque’s KRQE news station (watch news broadcast HERE) I said to HD (my husband, the gunsmith and gun shop owner) “I am not sure how I feel about that, I am not sure I want someone who has had absolutely NO training to be able to hide a gun in their jacket or purse and then, when they feel the need arises, draw their weapon and accidentally discharge it causing damage to property or persons completely unrelated to their interpretation of the ‘need’…I don’t feel comfortable carrying a concealed weapon, and won’t feel comfortable until I know I have been properly instructed to do so, but maybe I am wimpy, wimpy, wimpy?!” His response was the simple agreement “No, you’re smart!”
HD and I both believe in our 2nd Amendment Rights and (when we carry guns) carry our guns with the conviction that our possession of firearms is a right, a privilege, and a responsibility; but are all gun owners so principled? We know all gun owners believe it is their right to “keep and bear arms”, and we wholeheartedly agree, but do they also share our conviction that it is a responsibility, one which should not be taken lightly, and requires a certain level of cognizant consideration for the repercussions of misunderstanding, abusing, or corrupting the privilege? While common sense should dictate that learning about guns, their use, maintenance, and safe-keeping is a necessary requirement for anyone who wants to own a gun, common sense is in short supply in this country lately and, until common sense is restored, we must continue to preserve some minimum requirements. It is training that prevents the perversion of our right (and privilege) to carry firearms with us, in whatever manner is best suited for us, and striking the training requirement from the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act of 2003 may prove to be more destructive than constructive when it comes to producing a population of well-informed prudent gun owners and easing the fears of the left that we are too lax already.