Commentary

How Much is Your Life Worth?

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Note: As I wrote this, I learned of a situation that took place in Augusta, ME, where two legally armed bystanders stopped a shootout between two groups who were allegedly engaged in the sale of heroin. This happened Sunday around 6:00 p.m. in the parking lot of a busy Walmart.

According to the Washington Examiner, over 141 million background checks for gun purchases have been conducted since President Obama took office. It is abundantly clear that Americans lack confidence in the President’s ability to keep them safe, and to safeguard their right to own and carry firearms.

This lack of confidence has Americans across the nation buying firearms at a staggering rate. And while these concerns are understandable, many gun owners never take the next logical step of acquiring good quality training to solidify their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones. That training is often more affordable than most people realize, and it’s worth every penny.

How much is your life worth? How much do you value your loved ones? Your skill with a firearm is like any perishable skill and requires consistent and safe practice to ensure both the shooter and firearm are in top working order. Unfortunately, the fact is that many shooters never take the initiative to get outside their comfort zone and improve their abilities.

Think back to any activity you learned when you were younger or picked up as an adult. You practiced. You often practiced a lot, and if you had a good coach or instructor, they pushed you outside your comfort zone to learn. You began with the basics, you built upon each skill, and practiced hundreds of times until you no longer needed to think, but reacted appropriately when that skill was required.

This is both true and extremely important with firearms. If you ever need to rely on your ability with a firearm in a deadly situation, your loved ones will be happy that you took the time to improve your skills.

Fortunately, Maine gun owners have several options when it comes to self-defense training. My personal experience is with training offered through the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Weaponcraft in southern Maine. If you like having the right to own a firearm, join the NRA. I should not need to say that, but whatever your personal opinion of the NRA, they absolutely safeguard your rights.

In addition to the advocacy they offer gun owners, the NRA offers training and competition designed to improve your safety and proficiency with firearms. The NRA’s Basic Pistol Course and NRA Action Pistol Competition gives shooters excellent skills that could potentially save their life in a lethal encounter.

The Basic Pistol Course focuses on safe gun handling, the legalities of a self-defense shooting and impressing upon shooters the importance of understanding the responsibility they have as gun owners. NRA Action Pistol Competition is a place for shooters to practice those skills and improve their general ability with a pistol. Action Pistol uses simulated self-defense situations to both challenge the shooter and improve their ability to act under stress.

For firearm owners that are looking for their next challenge, schools like Weaponcraft in Maine are also great option. Weaponcraft has classes for all levels of gun owners, and even offers courses for AR-15 owners, one of which yours truly took in the summer of 2008.

How much is your life worth? Think about that question. Think about why you chose to buy a firearm, and how valuable your loved ones are to you. I do not work for the NRA, Weaponcraft or any other firearm school. My only interest in writing this is that I hope I can convince more people to get quality self-defense training to be safer and more responsible gun owners.

Taking the first step of buying a firearm for self-defense is important, but a vital second step is learning to use that tool in a safe and effective manner.

About Chris Cote

Chris Cote, a Maine native, worked in the 125th Legislature for Senate President Kevin Raye. After working for the Maine Legislature, Chris worked for the New Hampshire State Senate. Currently, Chris works in finance and resides in southern New Hampshire.

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