NRA introduces new firearms course
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
The following article was originally published by Grand Junction Free Press on August 7, 2006.
Aurora, July 18: James Edward Cannon invaded the home of Lawrence Kintz, a high school teacher. CBS4 reported, "Kintz confronted... Cannon with a shotgun and told him to put his hands up and get down on the ground." As Cannon started to get up, Kintz told him, "Freeze. I will shoot you if you don't stop." "Kintz said he feared for his life and fired a single shot killing" the intruder.
Memphis, July 21: Elartrice Ingram went on a knifing attack at a grocery store where he worked, seriously injuring four employees, the AP reported, quoting police. As Ingram chased a victim into the parking lot, Chris Cope "grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck." He told the AP, "When [Ingram] turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground. He saw my gun and that was pretty much it."
Seattle, July 28: Naveed Afzal Haq allegedly forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, shooting one woman dead and wounding five others, the AP reported. "Haq, a Muslim, told authorities he was angered by the war in Iraq and U.S. military cooperation with Israel." Dayna Klein, "hit in the arm as she shielded her pregnant belly -- helped bring the crisis to an end by crawling into her office, calling 911, and convincing her assailant to talk to dispatchers," the AP reported, quoting the police chief.
None of us expects to be confronted by a burglar or violent killer. But, then again, none of us expects to die early, yet we purchase life insurance. The safety of you and your family is worth some preparation.
Your elder author, a firearms and personal safety instructor, receives several calls per month from someone who is in fear for his or her safety. Their fear is generated from across the social board of human experience. Ex-husbands and ex-wives who have threatened former spouses and children. Conflicts between employers and employees. Women who live alone. Drug dealings in the neighborhood.
We at the Grand Valley Training Club (GVTC) do everything possible to help these at-risk people by filling up our classes on personal protection. Sometimes we find an NRA-certified instructor to offer private courses. Yet when one hears the desperation in some of these voices, we can't help thinking of trying to put on the car seat belt during a wreck. While training during a potential emergency can be important, training before an emergency arises is far better.
GVTC has trained over five thousand men and women over the years.
The NRA has been the leader in firearms training since 1871. Today there are more than 51,000 NRA certified instructors nationwide. The instructors receive training from more than 13,000 Training Counselors, who in turn learn from around 120 Senior and Master counselors.
All the Senior and Master counselors (including your elder author, a Senior) were invited to NRA Headquarters July 22-24 to learn about the NRA's new Personal Protection Outside the Home Course (PPOTH). This is an intermediate level course that requires students to have already mastered safe gun handling and basic marksmanship.
Your elder author left at 7:00 in the morning, destination Dulles Airport, and was sitting in his assigned seat at the NRA at 4:00 the same afternoon. This first trip to Headquarters was impressive. The building is two six-story glass columns with an atrium between them.
Class continued the next morning, and the counselors headed to the range late in the afternoon. After shooting for several hours that day and the next, we faced our final evaluation. Each of us joined three trainers from NRA's staff, who passed or failed students for the course.
As a Senior Counselor, your elder author has told his students that the most challenging, exciting, and mentally draining part of teaching a firearms course is the range portion. Because safety is at the forefront, you are constantly watching students and instructors while staying with the lesson plan.
The NRA's staff did an outstanding and professional job; the organization is quite fortunate to have these professionals.
In a few weeks the NRA will send out final credentials for the course. Then Seniors will train Training Counselors, who will in turn train instructors, who can then offer a wider range of training options for people who want it.
Since 9/11 we've seen an increase in class attendance, and many of our students apply for a concealed weapons permit. For those who want to improve their safety skills, the NRA's new PPOTH course will hone the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude.
Although most students of this class will never meet the staff that developed it and who trained the advanced counselors, they will benefit from the staff's excellent work. The ultimate thanks that these safety professionals will receive is that future graduates will not be victims.