Training should be self-evidently important, not mandated

Posted by Edgar Antillon- Written By Rob Pincus

July 24, 2022

Mandatory Firearms Training is an infringement, but everyone should agree that education, training and practice should be sought after by any gun owner. These may seem are the competing facts for anyone truly interested in promulgating “gun safety” and increasing the average responsibility level of the average gun owner… but they don’t need to be viewed that way. The best way to encourage increased education and risk mitigation in the gun community is by changing the culture around such things, not through legislation.

It can be as simple as making sure new gun owners are told that training isn’t “required”, but it is expected. All the better if that advice comes from a trusted gun owner or someone in the gun industry… and if it is backed up with examples to be followed and not just through lectures or talking points. Are you setting the right example?

Thoughts and conventions around safe gun handling and ownership have evolved greatly over the past 30 years as gun ownership has expanded and we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people carrying or staging guns for defensive use. Thankfully, there are countless organizations, schools, instructors and community leaders who offer those examples along with best practices for any variety of circumstances facing gun owners. I am proud to be affiliated with, or supportive of, the work of many of these, including Personal Defense Network, United States Concealed Carry Association, Walk The Talk America, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Guns For Everyone, Black Guns Matter and, of course Second Amendment Organization. 2AO’s official stance on mandatory training is spelled out with over 50 other Position Statements at
Mandatory Training for Ownership? (Against)

The Second Amendment Organization believes that, because there is no provision in the Second Amendment for a training requirement prior to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, the establishment of such a requirement to own a firearm would be a severe infringement on that right.

Some people outside of the gun community can’t understand how a training requirement shouldn’t be an obvious precursor to firearms ownership. They make inappropriate comparisons to driver’s licenses or want to ignore the reality of the Second Amendment’s restriction against infringements. Requiring Courses is presented as “gun safety” not “gun control”. There may be well meaning people involved in gun control advocacy, but they need to learn that working with gun owners through education, not against them with legislation is the only viable path forward. No matter how such a position is packaged, Mandatory Training to exercise a civil right will remain untenable to the vast majority of the gun community.

Some may also find it hard to believe that I, a persona who has made most of his living for two decades providing firearms related training wouldn’t be in favor of such training being required. We’ve seen decades of mandatory training for Concealed Carry Permits in this country. Today, however, 25 States offer Permit-less Carry without any mandated training requirement. The Gun Control Proponents predicted devastating increases in firearms negligence with permit-less carry, but the truth is that there is no available evidence that the lack of mandated training increases risk. Meanwhile, there is clear reason to believe that gun owners are made more responsible and more capable through participating in voluntary education.

–Rob Pincus
-Executive Vice President, 2AO

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