Concealed Handgun: To Carry or Not? 2/3/13
CBS 7 News
February 3, 2013
Who should be allowed to carry a weapon? It’s a question that’s often debated, and there is plenty of disagreement. But in a world where headlines often include school shootings and random acts of violence, many people who would normally never consider getting a handgun, are entertaining the idea.
CBS 7’s Tatum Hubbard found herself in that category and decided to stretch her comfort level to see if a novice, who has mixed feelings about carrying a weapon, can find security with a handgun.
"Every citizen shall have the right to bear arms."
It’s a Constitutional right, but does that mean that any citizen should carry a weapon?
“Being a concealed handgun licensee is a big responsibility,” says Jennifer Bussell a certified handgun license instructor.
Bussell teaches a concealed handgun class at “Brush Mountain Outfitters” n Odessa. Her hour course is required for anyone who wants to receive a concealed carry permit. It covers everything from the laws to marksmanship with a heavy emphasis on ensuring that the use of deadly force is always the last resort.
“It is. It's a last resort. If all other means - communication, by trying to diffuse a situation, that would be the only way. That your life is in imminent danger,” says Bussell.
The classroom study often takes up to six hours. It is very through. But after a few reminders, Bussell hands Tatum a gun for the very first time.
Bussell teaches her how to hold the gun, how to align a shot and how to pull the trigger.
Then they step outside, onto the gun range, to see is someone like Tatum can do this.
The first step is loading the gun. Next they place ear protection and get ready to fire the first shot. It’s just centimeters from the center of the target. She fires several others and all are close to the mark.
"I just didn't think I could do it. And now? Clearly I can. In my mind I thought someone like me can't safely fire a gun," Tatum said.
Through this process it becomes clear, wherever you fall on the spectrum of gun control vs. gun rights, education and safety are things both sides can agree on.
Bussell says, “I want people to educate themselves about fire arms to protect their families. We don't want the bad guys to be the only ones to have fire arms."
At the end of the day, the decision about whether to have a handgun is both personal and private. But either way, we must think about safety. How will you react if the unthinkable becomes reality?
“If I were in a situation and I needed a firearm...what would I do? It's training yourself to make a plan for everything,” Bussell adds.
Guns or not.
According to the website FactCheck.org, the United States has the highest rate of gun violence in the world. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries. But, gun crime has been declining in the U.S., even as gun ownership increases.