By Doug Kouns, former FBI agent, CEO and founder of Veracity IIR.
I received a call the other day from my public relations representative. “Can you be available to speak on TV about the El Paso shootings?” I told her I was and looked at the news to study up just in case. It struck me that in less than a year of retirement from the FBI, I have been asked to weigh in on mass shootings three or four times. In the meantime, another mass shooting happened. First it was El Paso and then Dayton.
When talking to anyone about the state of our nation, I have always avoided political questions and stuck to investigative perspectives, survival strategies, risk management and prevention.
Today I will depart:
I’m all for responsible gun ownership. I own a couple of shotguns and rifles for hunting and a couple of handguns for personal protection. The difficult part is determining what “responsible” means. It is subjective and wide open for interpretation. Furthermore, one who is “responsible” now may not necessarily remain so indefinitely.
About 23 years ago, I successfully completed the FBI’s rigorous entrance process including physical and psychological assessments. I learned from the FBI how to safely handle and proficiently use a variety of firearms. We spent hours in the classroom and on the range. We shot while stationary, moving, day, and night. We practiced reload drills and malfunction drills. We shot weak handed, two handed, one handed, under stress, while moving, from cars, open, from cover, and more. We also practiced with the Firearms Training System (FATS) in “shoot / don’t shoot” scenarios. Make the wrong move and get shot; or shoot someone you shouldn’t have. It led to thought and discussion. It all lead to hours and hours of experience in responsibly handing firearms.
In the field, Agents are required to qualify quarterly, but training is provided monthly. An Agent who fails to qualify four times a year may have his weapon taken away until remediation. This is responsible gun ownership according to the Bureau.
The above brings me to the wonder why practically anyone in the United States without a criminal record (and sometimes those who do) may fill out a form and purchase about whatever gun they choose.
No tests are given, no proficiency qualifications, no psychological assessment. “Got a clean record? Here’s your gun; you’re clearly qualified to have one (note my sarcasm).”
If you’ve never committed a crime thus far, why would anyone think you ever will? I won’t even get into why many “background checks” are a joke.
Gun rights advocates will say “but the constitution…!”
The “Right to bear arms” in the constitution was written well over 200 years ago. Guns then were big, inaccurate and fired about 3-4 rounds per minute. Our founding fathers couldn’t have fathomed or condoned what has become of us.
I submit we are all entitled to as many muskets as we want, but modern weapons demand modern rules.
Responsible gun ownership. Let’s define it, mandate it, and adhere to it.