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by Gila Hayes
The name of Massad Ayoob is well known to armed citizens, whether they have taken his training courses, or read articles published by this prolific author. All of the officers of the Network have felt his influence, both by participation in his classes, as well as the less direct influence of receiving training from other instructors who count Ayoob among their mentors. While we like to think we might have attained some measure of understanding of the legal peril following a shooting, our time with Massad Ayoob made that understanding foundational to our early work as instructors, and formed our individual defense strategies and tactics, as well.
Though best known as an author and instructor, Ayoob’s 36-year career has also encompassed extensive work as an expert witness and legal consultant, called upon when citizens or law enforcement officers face legal challenges after self-defense. This work links his name with a number of high profile cases dealing with defensive use of deadly force, and has made him a walking encyclopedia of self-defense case law.
Ayoob enthusiastically supports the fledgling Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC. “The big thing that attracted me to the Network is this: Historically, when an armed citizen has to shoot and there is an accusation either criminal or civil, they tend to be very much alone. The cop has a department and the tax base of the community; the officer has a union or professional association. The armed citizen really does not have any of that,” he pointed out in a recent phone conversation.
“While the NRA helps with a few cases, they simply can’t get bogged down in local incidents,” he continued. “I’ve always encouraged folks to join their grass roots organizations, like Washington Arms Collectors in Washington State, but they aren’t budgeted for the expense of putting on a legal defense.”
Massad estimated that defending against charges that go to trial can cost a minimum of $50,000 and can easily rise into six figures. If they really drag it out, the cost can go into seven figures. “Just Google the OJ Simpson case,” he suggested.
“Marty (Hayes, Network president) is putting together a team of people who are very well connected in the defense bar community,” Ayoob noted. This kind of resource has not been available to this degree to the armed citizen, he added.
WHAT ARMED CITIZENS DO WRONG
As we moved on to the topic of this interview, I asked Massad to identify the most common mistakes armed citizens make that get them in trouble following a justified self-defense shooting. Without hesitation, he replied, “Failing to call police after the incident.”
“The citizen is in a situation that warrants drawing the gun,” he continued. “They do everything right, the suspectturns and runs, and it ends without bloodshed as most of these things do. The citizen figures that it is over, so they do not call the police, but the offender calls in and complains and the next thing you know the citizen has become the perpetrator and the original assailant becomes the victim/complainant, or at least is seen as such.”
“Who ever calls in first, by default, gets to be the victim/complainant,” he emphasized.
Massad referred to the prominent case State of NY v. Frank Magliato. In 1983, a junkie brandishing a club attacked Magliato. He cocked his Colt Detective Special revolver, which discharged unintentionally while he pointed it at his attacker, who was killed by the shot.
Magliato left the scene in his Ferrari, and went into hiding until two days later when he turned himself in. By this time, the media had played up accounts by a buddy of the junkie who reported Magliato’s flight. In a frenzy, the press dubbed Magliato the Ferrari killer, having a field day with the witness reports. “Once he fled, he fit the profile of a fugitive. He fell into the trap of ‘flight equals guilt’ , the presumption that the good man who did the right thing will stand his ground to explain his justifiable actions, and only the guilty will flee, to avoid punishment,” Massad pointed out.
In addition, his attorney, going against advice from Massad and another expert, Emanuel Kapelsohn, claimed that the discharge of the cocked gun was purely accidental, thus eliminating the ability to argue that Magliato acted in self-defense. “The judge said ‘there’s no such thing as a justifiable accident,’” Massad recalled.
Magliato was imprisoned in a NY State penitentiary, though an appellate court later reduced the charges to manslaughter. “Frank was not one of our graduates. He just didn’t know any better,” commented Massad. Had he remained on the scene and immediately contacted law enforcement, Magliato would likely have never been prosecuted. Massad believes it unlikely that then-District Attorney Morganthal would have pressed charges against a citizen who killed a vicious junkie, with a gun the authorities had given him a permit to carry. “At worst, any charges would have been ‘no billed’ by the grand jury,” he noted.
I asked Ayoob why armed citizens fail to call law enforcement immediately after an incident. Does it seem too unlikely that the criminal assailant would voluntarily contact the police? “People forget that their assailant probably has a lifetime of experience working the criminal justice system, and that they have figured out how to work it to their advantage. Criminals don’t live in blind fear of the cops. It is not unusual for one drug dealer to walk right up to a narcotics officer and drop the dime on a competitor. They are accomplished liars who twist the system,” he explained.
“You should also know that if you are in a holding cell with criminals and one overhears you discussing what happened to you, they may call a guard and make up a story against you in exchange for leniency in their own case. Snitches have no honor!” Ayoob added.
Ayoob theorized that most citizens have no conditioning to call police after an incident. “As kids, we all watched movies where the good guy – wearing his white hat – shot the bad guy in the black hat, then just walked off into the sunset. Unless trained to deal with this kind of situation, nothing in most people’s life experience tells them that they have missed a critical step here,” he noted. In his classes, he teaches citizens how to avoid making these and other mistakes. Part of his curriculum outlines a five-point checklist for handling police response after a shooting.
Massad advised giving a brief statement when officers arrive, to explain, “This person attacked me.” Describe the situation, stating from the beginning to clarify “I’m the victim, that person is the perpetrator.” Ayoob called this statement the Active Dynamic, defining as it does, what caused the citizen to draw their firearm. He added, “Be sure to admit to drawing your gun if you did so; to fail to mention it will be seen as deceptive.”
Massad Ayoob’s Five-Point Checklist
- Tell responding officers “I’m the victim; he is the perpetrator.”
- Tell responding officers, “I will sign a complaint.”
- Point out pertinent evidence.
- Point out any witnesses who saw what happened.
- If there is any hint that you are a suspect, say “Officer, you will have my full cooperation after I have counsel here.”
I couldn’t help but notice that calling a lawyer came well after speaking with the responding officer. Ayoob acknowledged, “The lawyer is a lower priority, though all five steps need to be there,” comparing each of the five steps to links in a chain. “If you ask for a lawyer first, you won’t get the chance to go through steps 1-4,” he pointed out.
“I like to start from ground zero, because I have been on both sides,” Massad explained. “I’ve been the responding officer and have been to calls where I didn’t know what the hell happened. It is absolutely critical that your first statement make it clear who is the victim! If ‘I want a lawyer,’ is the first thing out of your mouth, you will sound like the criminals officers deal with all the time.”
DON’T RUN OFF AT THE MOUTH
Still, in following the five-step checklist, the armed citizen must take care not to go to the other extreme. Common post-shooting error number two is “running your mouth, according to Massad.
He cited the State of Florida v. Zane Britt to illustrate this point. “Britt is your basic New Age yuppie who is smart enough to have a carry permit,” Massad began. Britt was a gentle kind of a guy who loved telling stories to his grandchildren.
After the shooting, Britt waived the Miranda warning and his right to counsel. The audiotape of his interview sounded like a second-grade teacher reading a story to a child. He gave nicknames to things, stating in his interview, for example, that he was out walking his “diggity-dog,” a term he used several times, setting a flippant tone. “The cops think this guy is whacked out,” Massad commented. “We won the case, but he had to go through a full-blown murder trial in order to win an acquittal.”
The trial might have been avoided had Britt taken 24 hours to recover his bearings before the interview, or had an attorney been at his side, who could have told him, “Think before you answer,” or if he had put together a written statement, pleading that he was traumatized to give a verbal statement immediately.
In an aside, Massad acknowledged the value of an attorney educated about defending innocent people. “Very, very few criminal defense attorneys have any significant experience in defending these kinds of cases. The affirmative defense principle is 180-degrees reversed from the usual damage control and credibility attacks lawyers use to defend guilty men,” he explained. This is another tremendous advantage offered by the Network: procuring referrals to lawyers who understand the unique task of defending the armed citizen who has shot in self defense, as well as connecting members with court-recognized experts who can assist the legal defense team.
Statements made to responding officers are extremely critical, Massad emphasized. “The questions come at random as they occur to the officer, but your answers create the illusion in the officer’s mind that this is the sequence in which things happened. It certainly comes across that way in the narrative of the written report,” he stressed. This false impression creates damage when it appears that your time line does not agree with other evidence.
The third most common error is closely related to the second. It is attempting to embellish the story of what happened to make your self look better. “This is human nature,’ Massad exclaimed. “Cops do it on the stand. Lawyers do it when they’re on the stand instead of the podium. It’s something all of us have to be alert to, and have to fight when we’re on the witness stand.”
For illustration, he cited State of California v. Herman Kreutzer, a case in which a citizen defended his daughter against her abusive husband. The son-in-law came to the family home claiming to have a gun inside a cast he wore on his arm. His intimidating behavior, terrorizing the family, prompted Kreutzer to pull out a gun and shoot the abuser, who cried out “I guess I made a mistake,” then died. Kreutzer dumped the body, threw his handgun in the ocean and quickly departed on an unscheduled journey.
Later, when authorities found the body and questioned him, he claimed, “I don’t know a thing about it.” Despite the justifiability of his defense of his family, he is serving a life sentence for murder, with no hope for parole.
“When humans have anything important on the table, human nature turns us all into attorneys, maximizing what makes us look good and minimizing what makes the other guy look bad,” Massad explained.
While we may not be able to imagine ourselves in a situation as extreme as Kreutzer’s, it is not that difficult to envision giving verbal commands, then, for example, uncomfortable with bad language used, deny making the statement. When witness statements debunk your denial, your entire case falls under suspicion.
When asked, Massad acknowledged that witness statements may also be incorrect, citing the immense exaggeration surrounding reports of John Dillinger’s shooting, or more recently tremendous discrepancies between public belief and the actual facts borne out on videotape of the Rodney King arrest. The same thing happens in microcosm with private citizens, and for most there is no videotape as proof. “A lie repeated often enough is seen as the truth,” Massad warned. “The defendant is not in a position to call a press conference and say, “here is what actually happened.”
“We need to be able to articulate why we did what we did, what we perceived, and we need to be able to explain why we saw what others did not,” continued Massad. “As the intended victim, we are the only one who was watching his hands. Thus, the witnesses may miss the small pistol in the assailant’s hands, while focused on the armed citizen’s larger gun.”
To armed citizens pondering these topics, the mental preparation to face the aftermath appears daunting, but Massad is convinced that the training carries people through.
“If you think about it, stating the active dynamic works in almost any situation where it is a he said/she said kind of deal,” he notes. He recalls the time when a motorist ran into the car driven by his daughter, then 16. The other driver jumped out, furious and blaming the teen-ager. When law enforcement arrived, the teen immediately told the officer that she was driving down the street when the other driver backed in front of her. Stating that she was unable to avoid the collision, she volunteered to sign a complaint against the other driver, and pointed out witnesses who backed up her account, as well as the skid marks where she had tried to stop.
If a new driver involved in a traffic accident can maintain the presence of mind to make a proper statement to authorities, Ayoob believes that all our training will carry through in more serious situations.
“The Network grew out of the training community and has tremendous roots there. It gives members access to discounted training, with possible seminars in the future just for Network members to allow them to tap into the distilled and concentrated knowledge of the best and brightest in our field,” he avowed.
Massad derives tremendous satisfaction from the motivated students who attend his training. Unlike the average cop, these people are in class on their vacation time, paying tuition out of their savings. “It is so important to them,” he commented. In addition, these same armed citizens pay attention to the constant need to update their knowledge. Owing to their motivation, their ability in an emergency to use concepts they learned is above par.
Massad F. Ayoob, Director
Lethal Force Institute
3 Bow Rd., Concord, NH
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
Welcome to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network! It is my distinct pleasure to write these words as the President of the newly formed Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC (the Network) and I look forward to meeting the needs of the members of the Network in the years to come.
This first of many messages will center on the formation of the Network, why it exists, and what we hope to accomplish. In later messages, we will explore in depth the inner workings of the court system and how the Network will help guide you through a criminal prosecution or civil defense, along with perhaps some not-so-serious aspects of the armed citizen’s world. In any event, let’s get to know each other a little more, okay?
On December 1st, 1987, I formally entered the world of the armed citizen when I took a job as the Range Master and Chief Instructor for a new indoor gun range in the suburbs of Seattle, WA. Up until then, my experience in packing a gun was limited to my police background, and I always approached the issue from that aspect. Three years later, I decided to go out on my own, forming the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and have been teaching armed citizens how to competently and confidently carry and use guns for self-defense ever since.
Over these 20 years, I have seen equipment change dramatically, shooting techniques change significantly, and the laws regarding concealed carry relax nationwide. But, one thing that hasn’t change one little bit is the treatment of the armed citizen by the courts. Honest, law-abiding citizens were being wrongfully prosecuted back then, and they are still being wrongfully prosecuted now. But, one thing that has changed is the cost of a legal defense. I can remember paying $65 per hour back then for legal services, now one can expect to spend $250 or more per hour for competent legal defense!
Please don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good, honest and ethical prosecutors in the nation, but unfortunately, their ranks have been tainted by the strong minority of prosecutors who see their position as one primarily for their own political gain, many times placing the burden of their aspirations on the backs of lawfully armed citizens who use firearms for self-defense. This treatment of the crime victim/armed defender must stop, and now the Network has been formed to aid in this quest.
HOW THE NETWORK WILL WORK
Currently, when an armed citizen shoots in self-defense, they face the wrath of the legal system alone, unless they have taken steps to have a defense team in place if needed. Most armed citizens haven’t taken these steps, and this is where the Network will help. First off, we will form an extensive attorney referral network. Using it, the Network member will be able to call for a meet-and-greet with a local pro-gun attorney who understands defending the innocent, armed citizen.
We will also make sure the Network member has the training to understand his or her right to use self-defense within the law, what to do immediately following a self-defense shooting, and how to work with his or her attorney. Finally, if a member is facing an unmeritorious criminal prosecution, then the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation will be available to assist these members, with the amount of financial assistance linked to the amount of money in the fund. Within a few months (as of Feb. 2008), we expect to officially form the Foundation, using the monies gathered from individual and corporate members.
But, the benefits of the Network will not consist solely of the financial assistance. In order to mount a good defense, a legal team must consist of attorneys, investigators and experts, all working hand in hand to see that no stone goes unturned. Understanding this, the Network will also be forming alliances with some of the best investigators and legal/self-defense experts in the country, so they can be there for you if needed. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, if you are a member of the Network.
MY LEGAL BACKGROUND
My police career was the open door to understanding the world of justifiable homicide, along with the crimes of Murder, Assault and Manslaughter. After forming the Firearms Academy of Seattle I found it necessary to start teaching my students the legal parameters of lawful use of force, and to do this, I educated myself by attending as many training schools as possible so I had a substantial background from which to draw. One of the most rewarding and long term associations I formed way back when, was with Massad Ayoob, Director of The Lethal Force Institute. For the past 18 years, I have worked with Mr. Ayoob in assisting him with teaching his LFI programs, including helping develop and implement the curriculum for the Lethal Force Institute’s Use of Deadly Force Instructor Course, which we teach approximately every two years. But, even though none of my 10,000 students have ever been prosecuted for a misapplication of deadly force, this wasn’t enough. About 15 years ago, I branched out into the world of the expert witness, and started helping innocent individuals who were being wrongfully prosecuted for crimes involving guns, which led me to where I was 4 years ago, when I made the decision to go to law school and formalize my legal background.
When I started law school, my goal was to become an attorney specializing in handling deadly force cases. But, sometime after the first year of school, I decided that perhaps there was a different calling (although I reserve the right to take the bar at some point). I started asking my students if they would be interested in an association that would come to their immediate aid and that would help them with their legal battle if needed. They overwhelmingly said “yes,” and the idea of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network was born.
We have lofty but realistic goals. Within the first year, we want to sign up at least 1,000 members, which will create a legal defense fund of approximately $20,000. When it reaches this size, the fund will become available to help, though on a limited basis. Within five years, we hope to have increased our membership to 10,000 members, which will swell the Legal Defense Fund to a quarter of a million dollars. At that time we have some serious clout when it comes to defending a wrongfully prosecuted member. I would love to see the day, when the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, LLC gets the same respect in the legal arena as the American Civil Liberties Union. Love them or hate them, when the ACLU takes on a case, it means “game on.”
Okay, that’s enough for the first message. We will talk again next month.
by J. Vincent Shuck
Conduct an Internet search on organizational-type words such as association, academy, society and you will probably acquire over 3 million hits. No wonder, as today there is an association for practically everybody and almost every thing. If this is true, then why yet one more? Why the Network? Maybe more importantly, should you join?
Most organizations offer a common purpose or mission that attracts members. Some are fraternal, some are secretive, some are political, some are philanthropic, and even some are confused about why they exist. They may be local, state, national or international in scope. But regardless of the purpose or scope, associations appeal to members because the members see the benefit of joining like-minded individuals.
Membership organization examples abound and I’m sure most of you are members of at least one organization - probably more than one. We like to join because it’s the right thing to do, because a friend is a member, or because we like the organization’s purpose. We usually believe we can achieve more together than we can separately and thus join the organization(s) to benefit from the common bond.
It’s hard to imagine a world without the National Rifle Association, without the American Cancer Society, without the Republican or Democratic National Committee, without the American Dental Association or without the Girl Scouts of America. But at one time, these organizations did not exist – someone had to create them and members subsequently had to join to make these organizations a reality.
You have a chance to join a unique organization – the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC. It is centered on the principles of encouraging and identifying self-defense training, providing legal and expert witness support when it is most needed, and offering financial assistance to defend a member’s use of lethal force. The Network addresses important matters within the armed citizen culture. The opportunity for you to become an individual member of the Network is available now. Take advantage of it – join today.
About the author: Network Vice-President J. Vincent Shuck brings 30 years of association management experience to the Network. In addition to his duties with the Network, Vincent will serve as the executive director of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Foundation.
A veteran management executive, Vincent has familiarity with membership associations, credentialing boards and charitable foundations, and brings a record of organizational development, strategic planning, program implementation and successful collaboration with association leaders.
As the chief administrative and executive officer of several organizations, Vincent has been responsible for management operations, business affairs and property, promoting the interests of associations, supervising investment activities, evaluating annual meeting properties, negotiating hotel contracts, supervising the production of various meetings, and maintaining liaison with other organizations.
A lifetime shooter, Vincent has over a decade of firearms training and certification at a number of facilities.
“The Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard”
Author: Ed Lovette, published by Paladin Press
Retail price: $20.00
Reviewed by Gila Hayes
If asked to name the one handgun most commonly associated with concealed carry, the snub nosed revolver would inevitably lead the list, whether speaking in a historic perspective or discussing current-day practices. It is surprising, then, how few books one finds about training with, carrying and accessorizing this little gun. Perhaps we should blame that dearth of reading matter on the thoroughly comprehensive job Ed Lovette did in the first and second editions of his book, “The Snubby Revolver,” published by Paladin Press first in 2002 with an updated edition released in 2007.
“Some things endure because they do what they do better than anything that can be designed to replace them. And so it is with the short-barreled revolver. This little gun is so imminently suited to do what it does that its function has often doubled as its name, as in pocket pistol, hideout, back up, off-duty. These names also describe the tactical niche that this type of revolver fills,” reads Lovette’s introductory comment.
Lovette’s credentials to author this work are impeccable: His life experience includes work with the Central Intelligence Agency in paramilitary operations, 10 years in law enforcement in which time he advanced to a position as instructor at the New Mexico state law enforcement academy, and service in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Our readers will recognize Lovette’s name due to the many interesting columns he has published in Combat Handguns magazine.
Lovette explains that his book, “The Snubby Revolver,” is written with the intent of educating revolver owners, because he is concerned that good revolver techniques are not being passed on to the current generation of snubby owners. His book starts with the goal that his readers be “better equipped to maximize the tactical strengths of your snubby revolver, if that is your weapon of choice.”
Much of Lovette’s tactical advice is applicable to any type of defense pistol. In a book punctuated with vignettes about real defense incidents, Lovette proposes that the first rule of gun fighting is “Have a gun.” The greatest asset of the snub-nosed revolver is “that it allows us to be armed when we otherwise might not be,” he adds. Carried concealed, “it affords you the element of surprise,” which he concludes is always part of a winning plan.
Under the extreme close quarters (EQC) of most of the attacks Lovette analyses to illustrate his points, the usual tactics of creating distance, buying time or using verbal commands are all but moot. Fortunately, the snubby is fast to draw and this nimbleness is a big benefit if assailed in confined quarters, inside a car for example, as the real-life stories illustrate. Likewise, the revolver’s reliability comes into its own in extremely close quarters, since the compressed time frames will simply not forgive a malfunction, no matter how quickly you perform a “tap, rack” drill, Lovette points out.
Beyond gun-related defenses, Lovette tucks in three or four excellent chapters on personal security in the latter half of the book. For example, Lovette’s background as an intelligence operative taught him how not to attract attention to himself, but remain aware of everyone else around him. “My whole lifestyle was low profile. My work required me to be constantly aware of what was going on around me,” he writes. I would share the chapters outlining his techniques and ideas with family members, even those who do not endorse your decision to carry a gun!
OUTFITTING THE SNUBBY
Increasing the snubby revolver’s accessibility, shootability and carryability leads Lovette into discussions of holsters, pistol sights, after-market grips and more.
Initially, the author suggests ways to choose the best gun for the job. The revolver’s reliability—even when fired from unusual positions—is a big “plus” in Lovette’s gun selection criteria. He favors all-steel framed models because, “Below this weight level, recoil becomes unpleasant and makes practice a grim event.” Still, lightweight alloy framed revolvers have their place, and he recommends them as back up and pocket guns.
The book discusses a variety of carry methods, including the author’s preference for carrying IWB cross draw. He ponders the preference of female agents he instructed for appendix carry and cites cases to show why he is no fan of carrying a gun in a shoulder bag. Like me, Lovette believes the gun and spare ammunition should be carried on body. For equipment, he prefers Safariland speedloaders and he discusses how to use and carry them. Still, Lovette estimates that only about 10% of documented gunfights involving revolvers also involved a reload.
The irrepressible trainer in Ed Lovette just has to be teaching, and his commitment to training is evident in chapters outlining other instructor’s ideas about shooting the snub-nosed revolver, as well as an interesting section outlining the ideal ECQ curriculum. He devotes several pages to good photographic illustrations of reloading technique, as well as discussing issues for left-handed shooters and even one-handed reloads.
Moving on to accessories like grips, the author likes rubbery grips for shootability, and if grips are wooden, insists on checkering, unless the surface interferes with concealed carry. Be sure the grip panels work with a speed loader, he cautions.
For pistol sights, Lovette believes even an ECQ gun like the snub-nosed revolver needs sights. He writes: “The front sights on today’s snubbies are bigger and easier to see than those on earlier models, but there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially when you compare them to the sights available on the popular small-frame semi-autos. Some will suggest that given the roles of the short-barreled revolver, it doesn’t really need sights at all. I disagree.” Lovette cites had favorable results with XS Big Dot tritium sights and Crimson Trace Lasergrips, and expresses a vigorous interest in point shooting training and techniques, as well.
Despite the casual style in which the author writes, reading and rereading “The Snubby Revolver” leaves no doubt that Lovette has mastered this topic, not only from an academic perspective, but also with real-life, day-to-day experience. If you carry a snub-nosed revolver, set aside an afternoon to study this book. Many bits of valuable of knowledge are scattered throughout its pages.
Gunbarrel Tech Center
7077 Winchester Circle
Boulder, Colorado 80301
How often does a writer get the chance to create a publication focused on issues and topics near and dear to her heart? The introduction of the official journal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC is just such an opportunity for me.
Thus it is that I face a blank Word document with something of the same sense of wonder that I experienced 30 years ago fitting a blank sheet of white paper into an IBM Selectric on which I would compose the first news story I turned in as a new reporter. The steps of interviewing, writing, editing are by now rather mundane, but the
responsibility to clearly communicate ideas, report pertinent events, and with any luck, improve people’s lives is as fresh as it was to a 20-year old who once sat in front of an electric typewriter at a weekly newspaper.
A lot of experiences have accrued since that moment: I bought and operated a newspaper, sold that newspaper, worked in the print trades as a graphic designer, took up the martial arts and defensive shooting for self-defense, and later began teaching defensive firearms skills, including 10 years as a police firearms instructor. Teaching firearms to the private sector has been my bread and butter for many years now, working along side my husband Marty Hayes at The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. My first writing job in the gun trade was for the Second Amendment Foundation’s Women & Guns magazine, with additional work to follow in the NRA’s publications, and freelance assignments for a variety of gun publications.
Every day of life is an education! As I guide the growth of our Network publication (in addition to managing day-to-day Network operations), I anticipate the new lessons that must surely await . My list of proposed features, columns and articles for our journal is long and varied. Reality emphasizes, however, that at this moment, I am the sole writer, a situation I hope to remedy as I talk with other gun writers at the big yearly industry convention, the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show next week.
I am hoping for articles about guns, holsters, concealment methods, concealed carry clothing and all the stuff that makes it fun to read the gun magazines. Addressing our more serious mission, I want to arrange columns from members of the legal profession dealing with topics like those Massad Ayoob outlines in the lead story of this edition of the eJournal, and other legal issues. Expect book and video reviews, like the one that starts on page 3 of this edition. Education is one of the Network’s primary missions, and there is quite a lot of good reading and viewing material available with which to fill in the times between classes.
I envision interviews with shooting and tactical instructors, columns by retired law enforcement professionals, articles specific to the concerns of Network members who travel frequently, women, families with children, travelers, handicapped people who carry guns for their own defense, families with children and an “ask the experts” section.
As our Network’s journal, this monthly electronic publication can become your voice, too. Few things would please me more than filling several pages of our eJournal with letters from Network members. If something in an article raises a question in your mind, I hope you will take a minute to write us an E-mail stating that question. As happens so often in training classes, one person’s question usually expresses a concern that has occurred to several, but someone had to come out and ask it! Show some courage—let that person be you!
Publishing electronically poses some interesting prospects, too. As I put together the front page, and continued the somewhat lengthy Ayoob interview onto subsequent pages, I realized what a privilege it is to be unhindered by the costs of printing, which would surely require substantial cuts in article length. Perhaps I was harking back to my beginnings as a newspaper reporter, when I recognized the fascination of composing a publication in full color. Electronically, it’s so simple to drop in a color photo, but I can remember when using a photograph in a news story entailed developing and printing black and white film, then making a screened half tone PMT (photo mechanical transfer) print. Next we smeared bees wax on the back of the image and stuck it to the layout page. We were just one step beyond hot lead type. I even owned a working Mergenthaler Linotype machine of which I was inordinately proud. Oh, my, how things have changed!
What has not changed is the need humans have to share knowledge among themselves. In the subculture of the armed citizen, our need to pull together is particularly critical. It is my goal that our eJournal unify and strengthen the community of armed citizens.
—Editor Gila Hayes