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by Gila Hayes
The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC reached a milestone on Friday, May 31st, when the first of a three-part series of educational DVDs was mailed to Network members. The educational presentations fulfill one element in our mission to “aid, educate and support lawfully armed citizens who are forced to defend against criminal attack.” With this information, our members have the knowledge and can think through how they will deal with different types of crime they may face. The first video in the series is entitled “Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense,” and is a 45-minute presentation by Network President Marty Hayes.
We’re already getting positive comments about the DVD! After watching the first DVD, a Network member wrote that she was relieved to have a resource through which she could study and repeat the lessons until she felt that she knew the information “like the back of my hand.” After viewing the video as part of a basic gun safety class, a student expressed her appreciation for the organized break down of the varied facets comprising the use of force parameters, noting that this aspect of being a gun owner had always worried her and now she felt she understood it much better.
We will be excited in the weeks to come, to hear the feedback of Network members after they have had the chance to view the DVD and think about the presentation. In addition to addressing questions and comments to Network President Marty Hayes at mhayes@armedcitizensnetwor k.org, we would also welcome a healthy discussion of the DVD’s lessons on the Network’s new member’s only internet forum (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/forum).
Hot on the heels of the “Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense” DVD, comes the second in the series, which is in the final stages of editing at the time of this writing. Entitled “Handling the Immediate Aftermath of a Self-Defense Shooting,” this presentation features Massad Ayoob in an interview format directed by Marty Hayes. Those who know Ayoob through his classes and writings will appreciate this 45-minute program as Ayoob at his best, discussing the concepts on which he has built his life’s work as an instructor and court-recognized expert witness.
Finally, the third in the educational DVD series is currently under development. On it, we plan a program in which a criminal defense attorney and a civil plaintiff’s attorney share their knowledge of the court system from both the criminal defense and civil litigation view points.
As each of these DVDs is completed, we will rush it to our members by first class mail. After watching one of the DVDs, we encourage the member to use a permanent marker to note the date viewed and initial that notation on the DVD’s label on the lines provided for that purpose.
Simply mastering the knowledge, while important, is not the entire goal. Be sure to note the dates on which it is viewed, and store the DVD in a safe place as proof of your knowledge and mindset in case you must explain your selfdefense actions.
by Gila Hayes
Have you heard Tom Gresham on radio or watched him on TV? A lot of our Network members will already feel they know Tom, because he shares so much of himself in his radio, TV and Internet productions. For those who do not, sit down and get ready to meet a truly inspirational player in the gun business!
Briefly, for those who have not yet met him, Tom is the son of the famous author and TV personality Grits Gresham. Though Grits dominated the shooting and hunting media during his lifetime, Tom is anything but overshadowed by his late father. At one point in this interview, he exclaimed, “After all, I am Grits’ son!” and I got a glimpse into the legacy he carries on, expanding the Gresham family tradition of demonstrating responsible gun ownership for the public in new and innovative ways.
At the tender age of 13, Tom was taking photographs to illustrate his father’s articles; by 18 he was author of his own syndicated newspaper column, and he went on to write for and edit several prominent hunting magazines. In 1995, Tom launched GunTalk Radio (www.guntalk.com), the medium for which he was most famous until in 2005 he teamed with Intermedia to launch Personal Defense TV, seen most recently on the Outdoor Channel, and moving next season to the Sportsman Channel (www.thesportsmanchannel.com/). Also coming up next season, are a series of mini-programs titled “Shooting Savvy” on ESPN2, featuring Tom explaining a wide range of “how-to” gun topics. While outlining his new ventures, Tom exclaimed, “Isn’t it cool that there is still new stuff to do? How exciting is that?”
A talk with Tom is always inspiring, and in the next few pages, we hope to share with our readers a bit of his enthusiasm, his vision, and his goals. His newest focus is GunTalk TV (http://www.GunTalk.tv), the online video site he has created in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law.
This cutting-edge project defies definition. “This is not like anything we already know!” Tom exclaims. “Just as TV is not radio with pictures, this is not online TV, or online anything that already exists! GunTalk TV is an online video streaming site. It is a firearms training/information center.”
“We helped with the roll out of Springfield’s new XDM pistol. We shot video with Rob Leatham, and on the day Springfield announced the pistol, we had ten videos on line that people could go and watch. That’s information!”
At present about three hundred short videos are available at GunTalk TV. Unlike print media or television, the streaming video site has an extraordinary longevity, Tom points out. “You put it out there and it is on the Internet forever. You don’t have to pay to keep printing it like a magazine, you only pay for the bandwidth to stream it.”
Even with help from a crew he describes as “very smart, clever, motivated and plugged in,” the new project has not been without its challenges. “We are shooting all original video for GunTalk TV, formatted with an eye for the Internet, and the constraints of streaming. For example, you don’t pan for this medium, because the video encoder will have trouble with that. That’s one lesson we learned through scar tissue and money,” he explained.
But Tom has always been at the forefront of the gun media. “No one thought about doing talk radio (for guns) 13 years ago,” he points out. And even today, though there are several hunting shows, GunTalk Radio stands alone. “There still is not really anyone doing just gun talk radio, though there are hunting shows.” He tweaks the industry nose, adding, “From the beginning I said this isn’t about hunting. I tell the industry: you are all talking to each other and you never talk to people. I get calls from Susie Homemaker who wants to know about getting a handgun for self defense.”
If anyone takes the American gun owner’s pulse, it is Tom, who for the past 13 years has spent his Sunday afternoons hosting the nationally distributed GunTalk Radio (www.guntalk.com/). It all started in 1995 at a cocktail party when Tom remarked to Alan Gottleib of the Second Amendment Foundation that they should team up to do something together. Alan, who owns a string of radio stations, replied, “How about radio?” He went on to tell Tom how it works: “You buy time on a radio network, then you sell advertising to pay for the program.”
Though far from confident, the next day Tom queried Ken Jorgensen, then with Smith & Wesson, about industry support for a gun radio show. Jorgensen emphatically assured him of Smith & Wesson’s support, despite protests from Tom that the radio show didn’t yet exist. “By noon that day, I had the show sold out,” he laughs. When he told Alan, they immediately extended the format to two hours. Today the program is a three-hour tour de force featuring interviews with guests, free flowing conversations on all kinds of gun-related topics, and lots and lots of call in participation from listeners all across the nation. Through it all, Tom makes the difficult look easy. Little is scripted in advance, and whether working in TV, radio or the Internet he replicates the feel of a group of buddies sitting around and chatting.
When I asked Tom how he pulls it off with such aplomb, he modestly said, “I grew up in this. As a kid, the first serious reading I did was the Gun Digest.” Then he acquired a passion for reloading manuals, which he also read cover to cover. Between the two, he developed “a pretty good background on ballistics and stuff,” in his words. This he couples with the ability to say, “I don’t know,” if stumped by a caller, another technique he uses to encourage caller participation because “there is someone out there who knows,” he explains.
And the callers seem to inspire Tom more than anything else. His voice cracks with emotion as I ask about his most memorable caller. “I’ll never forget one caller, though I only know her first name: Brie. She called in about a gun or something, and just as we were ending the call, she said ‘If I’d not had a gun, I wouldn’t be alive nor would my daughter.’”
Tom kept the woman on the line during the break, learning that her husband abused her severely, causing broken bones and injuries requiring hospitalization. After she went to report yet another attack, a police officer walked out of the police station with her to talk privately. He advised her to get a gun, which she did, and then she fled and escaped with her daughter across the country.
The husband found them, and began beating down the door, screaming that he would kill her. As he kicked in the door, she screamed, “I have a gun and I will use it,” then opened fire, though she did not hit him. “ She said, ‘He went across the front yard on all fours. He never bothered us again.’ This is so moving, it still chokes me up when I think about it,” Tom concludes.
Courage and Conviction
Tom is silent for a long minute, and then adds, “That’s the lady no one in our industry is talking about.”
But the Smith & Wesson LadySmith advertising campaign created such a nasty backlash, I counter, remembering the rabid charges of “making a profit off women’s fears” made in the mainstream media against Smith & Wesson when they promoted a line of guns especially for women.
“You simply ignore backlash! You have to have conviction and purpose,” Tom responds, sounding like an evangelist. “If you are doing the right thing, don’t even acknowledge the nay sayers. Just keep doing the right thing.”
“The goal is not to convince the person you are debating. The goal is to use the debater as a foil to convince everyone who is listening,” he continues. We should use anti-gun backlash as a megaphone to amplify our message. “It’s all about building bigger and more megaphones,” he stresses.
Tom relates how a major TV network approached him to do a piece on Americans and their guns. He smelled a hatchet job when they told him they preferred to focus on handguns, thinking the topic edgier. When the TV crew showed up, Tom got them all out on the range shooting handguns and knocking down steel targets. They had a great time! “Suddenly, they are not doing a story about ‘those gun people,’” Tom explains. “They are doing a story about themselves,” he chuckles.
Long troubled by the bias in news reporting of gun issues, Tom founded his GunTalk Radio Truth Squad. “I would get monstrously frustrated and rant and rage on about these media stories—reports that were not just wrong, not just in error, but purposely mean-spirited, bigoted in a way that if they had said those things and used those characterizations about any ethnic or religious group, it would be seen as bigoted.”
Though he would often respond with a well-written letter to the editor, he knew his efforts were limited. “I found people who said if you’ll help us write the letters, we’ll send them. Now I have 10,000 volunteers and they are getting letters published. I know because they send them to me every day!” he enthuses.
The best pro-gun political act, Tom believes is “taking someone shooting: someone from work, a family member, someone at church, anyone. It can change their view forever.” The result is a “vaccination,” he explains. “What you experience on your own trumps what someone tells you. If someone tells you guns are evil, and you had a good time shooting, they can never convince you that guns are evil,” Tom emphasizes.
The Mission Statement
About a year and a half ago, Tom worked out a mission statement to guide the increasingly diverse nature of his efforts.
“The goal is to permanently change the way guns and gun owners are viewed in America,” he cited.
“That’s a pretty big order, isn’t it?” I asked him. “I figure if you have one that big you don’t have to refigure it,” he retorted. “I’m firmly convinced the battle is for the middle ground,” Tom explains. He believes that most people have no firmly held conviction on the gun rights argument and estimates that 80% of the public doesn’t really care. “So, you don’t have to move 80%,” he states. “You just have to move 1%. I think if you can get one or two ticks of the needle, you win. If you buy into that, it makes the goal achievable. It’s not so daunting,” he continues. “All I have to do is make people think that shooting as an activity is OK.”
Tom’s mood turns thoughtful. “None of this could have happened without being the son of Grits, without him as a model. I watched him write books and do American Sportsman on TV, and thought ‘anything’s possible!’ Now, that’s my life lesson for my kids: If anybody asks if you can do something, always say, “yes,” and then go figure out how to do it!” All photos courtesy of Tom Gresham.
Tom calls GunTalk Radio a mixture of business and missionary work. He imagines a couple driving down the road on a Sunday afternoon, scanning the radio for something to enjoy. “They stumble across GunTalk Radio and they listen for about five minutes and come away saying ‘those guys actually sound pretty reasonable. In fact, they sound like they are having fun.’ If we do this, we win,” Tom adds.
Here comes Heller! It is my understanding that the United States Supreme Court will release its decision this month (June, ‘08) and I, among millions, anxiously await that decision. I am very confident that the USSC will uphold the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, as all logic and intelligent analysis of the issues dictate that ruling. What will be more of a crapshoot, is whether or not the court will decide that the ban on handguns by Washington D.C. is a reasonable restriction. I cannot predict this with any certainty, but am hopeful, based on what I heard when I listened to the oral arguments, that the majority of the court will draw a line that a complete ban is unreasonable.
It would also be nice if the Supreme Court gave some direction as to what they would consider as reasonable restrictions. I expect they surely will allow some type of restriction of the right to keep and bear arms, as they do for the right to free speech. For example, having convicted felons restricted from possessing firearms is a reasonable restriction, although I would argue that that restriction should not apply to all felons. So, we wait and see, and by this time next month, we will know. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the coming month.
John Farnam Revisited
When I was in Indiana filming the Network’s second DVD, I had occasion to sit in on John Farnam’s Friday night lecture, as he was also teaching a class at the Sand Burr Gun Ranch. It had been over a decade since I heard him speak to a class formally, and I was pleased as to what I heard (not that I expected anything different).
Watching John teach is a pleasure for a professional instructor such as myself, as he is so knowledgeable, personable and caring. One gets the impression that he REALLY cares about each individual student, and in my opinion, that is pretty important. One thing that struck me in his lecture, was his recommendation that a person stop shooting after 3-4 rounds and assess what effect his round are having, as opposed to filling the subject with bullets until he is down on the ground. (My words, not his.) His rationale for this recommendation is that he sees many cases where a person spins around while taking hits, and some of the bullets end up entering the back, which causes a real problem for prosecutors.
I can’t argue with that logic, as it seems that the cases where I have seen problems for police seem to stem from shots in the back, or other shots where the person is not facing the attacker. For example, what if you shot someone who was running at you with a knife, and after firing half a dozen shots in a second and a half (this is entirely plausible), he starts to stumble and fall. Since your decision to hold fire has not been made yet, you end up putting a bullet in the top of his head, or in the base of the neck. Then, after autopsy, the medical examiner states it was the spine shot that killed your attacker. While we can make a very solid case that all the shots were necessary, if you had not fired that last shot or two as he was falling, perhaps you would not have been arrested for murder, and not have had to face the jury.
The Making of the First DVD
Oh, My God! Can you say a fish out of water? A spokesperson I am not, nor am I a pretty talking head, that’s obvious! In the past, when I have wanted to make a DVD for class presentation, I have simply recorded a live classroom presentation, making sure I covered the material I wanted to include.
But it seemed to us that this type of presentation would not be suitable for the Network’s Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense DVD lecture, so I wrote out a complete script ahead of time, practiced it a few times, and using our overhead projector like a tele-prompter, got it done. It was NOT a fun afternoon. During the filming it kept raining off and on, so we had to quit a few times and let the rain pass, because we filmed in our classroom, which is a metal building that acts like a drum.
As far as the content of the DVD, I tried to keep it as close to black letter law as I could, but you should understand that each and every state has different laws, and it is incumbent upon each and every one of you to research your own states statutory laws and case law, so you have a clear understanding of the legal arena in which you are located. Also, please understand that I am solely responsible for the content of the first DVD, so any comments should be directed specifically at me at the aforementioned E-mail address. I don’t do things well by committee, and so instead running the material past a bunch of other people and getting their input, I simply wrote out what I felt our members needed to know in an introductory DVD of this nature, and tried my best to communicate the material. I hope you like it, and that it suits our purpose. By the way, if you haven’t received the first DVD yet, it should be in your mailbox any day (along with your membership card), as they have already been sent out by first class mail.
Member Only Forum Coming Soon
One new attractions of the Network is a members-only Internet discussion forum, where we can communicate amongst ourselves regarding common interests. We will not limit the discussions to firearms or self-defense subjects, but we WILL be polite at all times, so feel free to come on and say hi. I look forward to discussing issues of note with our colleagues, in a collegial way! And, on that note, I will wrap up my monthly message, with the thought that I look forward to July, when we can dissect what the Supremes did to the 2nd amendment!
Network Members: Log In to the New Forum!
The Network is delighted to announce that our members now have their very own, private Internet chat board at http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/forum/ “While I’m sure many of our Network members frequent a variety of Internet forums, I’m equally certain that like me, most have from time to time declined to chime in on some discussions, purely because they didn’t want their thoughts on certain topics put out in a public forum for use by everyone from simple snoopers to opportunistic criminals,” comments Network operations manager Gila Hayes, who spearheaded creation of the new forum, with technical work provided by another Network member.
With the hope that our members will participate more freely in a closed, private members-only forum for the discussion of legal topics, self defense concerns, and similar topics, we set up an Internet site accessible only to our members. This web site does not accept registration; the only way members can access the forum is to log in with the user names and passwords shown on their membership cards. Of course, once logged in, members can change their password to something more private.
User names, however, will remain a concatenation of first and last name fields from the Network’s membership database. “I believe we can avoid much of the spiteful scrapping and mean-spirited battles common to Internet forums by attaching our real names to every post,” theorizes Hayes. She will be assisted by Network Vice President Vincent Shuck in monitoring postings, but expects little moderating will prove necessary.
The Network forum is just one of several membership benefits announced in June. “We’ve worked hard since launching the Network in January to put together a good variety of learning opportunities for Network members,” Hayes points out. “Now it is time for our members to jump in and start sharing their knowledge and experiences, so we can all learn from one another.”
Introduction: With this issue of the Network eJournal, we are pleased to introduce a multi-part series about the Bible, believers and the issue of self defense, with a look at the concerns that may cause individual Christians, as well as congregations, to seek out defense strategies and provisions.
by Dr. Richard Seim
One after another we hear reports of shootings at this school or at this university or at this shopping mall or at this church. Do you remember when churches were considered places of “sanctuary?” They were kept unlocked so you could go in at any time and pray, meditate or just find a quiet place. Even today when talking to someone about a church burglary they often respond in surprise, “they would do that to a church?”
In an article dated March 5, 2008, WorldNetDaily listed the following church shootings:
• (December 9, 2007): After killing two people at a Christian training center in Arvada, Colo., 24-year-old Matthew Murray went to Colorado Springs intending more murder and mayhem. Murray shot and killed two girls in the New Life Church’s parking lot, then headed inside the building where thousands of worshippers were concluding a service.
• Aug. 12, 2007: A lone gunman, Eiken Elam Saimon, opened fire in a Missouri Micronesian church, killing a pastor and two other churchgoers.
• May 20, 2007: A standoff between police and a suspect in the shootings of three people in a Moscow, Idaho, Presbyterian church ended with three dead, including one police officer.
• Although not at a church building, the Oct. 2, 2006, attack in Lancaster County, Pa., by a gunman who killed five girls and then himself at an Amish school targeted a religious site.
• May 21, 2006: Louisiana. Four were killed by a man at Jesus Christ Church.
• Feb. 26, 2006: Michigan. Two people were killed at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church by a man who reportedly went to the church looking for his girlfriend.
• April 9, 2005: A 27-year-old airman died after being shot at a church in College Park, Ga., where he had once worked as a security guard.
• March 12, 2005: A man walked into the services of the Living Church of God in Milwaukee and open fired immediately, killing seven people.
• Oct. 5, 2003: A woman opened fire in Turner Monumental AME church in Kirkwood, east of Atlanta, killing the pastor and two others.
• Sept. 16, 1999: Seven young people were killed when a man opened fire during a prayer service for teens at the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
So what’s a church to do? Many churches today are concerned with their purpose and message being culturally relevant. What about the security of the people who attend? As more and more churches are attacked, will churches become more “culturally relevant” in their approach to security?
One student who attended a handgun class I taught told me the reason she and her husband were there. Early on a Saturday morning (around 2 a.m.) someone began trying to kick their apartment door down to apparently gain entry. She and her husband called 911 and then went to the door and began yelling back. Her husband turned to her and said, “If this guy gets in, what are we going to defend ourselves with, a spoon?” So, my question to a church is this: “If one of those crazies comes to your church, what are you going to defend yourself with, an offering plate?”
For the Church and the church-goer, it becomes foundational to see what the Bible says on the subject.
Central to understanding what approach a church should take is the basic nature of man as revealed in Scripture. There are those in Christendom who espouse the basic goodness of all mankind. This view sees every person as basically good and, given the chance, people will choose what is right and good. But the Scripture teaches that man, although created good, made some bad choices and hence, continues to make bad choices and those bad choices come from his very core, “… there is none righteous, not even one,” and “for all have sinned…” (Romans 3:10b, 23a NASB).
For instance, I did all within my power to teach my children to always tell the truth. I never taught or encouraged them to lie. I was even careful to reward them for doing what was right. And yet, from time to time they lied to me without being taught to lie. I am sure you can think of more examples like that, just like I can.
What a church (or an individual Bible-believer) decides to do about security when dealing with a crazed person has much to do with their concept of how mankind is wired. If one goes into this with the idea that man can be talked out of the evil intent of his heart toward those he is getting ready to kill, then the decision is probably to do nothing and hope for the best.
On the other hand if you believe that someone intent on doing evil to you is probably going to do it no matter what you say or do, then your decision is to put some carefully considered plan for security in place. Because of the culture in which we live, to be culturally relevant in this instance, is to have some kind of security in place.
The shooter at the Colorado Springs church was not going to be talked out of his intentions. He killed two people the night before. Church leadership showed wonderful foresight and increased their security. In this case, the increased security was volunteers. For most churches security will most likely depend on volunteers.
In order to gain a balanced view of what the Bible says, we will look at both the Old and New Testaments. Some might suggest that the Old Testament is no longer relevant. Jesus Christ made it clear that it is, indeed, relevant, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18 NASB). So next, we will explore what the Bible teaches on this issue.
If you enjoyed this column, be sure to check back next month for Dr. Seim’s next installment.
About the author:
Dr. Richard Seim is senior pastor at the Renton, WA Trinity Baptist Church. In addition to his calling as a Christian pastor, the author teaches NRA gun safety classes, and has graduated from multiple classes taught by the Lethal Force Institute and the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc.
Network Bookstore Open
On the Friday before Memorial Day, the Network’s Internet book and DVD store went live at www.shopar medcitizensnetwork.org. The online store is yet another facet of our Network’s goal of education to increase gun owner understanding of the “hows, whys and whens” of self defense.
To this end, the store inventory features books and videos by luminaries like Massad Ayoob, Louis Awerbuck, John Farnam and Chuck Taylor, just to name a few. For a look at the current inventory, please visit the store at http: //www.shoparmedcitizensnetwork.org/
The initial inventory was selected to get the store up and running; we plan to add new titles each month, so we’d appreciate it if you would add the store to your list of favorite web sites and check back periodically to check out the new titles.
Network members are entitled to a 20% discount on any online store purchase, and can access the price reduction by entering the coupon code listed at the bottom of their membership card.
by Marty Hayes
As I write this, it is 4:00 a.m. and I am sitting at the South Bend, Indiana regional airport, on my way home from visiting an alternate reality. I feel like Captain Kirk, trying to makes sense out of the fact that I know I am in the United States of America, but wondering if I had just been transported back to a time when my parents were young, and I viewed the world out the side window of a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere.
This alternative reality actually exists (I’ll double check when I get home just to make sure), in the form of the Sand Burr Gun Ranch, located just outside of Rochester, Indiana. I was there in order to track down Massad Ayoob to film our second instructional DVD addressing how to handle the immediate aftermath of a self-defense shooting. When I needed to catch up with him, he was teaching a class at the Sand Burr Gun Ranch.
The Sand Burr Gun Ranch is owned and operated by the Reichard family, consisting of patriarch Dennis “D.O.” Reichard, a 34-year veteran of the Rochester, Indiana Police Department, who is currently assigned as the department’s homicide detective. Joining him in the operation of the range and gun store is his wife and business partner, Cindy, along with his charming daughter Ashley. For years I have heard of this .44 magnum shooting cop from Indiana who is a maestro with a .44 and one of Massad Ayoob’s staff instructors for the Lethal Force Institute, so I was pleased to spend three days with the Reichard family while I tracked down Massad to film the DVD.
The Sand Burr Gun Ranch is located on 90 acres of rural Indiana woods, with the ranges consisting of three large combination rifle and handgun ranges, along with several specialty steel and bowling pin handgun ranges carved out of the white pine timber that covers the remaining acreage. A converted garage serves as a full service gun shop and gunsmithing facility and it is crammed to the rafters with both old and new items. Because D.O. is a revolver man, the new-gun inventory consists primarily of Smith and Wesson revolvers although there are a few new semi-autos, in stock. D.O.’s influence is so strong, that his entire family and most of the staff of volunteer instructors required for a smooth and safe a 20-student LFI-1 class carried revolvers.
If you drive North on Old U.S. Highway 31 from Rochester, and look for the sign to the Sand Burr Gun Ranch, you will drive right by the private driveway which serves as the entrance to the range, because there is no sign on the road. I can respect that, since my own shooting business has no sign either. People get there because someone told them where to turn. That makes sense, as D.O. has put many of the local bad guys away, and while there is a pretty good likelihood the locals know where he lives, why advertise the exact location?
By now, you might be wondering why the talk of an alternate reality? It is because, as one coming from the land of lattes and political correctness, it was refreshing to find a place where men have not been emasculated, women could be both down to earth and feminine, and everyone shot big bore revolvers. It’s like the clock stopped somewhere in the early 80’s, and time passed by the Sand Burr Gun Ranch. That is not a bad thing.
For years, D.O. supplemented his meager police salary by reloading ammunition for the local shooters, and working on their revolvers. The remnants of this history are illustrated in the stock of his gunshop, where new Crimson Trace Laser Grips which retail for a couple hundred dollars, share shelf space with old stock, like the Herrett’s wood grips for a Colt Mark III revolver, circa 1970, with an original price tag of $8.00 still affixed. Pretty cool, to an old revolver man like myself. But, don’t let my trip down nostalgia lane taint your thinking: D.O. is not stuck in the 80’s. In fact, one of the neatest things I saw was a Smith and Wesson, M+P .38 revolver with a Big Dot front sight. Recently, the folks at Sand Burr Gun Ranch decided to expand their part-time gunsmithing and specialty gun shop into a full-time endeavor, turning the garage into Ashley’s daytime job, with D.O. still doing the gunsmithing in the evenings and on the weekends.
The facility also hosts different instructors, and while I was there, both Massad Ayoob and John Farnam were teaching classes. In addition, the Reichards occasionally teach private classes themselves.
Why the name Sand Burr Gun Ranch? Because, as D.O. relates, when he bought the place, all he could do with it was grow pine trees and sand burrs, a small grassy annoyance that acts like a cocklebur, only smaller. For years, he called his gunsmithing business Reichard’s Firearms, but went to the more colorful name in 2004 when he bought the property on which he had lived for years. The Reichards got serious about building the gun range, and when they carved out the berms for the shooting bays, and they felt a name change was appropriate. At about that same time, Ashley left her job as a microbiologist and moved back home to work for her father as manager of the gunshop, which then opened for business full-time.
As mentioned earlier, Reichard is a homicide detective, and works full-time in that capacity for the Rochester, Indiana Police Dept. But, all good things must come to an end, and Detective Reichard is looking beyond his days as a police officer, and is building his next and final career. He has additional plans for the ranges as he gets the time and energy, but for now, it is still a pretty cool place to visit and train. The future looks bright for Sand Burr, with plans in place to start their own line of entry and intermediate level of firearms classes, along with hosting outside, itinerant instructors, such as Massad Ayoob and John Farnam.
Sand Burr doesn’t have a web page yet, but we have added their contact information under Network Affiliated Instructors, and I look forward to watching their growth over the coming years.
America Fights Back
in a Violent Age
by Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman
198 pages, hardcover
ISBN 10: 0-936783-50-8 $23.00
When we formed the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC we specifically focused o u r efforts on the legal defenses of citizens who used deadly force to protect self and family. More commonly, gun groups defend gun rights against restrictive laws. Both efforts work toward related goals, and we support one another, commending those who work to protect and change laws that infringe on gun rights, and keep legislators and jurists on the right path.
The Second Amendment Foundation is at the forefront of that facet of the gun rights effort. They recently published a new book that is quite different from most literature on gun rights, putting an undeniably human face on the value of guns for self defense. But this is more than a book chronicling self-defense incidents, in addition to researching and reporting times when citizens fought back, the topics are organized as a coherent thesis proving why citizen ownership of firearms is so very, very critical.
In this book’s pages you will find the facts with which to refute the arguments of gun prohibitionists, whether facing opposition in friendly discussions with a neighbor over the back fence, with co-workers, giving testimony in your state house, or in a letter-writing campaign to the newspaper, law makers, and other decision-makers. Furthermore, the reports are certainly good fodder for “what if” mental imaging, sometimes called crisis rehearsal.
How Did Things Get So Bad?
After home invaders kill a Connecticut family, the state responds by passing a law requiring gun owners to report the theft of any firearms. What? the authors incredulously query. And why? Most of us would ask the same question. Government has “come to the conclusion that they are far more capable of making decisions than we are. High on their list of things to do…is to have made it increasingly difficult for us to fight back,” the authors write.
Contrast this attitude with “Americans who remember that this country was built on self-reliance, and that one always has not merely the recourse, but the responsibility, to resist,” the reader is urged.
Readers are reminded, however, that while our nation’s pioneers needed means to defend their lives because help was several days away, the immediate need of a citizen today to stop an assault before law enforcement arrives is no less critical, when they face an immediate and deadly threat.
The authors laud political victories including licensed concealed carry in nearly all of the states, reciprocity laws, and “stand-your-ground” laws that acknowledge the right to fight back against criminal attack. These successes herald a change after more than thirty years of restrictive legislation. When laws inhibiting self defense are overturned, “old west-type” gunfights in the street are often predicted. The authors report that not only have these arguments proven false, the simile is also a bald-faced lie, a claim they substantiate over several very interesting pages of historical information.
Other Myths Debunked
And with that revelation, the authors are off on a truth spree! Do laws allowing licensed concealed carry of defense guns make the job of law enforcement more dangerous? What do the (sometimes silent) majority of law enforcement professionals think about allowing citizens to carry guns?
Does gun ownership and concealed carry endanger children, add to crime statistics, create more danger for residents in the home, and jeopardize public health and well-being? These and other topics are dissected and the truth succinctly told. Do the laws sometimes called Castle laws or Make My Day laws help or harm communities? Do you think all mayors oppose gun ownership? Read about the ones who told their citizens to “Arm Yourselves.”
But what about using a gun in response to property crime? News reports focus on the attempted theft, and obtusely ignore the deadly force used to commit the robbery. When business owners shoot their assailants, as related in “America Fights Back,” it is not over the contents of the till; they shoot because violence is threatened or enacted against them, their staff and their customers, a theme emphasized by the examples of the Ohio barber who protected his customers from armed robbery and of the Clinton, Mississippi convenience store clerk who gave an armed teenaged robber the cash, and only shot the assailant after he became convinced that he was about to be executed, just to cite two of the many examples the authors give.
While reading America Fights Back I occasionally exclaimed, “Why didn’t I hear about this when it happened?” The answer is in the chapter on Fighting Media Bias. Did you know that two armed students responded to the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law? The book reveals that of 280 news reports about the incident, most claimed that a student tackled and physically subdued the shooter and only four acknowledged the armed students’ roles. Does media omission of all the facts rise to the level of falsifying the report? Read the rest of the chapter before deciding.
We lack here the room to comment on the book’s coverage of gun free zones, but be assured that the tragedy of Seung-Hui Cho’s unchecked rampage at Virginia Tech is dissected, along with laudable examples of collegians taking steps to avoid falling victim to similar assaults.
Both Gottleib and Workman are eminently qualified to draw conclusions from the cases they research, but in America Fights Back, they cite source after source, be that learned studies, polls, columns, websites, and many, many books to prove their thesis that the armed American citizen makes an oft unnoticed contribution to the overall safety of society. The detailed documentation in their book gives the astute reader a tremendous resource for further study.
Recognizing the Threat
A stunning chapter entitled “Recidivism” confirms that massive numbers of criminals live among us. The authors’ presentation is much more persuasive than mere statistics, relating the horrors of crimes by repeat offenders, career criminals and professional abusers, preying on all manner of citizens from the most well-off to some of our poorest members of society and in cities ranging from Detroit to Seattle. This chapter is as horrifying as it is compelling.
Throughout the book, the reader is asked to weigh these facts: 1) that the government eschews any responsibility to protect citizens against crime; 2) that authorities urge citizens to rely on police to stop an assault; and 3) that violence strikes with stunning rapidity. “It is frightening yet somewhat funny…how easy it is for others, even a police dispatcher, to be detached—seemingly to the point of indifference—from a situation, that for the individual involved, is frightening,” they comment.
As we ponder why self-defense proponents and gun control activists are at such loggerheads, the authors argue the morality of self defense. “To opponents of self-defense, using any kind of force is unreasonable. To self-defense proponents, resistance is a powerful deterrent to future such behavior, and if someone gets killed as the result of his own illegal actions, there is nobody to blame other than the decedent.” It feels quite different, they point out, when the argument ceases to be academic because someone is breaking into your home.
The continual fight to keep our rights to own guns and use those guns in self defense sometimes discourages us. The authors, as emphasized in the very first chapter of this book suggest that still, “Within us there remains the fortitude to do the right thing, to take a stand against evil, and to do our part to see that good prevails.”
Going far beyond simply telling survival stories, the message of the book is profoundly patriotic. “We would never meekly surrender our country to foreign invaders, and we must never surrender our neighborhoods to predatory criminals,” write the authors. That theme resonates throughout the entire 198 pages and by the book’s end, the reader is re-energized for the fight to keep America free.
This book belongs on your bookshelf, available for loan to friends and family, and while you’re at it, how about contributing a second copy to your local library?
P O Box 1682, Bellevue, WA
Finally! The days are getting longer and summer’s events are underway. In short, the long hibernation of winter is over, and instead of being a grim necessity, going outside is actually appealing. Wearing fewer layers, means working a little harder at concealed carry because though I’m pretty happy to leave the coats and jackets behind, the gun I carry for personal protection is even more critical, with summer plans calling for long hikes in the timber land close to home as well as vacation out on the road on the motorcycle. At the same time others are eagerly anticipating trips to the beach, outdoor festivals, and camp outs.
We carry guns because we have resolved not to live in fear of crime. Possessing a means of defense alleviates the worry that can overshadow a good hike or visit to the beach. Still, we bear in mind that adding the option of deadly force to our defense provisions in no way reduces the import of awareness, avoidance, and good sense decisions.
Whatever your summer plans, make them with provisions for your safety and the protection of your loved ones in mind. If your shooting skills have gotten a little rusty, why not take a training course for a brush-up on not only working with your carry gun, but sharpening your tactical edge, as well? Check with the instructors advertising their 10% discount to Network members in this eJournal, so you can cash in on membership benefits while honing your defense skills. If your favorite training organization hasn’t joined the Network yet, please point them toward the Network web site (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org) or drop us an E-mail with their contact information and let us introduce them to the benefits the Network offers instructors.
Carrying a gun without an understanding of correct use of deadly force is bad news, indeed. Just last weekend, Seattle, WA was the location of a rare event: a man legally carrying gun involved himself in a dispute at a large outdoor folk festival. Though the details have yet to under go scrutiny in court, early reports suggest that unfriendly stares escalated into a physical confrontation during which a Glock pistol carried in the young man’s ankle holster fell to the ground. A struggle for the gun ensued and a shot that injured three people was fired.
How I wish that young man or the family speaking so vehemently in his defense at the initial court hearing, had invested in the twenty or thirty hours of gun safety training, state gun law lessons, use of force education and indoctrination in the care and responsibility incumbent on the armed citizen. Now, regardless of the outcome in court (which looks bleak, indeed), anti-gun forces are already rallying to further restrict places where licensed citizens can legally carry self-defense firearms.
Personally, the incident angers and worries me. Usually, people who obtain carry licenses are among the most responsible gun owners I know. This is an aberration. Could this misfortune have been averted? It’s hard to say.
Still, we as responsible gun owners need to learn from this incident. Encourage other gun owners to take gun safety classes. Push gun-owning acquaintances to take responsibility to fully understand laws about use of force, and develop the attitudes and practices of responsible gun owners who will do most anything to avoid a confrontation. Classes by famous traveling instructors like John Farnam, Massad Ayoob and other training organizations can make profound changes in a careless gun owner’s mind-set.
Whatever we do, let’s not just sit back and cringe and hope it doesn’t happen again. Are there things we can do to police our own armed society? I’d be interested in taking a discussion of this question to the new member’s forum at http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/forum/ so I can hear your views. Please join me there if you share my concerns.