"WHAT are you doing?”Asked to demonstrate shooting proficiency, Stone struggles to load his weapon, struggles to hit the target, struggles with recoil, struggles with a stuck magazine. Eventually, with some on-the-fly coaching, he shoots with enough accuracy to pass:
I had just shot a gun for the first time. The instructor was yelling at me because he couldn’t understand how a 22-year-old missed a target some four feet tall and two feet wide, standing only nine feet away. But he was completely at ease when, 10 minutes later, he certified me for a concealed handgun license application.
... When I arrived at the gun shop to get my license, I didn’t know what to expect, except that there would be training and assessment. The course included no instruction about how to neutralize an active shooter, deal with moving targets, avoid innocent people or manage adrenaline and anxiety.
... The class was six hours long, but the instructor told us exactly what we needed for the exam in the final five minutes. Then, we got the test: 25 questions, multiple choice -- mostly about where you can lawfully carry your gun. City Hall? University buildings? Elementary school parking lots? All of the above. Everyone passed. I got 100.
So we went through this, at slightly farther distances, until we had each fired 50 rounds. My bullet holes were all over the place. You get five points for hitting the inner circles, four for the outer circle, and three for hitting anywhere else on the silhouette. To pass, you need 175 out of 250 points. If you fail, you get two more chances. I did pretty well in the end -- I got 216 points.He gets his license, despite his instructor's skepticism:
As the instructor signed my certificate of shooting proficiency, he asked a legitimate question: “You’ve never fired a gun before today. Why do you want to carry one around?” I had to pause and think, but I replied calmly. “It’s my right.”But hell, nearly everyone passes:
After almost zero training and a 10-minute test, the State of Texas considers me responsible to carry a gun. Once my background check clears, I’ll have the license. I am not an outlier. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 99.7 percent of applicants in 2014 received their license.Of course, no self-respecting gun absolutist would ever acknowledge that Texas's absurdly lax standards are a problem. Over at Right Wing News, William Teach, denounces Stone's op-ed. to give him his due, Teach does demonstrate excellent reading comprehension:
Stone’s idea here was to prove how darned easy it is to get a permit to carry on campus. And, he has zero knowledge of guns, didn’t bother to read the instructions that came with the gun, and the instructors supposedly made it super duper easy for him to pass. They had to sit through a six hour class, but the instructor gave them the answers for the test right before the test, making sure the attendees understood what is right and what is wrong.Teach then adds:
That was apparently Bad in Stone’s world.Yeah, you could say that.
But to Teach it's only apparently bad that Texas would let Stone legally pack heat in a college classroom. To Teach, Texas has done nothing wrong at all:
What’s missing is the notion of personal responsibility. The class is there to help people pass and use their Constitutional and legal rights. It’s expected that gun owners will continue exercising personal responsibility through the use of firing ranges, and keeping up with the law regarding where it is legal to use the concealed carry permit. Liberals, unfortunately, have little in the way of personal responsibility, instead relying almost solely on Government dominance.Oh, gee, sorry, I forgot. It's not the government's role to intervene here (despite the Second Amendment's reference to "a well-regulated militia"). If people misuse dangerous objects in public in predictable ways with bloody or even deadly consequences, the government's conscious abdication of its legal right to intervene is utterly irrelevant! It's all on the individual!
So let's say you've had a dozen drunk-driving citations. You drive up to the DMV reeking of alcohol in order to renew your license. The government rubber-stamps your application and lets you keep driving -- then you kill a few people while totally blitzed. I guess, according to Teach, that's not even partly the government's fault -- it's 100% on you! You should have a sense of personal responsibility! The government should issue licenses to 99.7 percent of applicants, no matter what their driving history and no matter how poorly they do on driving tests! We should lower the standards until only 0.3 percent of people are rejected, because FREEDOM!
(I know the gunner response to this: There's no right to drive in the Constitution. But I'm old enough to remember being told by conservatives during the Cold War that the right to travel freely is one of the main things that distinguished us from the commies.)
Stone obviously learned to use the weapon. He has a legal right to carry it on campus. And, if he’s sitting next to me and freezes during a situation where he should pull it, I’ll take it and use it properly.William Teach watches a lot of movies, doesn't he? And believes them, don't you think?
Seriously? If a permit holder freezes in an active-shooter situation, Teach is going to grab his gun away from him and be a hero? Hey, William, don't stop there! Tell us you're going to grab two guns from reluctant shooters, one for each hand! And you're going to fire them while flying through the air sideways! And the bullets are going to travel in Dopplerized super-slow-motion before hitting every target you aim at!
No, even better -- you're going to curve the bullets!
Oh, it's just so tiresome. Every gun nut is an action-movie star in his own mind. At least Zachary Stone knows his own limitations.