james yeager

Last week, we reported on the negligent discharge by a Tactical Response instructor in a “Fighting Pistol” class held for the Folsom Shooting Club at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center in mid-February.

James Yeager of Tactical Response has now posted a video reply about the incident to YouTube.

Mr. Yeager made some statements in his reply that aren’t sitting well with Vu Pham, President of Folsom Shooting Club, who sent me (and others) the following written response to Yeager’s video.

All,

Before I get into this please note:

  • I am not a “Yeager or Tactical Response hater”. I know very little about the outfit and Mr. Yeager.
  • FSC is not here to debate whose Kung Fu is stronger in the gun fighting world. I am sure Tactical Response teaches things that can be useful to certain individuals or else they would not be in business.
  • Our response is solely based on the incident that occurred on the 18th of February.

Since I am not interesting enough to have my own YouTube channel, I will reply to Mr. Yeager’s video via this

letter.

  1. At about 4:30 in the video Mr. Yeager goes into recapping the ND, but either chose to leave out the important details or was not informed of them.
  1. The ND did NOT occur in a shooting bay. It happened outside of Range 11, outside of what we consider the “shooting area”.
  2. The gun was not pointed at the berm. The F-250 struck was sitting outside of the bay in the parking area of Range 11. The round exited the truck tire and impacted a storage shed outside of the shooting bay. This would be impossible IF the gun was pointed down range at our impact berm. Range 11 is a 200 yard bay used primarily for rifle shooting.

At 7:00 in his video Mr. Yeager mentions that the Sac Valley Shooting Center never tried to reach out to him to get his side of the story. Called us all liars. I would like to point out a few things here as well.

  1. Never and nowhere did we claim to have attempted to contact Mr. Yeager or Tactical Response. He was 100% correct about us not reaching out to him.
  2. The ND occurred on Day 2 of Fight Pistol on the AM of February 18th
  3. FSC Range Staff was notified via email on February 29th by a concerned member who had family that took the course.
  4. FSC Operations Manager, Mike Calvo, emailed me on March 1st and I immediately asked Mike to conduct a full investigation.
  5. Mike Calvo spoke to the member that initially contacted us hoping to speak directly with his family members that witnessed the ND. FSC respected the family member’s wishes to not be involved and to remain anonymous. The investigation continued.
  6. I was made aware of a thread on Calguns and posted a reply there asking for any witnesses to contact me directly so that we can get the facts straight.
  7. Mike and I both agree (as Mr. Yeager pointed out in his video) that things do get blown out of proportion and that we needed to talk to students in the class and witnessed the firearm discharge from close proximity. The two I spoke to were 3 feet away. They were also a part of the conversation with the instructor that prompted him to draw his loaded pistol from holster.
  8. After talking to several participants in the course, two of whom witnessed the ND at close proximity, I reported back to our board of directors my findings. A decision was made to not allow Tactical Response to conduct training at Sac Valley Shooting Center any longer. This was posted on Calguns on March 3rd.
  9. I instructed our staff from our business office to send an official letter to Tactical Response notifying them of our decision as I believe it was the professional thing to do.
  10. I posted an official response from FSC on March 3rd @ 9:35am. This resides on page 2 on the thread found on Calguns.

One would think between February 18th and February 29th (10 days) someone from Tactical Response would have contacted FSC to notify us of the incident, nope. We were blindsided by this whole thing.

Why did we not talk to Tactical Response? Why didn’t they talk to us? Why didn’t James Yeager himself call our range office after he found out about the incident on February 20th? Mr. Yeager and Tactical Response had ample time to contact us to clear up this mess.

I am sure people will ask “would the outcome of our decision to ban Tactical Response from using our facility be any different?” Probably not, to be honest. This was not a simple case of a negligent discharge. It was the gross negligence by an instructor that led to our decision.

Instead of dealing with this situation in a professional manner, we were forced to deal with it on the forums of the WWW, YouTube channels, and Facebook.

We have dozens of training outfits that call Sac Valley Shooting Center their home range. We have thousands of people visit our range every month shooting countless rounds during competition, training, and good ole plinking. SVSC host over a dozen shooting disciplines and clubs that call SVSC home.

Every single person on the Board of Directors for FSC is a shooter in various disciplines and understands that NDs happen and accidents happen. We Californians did not freak out because a negligent discharge went down range safely into a berm. We acted due to gross negligence by a company’s instructor that luckily did not get anyone seriously injured or killed. Folsom Shooting Club/SVSC believes that safety is first and foremost and we always choose to do what we feel is best for our club.

There will always be critics for both sides and I do not believe anyone gained from this incident. Tactical Response lost a facility they can conduct training at. Sacramento Valley Shooting Center lost an option for those who would like to take their style of training. Both sides had to deal with a sh*t storm via email, social media, text messages, and phone calls.

Please see an email correspondence between Brian Bragg and Mr. Yeager below. Brian was a student in the course and an eye witness to the ND. All I care about in this letter is the date and time showing that Mr. Yeager was notified of this incident well in advance of FSC being aware.

With regards to “taking [our] state back” FSC has been at the front of that fight for years. Mr. Yeager is not the first organization to be banned from our facility, but he has joined the list that includes the California Department of Justice. Many years ago we informed DoJ, at financial loss to our club, that because of their support of anti-gun legislation they would no longer be permitted on our ranges.

We were plaintiffs in cases seeking to invalidate legislation that required shooters and dealers to register all ammunition purchases and that also prevented out of state purchase of ammunition.

Many of our members are very active in the political and legal systems to restore our rights. We and our members are at the very front lines of the battle to protect and restore the Second Amendment not only in California, but in the United States.

On behalf of the Folsom Shooting Club Board of Directors and Range Management, thank you to all that have supported us throughout this mess.

Sincerely,

Vu Pham

Folsom Shooting Club – President

Both Yeager and Pham have made their views clear.

I will, however, respond to a point made by Mr. Yeager at 7:30 in his video. He stated that, “If you read an article, and they said they tried to contact us, they are liars.”

Well, we did indeed use the contact form on the Tactical Response Web site in an attempt to reach out to them the night before we ran out story, which we in fact noted in our story at the time.

Bearing Arms sent Tactical Response an email yesterday asking the training company to respond to the claim that an instructor had a negligent discharge that endangered the lives of students.

Tactical Response has been curiously non-responsive.

We received a pre-programmed canned response that the form submission had been successful.

Does that mean that Mr. Yeager or a Tactical Response employee received and then chose to ignore my email asking for comment by noon the following day before we published? Not necessarily. Contact forms can and will fail. Ours has had problems on occasion. I’m willing to give Mr. Yeager the benefit of the doubt on whether he received our email asking for comment, and I understand that he may feel under intense pressure at the moment. I don’t take it personally that he called folks who attempted to contact Tactical Response “liars.”

He’s simply wrong on that point, and that’s okay.

It says something about Mr. Yeager’s character, however, that instead of making a sincere and unqualified apology, that he feels compelled to attack the victims of the negligent discharge (the students of the Folsom Gun Club),  California’s gun culture, and anyone else who would dare criticize his instructor’s dangerous behavior. Yeager’s passive-aggressive feigned apology ends in a grand “eff you” to anyone who criticized the incident.

I’m not an expert, but that wasn’t a very “tactical response” to a high-profile and legitimate concern. It instead seems like yet another negligent discharge.