Judge Discovers Gun Safety Groups Don't Offer Gun Safety Classes
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

A Colorado judge hoping to avoid approving a plea deal that required a defendant to attend an NRA certified gun safety program has learned that, for all the talk about “gun safety” from gun control advocates, it turns out they don’t actually offer any gun safety classes.

The case revolves around a shooting that led to the death of a Finnegan Daly, a college student who died after being shot with a handgun owned by his roommate. Colemann Carver pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with evidence in exchange for a two-year deferred sentence and a requirement that he attend a firearms safety course. Daly’s family believes that Carver is the one who shot Daly, though Carver maintains Daly shot himself when the pair, who’d both been drinking, began messing around with Carver’s guns.

Finnegan Daly’s mom has become an avid supporter of gun control since her son’s death, and was upset that the plea agreement offered to Carver included the requirement that he take an NRA-certified gun safety course. From the Colorado Sun:

Regina Daly told the judge that “any money given to the NRA surrounding the death of Finnegan is intolerable — intolerable and abusive.”

Both the prosecutor and defense attorney said they could not find a similar class hosted by another organization near Carver’s home in Cortez.

Judge Susan Blanco, overseeing the case, also had some difficulty accepting the fact that the NRA was going to be involved in any way with the required safety course.

The judge appeared concerned about mandating an NRA course, pressing the prosecutors to find an alternative. “Is there anywhere else he can complete a firearms safety course, so he is not giving money to the NRA, out of respect to the victim’s family?” Blanco asked [Deputy District Attorney Ashley] Barber.

The judge told Carver she preferred that he attend a course not associated with the NRA, but didn’t make it a requirement. In addition to the course and the essay, Carver must complete 500 hours of community service, with the first 250 completed in the first year; complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment; and abstain from using alcohol, marijuana or other drugs not prescribed to him.

If Carver does not complete the terms of the sentencing agreement, he could face 12 to 18 months in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

Prosecutors made it clear that there really weren’t any other options when it came to gun safety training. As it turns out, the “gun safety” movement’s idea of gun safety is “don’t own a gun”, so they haven’t actually invested any time or money coming up with a genuine gun safety training program. Prosecutors could have required Carver attend an Everytown for Gun Safety-certified training course, but as it turns out, that doesn’t exist.

So-called gun safety advocates love the idea of mandatory training requirements for gun owners, and the more onerous the better, but they don’t seem to care much about ensuring that those classes are easy to find by offering the courses themselves. It’s almost like they’re pushing  training mandates as a barrier to gun ownership than to truly ensure folks are educated about the responsibilities that come with owning a firearm.

I’m not a fan of training mandates for gun ownership or even bearing arms, in part because of how those mandates can be abused, but I’m a big fan of training itself. In order to ensure that gun owners get that training, however, gun control advocates have to stop trying to shut down gun ranges or prevent them from opening up in the first place. You can’t get training if you have nowhere to train, after all. You’d think “gun safety” activists would be huge supporters of range access, but when your idea of gun safety is “don’t own a gun,” access to a training facility is actually undesirable, because it might encourage people to actually own firearms instead of working to ban them.

Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that Mike Bloomberg has spent pushing gun control laws under the guise of “gun safety.” He could have been the Andrew Carnegie of public ranges, building thousands of safe places to train to own and shoot firearms safely, responsibly, and proficiently in cities, towns, and rural hideaways just as the steel tycoon invested his fortune in thousands of public libraries in the early 20th century.

According to the possibly accurate Wikipedia, as of 2016 there were “3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and District of Columbia,” and according to WeatherPoint Shelter Systems, a company that builds shelters for outdoor ranges, it costs an average of $500,000 to build out an indoor range, not including the price of the building. Let’s go ahead and give our Bloomberg Public Range an average cost of $2,000,000 per range. If Bloomberg spent that much on an indoor public range for every county, city, and parish in the nation, it would cost him $6.3-billion.

Now look, that’s a lot of money, but the man’s worth an estimated $58-billion. He can afford an average cost of $10-million per range, to be honest, and if gun safety was really his game he’d do it.

Instead, Bloomberg’s the guy who enforced a law as mayor of New York that prevented legal gun owners from taking the guns that they owned to any non-approved range, of which there were five in the entire city. Even then, not all of the ranges were public ranges, which limited even further the opportunity for genuine gun safety training for legal gun owners. Bloomberg’s idea of gun safety? Don’t own a gun.

As for Regina Daly, the mother who lost her son in this senseless tragedy, I completely understand her pain and anger and desire to prevent stupid accidents like this from taking any more lives, and I applaud her dedication in pursuing justice for her son after police originally ruled Finnegan Daly’s death an accidental shooting (and seriously, go read the entire story linked above).

I may think her anger towards the NRA and its members is misguided, but her anger towards folks like me doesn’t make me angry at her. My hope is that she can channel her activism and desire to prevent these types of tragedies into more productive avenues than the empty promises of gun control activists, even if she never changes her mind about the NRA, its members, and the thousands of firearms instructors it’s trained.