We know that background checks for firearm purchases have been at record highs for several months now, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that at least 2.5-million Americans have become gun owners since January. How many of those new gun owners are simply sticking their new handgun in a safe versus going to the range or even sitting in front of the computer and getting some training? Tim Schmidt, founder and head of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to share his thoughts and some anecdotal data that’s pretty interesting.
Schmidt tells me that membership within USCCA is up 300% since the start of the coronavirus crisis in March, and those new members are highly motivated in seeking out training, both virtual/online or range sessions offered by the organization. That’s very good news, and it’s an indication that most new gun owners aren’t content to simply purchase a firearm without familiarizing themselves with it.
Of course, with ammunition increasingly hard to find, virtual training may become a much more popular option for new gun owners, and while nothing can truly supplant range time, Schmidt says that there are plenty of practical and valuable training tactics available to gun owners to safely work on in their home.
Schmidt and I also spoke about some of the recent instances of gun owners behaving in less than exemplary fashion, like the woman in Michigan who is now facing assault charges after pulling a gun during an argument outside of a Chipotle. Once again, according to Schmidt, the issue ultimately comes down to training. Ether this woman didn’t get the training she needed to know when it was both legal and proper for her to draw her gun, or she either forgot or ignored her training in the heat of the moment.
I believe government mandates for firearms training work about as well as mandates for wearing masks; which is to say, not very well. However, I strongly encourage voluntary firearms training on a regular basis, whether at home or at the range. Schmidt tells me that he expects the current boom in new gun owners to continue past the election, and that means we could see millions more Americans join their counterparts in exercising their Second Amendment rights for the very first time by the time we ring in the new year.
How those new gun owners vote is yet to be seen, but it sounds like many of them are at least educating and informing themselves on how to be safe and responsible with their new firearm.
Check out the entire interview with Tim Schmidt above, and stick around afterwards for more news, including a Massachusetts father and son behind bars for shooting a mother and daughter in an ambush attack, and a Socorro, Texas police officer in the right place at the right time to save an 8-year old boy from a burning building.