Should New York And Chicago Offer Free Gun Classes?

Should New York And Chicago Offer Free Gun Classes?
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

I ran across an item from Douglasville, Georgia recently that got me thinking about this. The police department in the growing Atlanta suburb is starting up its monthly free handgun clinic again after a COVID-related hiatus, and sounds like it’ll be a great event for new gun owners and those thinking about purchasing a handgun.

Starting Tuesday, Dec. 7, Douglasville PD will offer the free, monthly handgun classes on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the police department’s community room. Classes will cover basic gun laws, handgun safety and basic shooting skills.

Participants must be age 18 or older to attend. The department said attendees are welcome to bring their own gun, but it must be unloaded. If you do not have one, the DPD will provide one for you to use.

Imagine if similar classes were held in some of our most anti-gun and high-crime cities like Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. How many people do you think would show up if, instead of hosting a gun “buyback”, these cities put on free training events?

My guess is that it would be standing room only, with a wait list to get for the next class. Just look at what happened recently in Michigan, where firearms instructor Rick Ector hosted a two-day handgun training event for women. Thousands of people turned out for the free instruction, many of them women who don’t currently own a gun but who want to know more.

“In Detroit, yeah, the crime is increasing and you know, we just need something to protect ourselves,” one woman who Ector trained said in the video.

Another woman added: “I just moved out so I’m kind of living on my own, and I sometimes work nights, and I be out at night. No one wants to walk alone at night and feel unprotected. Especially in this society and what happens today.”

How many men and women in places like Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Oakland, Seattle, D.C., and Los Angeles would say something similar if you asked them? And how many of them would be gun owners right now if not for the fact that the city or state they live in put up barriers between them and their Second Amendment rights?

For decades, deep-blue Democrat-run cities have fostered a culture that views gun ownership as taboo. Legal gun ownership is frowned upon as much as illegally owning a gun, and these cities go to great lengths to prohibit gun stores and gun ranges from opening up inside the city limits. It’s been 13 years since D.C.’s handgun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court, a decade since SCOTUS did the same to Chicago’s ban on handguns, and yet there are still no gun stores or ranges in either city. It’s possible to obtain a concealed carry license if you live in Chicago or D.C., but you’ll have to travel outside the city to purchase a firearm or receive the training required to carry it in self-defense.

It seems to me that this abstinence-based approach to exercising a civil right is not only fundamentally un-American, but completely ineffective when it comes to creating a safer society. These cities haven’t gotten rid of guns (even when they had bans on the books), and they certainly haven’t made them less popular among criminals. All they’ve really managed to accomplish is to inhibit, and in some cases prevent outright, the development of a culture of responsible gun ownership.

It’s quite likely that next spring or early summer, the Supreme Court is going to declare New York’s subjective carry licensing laws to be unconstitutional, opening the door for tens of millions of Americans to finally be able to exercise their right to bear arms without their state or local authorities demanding they demonstrate “good cause” or a “justifiable need.” Whether the leaders of these anti-gun cities like it or not, the odds are that more of their residents are going to be exercising their Second Amendment rights in the not-too-distant future. It’s long past time for the politicians in charge of these anti-gun locales to give up on their quest to make gun ownership taboo and to acknowledge reality; people are going to own guns, and everyone’s better off if the opportunities for training and education are easily available to them.