How About Subsidizing Training Rather Than Mandating It?

AP Photo/David Goldman

“Gun Safety Laws”. “Common Sense Legislation”. All talking points to trip the trigger in our population, igniting an emotional response. A few states are what I’d consider the “bad actors” in regards to the Second Amendment. Maybe they do get disproportionate coverage, but hey, we gotta let our brethren in free America know what can and will happen to them in due time. Unfortunately there’s no underground railroad to deliver the citizens from the bondage of draconian laws in states/jurisdictions like California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois, and the District of Columbia (some of the worst of the worst of the anti freedom crowd). The “why don’t ya just move argument” is valid but part of the problem. Someone needs to stay and try to hold back the bad policy, perhaps reverse some of it, and worst case scenario be there to turn the lights off when it’s really time to call it quits.

New Jersey just can’t get out of the spotlight. I previously reported about the Garden State’s renewed push for so called “common sense legislation”, aka freedom limiting laws that strip more rights from the gun owning minority in the state. Emphasis added, New Jersey’s politicians pick on, punish, and chill the civil rights of a minority group of people. With progressives always pushing for rights of minorities, one would think that with left of center majorities in the senate, assembly, and holding the governor’s office, that they would champion for this group of people, but they do not. Part of the push from the over zealous package of initiatives and laws include mandatory firearm training in order to simply own a firearm.

I have discussed this concept time and time again. I do not fall into the category of those select few of trainers from Texas that advocate against permit less carry because it will not financially benefit them. Training is something I write about, talk about, advocate for, to an excessive degree. However, I don’t believe mandatory training should be a policy for simple ownership of an item protected by the Constitution. Do I think responsible gun owners should get training? Absolutely. But this should be a choice. If a gun club wants to mandate training in order for people to join, have at it, that’s their prerogative, I support that.  For simple possession? A big no.

Who in the country has mandatory training? We’re not discussing training for obtaining a carry permit, so let’s get that understood. From a Gun Policy in America article:

As of January 1, 2020, six states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring individuals to undergo some sort of safety training prior to being able to purchase, or in the case of Connecticut, carry, a firearm. California and Massachusetts have laws requiring such training for the purchase of both handguns and long guns.[1] The District of Columbia’s law, which applies to handguns and long guns, goes further: It requires safety training prior to registration, and registration is required for possession of a firearm; thus, the training requirement applies to not only people purchasing new firearms but also people moving into the District who already own firearms.[2] The laws in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, and Rhode Island apply only to handguns.[3] Washington’s law applies to semiautomatic rifles.

When the announcement came about New Jersey we learned the following about the training bill:

Requiring Firearm Safety Training: S-2169/A-5030 (Weinberg/Reynolds-Jackson) would modernize firearm ID cards, as well as require completion of a firearm safety course in order to receive a permit to purchase a gun or receive a firearm ID card. Connecticut, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maryland and the District of Columbia all have laws requiring individuals to undergo safety training prior to being able to purchase.

Just because “other’ states have done it, does not make it right, nor should others follow suit. If New Jersey, or any other jurisdiction for that matter, wants their citizens to be trained on the safe and responsible use of firearms, rather than mandate it, subsidize it. What’s the saying, “You catch more files with honey…”? New Jersey wants to make gun ownership more onerous. Here are some thoughts on subsidized training that I can guarantee would get support, rather than minimal low quality compliance.

  • Any and all firearm training would be tax deductible.
  • Should an individual opt to take advantage of the formerly mentioned tax deduction, a $50.00 tax credit would also be applied.
  • Subsequent training after any basic safety class would qualify for an additional $25.00 tax credit on top of the $50.00 credit.
  • Any child under the age of 18 that takes firearm training, their parent or legal guardian is eligible for a tax credit for the full amount of the training.
  • Public schools would be required to teach non-politically biased safety training to all children, such as the NRA’s Eddie Eagle class.
  • Police departments in any jurisdiction of the state (or DC) will offer firearm safety training for free to residents if requested, subsidized by the state. The number of classes would be no less than four in a calendar year, and more added to accommodate any “wait listed” residents. A resident seeking free firearm training shall not be caused to wait more than six months to receive training.
  • Any firearm storage device, case, bag, sock, and or locking mechanism would be tax deductible, and qualify for a $25.00 tax credit. Security/fire safes would qualify for a $50.00 tax credit.
  • Any holster that covers the trigger guard of a firearm would be tax deductible.
  • Ammunition purchased for the purposes of marksmanship training would be tax deductible.
  • Firearm trainers and or training facilities will be exempted from any sales tax.
  • Any personal protective equipment such as hearing protection and eye protection would be tax deductible and qualify for a $10.00 tax credit.

This is not an exhaustive list. The possibilities are endless on this subject. If the talking heads that are looking to actually effect public safety, incentivize it. Offer up the carrot, not the stick. All of the freedom limiting laws are in the “interest of public safety”, so why not allow those that actually want to learn and train do so by encouraging it? These ideas would be far more powerful than mandates. Do the politicians really think that mandatory training is going to change the heart or mind of someone that is unwilling to accept what the training entails? Do they want compliance or quality compliance? I say to all you talking heads out there, rather than restrict, put your money where your mouth is and enact real common sense policy. This would be a compromise.

Author’s Note: Since publication friend and prominent Second Amendment advocate Rhonda Ezell, lead plaintiff in Ezell vs Chicago, reached out to me concerning the false statement in Governor Murphy’s press release. At this time Illinois does not have a training requirement in order to own a firearm. They are however still a bad actor in the arena of freedom.

May 16, 2021 11:30 AM ET
May 16, 2021 8:30 AM ET