The description given in the article below is not uncommon and it often applies to military, law enforcement, and hunters as well.

While living in San Antonio, I was a TCOLE (formerly TCLEOSE) certified instructor and worked part-time at the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy. As a Texas resident, I took the TxDPS – License to Carry course described below. While living in Wisconsin, I was certified by the state Department of Natural Resources as a Wisconsin Hunter Education instructor and taught classes. I’ve been in the U.S. Army in various capacities for a quarter century and with the US Army Reserve Marksmanship Training and Competitive Program since 2004.

I’ve been fortunate to have been involved with many skilled people in all of these experiences but that was largely due to my seeking them out and knowing what to look for. I already had higher-level shooting experience via organized competition and held Classifications from national-level organizations before doing any of this. The then-director of the DNR Hunter’s Ed program attended HunterShooter events I held. I applied for that Academy after having a fellow Shooting Team member speak well of the training director and his program. My Texas LTC course was taught by a fellow instructor and USAR Shooting Team member. I specifically took the class from him to avoid the clown show described below.

Gun owners are often their own worst enemy. The level of incompetence described here is not uncommon. Military, law enforcement, hunters, and concealed carry people are often at novice levels. Mandatory qualification levels are only useful if they’re difficult enough to assess useful skill. That means people incapable of displaying minimal useful skill must be failed. The other approach is for the program to intend to pass everyone. This means standards are adjusted down until everyone can. This article describes the results of that.

Austin, Tex. — “WHAT are you doing?”

I had just shot a gun for the first time. The instructor was yelling at me because he couldn’t understand how a 22-year-old missed a target some four feet tall and two feet wide, standing only nine feet away. But he was completely at ease when, 10 minutes later, he certified me for a concealed handgun license application.

One of these challenges lies in ensuring that license holders are actually responsible. While Republicans swear by their regulatory scheme, Democrats point out that it takes more training to become a manicurist than to carry a Smith & Wesson.

For the debate, I wanted to be able to ask questions about the licensing system. To prepare, I decided to go through the licensing process, even though, technically speaking, I should have had weapons training before I applied. Knowing nothing about guns, I was supposed to fail. But I passed on the first try.

Next, it was time to prove our shooting proficiency. We drove to a field with some silhouette targets lined up. “Standard B-27s,” the instructor told us.

“Load five bullets in the magazine!” the instructor shouted. My neighbors easily slipped five bullets into their magazines. I struggled with the Glock I’d rented from the store.

“Ready your weapon!” The others all put their magazines in their guns, pulled back the slides, and aimed. I put the magazine in the gun and then fumbled with the slide. Eventually, I got it. I looked at my neighbors to figure out how to hold the gun.

I shot. The gun flew back. My neighbors each hit the center, but I missed a foot too high.

I didn’t realize I’d have to shoot again so soon. I hadn’t taught myself how to aim yet, and I wanted a few seconds to learn from the first shot. I also hadn’t learned how to deal with the recoil. Anxiously, I pointed and shot — a few seconds after my neighbors. I still missed.

That’s when the instructor yelled at me. “You need to line up your sights!” I had no idea what that meant. He explained that for me to aim properly the dot at the front of the gun needed to be inside the post at the back of the gun.

That was remarkably useful information.

After five shots, the instructor told us to remove our magazines. I tugged on the magazine. It didn’t move, so I pulled harder. I pulled as hard as I could, nervous to put so much force on a gun — empty or not.

I called out to the instructor. “My magazine’s stuck!”

“Show me. Try to pull it out. That really shouldn’t happen.”

I pulled on the magazine for the instructor. “You need to push the release,” he said.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“The button.”

I pushed something.

“No. The button,” he said.

That did the trick.

So we went through this, at slightly farther distances, until we had each fired 50 rounds. My bullet holes were all over the place. You get five points for hitting the inner circles, four for the outer circle, and three for hitting anywhere else on the silhouette. To pass, you need 175 out of 250 points. If you fail, you get two more chances. I did pretty well in the end — I got 216 points.

As the instructor signed my certificate of shooting proficiency, he asked a legitimate question: “You’ve never fired a gun before today. Why do you want to carry one around?” I had to pause and think, but I replied calmly. “It’s my right.”

After almost zero training and a 10-minute test, the State of Texas considers me responsible to carry a gun. Once my background check clears, I’ll have the license. I am not an outlier. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 99.7 percent of applicants in 2014 received their license.

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