After the recent massacre in Orlando, gun sales — especially among the LGBT community — soared to record levels. This happens anytime there is a mass shooting in America and although it’s good for gun manufacturers and firearm dealers, it may spell trouble elsewhere. Simply arming yourself will not automatically make you more safe, and it may actually put you in greater danger.

During the time I spent at the police academy, I fired over 5,000 rounds through my service pistol. Many of the rounds I shot were under extremely stressful conditions and much of it was at night during rainy, windy conditions where I had to fight my way to the target. (Yes, there were a couple of volunteer cops fighting me for my gun). We practiced handling many, many different scenarios where life was threatened. I consider myself well trained with a firearm.

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Unfortunately, most folks who buy guns for protection won’t fork out the dough for a good firearm training course. Instead, they load the magazine and hope for the best. Quite frankly, the thought of a bunch of non-trained vigilantes walking around with loaded weapons scares the bejesus out of me. Arming paranoia is a recipe for disaster. Law enforcement knows this well and tries its best to weed out the folks who are not able to make rational decisions under stressful circumstances.

Things happen, people get fearful and then all hell breaks loose. One person pulls out a gun and then 20 more people pull out their guns and suddenly it’s like a shootout at the O.K. Corral! Now imagine the Tactical Police Unit showing up to this big mess—it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Unless you have experience or adequate training in dealing with life threatening situations, you’re way bettor off leaving your firearm in the nightstand. Home protection is a whole other story and even then, training is highly valuable.

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The bottom line is that there are people who target innocent groups and that’s not likely to change. Vigilance is a great practice and is important no matter where you are. Proclaiming ourselves as vigilantes and thinking we can walk out the door and save the world is a pretty dangerous idea if we are not prepared to suffer the consequences of an irrational decision or mistake made during a perceived threat.

I am in no way trying to make any political statement here nor am I trying to advocate gun control. I honor our second amendment and will stand firm on that. I do however support proper firearm training when it comes to deadly weapons and careful screening of those given the privilege of owning one.

Photo credit: Flickr CC