"What made you want to do this?"
It's a question I hear often and honestly, I love to answer it. Oddly enough, it began with a Christmas present.
My wife Stacey likes to give presents that are an "experience" rather than an object. We had just purchased our first home and I had been talking for months about getting a firearm for home defense. I didn't grow up with guns in the home and my experience with them was limited to target shooting with friends. So, for Christmas that year Stacey paid for my admission to a Carry Permit class. (Of course, little did she know, I would exploit her beneficence to justify the purchase of my own pistol.)
Although my instructors were fantastic and I learned a whole lot, I drove away from my carry permit class thinking about all the things I still didn’t really know. What’s the best way to clean my gun? What kind of holster should I get? Is there a proper way to draw a pistol? Fortunately, I discovered that there are several places around Nashville where I could get advanced training to answer these questions and more. I have since taken a variety of classes from different groups and after leaving each class I am relieved to be more competent and knowledgeable about gun use.
When I share my enthusiasm for firearm training with others (and try not to sound like some sort of missionary while I do) I hear a lot of the same reasons for not pursuing gun ownership or safety education:
1. Not comfortable around guns, and even less comfortable around other people with guns.
2. It costs a lot of money to buy a gun, pay for training, and pay for the carry permit (not to mention all the ammo that you must purchase along the way).
3. Had some bad experiences with some macho-type extreme gun enthusiasts and no longer interested in being around that type of people.
4. My personal favorite: What’s the point of spending $1,000 on a gun, ammo, training, and a permit when I don’t even have $1,000 worth of stuff to steal?
We created Tennessee Firearm Training and Safety Resources Inc. to be the solution to all of these barriers to the pursuit of firearm training and safety education. We will provide a safe environment by keeping our instructor/pupil ratio to 1:3. We will provide free handguns, free ammo, and will not charge a penny for attending our class. TFTSR is strictly apolitical and we don’t judge anyone for being frightened by gunfire (on the contrary, I think it’s probably a pretty good instinct to have). Finally, gun ownership isn’t about defending your “stuff” from burglars. It’s about being able to protect people from those who would do them harm. My wife and I have an understanding at our house: Nothing on the first floor is worth endangering our lives, but if an intruder proceeds to the second floor where my wife and my dogs sleep, I will defend them.