Wouldn’t it be great if we “Gun Lovers” could get free guns in stores and businesses that have signs posted, “GUN FREE ZONE?” Well OK, they do not say, “Free Gun Zone.”

Actually, during the past year or so, it seems to me that I am seeing fewer and fewer of these ridiculous signs posted around Athens, especially restaurants.

Just imagine, if we all thought like the liberal gun haters think. Liberal politicians want gun control by taking away the right of honest, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. How can taking away the right of self-defense from someone protect them from criminals who get their guns by stealing them in “Gun Free Zones?”

I recently read a statement made by a policeman from Atlanta Georgia:

“Most of our criminals, they go out each and every night hunting for guns, and the easiest way to get them is out of people’s cars,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard of the Atlanta Police Department.

“We’re finding that a majority of stolen guns that are getting in the hands of criminals and being used to commit crimes were stolen out of vehicles.”

Why are criminals finding guns in cars? The victim leaves their gun in the car because they enter a business or restaurant that has one of those ridiculous signs!

I just spent three months in Houston Texas, getting treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Of course, the huge facility had signs posted at every entrance saying “No guns allowed.”

Texas State law says business owners can decide if guns are allowed in their establishment or not. I found that some businesses posted a copy of the law at the entrance.

There is not room here to post the entire Texas Law, but here is my short version: Open carry of firearms is prohibited in this business. Those who have openly carried their firearm into this business will be subject to arrest. Or: Those entering this business with a Concealed Carry permit must keep their firearm concealed. Then, there was a third version of this sign which basically stated: Open carry or concealed carry of firearms is prohibited in this establishment.

So basically, these businesses are prohibiting law-abiding, honest citizens the right of self-defense. MD Anderson Cancer Center had these signs posted at every entrance. But, no I did not leave my firearm at the apartment. I locked up my Glock and left it in our car in the parking garage. We had a choice of taking the expressway the twelve miles or so, where people were getting killed or maimed on a regular basis, or driving through a very rough looking area to get from our apartment to MDA. Later, just before returning home after three months, we learned that the area we were driving through was crime central for Houston! All but one of our trips to and from MDA to our apartment were in the daylight hours. There was one late night trip home after JoAnn had to take me to the emergency room at MDA due to a reaction to the chemo. We got out of the ER on a Saturday night at about eleven. I convinced JoAnn to take the expressway, and not the gang- and crime-ridden part of town.

All during these drives I carried my Glock in a Bible case, right on my lap. Ok, the time I had a high fever from the reaction to the chemo, I convinced my wife to keep it close to her.

One afternoon, my wife was forced into a right-turn-only lane, right into a very rough looking residential neighborhood. Immediately a man with his underwear showing, stepped out into the street right in front of us. My wife slowed down and almost stopped to avoid hitting him!

I yelled, “GO! GO! Get around him! Floor it!” She did and we got past the danger, took the next street back to the main road.

When I was a deputy sheriff in Lee County Florida, I responded to numerous calls where both innocent and not so innocent people drove into “Little Harlem” and got bricks thrown through their windshield when they did not stop for the man selling crack with his underwear showing. Left wing liberal gun haters think I should not be allowed to defend myself. Why don’t we just put signs out on the highway that say “Traffic Death Free Zone.” This would prevent all traffic deaths, right?
By: Paul Foreman

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There are volumes of books and legal texts arguing about the Second Amendment. For today’s forum, I am sticking to fact that the Second Amendment says the PEOPLE have the right to own guns for self-defense. The Second Amendment does not grant the “right.” It says the “right” shall not be infringed!

When can citizens defend themselves? Self-defense is NOT getting even with someone who wronged you. Self-defense is not stopping someone from stealing your son’s or daughter’s bicycle. Even if someone threatens you, self-defense is NOT going back later and getting even with them.

When I was a deputy sheriff in Southwest Florida, I saw a number of cases where someone used deadly force long after the threat had passed. Here is an example of what I mean:
Two men were arguing. One man, let’s call him Fred, orders the other guy to “get off my property or I’ll get my gun.” John, the second man, runs back across the street to his home and gets his shotgun. John comes back outside with the shotgun and a box of 00 buckshot, and begins loading the gun while standing just inside his front gate.

Meanwhile, Fred, fearing for his life, gets his rifle ready, but he stays on his own front porch. Can you see what is happening here in this true story? John was safe at home, but went back outside and could be seen by Fred loading a shotgun. Fred did NOT pursue John. John was pursuing Fred who was standing on his own front porch. John fired one blast of 00 buckshot toward Fred from about 75 feet away. The shot missed but Fred was not going to wait and see if the next shot was any better. Fred fired one round from his 30-30, hitting John just about the waist. John went down but got back up and ran into his house where he laid down on his bed and died.

When I got there, along with another deputy, Fred was plenty scared. At first he did not want to leave his gun and come out to talk to us. The other deputy who was with me convinced Fred to come outside, so we would not have to go in to get him. At this point, we didn’t know what had happened prior to our arrival. Across the street, I could see the opened box of shotgun shells laying near the gate. I could also see a huge amount of blood leaving a trail up to the front door. An elderly lady was sitting just inside. She pointed to the shotgun lying on the couch. I asked her, “Where is John?” She replied, “He is lying across his bed; I think he is dead.”

The investigation found that Fred acted in self-defense. He did initially threaten John, but had no weapon with him at the time of the threat. He feared for his life when he saw John coming back out with a shotgun. John was dead, but his own grandmother turned out to be a very credible witness to the entire event. The Grand Jury cleared Fred, and he was not charged with any crime.
If you are going to own a firearm for self-defense, you absolutely must understand what self-defense is.
1. Innocence: You cannot be the aggressor. You cannot start a fight, then because you are losing, shoot somebody and claim self-defense.
2. The threat must be immediate, right now, not something that happened earlier.
3. The act of defending yourself must be proportional to the threat. You cannot use deadly force unless you are threatened with a weapon or by someone who could cause great bodily harm or death.
4. Avoidance: If there is a safe retreat, you must use it (not in a stand-your-ground state such as Alabama) BUT, retreat may be the best and wisest thing to do.
5. These elements must be present to claim self-defense.
Disparity of force means that a weaker person, such as an elderly person, is being attacked, and even though the attacker has no deadly weapon, or there are multiple attackers, the victim is in fear of great bodily harm or death if he does not defend himself or herself with deadly force.

By the time this Forum is published, I will be back in Athens and firearms classes will resume.
Paul Foreman is a retired deputy sheriff from Lee County Florida. Paul is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. For firearms training Paul can be reached through his web site, www.Paulforeman.com, E-Mail at Captureman@PaulForeman.com

One of the problems I see most often in my firearms training classes is the student not using the proper grip on his or her handgun. Gripping improperly can cause missed targets, malfunctions and even injuries. The grip must be firm, but not so tight that your hand is trembling. A two handed grip on guns is a “love-hate” or push-pull arrangement. Actually the same applies also to rifles and shotguns.

Years ago when I was working in a “big box” sporting goods store, a father with his 10 year old son came in. The father told me his son already had his own 22 rifle. Now dad wanted his son to have a shotgun, but the slightly built boy had become fearful of the recoil from his dad’s 12 gauge pump. Dad asked me about getting a 20 gauge or 410 gauge in a “youth model.” I did recommend the youth model as the stock is shorter to fit the shorter arms. Popular gun manufacturers often have the exact same model as sold to adults; they just make the stock shorter. An adult sized stock can be installed in just a few more years.

Even more important is the “grip” the young man was using. I pulled a youth model down off the rack, opened the action, showed them it was empty and with dad’s permission, handed the young man the gun. Kneeling down next to him, I explained how to push forward with the hand holding the forearm, while pulling back on the grip with his other hand. I also instructed him to ALWAYS keep his finger OFF the trigger until ready to shoot. Pushing forward with the front will absorb a lot of the recoil. I also showed him how to hold the stock firmly against his shoulder, so the gun would not punch him when it fired. Dad bought the youth sized 12 gauge, and the boy’s smile lit up the store as they left. The next day, the father and son came back in. They were anxious and excited to tell me about shooting some doves the day before and now the young man was no longer fearful of the shotgun!

Gripping a handgun should be the same, only you have both hands wrapped around the grip and trigger guard. Especially on semi auto pistols, the grip must be high on the back strap but not so high that the slide comes back and hits your hand (I can demonstrate this much better in class!). Gripping your gun too low can cause all kinds of problems. Again, the grip is a push pull affair so that one hand does not absorb all the recoil. We cover proper handgun grip in my classes, along with tons of other information so my students can safely and properly use a firearm.

Have a plan. In my Home Defense Class, I teach you how to have a plan, in case of a home invasion. What would you do? Imagine awakening during the night to discover some demented, drug-crazed thug has broken into your home. Do you have a gun? Is it loaded? Is it locked up somewhere? Can you get to it in time? Do you know how to use it safely and properly? Yes, you need to call 911, but after all, when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

Recently in North Carolina, an eleven year old girl retreated into an upstairs closet when she heard two men breaking into her home. She dialed 911, but when the two bad guys forced open the closet door, they found themselves staring down the bad end of a 12 gauge shotgun! The brave criminals fled the home and were arrested a short time later.

Out west, a 14 year old young man followed the plan his parents had taught him. When two thugs broke in the front door in broad daylight, the 14 year old took his 6 year old brother and retreated to a closet. In the closet were a 22 caliber rifle and a cell phone. Same as above, when the thugs opened the closet door and saw the rifle, they fled like scared rabbits.

These stories never seem to get published in the mainstream media. I find them at www.Gunsamerica.com

After reading advice from numerous sources. I have come up with my own more realistic steps to take. I know the last thing this old sheepdog is going to do is curl up in a corner and wait to die.

1. Escape if you can. Go! Get out of there, even if others are frozen in place. Leave all your belongings BEHIND! I saw a video of a shooter in a school board meeting in Northwest Florida. When the shooter came in waving his gun around and announced his intentions to open fire, people in the audience spent time gathering up their coats and purses before getting out! Help others escape if they will cooperate. Warning: some people will freeze in fear. There is not a whole lot you can do unless you start dragging or carrying them. That’s a negative, UNLESS they are family.

2. Once you are safe, stop others from unknowingly walking into a deadly situation.

3. Call 911 as soon as possible. While you are waiting for 911 to answer, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Most 911 operators will answer by saying, “911, what is your emergency, fire or police?” When stressed, most people will talk way too fast and too loud. Talk in short concise sentences, such as, “There is a shooting at University Plaza.” Take a breath. “I saw three of them at the main entrance.” Take a breath. “All are wearing black, with long guns.” Take a deep breath and wait patiently for the operator to ask questions. Waiting five or ten seconds, while she is typing, will feel like forever. If the 911 operator tells you to stay on the phone, cooperate with her if safe to do so. Yes, give your name. The last thing responding officers want to hear is, “The caller refused his name and hung up.”

4. If you cannot escape, try to hide out of the shooter’s view. Barricade the doors with anything heavy you can find. Get behind heavy furniture, such as desks or file cabinets. If possible, keep an escape route open. Use bathrooms as a last resort; you could get trapped. Lock the doors. Wrapping a belt or pants leg around the door closer might slow down someone trying to force their way in. Sometimes janitors will leave a wooden or rubber door stopper; jamb it under your side of the door. Many restrooms will have a janitor’s closet. Look for objects to barricade the door.

5. If none of the above will work due to time or situation, FIGHT! Attempt to disable the shooter. Get mad and defend yourself! What do you have to lose?

6. In a restroom, use toilet tank lids or toilet seats, metal trash cans or mirrors as improvised weapons. You might find good weapons stored in the janitor’s closet, such as mop handles or a heavy bucket. You might find cleaning chemicals to throw into the bad guy’s face. In office areas, use fire extinguishers, chairs, lamps, broken glass from a picture frame, or mirror, heavy vase, broken furniture, scissors or glass ashtray. Spray the bad guy with the fire extinguisher, and then hit him in the face with it. Use hot coffee, full soda cans, hair spray, bug spray, anything heavy; hit him and hit him hard. Don’t stop hitting him until he is unconscious. Your life depends on it.

7. If you have a gun, use it! If you don’t know how, get trained! Just in the last few days I have heard, on national news broadcasts, numerous sheriffs and police chiefs advising citizens to arm themselves. GET TRAINED, by me or some qualified trainer. Get trained beyond just knowing how to shoot a gun. Get trained on knowing when to shoot and when NOT to shoot.

8. If you are evacuating from a crowded theater, church or mall, get away from the center of the hallway. Get next to the wall. You do NOT want to get caught up in the rushing mob of terrified people who might care less if you get trampled. Next to a wall, you will be able to use the wall for support if you get shoved or knocked down. Walls have windows and doors. You might find an escape route. Malls have numerous stores, often with “back doors” that you can escape through. You do NOT want to get caught up in a mob of dozens or even hundreds of people all trying to escape out the same door. Grab hold of small children and carry them if possible. If children are too big to carry, grab the child’s belt rather than trying to hold onto their arm. The same with adults. Grab each of your family members by the belt and hold on for dear life.

There has been a lot in the news lately about the police “mistreating” people at traffic stops. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here. Readers of Athens Now are most likely already well informed about how to behave around police officers. I hope the readers might pass this article on to their teens before they get behind the wheel for the first time.

Imagine if you were a police officer, and you spotted a car load of teenagers driving in heavy traffic on a Friday evening. The car was speeding up and slowing down, then it would get real close to the car in front, then all of a sudden swerve over and pass, only to do the same thing again to the next car it came up behind. You, as a police officer could see at least six occupants, they all seemed to be laughing and having a great time. Before you activate the blue lights, your mind flashes back to the two mangled bodies of teens that were thrown out of their Mercedes Benz as it left the road at over 100mph. You remember the look on the faces of the mom and dad when they came to the scene of the wreck. That was just last night. This is tonight, and maybe you can prevent such a terrible tragedy from being repeated.

When you “light them up” with the blues and hit the yelper and few times, the driver decides to pretend it’s not him you’re pulling over. He keeps on going but his driving behavior improves dramatically. You flip on the loud speaker and call out to him, “You in the red Mustang: pull over to the right, pull into that parking lot.” The driver looks over his left shoulder with a look on his face, “You don’t mean me, do you?” You want to shout over the loud speaker, “Yes you, pimple face,” but you maintain your professional demeanor, and instead repeat the first command, “Pull over to your right, pull into the parking lot.”

The driver complies and you call in on the radio, giving the dispatcher your location and description of the car as well as its tag number. You also inform the dispatcher that the vehicle is occupied six times. You have parked your patrol car about a car length behind the red Mustang, at about a 45 degree angle. This provides you cover behind your car’s fender, if needed. The driver is expecting you to come to his driver’s side. Instead you approach from the passenger side. All the kids are looking to their left. You are on their right, observing what they are doing. The teens all jump with surprise as you say, “Driver, I need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance”.

These teens look to be ok, they just came from a football game and they were all excited to have their school win. You don’t see any alcohol containers, you don’t smell any weed. Then it starts. One of the girls in the back seat, the one with the “Big Hair” starts in. “Hey officer, can I wear that cute hat?” Another girl chimes in with, “Have you ever shot anybody? You’re not going to shoot us, are you?” The driver is trying to find his license while the teen closest to you suddenly opens the door right into your legs. He jumps back into the car, saying he is sorry and then states, “This is my dad’s car, he is a lawyer; as a matter of fact, my dad is a judge in this county.” The judge’s kid pops open the glove box and starts sifting through a pile of papers and receipts. The driver still has not found his license.

OK, back to reality. Can you see all the times that you would have been in danger? From the beginning, they did not pull over right away. The overcrowded car where you couldn’t see what everybody was doing with their hands. The girls were acting silly with their questions, distracting you. The driver is still trying to find his license. The passenger suddenly opening the car door into your legs, then popping open the glove box. Could there be a gun in the glove box? Could this be a stolen car? Could these teens have acted differently?

When you see the blue lights come on, pull over when it’s safe to do so. Get out of traffic if possible, but do not keep driving! Even if you are sure you did nothing wrong, pull over!

Driver and passengers, stay in the car unless the officer tells you to get out. Everybody keep your hands in your lap and keep your mouth shut unless you are directly spoken to. Driver, if you need to get your papers out of the glove box or console, tell the officer what you are doing. If you are wrong, admit it! Just say something like, “Gee, we’re all taking and laughing, I should have been paying attention to my driving.” Now, I am sure a lawyer might tell you not to say anything, but that kind of honesty will more than likely get you off with a warning, as long as everything else is in order.
By: Paul Foreman

In the last issue of Foreman’s Forum, I described a scenario where you needed to make a decision on whether or not to use deadly force. If you have not read part one, find a copy of Athens Now, or go to www.athensnowal.com and click on Foreman’s Forum.

There is lot going on in the scenario that leads up to the time when you need to make the decision to use deadly force. There are the loud voices, which sound angry and threatening. The fact that you witness the violent actions of an angry man, also contribute to fear that your safety is threatened. When the man is yelling angrily at you, you have even more concern for your well-being. Finally, when he begins crashing against your front door and actually begins to make forceful entry, you are now in great fear of bodily harm or death.

All of the above events are going to be critical evidence as to your state of mind and are part of what investigators or a jury will use as a basis for their decision as to whether or not deadly force is justified.

Many people, myself included, would very quickly come to the conclusion to shoot when a violent assailant is coming through the front door. But, maybe, there are other options. While you certainly have the right to defend yourself and your loved ones, retreat may be the best option.

Many things come to mind when making the decision to fight or flee. If you are alone and concerned only for your own safety, your actions will be different than if your loved ones, such as your spouse or children, are in danger. Can you retreat and also get them to safety? Getting them rounded up and escaping out the back door on a moment’s notice might not be so easy. Will they cooperate or begin asking tons of questions about what is happening? Do they know what just transpired with the angry man outside?

There may be a time when retreat is NOT the best action. There may not be sufficient time to retreat safely. In that case, a deadly threat must be met with deadly force. Taking a life, even when it is justified, is not like in the movies and on TV. In all my twenty-four years as a deputy sheriff, thank goodness I never had to take someone’s life. I have known deputies who did use justified deadly force. It is not something that is easily forgotten.

If at all possible, I must advise you to choose “retreat” as the best option when you are threatened. To run away from a threat is not something most men want to do. Most men think they would rather brag to their friends, “Hey, when that stupid jerk started kicking in my front door, I shot him so many times it took half his face off!” That is NOT something you want a jury to hear.

Either way, you must have a plan in place. Include your family in your planning and actually carry out a “fire drill,” so everyone knows what to do if threatened with a home invasion. You may need to assign older children to be responsible “guardians” of younger siblings. You will need to have a “safe” room inside, if that is your plan, or a place outside such as a neighbor’s home.

Just like in the last issue, dialing 911 as soon as possible is a top priority. Don’t hang up once the cops are on the way. Keep the line open and on speaker phone. If you have a shirt pocket put the cellphone or cordless phone there to free up your hands. If you are warning the attacker that you are armed, that recording over the phone will be to your advantage if you do have to shoot. After you have retreated to a safe room or are in a good position in which you can defend yourself, take some deep breaths and think about the firearms training you took as a student in one of my classes. If you can, barricade the door. Do that and take up a defensive position behind some heavy solid furniture. Let the 911 operator know what part of the house you are in and yes, tell them you are armed. Don’t open the door until the 911 operator tells you the officers have safely secured your home.
By: Paul Foreman

Check out my Web page www.PaulForeman.com
and Facebook! @ https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Foreman-NRA-Certified-Instructor-822151851204560/

The following scenario takes place from start to finish, in about two minutes. As the threat evolves, you need to have a plan in place about what to do.

Late one Sunday afternoon, you are sitting in your home watching TV when you hear some loud, angry voices outside your home. After a few moments, you get up and go to the window to see what is happening. You see a man standing in the street, shouting profanities at your neighbor across the street. You see a women standing on your neighbor’s front porch. She is yelling, “Please leave, just leave!” You do not recognize her or the stranger standing out in the street, but you assume she is the neighbor’s adult daughter.

Suddenly, the angry man charges up the sidewalk toward the women who turns and dashes into the house. The angry stranger slams his body against the door but does not gain entry. By now, another neighbor has come out of his home to see what the disturbance is all about. The angry stranger sees the neighbor and starts yelling profanities at him, saying, “This is none of your business! What are you looking at?” The angry stranger runs across the yard toward the neighbor, yelling more profanities. You can see some dark object in the stranger’s hand. Is it a knife or a gun, or is it just a cell phone?

The second neighbor turns and retreats into his home just as the stranger slams his body against that neighbor’s door. He slams into the door several times and also kicks at the door repeatedly. The angry stranger does not gain entry. He walks quickly back toward the street, and then sees you standing in your window staring at him. Now you are the target of his anger, and he starts running towards your home yelling profanities and threats. You turn and run into your kitchen where you dial 911.

As the 911 operator comes on the line, you realize how nervous you are. Your own voice sounds strange as you shout into the phone, “Send help fast! There is a crazy man threatening me and my neighbors!” The 911 operator seems to be asking useless questions. You are trying to answer her when there is a loud crashing sound coming from your front door. You scream into your phone, “He is trying to crash through my front door!”

You drop your phone onto the kitchen counter and run to your bedroom to retrieve your gun. Your hands are shaking as you check to make sure the gun is loaded. You realize you are out of breath and your heart is beating so hard it hurts. Back in the living room, you are horrified to see your front door has now got a fist-size hole in it and the angry man’s hand is reaching through trying to turn the inside door knob.

Crazy things seem to flash through your mind. Who is this guy? Why is he coming after me? Why is my front door so easy to bust down? Isn’t this mad stranger hurting his hand?

OK, stop the clock. What you do next may change your life and the results may last forever. So far, you are still safe but very scared. Some of you will come to the conclusion that you are in fear of great bodily harm or death, and deadly force is justified to stop the threat. Some of you may decide to simply retreat out your back door and get away from the danger. Some will decide to go out through the side door, flanking the attacker and taking the fight to him from behind, surprising him and stopping the threat with deadly force. That action may not be justified. Yes, many states are “castle doctrine,” aka “stand your ground states.” If you have retreated and are no longer in danger, is deadly force justified? What if there are other family members in your home – your spouse, your children or other people who could be in danger?

You must have a plan. You cannot wait till something like the horrible events described above are occurring and then devise a plan of defense. You need to consider each of the possible actions you might take and the results of those actions. Make the wrong choice and you could end up being charged with a homicide, or you could end up being the victim of a homicide. You must have a plan.

Everybody knows how to shoot a gun, right? Well, no, because I have a lot of folks call and tell me they have NEVER shot a gun before. Actually, those people who have no experience with guns are the easiest to teach. I believe this is true do to the fact they have no bad habits to overcome. I have also had quite a few students who were experienced with firearms, but they wisely felt that a professional trainer would be very valuable. Those students who had prior experience and training expressed to me the fact that they learned a lot during my class.

Of all the students I have taught, I only had two which had trouble with the basic skills needed to handle a firearm safely. It appeared to me that the fear of the loud noise was the main deterrent, along with the “kick” or recoil when they pulled the trigger. One student, I call her “Nine Inch Nails” had a great deal of difficulty because along with the extra long bright blue finger nails, she would recoil with fear even before she pulled the trigger. The gun was too small and light weight for what she needed. I offered a free follow-up training another day, as it was beginning to rain after about an hour and a half of time spent with just her. She was moving out of town the following week and was unable to accept my offer of additional training.

I certainly do not tell about the above difficulties to discourage anyone, but getting a special nail job the day before you take the pistol class will definitely create problems with the proper handling of your gun. My number one goal is that each student would leave my class with a solid basic understanding of handling their gun SAFELY and properly, along with a full understanding of self defense laws.

When my students call or e-mail to ask about my Basic Pistol Training and Basic Self Defense Class, we usually discuss everything from the selection of various guns and ammo to what purpose the gun is being used for. Many of those who call are interested in concealed carry. Others do not plan to carry their gun on their person, but plan to keep the gun in their home for self defense.

I have had numerous students, including many ladies, who did very well with the small “Mouse” guns, as I like to call them. Small guns such as the Ruger LCR series and others are great concealed carry guns. But, for some, the small size and light weight, causes the user to feel more “kick,” or recoil. Everything else being equal, such as the caliber (size) of the bullet, the small light weight gun will kick a lot more than the same bullet shot out of a larger heavier gun. The smaller gun is a lot easier to carry concealed than a larger gun.

Ok, so you know how to shoot a gun. You can stand in front of a target and hit within a nine inch round area most, if not all the time. I’ll bet that paper target has NEVER shot back, has it? Back in the ‘70s when I was first a Deputy Sheriff, we would all go to the gun range every six months to qualify. We had to hit the target forty out of fifty shots at various distances from 25 yards to 3 yards.Back in the day, we trained out in the open, standing and shooting with no cover or tactical defense.

Later into the ‘90s we finally got some realistic training such as shooting from behind cover and various positions. We even trained shooting from inside our patrol cars. I will let you in on a little secret: Statistics show most gun fights are THREE yards or closer, and the shooter never had time to aim. Another scary fact: a bad guy with a knife, running toward you from 21 feet away can stab you before you even draw your gun. How about shooting from inside your car? Can you produce your gun and defend yourself while seated inside your car with a seat belt on?

If your gun jams, can you clear the jam or malfunction and stay fighting within a few seconds? How about that little five shot snub nose, can you reload it fast enough to save your own life or that of a loved one?
By: Paul Foreman
NRA recruiter, former Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy

In 2016, law enforcement officers found themselves the target of assassins who attacked and ambushed police at previously unseen levels. During this past year, 135 officers died on the job, with 64 dying by gunshot. Two hundred seventy six police officers were shot. That averages out to an officer shot 3 out of every 4 days, and 1.19 officers killed per week. The previous year was almost as bad.

Last year, I was talking on the phone to my granddaughter who lives in Georgia. She was 9 years old at the time, and she knew I was teaching gun safety and self defense classes. At that time, the media was really hitting heavy with the anti-cop propaganda. There were headlines such as “Cops gun down 16 year old boy.” Or, “Cops kill another unarmed teenage youth.” As if the television news isn’t bad enough, schools around the country were teaching the students to be afraid of the police. I read about one elementary school which had given out an assignment in art class. The students were instructed to draw pictures about how they felt about cops killing people.

Then my own granddaughter hit me in the face with a brick. “Papa,” she said, “Please teach the police to stop killing people.” Those who believe that cops are just begging for a chance to kill someone are living in a self induced fantasy of media and lies. People need to start realizing that at every single encounter police have with citizens, a GUN is involved. Yep, at least one gun is present every single time officers come in contact with citizens.

Back in the day, when I was a new officer, the number one weapon used to murder law enforcement officers was the officer’s own gun. During the ‘90s, we began using some very well engineered holsters that helped keep our guns from being snatched away during close encounters.

This is just one of the reasons attitudes toward law enforcement need to change — and that change begins at home, facilitated by parents. It also needs to be taught in our public schools! Here in Northern Alabama, especially in the city of Athens and Limestone County, we have two very fine law enforcement agencies. Chief Johnson and Sheriff Blakely do a superb job, and both have officers in the public schools throughout Athens and Limestone County. One of the local papers showed pictures of Athens Police giving out Christmas gifts to children.

Mom and Dad, this message is for YOU. Have you contributed to the disrespect and loathing your child or teenager has for the police and sheriff deputies? What do you say to your sons and daughters when you pass an officer who has pulled someone over? What do you say when YOU get pulled over? What do you say to your sons or daughters when you see a news story on TV about an officer involved shooting?

This past year, men and women have been wounded and killed in the line of duty just because they wear a uniform. That is frightening. I will admit there are a few bad apples out there. BUT, they are really few and far between. I believe this “war on police” has also made many men & women question whether or not they want to be police officers. Officers have found themselves repeatedly vilified in the media. This anti-police attitude in the media, and in the highest levels of some elected officials, has caused a serious shortage of police applicants in many large cities. Who would want to sign up for a police officer’s job in an area like Ferguson or Baltimore?

In Washington, some sick elected officials put up some despicable painting they call “art,” which depicts police officers resembling pigs. What message does that send to our children?

To emphasize again, this past year, 135 officers died on the job and 276 police officers were shot and 64 gave the ultimate sacrifice. Who would you take a bullet for a total stranger?

As I can attest, there are many rewarding things about doing law enforcement work. But, there is something chilling that runs through your mind, as well as that of your family, when they see you strap on the ballistic armor and walk out the door. Will tonight be the night an officer does not come home? Cops will not be safe on America’s streets in 2017 if current attitudes prevail.

Who would you die for today? John 15:13
By: Paul Foreman

Not all handguns are equal; not by a long shot (pun intended).

Yes, I know that some of us cannot afford to buy the best, highest quality gun out there. How much is it really going to cost you, when you need to defend yourself and your cheap gun fails?

I’ve had a few of my students bring a gun to my class, that was just NOT up to safe gun standards. Some revolvers I’ve seen in my class that are so cheap, the cylinder did not line up with the gun’s bore. This defect causes problems, such as misfires, or results in lead shavings being propelled out to the side, actually striking anybody (such as me) standing nearby.

Some semi-auto pistols have been brought to my class that are so poorly designed, they have rough, sharp edges that dig into the users hand, or the “safety” is so small and rough that it is very hard to engage or disengage. A safety that is hard to use is NOT safe! At today’s prices, the $400 price range and up is what you need to spend on a well made, reliable handgun.

Low-cost handguns are, in our experience, poorly manufactured, designed and/or made of cheap metal. They are also generally unreliable and unable to endure sustained use. Such cheap firearms often have very poor triggers and/or safety levers and other features, making these guns difficult to use and shoot accurately. A heavy trigger pull found on cheap guns can make shooting accurately almost impossible.

If you have questions about a gun you are considering for purchase, please call me FIRST!

Too often we have seen students bring low-cost handguns to class and then struggle with the guns and endure unnecessary and preventable difficulties during the live fire training. These situations often lead to the entire class being delayed, while the student and/or the instructor devotes precious time and effort dealing with a poorly made, unreliable, unsafe, difficult to use and overly bothersome low-cost handgun.

A low-cost gun might be better than no gun at all when a gun is needed to defend your life. If I need a gun to defend myself, I do not like the idea that it “MIGHT” go bang when I pull the trigger. However, to train and practice seriously a quality gun is required. If you want the training we provide but do not have a suitable handgun, let us know. We can usually provide (rent) a suitable handgun for the live fire portion of the training. We suggest that if you value your life – the only life you have – and want to learn to use a handgun for self protection, please save your money as quickly as you can and purchase a quality, well made handgun.

I have had ladies call me and say they want a small light weight gun so it doesn’t kick. WRONG! Small guns of the same caliber will kick more!

A few words about handgun calibers. Not all handgun calibers are equal. The smallest gun/caliber we will recommend in our training is the .380 ACP. We strongly recommend .38 Special and 9mm as a minimum caliber, but if you insist, you may complete our courses with a .380. Shooting their 380, my students could not tell the difference when I let them try my 9mm.

Calibers larger and more powerful than .45 ACP are generally not acceptable for use in self defense training. Larger, powerful calibers can be difficult to shoot for a number of reasons and are best used for hunting or other recreational shooting, not personal defense.

The use of reloaded ammunition is not allowed in my training. Use of reloaded ammunition can, and in our experience, usually does result in malfunctions and delays.

If you use reloaded ammunition, you are probably not only voiding the factory warranty for your gun, but you are increasing the chance of an ammunition mishap of some kind.

Full metal jacket ammunition is REQUIRED for training and target practice. Solid lead bullets do not perform as well, make a dirty mess of your gun and will adversely affect how your gun functions during this type of training.

My advise is to stick with “name brand” ammunition. There is one brand in the stores right now that is manufactured in and owned by the government of Russia. Do you really want to support the Russian government?

Please get trained properly so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Have a SAFE and Happy New Year!
By: Paul Foreman