SL City Weekly Editorial: the Trolley Effect [Archive] - Glock Talk


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03-07-2007, 18:34
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The Trolley Effect
A former SWAT officer worries more Utahns with concealed weapons won’t bring safer streets.

by Stephen Dark

Fair Warning Concealed Firearm Training Institute owner Clark Aposhian went to Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) last week to hand in 60 concealed-weapon permit applications. They were from students who took his class on carrying a concealed firearm.

The Trolley Square shooting has swollen demand for such permits. “People felt helpless; they wanted to engage the shooter,” Aposhian says about the mall tragedy. “They wanted to find something to throw at him. People can’t come to grips with hiding.”

Those 60 applications are arguably a drop in the ocean of people lining up to arm themselves. Aposhian, also chair of the Utah Concealed Weapons Permit Board, says inquiries about his classes have jumped fivefold in the last three weeks. One local company president offered to pay the $50 class fee for any of his 70 employees who wanted to study with Aposhian. So far 50 people, including employee spouses, have signed up.

When Aposhian inquired at BCI about increases in the number of permit applications post-Trolley, he was told in the last two weeks they were receiving up to 300 a day. Before the shootings, that number was between 150 and 180, many of which were from out of state. The mall shooting, Aposhian says, is clearly behind the jump.

But that climb in permit applications has some firearms experts worried.

Dave Acosta got his concealed weapon permit a month ago. He carries his 40-caliber Glock 22 everywhere he goes. “I feel obligated to [carry it for] my family,” he says.

The ex-SWAT officer turned police-training advocate and security business owner, favors citizens carrying weapons. Yet, he says, “I’m scared for everyone else that’s carrying.”

That fear, he says, comes from his concern about permit-holders’ potential lack of training. “I don’t have a problem with people carrying,” he says. “But if they’re not getting professional training at ranges, that’s a problem.”

The BCI requires that people wanting a concealed-weapon permit earn a weapons-familiarity certificate. This means taking a class with Aposhian or any other BCI-certified instructor. Aposhian takes his students through Utah’s gun laws and firearm handling. But Utah law doesn’t require time spent at a shooting range. In other words, you can attend the course and, if you pass the background check, within several months walk the streets packing.

Founder and owner of Range Masters of Utah in Springville Mike Stillwell, who gives permit classes, puts it another way: “You could be the world’s worst shot, and I couldn’t fail you,” he says.

What really concerns Acosta are bystanders. While he acknowledges that state-certified instructors are top-notch, “still, a six-to-eight hour course [on gun law and use] and a great instructor doesn’t mean diddly-squat” when you’re ducking bullets and trying to return fire.

“When you’re exchanging gunfire, an untrained person doesn’t see all the people huddled in [the shooter’s] backdrop,” he says. “There’s nothing more dangerous than inaccurate fire.”

Even if permit-holders receive training, Acosta is convinced they must practice constantly. “It’s a perishable skill,” he says. “At least shoot 200 rounds a month to be confident and have a better idea of your abilities.”

This issue came up before the Legislature three years ago, Stillwell says. He’d just invested $1 million in his range. “I was tickled pink,” he says. Politicians, however, argued there weren’t sufficient ranges in the state for the demand created by mandatory shooting-range classes and the issue died.

Stillwell has also received double the normal number of calls about permit classes since the shootings. Not that the shootings changed people’s minds, he said. Rather, it forced fence-sitters to make a decision. “Maybe it’s time to look at [shooting practice],” he says, adding a permit “doesn’t invest you in any special privileges,” other than to carry a loaded weapon in public.

“I’m not saying don’t [get the permit],” Acosta says. “Just get yourself trained. Someone with a gun and no experience whatsoever is a danger to the rest of us.”

Acosta and Aposhian agree that concealed weapon permits aren’t for purposes of confrontation. Rather, they serve to protect family members and engage a shooter only if there’s no other recourse.

“Backed into a corner and it’s you or him, it had better be him,” Acosta says. “But the point is to avoid the fight. The trick to surviving is to not be in the fight at all.”

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03-07-2007, 22:46
I don't have a problem with it.

Acosta states he's all for CCW permits being issued at higher number, he's not against a citizens RKBA. His problem lies in the CCW holders not getting further education.

Some CCWers also have the false idea that the permit allows them to act like a cop when a cop isn't around. I know because I work with a guy that thinks that. The best part is that he took the CCW class with me.

Doctors, tax preparers, etc all need continuing education. I wouldn't go to one if they didn't get the education. I'm a CCW'er and don't see myself as knowing all there is to know now that I have my permit.

Like has been said: When the day comes to use your weapon you will NEVER rise the occasion, you will only FALL back to your training.

Also: Learners inherit the future, the Learned merely cling to days past. NEVER stop learning.

03-08-2007, 01:56
This topic/article was discussed in carry issues earlier.

I'll state my view/thoughts that I basically made known in that thread.

Although a person is certainly well advised to get training with their firearm... If nothing else, know the rules of handling firearms in a safe manner and practice shooting at a range... but it shouldn't be REQUIRED.

With that said, people should be allowed to CCW. I don't even believe a permit should be necessary, and I don't believe there should be ANY restrictions on where you can carry.

You guys might wanna browse that thread in carry issues. It was an interesting discussion.

03-08-2007, 06:04
Carry issues is a forum I don't particularly like visiting. It gets my blood up.

I also agree that no permit should be required to CCW. In fact, if the .gov revoked all ccws today, it wouldn't stop me from exercising my natural right to defend life, liberty, and property.

I believe it is the responsibility of every man to maintain proficiency at arms. The state cannot moraly legislate than responsibility (nor, as a corolary, remove said obligation). I think the author, and Mr. Acosta, use fear to promote their agenda, further restrictions upon the carrying of arms, either through legislation requiring training, or pure guilt (either would benefit Mr. Acosta, and similarly minded instructors).

03-08-2007, 11:23
Originally posted by thetoastmaster
I believe it is the responsibility of every man to maintain proficiency at arms.


It astounds me that so many men shirk this responsibility. I don't want to see required training for concealed carry, I want to see a movement back to the nation of riflemen we used to be.

03-08-2007, 17:48
With every round of elections, and every generation, it's only going to get worse; we're becoming a nation of soft, politically correct wussies.

Teach ... your children well.

03-08-2007, 18:44
Originally posted by reerc
With every round of elections, and every generation, it's only going to get worse; we're becoming a nation of soft, politically correct wussies.

Teach ... your children well.

I agree... but...


I make it a point to welcome family, friends, and aquaintances to shoot and learn about firearms anytime I get the chance. It's all about education. People with education (and the slightest amount of common sense) on the subject seem to embrace gun ownership.