"There are a few people who think that if you have a gun you don't have to take guff from anybody. In fact, if you have a gun, you have to take guff from everybody."
Words of honesty and wisdom from renowned self-defense law expert, Andrew Branca, and this is my instructor Dave Beatty. Beatty is a certified instructor with the Nebraska State Patrol for the required 8-hour handgun training and safety course. 4 hours in the classroom and 4 hours on the range.
Conflict resolution is stressed from the very beginning. What many opponents of conceal carry permits might not see is that those with those permits don't want to have to use their gun. All permit holders are taught to try to resolve the issue by telling the other party they don't want any trouble and trying to leave the situation they are in.
Every armed person needs to know the 4 firearm safety rules:
1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded until you personally confirm they are not.
2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
4. Know your target. What's in front, behind, and around it.
Part of the range training involved "dry fire" drills, including drawing from and without concealment, and dry fire drawing and trigger manipulation. Also, shoot/don't shoot scenarios were looked at, using recent events in the media - both at the range and in the classroom.
Beatty says, "If you're ever in a situation where you have to defend yourself with your gun, and your gun is out when police arrive, you need to expect to be treated like the bad guy for awhile."
And knowing where you can carry is vital. In Nebraska, the list of places off-limits when carrying is long. Also, if you are heading out on the road, you need to know which states you can carry in.
Finally, both portions end with a test as required and prepared by the Nebraska State Patrol. The 30-question classroom test, and the shooting range test. 6 rounds from 1 yard with one draw from concealment, 12 rounds from 3 yards with a total of 4 draws from concealment, 6 rounds from 5 yards with one draw from concealment, and 6 rounds from 7 yards with one draw from concealment.
The final step in actually applying for the permit at the Criminal Identification Office (fingerprinted, photographed, pay the $100 permit cost), becoming one of the almost 35,000 Nebraskans with a permit to carry concealed.
I can't stress enough the importance of proper training and regular practice. And know our state's laws. As with all things, knowledge is power.
A final note - I estimate that the total spent to obtain my conceal carry permit was between $300 and $350. That includes the cost of the class, the permit, and things like eye and ear protection, a holster, and ammunition. It does not include the cost of a gun.