Pulled in to the driveway at 2 AM after not having slept in my own bed since the night before Easter. It was a coast to coast run: got my segments for the next season of Personal Defense TV filmed in California, taught a couple of 40-hour armed citizen classes, was in Houston for the whole three days of the annual NRA conference, and spent a week in Chicagoland for the annual conference of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.
This month marks 39 years for me as a part-time but fully sworn police officer. (Doing it part-time staves off burnout.) I was an armed citizen before they pinned my first badge on me, and will be one after I leave The Job, and with one foot in each world I think I may have a pretty good handle on how the two actually interrelate.
At ILEETA, I was attending a course on interdicting active mass-murderers when it was announced that the universal background check bill sank in the Senate, and witnessed the audience of police instructors burst out in spontaneous applause. At the NRA annual meeting, I saw countless cops – many in uniform – on the floor in the conference center interacting with the gun enthusiasts. Across the street, where a relatively miniscule group of anti-gunners had gathered to protest, the cops seemed to keep their distance from those folks. NRA had a strong presence at the vendor expo at ILEETA, and one of the training presentations focused on a police department which provided NRA-based training to their community, with the tuition going toward the department’s own officer training budget. The “Brady Bunch” was, as usual, notable by its absence there. Oh, and the PDTV filming? We did the live fire segments on a police department tactical shooting range, thank you very much.
The ammunition shortage, caused by panic buying which was in turn triggered by a White House- and media-driven full court press for meaningless gun legislation, has had a profoundly negative impact on police firearms training as well as on law-abiding citizens who own guns. Yes, there is much in common between our armed citizens and our cops, both of whom realize at a boots-on-the-ground level that the problem are criminals, not guns.
Now I’m home, in a community where both the Chief of Police and the County Sheriff recently stated on the front page of the local paper that they’re four-square behind armed citizens and against meaningless “gun control” legislation. I for one find that reassuring.