Massad Ayoob teaches his popular concealed carry courses around the country. This class was held in Southern Wisconsin.
Massad Ayoob teaches his popular concealed carry courses around the country. This training class was held in Southeastern Wisconsin.

No one doubts the value of good concealed carry training for the armed citizen. But can the fact that you got such training actually be used against you in court?

Because it is likely that all your training will be inspected, dissected and re-arranged by the prosecution to make you look like a cold-hearted killer, you need to take a hard look at the type of training you’ve received.

Gun Digest editor Corrina Peterson (right) with author and self-defense trainer Massad Ayoob.
Gun Digest editor Corrina Peterson (right) with author and self-defense trainer Massad Ayoob.

In Larry Hickey’s trial, which I mentioned in Part I, Pima County Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Nicolini played heavily on that theme. Nicolini highlighted spetsnaz sniper and advanced combat skills training the defendant had taken as an indication that he was a trained gun-nut with a combat mindset.

Nicolini alleged that Hickey’s mindset was such that, “he is being attacked by people who are out to kill him … He has been shown this Constable Lunsford video, where a cop confronting criminals with drugs is overwhelmed, and extrapolates that to a conclusion where he is arguing with his neighbors and saying that his response is reasonable.

“He has been taught to be decisive, aggressive, ruthless, and to use surprise when he is in a confrontational situation. He has been taught to carry a gun, and he has been taught in these courses, be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone that you meet. So is it any wonder on the evening of November 17th, when he was confronted in an argument with his neighbors, which turned into a physical confrontation, that his response from this mindset of his, fighting mindset that he has been taught, is pull a gun and shoot those neighbors?” Nicolini said.

Countering the Attack

To counter Nicolini’s theories, the defense brought in two of the defendant’s instructors and both testified in court. One was Brian Kowalski, a sergeant with the Tucson Police Department, the very same police department that had investigated the incident.

He was the instructor who taught the defendant’s concealed pistol certification course, in which he discussed the use of force. The fact that a sergeant with the Tucson Police Department testified on the defendant’s behalf went a long way to mitigate Prosecutor Nicolini’s theory that he was a gun nut.

Also check out, Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense. This guide, by Massad Ayoob, will help you understand the legal and ethical issues concerning the use of lethal force by armed citizens.
Also check out, Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense. This guide, by Massad Ayoob, will help you understand the legal and ethical issues concerning the use of lethal force by armed citizens.

If you take advanced handgun training, make sure your instructors are willing to testify in court on your behalf, to explain what they taught and why they taught you what they did. This concern is not an excuse to skip training! It is, rather, a full disclosure of the importance of legitimate, serious self-defense preparation undertaken prior to needing to act in self-defense.

Professionals Train. You Should, Too!

Consider any profession that is held in high regard by the general public: medicine, the law, accounting and even law enforcement. All demand that in order to work in these professions, people undergo both initial training and continuing education. While armed citizens carrying guns in public for self defense are not required to participate in yearly training, if you have done so anyway, it certainly is a strong argument in court to prove that by committing your own time and spending your own money to continue to train, you take your responsibilities to society as seriously as other professionals.

Couple live-fire training with decision-making training through force-on-force exercises, and you will be able to make a very good argument in court if the necessity arises, that your level of training is similar to the local cops who protect the same community from which the members of the jury hail.

It’s also a good reason to participate in IPSC and IDPA competitive shooting as a way to keep your skills sharp. The better the shooter, the less likely that shooter is going to endanger innocent bystanders.

Click here to read Part I. In Part III, Marty Hayes delves into the risks and rewards of marksmanship training in concealed carry and the necessity of the armed citizen to join an organization like the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.


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