Is Gun Control & Unfamiliarity With Guns Making Us Safer?

By Kevin Creighton

Police Firearms Training
Is Gun Control & Unfamiliarity With Guns Making Us Safer?
Team Gun Blogger
Team Gun Blogger

USA –-( Why is it that the police forces of cities which pride themselves in disarming their citizenry seem to have problems delivering the shot when needed?

Handguns were banned in D.C. for an entire generation, and despite recent changes, it’s still a steep uphill climb if you want to own a gun in our nation’s capitol.

Has that lack of  gun culture in D.C. and other “gun-free” zones affected the quality of their police forces?

Recent events seem to indicate that’s so.

For example, just last week, the Secret Service and Capitol police riddled the Miriam Carey’s car with 26 rounds, despite the fact she was unarmed.

“There are definitely some major questions here,” said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of law at John Jay College, who has studied the issue of the use of deadly force. Among the key ones, he said, were what threat the officers believed Carey posed at the time they fired the shots and whether they were influenced by police radio transmissions reporting that there were “shots fired,” causing them to conclude – wrongly, as it turned out — that Carey was armed and dangerous.

The Secret Service confirmed Friday that the driver's car struck at least one Secret Service car during the pursuit, before being cornered near Garfield Circle and the Capitol Reflecting Pool a few minutes later. Video shot by the U.S.-funded Alhurra news network shows six officers with guns drawn approached the stopped car and attempted to order the driver from the vehicle. Carey responded by whipping the car around, scattering the officers.

I, by the grace of God, am not a lawyer, but there is precedent to show that ramming your car into someone is considered deadly force, and therefore can be stopped with deadly force.

But 26 shots?

And it’s not like this is an isolated incident. We’re seeing a trend of over-reaction and ill-advised police shootings in all manner of “gun-free” locales.

Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

The officers unloaded 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gun battle with police, authorities said.

Three passersby sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.

2 women hurt during L.A. manhunt to receive $4.2 Million

Los Angeles will pay two women $4.2 million for wounds suffered when police mistakenly shot up their truck during the February manhunt for former officer Christopher Dorner, who went on a revenge-fueled killing spree before dying in a Southern California mountain cabin.

Margie Carranza, 47, was shot twice in the back and her 71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, was cut by broken glass when seven LAPD officers fired at least 100 rounds into their blue Toyota Tacoma pickup as they delivered papers before dawn Feb. 7.

Police wound 2 bystanders in shooting near Times Square

Two officers fired three shots before the unarmed man was brought down with a Taser, the NYPD said. He has been charged with menacing, obstructing governmental administration, riot, criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, the NYPD said in a statement issued Sunday morning. Those charges may change once he goes to court, however.

A 54-year-old woman was shot in the knee and a 37-year-old was grazed in the buttocks, police said.

It’s difficult to imagine that police recruits in cities such as Chicago, New York and D.C. who have never touched a gun until their first day on the training range can step up and deliver the shot when needed.

There’s a common saying in the firearms training community that in a gun battle, “you won’t rise to the occasion, but sink to you lowest level of training”. If the police in Los Angeles are trained to a standard that 91% of the civilians” at a USPSA match can pass, what does this say for the quality of LAPD who have never touched a gun before they joined the force?

I’m positive there are officers on the LAPD and other police departments who are well-trained marksmen, because I’ve shot with such people at the Area 2 USPSA championship and elsewhere. I just can’t imagine that 30+ years of trying to remove guns from the hands of potential police recruits can have a positive effect on the quality of those recruits.

This isn’t the first time in our nation’s history that a lack of a trained, experienced civilians has affected the safety of the public at large. The National Rifle Association was founded because the accuracy of Union riflemen in the Civil War stunk due to an unfamiliarity with firearms. Are we now seeing that same lack of firearms culture affect the police forces of cities like New York, D.C. and Los Angeles?

For our safety, I sincerely hope not. However, if we want our police to be better shots, they need to start training with firearms before they join the police force.

 About Kevin Creighton
Kevin Creighton is a passionate shooter who competes regularly in USPSA, IDPA and 3 gun matches and is also an NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor and Personal Defense Instructor. In addition to his home blog Misfires and Light Strikes (, he has written articles on personal self-defense and gun culture for TeamGunblogger ( Shoooting Illustrated,, the Personal Defense Network and

About Teamgunblogger ( was formed in 2011 by Jaci Jaynes, Kevin Creighton and Robert Messenger as a way to help introduce new gun owners to daily carry, competitive practical shooting, firearms training, and regular shooting practice. You can reach them at or at [email protected]

  • 7 thoughts on “Is Gun Control & Unfamiliarity With Guns Making Us Safer?

    1. Kevin, good article. A law enforcement officer is a volunteer that should come to the table prepared – experienced with firearms.

      Maluka & Becker, both make valid points.

      Kevin, Maluka & Becker, this is why more often than not the best riflemen on the battlefield were the farm boys and hunters – they had experience.

    2. The rights of gun owners are protected by our Constitution and shall not be infringed.
      Even if you are….
      a terrorist,
      a felon,
      mentally insane,
      totally blind or
      a 4 year old child
      …as long as you are an American YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN AND FIRE A WEAPON.
      Citizenship and gun ownership are inextricably intertwined and protected by the Constitution.
      In fact, the Constitution does not limit Americans to owning just “Guns”.
      Anything that can be considered “arms” is protected under the Constitution.
      So government attempts to ban public ownership of
      machine guns,
      automatic weapons,
      stinger missiles,
      sawed off shotguns,
      pipe bombs,
      nuclear weapons,
      biological weapons,
      chemical weapons
      ….are all a violation of the Second Amendment.

    3. The top and bottom line is, if you don’t grow up hunting you will never make a real cop and the same is true of soldiering. You can’t get the instinct shooting at paper and have never learned to stalk a thing in you life. The same is true of soldiers, not that a cop is in any way shape or form, a soldier, which they think they are. Soldiers who didn’t grow up hunting scared the hell out of me. They never had the killer instinct and could never get it. No matter how hard they tried, they could never catch up. What we need as cops are ex-soldiers and marines who grew up hunting from the time they could walk. We don’t hide when the guns go off, we go toward the gunfire. You can’t train that to someone if they don’t have the instinct and there is no use trying. They will always be a danger to themselves and others. Basically, they are cowards with guns. Very bad combination. Almost as dangerous as a gun grabber with a gun. They just don’t have a clue.

    4. One must remember that most law enforcement agencies have cut funding for practice ammunition for their departments. While many if not most require one yearly qualification shoots. The standard required to pass is not particularly high. If you want to have a highers standard of shooting by law enforcement then the departments will have to allocate funds for proficiency shooting training. Personally I believe every law enforcement officer should shoot the weapons he is likely to have to use, at least once a month. But try to get the funds out of the “bean counters” Lots of luck!

    5. The officers today are taught to shoot until the threat has been stopped. That is why officers shoot some many rounds. In addition the semi automatic duty weapons of today hold up to 19 rounds and once the first shot has been fired the mental energy generated causes the shooter keep firing until the threat is gone. When the duty weapons were 6 shot revolvers the officer knew that too many shots fired could result in their death while trying to reload. Even the best competition shooters require a few seconds to reload a revolver. That is time enough to die. Many officers have been killed or wounded while trying to reload their revolvers in the heat of “battle”. That act of reloading 6 bullets took up to 7 seconds. Time enough for the suspect to run at you and kill you.

      I refer to the problem of many rounds fired a “lack of fire control”. When returning fire in a “hot” situation your mind is running at the speed of light and your body plus your surroundings are in slow motion. Your reaction is not based on fear but on terminating the threat supported by training. The fear or realization of the fear experienced comes later. It is very difficult to stop firing until the suspect falls over or is out of range. You think that if a bullet hits him he will fall over as depicted in the movies but history and real life tells us different. If you recall the shooting in the religious center in the mid west the responding officer was shot more than 12 times and he continued to function and survived. In Los Angeles years ago an officer responding to a bank robbery exchanged shots with the suspects. He was shot within the first two shots and his shooting arm was hit in the lower part. The bullet cut the arm in two and severed the nerves and muscles. Even though he was totally disabled and dying he was able to shoot and kill the shooter within a second or two. The doctors explained that training and muscle memory directed his body to react in the way he was trained. So even as he fell dead in front of the bank he was able to kill his killer.

      The officers in the US mostly use weapons in either 9 MM or 40 Caliber. Some use 45 Caliber. The 9mm is a low recoil medium speed and light weight projectile. That caliber is issued to our military however our war fighters have discovered it always takes more than one shot to kill the enemy. Some war fighters have opted for 45’s which shoot a large bullet and although it moves slower it has a very good stopping power. The 40 Caliber is in between the two. Larger bullet than the 9 but not as big as the 45. It travels faster than both. Law enforcement ammunition has been developed by a couple of companies that penetrates more than most and still has very good stopping power. In a shooting the goal is to stop aggression NOW and the larger bullets do a better job. Just remember that if and when you are fighting for your life in a shooting situation the goal is to survive. If it takes shooting the bad guy 20 times to stop him then so be it. Be careful about finding fault when someone has shot to protect themselves, fellow officers, fellow soldiers or even family. Someone who has tried to do you harm can never be “too dead”.

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