The Mission of the Concealed Carry Law Blog

The mission of this Concealed Carry Law Blog is to bring scholarly knowledge, teaching and clinical observations, and real world experience to the issues of personal defense, gun rights, and gun ownership. Given my background as a clinical psychologist and certified police firearms instructor, I can speak to the psychological and social as well as the tactical components of these issues. My knowledge on these subjects derives from my experience training real people, and treating real people. As a certified police and civilian firearms instructor, I conduct firearms and concealed carry training classes to educate people who have the capacity to learn to be responsible. The purpose of these classes is to teach people what they need to know to save lives. As a board certified and licensed clinical psychologist, I do psychotherapy and psychological counseling with people who are wounded–physically, as well as psychologically and emotionally. 

I have always looked upon gun ownership and self defense as a right. However, I have continually taught my students that the right to keep and bear arms also brings with it awesome responsibility. We live in an increasingly chaotic, violent, fragmented and alienated society. Given that this is the age of the 24/7 news cycle as a result of the internet, cell phones, email, etc., we are continually bombarded with information, most of which are sound bites. These “sound bites” have somehow served to deepen the rifts between different groups of people with different world views. In addition, the instant access most of us have to live, real time videos of violence on the internet and on cable television, somehow has served to desensitize many “on the edge” people to committing acts of extreme violence.

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Privacy of Gun Ownership

I have been a firearms owner for over 34 years. I have had a License To Carry Firearms in my home state, Pennsylvania, since 2001. I have been a certified firearms instructor since 2003, and I have been a practicing licensed clinical psychologist since 1986.

I respect the expression of free speech and diversity of opinion–yours and mine.

It is customary and standard practice to teach firearms students and those who are preparing to carry a concealed handgun legally to not broadcast that they own a firearm, or that they carry. The main purpose of carrying concealed, that is; hidden and out of sight, as opposed to openly, as in the Old West, is to not draw unwanted attention, to keep one’s protective weapon as a last resort, and to capitalize on the tactical advantage of surprise, if the gravest of extremes occur, and one is forced to use one’s weapon. Read more »

Offer to Help Pennsylvania Attorney General Elect Kathleen Kane Be A “Straight Shooter”

There is no question that gun crime is a serious problem in Pennsylvania’s cities such as Philadelphia. At a time when Police Departments have been forced to downsize and prioritize due to severe budget cuts, law enforcement have been stretched to the limit. This could be one factor in giving violent criminals more bravado. Read more »

How Act 235 Security Officer Applicants Can Pass the MMPI-2

The MMPI-2 is a personality test that is scored on a computer. It has been around for over 75 years. It is THE standard test given to law enforcement and security candidates, as well as to applicants for other highly sensitive and responsible jobs. The Pennsylvania State Police Lethal Weapons Unit, that administers Pennsylvania’s Act 235 Armed Security Program, and The Pennsylvania State Police Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) require the MMPI-2 test to be part of the required psychological examination.

BACKGROUND

No applicant for either the Act 235 or Act 120 certification can pass their psychological exam if they do not pass the MMPI-2. It is THE test. Read more »

Personal Defense Solutions Offers Free Training to NYPD Police Officers

Recent mass shootings should serve as a wake up call to police administrators. Cops carry guns for a living. What continuing education standards are there in the law enforcement field for the combative use of firearms and the use of all levels of force in the line of duty? And do law enforcement societies such as the Association of Chiefs of Police, IALEFI and ILEETA promote such standards? As with other professions, are continuing education training standards legally regulated and enforced by state boards to protect the public? And if so, do police and sheriffs’ departments comply with any standards of training that are up to date?

Fact is, the “liberals” are in love with rules and regulations. They certainly overregulate my health care field, Psychology. And Professional Psychology just employs “talk therapy”. How insane is it that the liberals do not employ and enforce and overregulate continuing education standards for the law enforcement field where the law enforcement professionals have to carry a gun everyday? The liberals after all, want to require training for civilians. Here are some sobering facts why, because continuing firearms education and training are not required by most police departments, the majority of officers do not pursue it: Read more »

Immediate Jeopardy

The two NYPD police officers who shot the perp at the Empire State Building did the right thing. They just did not appear to do it with precision. In no way do I fault these two men for their decision to draw down on and fire on the man who had a gun pointed right at them. The perp, Johnson, put these brave officers in immediate jeopardy. He had the ability to gravely harm or kill them and the means to do so right there. So, he was an immediate threat that needed to be stopped and he was. They had reason to use deadly force. They were justified. Dead Right There, or DRT, was the justified ending for him. You are very misguided if you just look on with detached reflection at an upraised gun pointed in your direction, or a knife for that matter, in the hands of someone who clearly is placing you in imminent or immediate jeopardy.

My issue is solely with the outcome of the justified actions of these officers. They were justified in employing deadly force. They were doing their duty by aggressively pursuing and confronting the shooter. However, nine bystanders struck? A NYPD average hit rate of 38%? Come on. That is less than chance! If this is the case, then the good citizens of NYC are in danger walking the streets! What good is it to have protectors who are more likely to shoot you down than your attacker?

Someone should be held accountable for what is clearly a serious lack of policy and protocol on appropriate and effective training and attention to the precise use of firearms by men and women who carry guns for a living. And I am sure this will happen. Will Anti-Gun Czar Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg pick some “fall guys”? Of course he will! After all, he thinks he is more important than anyone else—definition; “uber-narcissist”. However, he is ultimately responsible. Whatever happened to “the buck stops here”?  Who is placing the greatest number of innocent people in imminent jeopardy?

Questions on NYPD Police Deadly Force Protocol

I now have watched the video of the two NYPD police officers engaging the perp, Jeffrey Johnson, on the crowded street by the Empire State Building. The New York Times reported today that NYPD records document the dismal statistic that their street cops hit their targets only 34 percent of the time. That level of accuracy is clearly sub-par and unacceptable. People who carry guns for a living must be trained to shoot precisely.

The video footage of the police encounter with Johnson reveals one of the officers seeking available cover while the second right handed officer, gun extended in his right hand in a point shoulder position, moves out into the open walking backwards at a diagonal towards his 7:00 as he fires one handed at full extension with his gun in his right hand. Meanwhile, his left handed partner fires at the perp from partial cover (a potted tree).

Going for cover is smart. Some cover is better than no cover. The professional operator’s rule of thumb is to always seek if possible to put something between you and the bullets. Also, distance in a gunfight is the operator’s friend. Read more »

Nine bystanders hit by NYPD police gunfire in NYC

FOX NEWS REPORTED:  “All nine bystanders caught in the crossfire of a shooting outside New York City’s iconic Empire State Building were wounded by two police officers who had never fired their weapons on duty, authorities confirmed Saturday. Officer Craig Matthews fired seven times and Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times at Jeffrey Johnson on a busy Friday morning in the highly touristed area after Johnson shot a former co-worker to death and then pointed his pistol at them. Based on ballistic tests and other evidence, ‘it appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police,’ Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Saturday…Security camera footage showed the officers had only an instant to react when Johnson turned as they approached and pointed his gun at them, his arm cocked as if to fire. Their encounter was over in eight seconds. The officers, who had been standing nearly close enough to shake hands with Johnson, fired almost immediately.” The Fox News Report can be read at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/24/multiple-people-shot-near-empire-state-building-in-manhattan-police-say/#ixzz24aW4DdAo

If this was in fact the case, it appears to be highly problematic. Major lawsuits against the NYPD and NYC filed by the injured would appear to be justified. Read more »

Police Firearms Training vs. Qualification

Many Police officers never have to pull their gun during their career. As a result, many are ill prepared to surgically accomplish what they need to do in the heat of a violent conflict. In many big city police departments, regular police firearms training goes no further than preparation for one’s annual department firearms qualification. Typically, only elite tactical response units train regularly. However, even in elite units, dedicated officers who want to have the utmost confidence in their ability to perform under pressure, train further on their own time.
Warrior psychology informs us that panic triggered by the basic human will to survive an unpredictable and rapidly unfolding critical incident overrides training that is not reality based. Put another way, it is basic human nature to default to reflexive habits and instinctual behavior under extreme stress. Therefore, police combat firearms training needs to incorporate stressful stimuli. Officers need to train to fight under stress. Stressors that can be incorporated into firearms tactical training include running drills after being pepper sprayed, caned, running a mile in under seven minutes, and so on. However, this does not preclude the need for regular reinforcement of the fundamentals of combat shooting and firearm operation on a square range. Both types of training are necessary. Read more »

Shooting at the Empire State Building

Empire State Building ShootingThe shooting rampage at the Empire State Building earlier today proves that gun control does not stop gun violence. However, there was something unique about this incident. The shooter was apparently seeking revenge from someone he associated with the circumstances surrounding the loss of his job. He apparently was targeting that person and did in fact murder him. When the police arrived, they killed the murderer. However, apparently, before the shooter was neutralized, a gun fight ensued and stray bullets struck innocent bystanders. Besides the violent criminal actor, at least one other person was reported killed in the gunfire and nine others were injured. Read more »