LTE: Properly trained people can use guns in self-defense

It wasn't quite at the level of Toledo Blade editorial board member Dan Simpson's tirade against the Constitution, but an April 30 editorial by Springfield (OH) News Sun editorial page editor Tom Hawkins entitled "More guns not the answer to violence" got pretty close.

    I don't want to take away your deer rifle, your shotgun or even your .357, but I do want to take away a silly argument the far-right gun lobby has begun broadcasting after every nasty episode of firearm mayhem that comes along.

    Their argument: If only someone in the crowd had been packing heat, they could have stopped the mad gunman. Or, because such gunmen often have a deeply logical streak, even deterred him from attempting a deadly rampage knowing a brave, armed citizen might be in the crowd.

    Shooting a gun at a target or hunting game are legal activities. Have a good time. But when gun ownership slides into the fantasy world of saving the day in a heroic eruption of gunplay, stay away from me. I don't want your help.

Sounds strikingly familiar to the attitude we might have heard from State Rep. Michael DeBose before his self-defense conversion experience (brought about by being attacked by an armed criminal).

We typically enjoy responding to these types of editorials, but in this case, a Springfield News Sun reader beat us to the punch. No use reinventing the wheel, especially not when James R. Stouffer, an NRA-certified training counselor, pistol instructor, personal protection instructor, chief range safety officer and Refuse To Be A Victim instructor has done such a magnificent job!

Click 'Read More' for Mr. Stouffer's letter to the editor.

May 09, 2007
Springfield News Sun

I am compelled to respond to Tom Hawkins' commentary on the editorial page of April 26: "More guns are not the answer to more gun violence."

I am an NRA training counselor, as well as a personal protection instructor. I have also taught pistol basics in the Republic of the Philippines to its National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police. I have taught the educational requirements of Ohio's Concealed Handgun Licensing Law to well over 1,000 folks who want to take charge of their own personal safety.

I take the responsibility given me by the State of Ohio very seriously. Ohio requires its instructors to evaluate prospective concealed handgun licensees as to the proper attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner. If I don't see a proper attitude, they don't pass. It's that simple.

All my handgun training is based on real-life possible defensive scenarios. I teach my students to be very apprehensive about getting involved in third-party confrontations.

A lot of folks are in denial as to the fact that the police cannot protect us from violent attack. Police are not our personal bodyguards. They are responders to crime "after the fact."

On April 21, (as reported by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland) Damon Wells, a law-abiding citizen who also happens to be a concealed handgun license holder, shot Arthur Buford, who had threatened him with a gun during a robbery attempt. Gun supporters said his weapon saved Wells' life. Opponents said it took Buford's, that the 15-year-old might be alive if a citizen had not been armed. The 15-year-old's cousin, Tameka Foster, 21, questioned why police did not punish Buford's shooter. "They let that man run out freely," Foster said. "My cousin is dead."

What a twisted society we live in when the criminal becomes the victim. My goodness, the 15-year-old threatened to kill someone. Didn't Mr. Wells have a right to defend himself in the face of imminent death? Didn't he have an obligation to his family to stop a deadly threat and stay alive?

More than one year before Monday's unprecedented shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the state's General Assembly quashed a bill that would have given qualified college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus. Could one legally armed, qualified citizen have made a difference at this tragic event? In Israel, teachers and parents serving as school aides are armed at all times on school grounds with semi-automatic weapons. Since this policy was adopted in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at schools in Israel have ceased.

I choose to let statistics tell the truth. If gun ownership is so dangerous and such a cause of social ills, then surely the most dangerous place in America must be Kennesaw, Ga. (a suburb of Atlanta), where, since 1982, a law has required every household to have a firearm and ammunition. (Conscientious objectors are excluded.) There has not been a single reported crime of domestic violence in Kennesaw since the law was passed. There have been no injuries to children involving guns since the law was passed. Burglaries per thousand inhabitants fell from 11 to less than three. There have been only two murders with knives (1984 and 1987), and one with a firearm (1997). All this despite the fact that the population in Kennesaw grew from about 5,000 in 1980 to 30,522 in 2005.

Could it be that gun ownership might have positive, not negative effect? That the whole premise behind gun banning is totally wrong? Just ask the people living in Kennesaw.

With all due respect to Mr. Hawkins' opinion, it is just that — an opinion. He offers us nothing but typical anti-gun rhetoric having no basis in fact. Nor does he offer us any solution to the problem at hand.

I prefer to go with what has been proven to work. Let us take responsibility for our own self-defense. Learn the basics of defending yourself and your loved ones with a handgun. Learn the proper attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safer manner.

Determine to be a survivor rather than a victim.

James R. Stouffer

James R. Stouffer, an NRA training counselor, an NRA pistol instructor, an NRA personal protection instructor, an NRA chief range safety officer and an NRA Refuse To Be A Victim instructor.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.