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Role of Safety in an Ohio Concealed Carry Firearm Course

This weekend there was a tragic event that happened during a concealed carry class in the Cincinnati area. Before we discuss how to prevent these things from happening, I want to extend heartfelt prayers and blessings to the family and friends of Firearms Instructor and KayJay Gun Shop owner, James Baker. During a concealed carry class being held in a classroom within the gun shop, a student negligently fired a round, that traveled through the classroom wall into an adjacent office where Baker was working. The bullet struck Baker in the neck, causing an unsurvivable injury. Baker died on scene. Baker was known in the Cincinnati gun community as an passionate instructor who dedicated his life training others to protect themselves. (News Story Can Be Found below)

This event is a sobering reminder of the fact that there is zero margin for error anytime we are handling firearms. On a daily basis, firearms trainers who train entry-level gun owners, some of which may have never even held a firearm before arriving at the class, are in a situation where they are potentially one mistake away from death or serious bodily injury. It doesn’t matter what your experience level is with firearms, accidents happen. This is why I have come up with a quick checklist of things you can do during a firearms training class that will help reduce any chance for a tragedy to happen.

Pay attention and don’t fall into the false sense of security that because you are in a class, you are inherently safer. Classes are comprised of students with various experience levels. Handling firearms is a potentially dangerous activity. Be aware of your surroundings, and do not stray from strict firearms safety

Do not remain quiet if you see something potentially dangerous. Just as when you are on the range, anyone can call out something they believe to be potentially dangerous. If something ‘just feels unsafe’ say something.

If you are unsure of something when handling a firearm, ask.  Words are free, you are paying to learn, so ask questions before a tragedy occurs. If you have never held a particular firearm before, ask how it functions and how to clear it before handling the firearm.

Do not be offended if the instructor is ‘overly cautious’ about safety. In reality you can never be overly cautious, but some people take offense to an instructor pointing out that their finger is on the trigger, or they are not keeping the firearm pointed down range. Allow the instructor to correct the action without taking it like a personal attack.

Do not bring ammunition into the classroom. If for any reason this is not mentioned by the instructor, just don’t do it. There is no reason to have live ammunition in the classroom. Any firearms drills that require having a cartridge, will be done with dummy rounds.

If you are in the classroom, and never held a gun or heard the firearm safety rules before, here they are. Live by them every second, not just most of the time:

  1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded
  2. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
  4. Keep the weapon unloaded until ready for use
  5. Identify your target and what is beyond it.

When attending a class, please check your ego at the door, and understand that the instructor is human and not infallible. We all must be aware of our surroundings and take an active role in being safe. If the instructor asks to visually and physically inspect your firearm to ensure it is unloaded, don't take it as an insult. It is part of the instructor taking the proper steps to safeguard everyone in the classroom and him/herself. Prepare to learn and take an active role in safety. It is all our responsibilities.

Full Article from Fox News:

The owner of an Ohio gun shop was shot and killed when a student in a concealed carry permit class accidentally discharged a weapon, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

James Baker was shot in the neck around 1 p.m. Saturday and died at his KayJay Gun Shop in Amelia, the paper reported.

The class is part of a program designed to coach participants on gun safety.

There were about 10 people in the concealed carry class in a room adjacent to where Baker was sitting, according to the Enquirer.

A class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, the paper reported.

The bullet passed through a wall and struck Baker.

According to the gun shop’s website, the class taught basic pistol safety, gave students range time and reviewed Ohio’s gun laws.

A neighbor of the gun shop told WCPO-TV that Baker spent his whole life teaching others how to protect themselves.

“I can’t say enough about him — how much he was loved by the whole community and we lost someone really special,” Anita Fritz said. “He loved and wanted to protect. That’s why he did what he did.”

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