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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Gun Show Report Comment
    Gregory Morris, 11/19/07 9:07:11 am
    My better half and I went over to the Sun Coast Gun Show in Lakeland, FL on Saturday. It was actually the first time either of us has been to a gun show. Back in WV, they had shows all the time, but I always seemed to have other things to do on those days. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I only wish I would have had more money with me, because there were all kinds of pretty toys there. Of course my wife ended up complaining (in much the same way that I do when she's shopping.) I'd point out a nice AR15 and say "that's nice, I'd like one of those", to which she'd reply "that's ridiculous, why would anyone need one of those?" "Well, why would anyone need a $400 purse?" Etc.

    Of course, when it came to looking for her new handgun, price wasn't ever a concern. I don't know how she manages to point out the most expensive things without even looking the price tag ("Oh, this is a nice shotgun." "Yes, it is, and it damn well better be for $6000.") At least she has good taste. :)

    She still likes the various 1911s (she picked up Kimbers, STIs and Paras that she liked.) She also picked up one of the new Ruger SR9s, which she really liked (it had all the features she asked for.) And the price is pretty damn good, compared to other plastic service pistols. They are cheaper than even a decent used 1911. My biggest concern is that they are brand new (and may still have "bugs".) They also aren't out in anything but 9mm... I figure they'll come out with 40s at some point. Of course, it was super slim for a double-stack 17+1 pistol. Her biggest concern is that she wants to shoot one first, but none of the ranges have them to rent (nor will they likely have any for a while.) I figure for the price they were asking, it might be worth just buying one and if she doesn't like it, I can take it and we can get her a 1911. Perhaps if we have any money left after our upcoming trip to Sedona, we can head over to the store and pick one up.

    Our primary reason for going to the show was so we could take the CCW course together. The courses are offered two times a day at every Sun Coast Gun Show. The class costs $40/person and run about two and a half hours plus a trip to the range. I didn't think the instructor could cover as much information as he did in those two hours, but I found the class to be pretty good considering its brevity. I don't necessarily think the knowledge gained in that class qualifies someone to carry a firearm, but it does give them the basics so that they can get by with some additional practice.

    The most important thing covered in the class, I believe, was discussion of self-defense law. I've read Jon Gutmacher's book, so I have a pretty good understanding of how things work, but the instructor of our course put it into somewhat easier to understand terms. Gutmacher's book is fantastic if you want details, but you really need a two- or three-item checklist in a shoot-or-no-shoot situation, not a detailed description of case law.

    The range portion of the course, which I believe is required by law, was as absolutely minimalistic as possible. We showed up at the range, dawned our ear/eye protection, stepped up to the firing line with a revolver already placed in front of us, picked it up, fired one round, set it down, and left. That's it. I understand it is impossible to do extensive training with 75 people at the range, and I'm sure that most of the people in the class already have guns and practice. Still, for the lady who sat next to us who has never even handled a firearm before... I sure hope she gets more training before deciding to keep a revolver in her purse.

    Overall, I was pleased with the course. My wife and I knew most of the information that was offered, but we did learn a few new things. They also walk you through everything you need to do to submit your application (including taking your picture and fingerprinting you) and that alone was worth the money in my opinion. The teaching portion was done with startling efficiency. If you are a slow learner, or if you have questions, you will be left in the dust. Of course, that's why you take a real one-on-one class anyway. I recommend this class for someone who wants to get their application in the mail, but it is definitely not enough on its own to qualify you to carry or use a firearm.

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