Training: Live ammunition is for the range, has no place in the classroom

“No live ammunition in class.”

It’s printed at least three times in the pre-class literature my students receive. I make it a point to mention to every student prior to registering, during registration and as they walk through my doors.

As students come off the range, they are reminded once more that ammo does not enter back into the classroom. Guns are checked again as they leave the range and once more, by me, as they re-enter the classroom.

I’ve been called paranoid. I’ve had students ask me if I think they are stupid. The answer is no. I just don’t want to risk my life or the lives of my students because of that one time I don’t check, as illustrated here.

If you’re not one to click links, let me summarize. An Ohio gun shop owner was minding his own business while a concealed carry class took place a room over. One of the students of that class was running through a malfunction drill when a round discharged, tore through the wall, and killed the shop owner.

A completely avoidable accident had the student and the instructor taken the time to remove ammunition from the equation.

When I read this news story a while back, my stomach sank to my feet and my heart was heavy. Two lives were destroyed that day. One man lost his while milling around his shop. The other has to live with the knowledge that he was the one that took it. It’s a senseless tragedy and one that fuels gun grabbers’ rhetoric.

I have to admit, part of the sickening feeling I got reading that news story was because I’ve been there. I had that student who, while working tap, rack, assess, accidentally engaged the trigger before she was ready to fire. As she tapped the magazine, I watched as her finger drifted into the trigger guard. I heard the discernible click as she mistakenly engaged the trigger.

Luckily, I do ban ALL ammo from my classroom. Luckily, I had triple checked her firearm before handing it to her for malfunctions drills. Luckily, a click, not a boom, was all I heard. One live round separated my student from the one in the news story.

I don’t judge the instructor in Ohio. Neither should you. Instead, we should take this for what it is – a teachable moment. A moment for us, as instructors, to reflect on how we run our classes and the policies we have in place to protect our students.

It’s also an opportunity for us, as students, to remember why we should adhere to the basic rules of safe firearm handling and why we should always be cognizant that the firearms we hold in our hands have the potential to do harm.

Live ammo in the classroom does nothing but introduce the potential for a fatal mistake. Not to mention, it’s completely unnecessary. With the availability of laser cartridges, snap caps and laser gun software there’s no reason for ammo. Keep the good stuff where it belongs, on the range.

Instructors, it doesn’t hurt your students to be without it and, in fact, it might just make them safer.

Safety warning: Jacki Billings is an NRA certified concealed carry instructor. Any methods or information described in this article is intended to be put into practice only by those serious about self defense with proper training.

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