Michael Bloomberg was partly right on guns

Flickr, Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://bit.ly/300Q5yI

Most gun owners are not prepared for a firefight in a crowded room.

By Vaughn Baker • Strategos International

This blog stays out of politics. And nothing changes with this post.

So please hear me out.

On Jan. 3, after the church shooting in White Settlement, Texas, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said this:

“Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.”

The presidential candidate and billionaire then went on to make incoherent, illogical statements about firearms. And as far as I know, he didn’t talk about the fact that his private security detail is armed or explain why that’s OK.

But gun rights are not my subject today.

I want to focus on one statement Bloomberg made that is correct: The average gun toting person is not trained for a firefight in a crowded place. Think about it:

  • Concealed carry training is oriented around protecting yourself and your home.
  • It doesn’t prepare you for a shootout at a football stadium, the mall or a church auditorium.
  • It’s not intended to train you to protect others in a crowded and confined environment. In situations like this, the armed protector is swimming upstream in a raging river of chaos while the threat and crowd is moving in the opposite direction.
  • The protector must make time-compressed, life and death decisions while maintaining a shooting platform, moving and hitting a lethal, often-moving target. This requires an advanced skill set and a strategic approach – all undergirded with advanced training.

The protector who shot the gunman at West Freeway Church was a former reserve deputy sheriff and a firearms instructor. This does not mean you have to be in law enforcement to be an effective armed protector.

Rather, it comes down to the simple reality of, “Are you fully trained to face the threat before you?”

active shooter attack: aftermath

Friendly fire is never friendly
When well-meaning people with inadequate training start shooting in crowded places, people die. And not necessarily the bad guys. It’s called friendly fire. And it’s never friendly.

The answer is not to give up, but to train. And keep training. Like many skills, firearms proficiency is developed and improved over years of practice. If you lead a security team, determine who will be armed and ensure they are adequately trained. Then never stop getting better. Lives depend on it.

Just to be clear, tactical level training from professional instructors is what’s needed. (Need recommendations? We can help).

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

This is true whether you’re a DEA agent, military police officer or security volunteer.

We must act to halt terroristic and homicidal attackers. No more and no less.

There’s no downside to investing the training time and resources needed to save lives. In fact, the best thing that can happen is that you never have to use your advanced training in a live attack.

But if duty calls, you can have the confidence to respond with courage, wisdom and skill.

Vaughn Baker, Strategos International

Vaughn Baker is president of Strategos International, a Kansas City, Mo.,-based firm that provides security training, consulting and executive protection services.

Baker has 20 years of experience in law enforcement including patrol, investigation, SWAT and special operations. He has trained thousands of school, health care, government, law enforcement and military personnel in security practices. Baker has also developed specialized intruder response curriculum for schools and churches, including some of the nation’s leading training on behavior pattern recognition. He is the author of The Church Security Handbook and, with Mark Warren, Active Threat.

In addition, he served as deputy director of training and as an instructor for the Surefire Institute, a California-based tactical lighting manufacturer and tactical training company.

He is also the director of security for a church of more than 7,500 in the Kansas City area, a position he has held for more than a decade. Connect with Vaughn Baker on LinkedIn.