by Phil Houseal, Mar 2, 2011 - Kerrville TX Community Journal
No one expects to find themselves in a life-threatening situation. But students who take the Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) course will be better prepared if it should ever happen.
Club Ed is offering seven CHL courses this spring in Boerne and Mountain Home, and every one is filled or nearly filled.
The popularity seems to be a national phenomenon - the shooting sports are among the fastest growing sports among all ages, backgrounds, and both sexes. More Americans now spend more on shooting sports than golf.
Larry Arnold teaches the Kerrville course, along with Hunter Education. Arnold has been a firearms enthusiast since he was a boy, introduced to gun safety and instructed by his father, a decorated war veteran. He began teaching the CHL course from the first day the Texas law authorized it in 1995.
“The only thing I love more than shooting is teaching others how to shoot,” he said.
It may come as a surprise to those who have not taken the CHL course how much time is spent learning ways to avoid resorting to using the firearm.
“First we teach safety, and we always teach safety when talking about firearms,” Arnold said. “We learn the laws of self-defense; what you can and cannot do to protect yourself.”
Students in the course also learn nonviolent conflict resolution.
“If you are in a situation you can keep under control, we teach ways to do that,” he said. “Pulling out your gun is the last resort.”
But trained students who find themselves in a “last resort” situation will be prepared. “The whole point of this training is to protect yourself and other innocents.”
Arnold notes that much of the training focuses on helping people overcome their fear of firearms. This is a common thread in lifelong learning where students also come in with fears about using computers, learning to dance, or raising tomatoes. That is why the course includes information on how to choose a gun, discussion of the different types and sizes of guns, gun safety and storage, culminating with time on the range actually learning to shoot at targets.
Arnold knows firsthand the importance of the training he teaches, as he has found himself in several situations when he used it.
“I have been close, but none got that serious,” he said. “In those situations I was glad I was carrying, and it made me more comfortable doing the nonviolent conflict resolution, and knowing I could do something rather than being helpless.”
Club Ed offers Texas Concealed Handgun Course twice monthly, once at the Buck and Bull Club near Mountain Home, and once at Boerne, with instructor Don White. For information or to sign up, click www.clubed.net, or call 830-895-4386.