No, I don't agree with every conservative talk show host.

Not long ago I tuned in the Jason Lewis show on KTLK 100.3 FM as I usually do on my drive home from work in the afternoon. This particular day Jason had Ben Ferguson a talk show host from Memphis Tennessee sitting in for him and his topic of conversation revolved around the recent "Gun Free Zone" shooting at Northern Illinois University on February 14, 2008. Ben was saying how ineffectual these so called "gun free zones" really are and I of course fully agreed with his assessment. He then stated that he believed anyone with a valid permit to carry a firearm should be allowed to carry said firearm in schools and that included faculty, administration, as well as students. As an instructor for the Minnesota permit to carry a pistol I found that once again you will get no argument from me. We are in complete agreement so far and I was feeling good about this fellow and his viewpoints.

The bottom was about to fall out from beneath me however. He next stated that the Government should set up special training for anyone with a permit so that they would know the proper way to carry and defend others in schools. Whoa Nellie! Am I hearing this correctly? This should be a "Requirement" and "The Government" should be in charge of this program? My heart sank! Oh Ben, you have lost me now. Let's examine why.

Do you remember after 9/11 airline pilots asked to be allowed to carry weapons on planes? This seemed to some of us to be a logical safety measure to help prevent hijackings of airplanes. A bill was finally pushed through after months of rhetoric and hand-wringing that allowed this to happen but in my humble opinion what a mess the government has made of this. Pilots must go through The Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) armed airline pilots program. This is an intensive week long program and is offered in one location. A pilot must retrain yearly at their expense and on their time. They cannot just obtain a carry permit, holster their gun, and carry on board; they must secure the gun in a locked metal box and it cannot be removed until the cockpit door is locked behind them. So yes technically pilots can carry a gun onboard their planes however the government has made the system so cumbersome and expensive that hardly any pilot has been willing to go through the training. Ben, what makes you think this won't happen if the Government were allowed to design "special training" to carry on a school campus?

Taking it a step further, allowing the government the ability to "set the rules" so-to-speak opens the door to restrictions in other areas. After all maybe they should set special rules for shopping malls let's say because of the mass shootings there. Nobody can carry a gun in a shopping mall without special training above and beyond their permit training. How about public transit too? You can't get on that light-rail car with a gun unless you pass even more training and tests. We would go from "shall issue", something we have fought long and hard for, to a system that in essence would be more restrictive than what we initially came from.

Speaking of those tests since the government is making the rules exactly what will the average citizen have to do? Well, maybe you have to travel to a swamp in Florida in August every year and pass a Marine sniper survival and shooting test. What? What has that got to do with carrying my perfectly legal firearm for my personal protection on a college campus? Why not a darn thing pilgrim but hey we let the Government make the rules so this is what we may get. Sure you can carry a gun on campus but it is so expensive, cumbersome, time consuming and a general pain in-the-you-know-what that nobody will do it. Remember the "Government" is comprised of gun lovers as well as gun haters. They will all get to make the rules under your system, not just the gun lovers.

I have a right to self-protection. As a permit holder, (and instructor), I have taken training and I can use a gun to protect myself, my family, and others if I choose to do so. I am not required by law to protect anyone with a gun, even myself, but I can if I so choose. If I carry my gun on campus it does not mean that I agree to become everyone's defender automatically. That decision is up to me. As a matter of fact in Minnesota I have a duty to retreat first if I can do so safely. No "Stand Your Ground Law" here as of yet.

Remember my friends' self-defense is a right. Not a right the government gives to us, a right God gives to us and one that is backed up by the Bill Of Rights which further states I can bear arms to do so. What you allow the government to "give" to us they can also take away. I am from the Vermont and Alaska school of thought when it comes to carrying a firearm. If you can legally own it, you can legally carry it. Yes I recommend training. No I don't like permits for something I have a right to do and I certainly don't want the "Government" making the rules.

Joseph DeSua, February 2008