I just spent a pleasant, informative weekend in Kerrville, TX, attending the annual conference of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association. I taught a class on Defensive Pistol Presentation (the Draw Stroke) and Mike Seeklander was our guest speaker and firearms instructor. This organization was originally founded for concealed-carry instructors and then, some years back, opened up to allow membership for all of those who carry a defensive handgun.
This sort of defensive handgun association in your own state can be a great asset to those who carry defensively and those who are considering such a move. Having such an organization in your state creates the manpower and the funds to provide low-cost training and information to shooters. It is a great platform for keeping you informed on current legislation regarding defensive carry. But it also gives you a strong foundation from which to oppose anti-gun legislation that might be considered by your state legislature.
Classes during your conference should cover all aspects of personal defense. The Defensive Mind Set and Awareness are important topics to cover. Classes on holster selection and carry techniques will be of interest to members. And panel discussions on firearms selection and the latest improvements in defensive ammunition will always be informative and well attended. And, by all means, don't overlook the opportunity to provide training in first aid. In short, a state conference can cover just about any topic that is of interest to the members.
One of the greatest values of local defensive conferences is the ability to get some exposure to the many people who are instructing in defensive shooting. Potential students are often reluctant, and rightfully so, to spend money on classes with instructors when they don't know if it will be worthwhile or not. Inviting that “name” instructor to put on a one-day seminar at your conference give you a chance for some good training and trigger time, but it also gives you a chance to look that instructor over and decide if you want to book one of his regular classes in the future.
A defensive association begins by getting a like-minded group together, forming a board of directors, and getting incorporated. Once you've done this, start-up funds can often be obtained from local gun shops, firearms industries in your state, and interested individuals. These same sources will also often supply some really nice merchandise to be used in fund-raising raffles and drawings.
The bottom line is that there is strength in numbers. We've certainly seen that with our own National Rifle Association and the same can be accomplished with your own local defensive handgun association. A state defensive handgun association provides much needed training, fellowship, and support for fight the good fight. We are not alone and we sure ought to quit acting like it.
Does your state already have a defensive handgun association? If so, tell us about it. If your state doesn't have such an organization, I would simply say that now is as good a time as any to start one. Good luck and good shooting!