As more and more Wood County residents receive permits to carry concealed handguns, professional training continues to play an indispensable role in ensuring that permit-holders act in a responsible and effective way should the need ever arise to defend oneself or others through the use of deadly force.
Last month, Armed Texans conducted a two-day conference that drew 172 participants to its training center at 369 CR 2784, Mineola. The training included practical concealed carry for women, self defense, vehicle defense, situational awareness, legal matters, and techniques to stop bleeding.
Since the Texas Legislature passed the current license to carry law in 1995, the Department of Public Safety has issued 8,855 concealed carry permits in Wood County, including 948 in 2018, according to DPS records. Last year, Mineola residents were issued 260 permits, Quitman: 174, Alba: 111, Golden: 3, Yantis 98, and Hawkins: 178, according to the DPS. Those Wood County permit-holders are among the 1.36 million Texans who possess concealed carry permits.
According to Kelly Smith, constable for Wood County Precinct 2 and a DPS certified license-to-carry handgun instructor, the No. 1 concern during handgun training is “safety hands down.”
Training also consists of ways to avoid the use deadly force, according to Smith. He teaches a class about situational awareness.
“It’s mainly how to keep from getting into a bad situation so you don’t have to utilize deadly force,” said Smith.
In Texas, the use of deadly force is justified if a person is in a situation where someone is using unlawful force, deadly or not, in an attempt to harm the person in question.
“Hopefully, no one has to use deadly force, but if they do we want to teach them how to counter an attack and then teach them how to obtain cover,” said Smith.
The topic of vehicle defense also was addressed at the training conference. The training pertains to a scenario in which someone tries to assault or carjack you while you’re stopped at a red light.
“It teaches you how to get out of a seatbelt, out of a vehicle effectively at the same time engaging that suspect if needed,” explained Smith.
In the event that someone is shot, training on how to stop bleeding could be key to saving a life. That training, which was taught by Wood County Fire Marshal Tully Davidson, touched on the application of tourniquets and pressure dressings. The training has applications beyond gunshot wounds and could be beneficial for an array of emergency situations.
Smith, who has been a certified handgun trainer since 2000, said 3,500 people have come through the Armed Texans facility since it opened in 2000.