You might not think this applies to you, but you are mistaken. This is applicable on several levels. Every time our government tries to pass legislation affecting firearms, sales hit the roof. Every time you hear of a mass shooting new records are recorded on background checks. That means that people fear the government whittling away at their rights, so they get themselves a gun. With this record amount of individuals purchasing firearms, I also know that there are plenty of people afraid even to take their weapon out of its box. They fear restrictions on their right to own it but at the same time, they are afraid of something about which they have no experience. This is understandable. Just watching a few videos on Youtube with some inexperienced shooters is enough to make me take a closer look at everyone I’m on the range with. I recently spoke in one of my self-defense classes about this very issue. One of my students approached me afterward and admitted that after over a year of obtaining their C & C,(Concealed and Carry license) that they very seldom carry. This person received their license because they thought they needed that extra security (fear). They felt a sense of urgency because they thought the government might restrict them from obtaining one in the future (fear). They don’t often carry because they just were not comfortable enough to do it, more fear. So what is the answer? Training. I recall entering Marine Corps boot camp back in 1986. I know, seems like forever ago to me also. Believe me when I say that I understand the meaning of, “There has been a lot of water under that bridge.” One of the first things they did was to issue me an M16A2 Service Weapon. They put it in your hands, then proceeded to tell you all the things that you couldn’t do and if you did them they would either castrate you or send you to Fort Leavenworth (Jail). Believe me; drill instructors are experts on instilling fear. We had to learn everything about that weapon. I mean everything. It has been over 30 years,(hard to accept,) since I picked that weapon up out of the armory. But I can still tell you that the Length of the M16 is 39.63 inches and that the weight with a 30 round loaded magazine is 8.79 pounds. Why do I know that? Training. That is the ultimate cure for fear of anything. I am not talking about complacency. I will be the first to tell you that complacency kills. Most people who accidentally shoot themselves would have sworn that their weapon was not loaded. There was no healthy fear to compel them to be safer or to triple check to see if there was a live round in the weapon. Training from an experienced person is the best way to keep from making mistakes. You can rely on their experience to help you gain confidence that is not misplaced. A good place to start would be Go2FirearmSafety.com. This site is a great resource to help you find safety instruction, gun ranges, and much more topics to help take the ‘fear’ out of your choices. That is what it is all about. Taking the fear out of your life and replacing it with experience gained through training and learned insight that keeps you and everyone around you safer. Have a great day and I will see you on the range. Michael Brown is a former U.S. Marine and Firearm Safety Instructor. He is also an instructor of Krav Maga and a 7th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.