In wake of recent attacks, personal defense options discussed

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 11, 2015

 There has been a surge of people taking gun training lessons and also buying firearms after the recent terrorist attacks.

There has been a surge of people taking gun training lessons and also buying firearms after the recent terrorist attacks.

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The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, have shoved personal safety to the forefront of many Americans’ minds. And while martial arts or a firearm are common self-defense options, police and local businesses say people should be prepared if they choose to pursue those choices.

Patricia Yousif, owner of Patriots Ammo & Arms in Shelby Township, said there is a surge of people taking gun training lessons and also buying firearms at her store. She said AR semi-automatic rifles are currently a popular buy.

If someone is trying to buy a gun for the first time, they should do so carefully and not just follow what other people are saying on the Internet, Yousif said.

“Try every single gun that you think that you want, and only buy what you feel comfortable with,” Yousif said in a statement. “Try the guns yourself. Handle them, fire them, and then you decide which one fits you. … Spend time; don’t be in a hurry.”

Meanwhile, Michiganders continued to apply for and receive concealed pistol licenses in 2015, according to stats tabulated on the state’s website.

According to tallies of CPL applications, as of Dec. 1, there were 44,605 approved permit holders in Macomb County, 63,909 in Oakland County and 497,016 in Michigan overall.

Meanwhile, Macomb had 546 new pending applications for CPLs, Oakland had 427 and Michigan had 2,655.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said he has heard of an uptick in CPL applicants. He said people who buy guns or get CPLs also need to carefully think about the responsibilities for using them.

“The first thing you have to decide before you purchase a weapon is if, in a particular lethal situation, you would be willing to use lethal force,” he said. “Sometimes people say, ‘I want to get a CPL.’ ... Have you thought about what if your life was in jeopardy — could you pull the trigger?”

If someone is willing to use deadly force if necessary to protect their life, the next step would be getting the proper training and practice, according to Bouchard.

“You’re going to want to be proficient so you feel very comfortable in your skill set,” he said.

“And if all those things are met and people are comfortable and proficient, I would encourage them.”

In addition, Bouchard said another critical component of staying safe is keeping a perspective of situational awareness in all settings. Situational awareness ties into disaster planning and thinking about survival or escape in situations such as a fire or an active shooter, he said.

A downloadable Active Shooter Response Guide is available on the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s website. According to the guide, people are advised to do one of three things, listed in order of recommendation:

• Evacuate: Try to run away via an escape path, even if it means leaving possessions behind. Dial 911 upon reaching safety.

• Hide out: If unable to escape, try to lock doors, barricade them with heavy objects and switch electronic devices to silent. Quietly try to hide behind large objects that provide cover.

• Fight: If the threat is imminent, be decisive and aggressively take action as a final resort by using or throwing improvised weapons to incapacitate the attacker.

Jesse Crawfis, a martial arts master instructor from iKarate Birmingham, said “quite a few” new students have enrolled into the adult program after the recent terrorist attacks. He said specialized training classes exist to prepare for terror response situations, and much of it involves being aware of the surroundings and exits.

“(It) is a lot more than just punching or kicking,” he said. “Martial arts is mind, body, spirit.”

Crawfis said private lessons can be tailored to specific circumstances, such as when it’s necessary to defend oneself on a bus. In the beginning, people learn about topics like striking, escaping headlocks, gaining confidence and conflict avoidance.

“It’s a long-term commitment, in a sense,” he said. “You’re not going to learn everything you need to learn overnight.”

He added that perpetrators tend to target the person who appears unaware over the person who is vigilant.

“They don’t want to pick on a hard target,” he said.

For more information about iKarate Birmingham, visit www.ikaratestudio.com or call (248) 770-7457. Contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office by visiting www.oakgov.com/sheriff or by calling (248) 858-5000. Learn more about Patriots Ammo & Arms in Shelby Township by visiting patriotsammo-arms.com or by calling (586) 803-4867.

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