We are certified by the National Rifle Association to teach Home Gun Safety, Pistol and Reloading.
Self defense is not only a fundamental human right, it is an obligation. Protecting yourself, your family or your home against violent aggression is up to you.
Martial arts, boxing, wrestling and the like are great skills, but they aren't very effective against a surprise attack by a much larger, stronger male who isn't playing by any rules and is actively trying to hurt or kill you -- let alone one who is armed or who has accomplices. Techniques that score points in competition, against compliant or friendly opponents or against individuals of similar size, fail catastrophically in real assault situations. Your best chance of protecting yourself in a likely and realistic assault situation is to develop skill with and carry a self defense weapon at all times (in addition to learning unarmed techniques).
The most effective self defense tool/weapon in the world is the handgun. Merely revealing that you have a gun, let alone pointing it at an attacker, is enough to stop about 90% of assaults (and pulling the trigger ends almost all of the others).
However, a gun isn't the right tool for everyone. It is expensive and inconvenient to carry, and is a huge responsibility. We recommend handguns for mature, ethical, psychologically-healthy and responsible adults who don't have tendencies towards depression, drunkenness, drugs or violence. Even then, some gentle souls honestly say that they don't want to carry, or just can't imagine pointing a gun at someone else and pulling the trigger. For those who aren't interested in owning or carrying a gun for self defense, there are other options -- we recommend chemical sprays in particular -- but most are far less effective at preventing an assault than a gun.
The best way to carry a gun in public is concealed. We have nothing against open carry, but the reality is that many people are startled by seeing a gun in the open, and being startled tend to respond to an open carry-person by calling the police. This causes all kinds of problems that we'd like to avoid.
Current Oregon law requires that most citizens get a permit if they wish to carry a gun concealed. This is a ridiculous law and interferes with your fundamental right and obligation to protect yourself, but whether we agree with it or not, if the police find a concealed gun on you and you are not carrying a permit, it may result in jail time, fines, and other "inconveniences." To be eligible to receive a permit to carry concealed you must be able to provide evidence to your local sheriff that you have taken handgun training that included gun safety information and was provided by an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association (you must also pass a background check and meet other criteria).
We provide such training.
We adapt the training to the experience and needs of the participants. Complete beginners receive a thorough introduction to the parts and types of handguns, cleaning, safe handling and ammunition selection. Experienced people just seeking certification leading to a concealed carry permit receive a brief review of the safety principles. All participants go over issues specific to concealed carry such as methods of carrying, holster types, lethal force considerations, police interaction suggestions, etc. At the end of the session we provide you with a certificate which you can then take to the sheriff when you apply for your permit.
Please be aware that, though we might discuss legal considerations, it is ultimately your responsibility to read and know any laws related to concealed carry, lethal force and related topics. We are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice. All of our advice on self defense, whether a weapon is involved or not, is rooted in what is effective, proportional and ethical for protecting innocent human life. Whether it is legal may be another matter. If you have specific legal questions we recommend that you ask them of an attorney or the sheriff; our emphasis is on just providing good training so that you "don't shoot anyone who doesn't need shooting."
A few popular gun models will be available for handling and practice. Participants may use our special laser-assisted target system ("Beamhit), which allows practice with a real gun, but without the expenditure of ammunition.
If you haven't already purchased a gun, we recommend taking the class before doing so. If you already have a gun and would like some training with it, please bring it to the class unloaded. Bring the ammo separately if you wish to go out to the range together.
Sessions are informal and held by appointment. The instruction is free to current Via Potentia participants. For others it ranges from $50 to $100 depending on the time and materials necessary. For example, an experienced person merely needed a refresher-talk would usually be $50 and take 30 minutes to an hour. Beginners who desire a more complete course (like the NRA "First Steps") add $25 for materials and additional time. And we add another $25 for a trip to the range if you want to get in some actual shooting (which is all-but-mandatory for beginners). Discounts are available for simultaneous participants -- "friends and family."
Be sure to see our other web pages on gun selection and related issues.
Important: If you already possess a certificate showing that you have completed a hunters safety course, were a police officer, or received pistol training in the military, you might not need to go through additional safety training to receive a concealed carry permit in Oregon. Also, many sheriffs are hesitant about providing permits to non-residents. Ask your local sheriff.