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No Concealing His Feelings: Patch Editor Recoils After Firing Gun on Shooting Range

Ron Kremer offers a first-person account of his experience after observing—and taking part—in a conceal carry class taught by a local police officer.

Romeoville Police Department Sgt. Chris Burne shows Patch Editor Ron Kremer the ropes at a shooting range in Lombard. Credit: Ron Kremer
Romeoville Police Department Sgt. Chris Burne shows Patch Editor Ron Kremer the ropes at a shooting range in Lombard. Credit: Ron Kremer

(Editor’s Note: This is the third is a three-part series)

After a quick lesson from conceal carry instructor and Romeoville Police Sgt. Chris Burne, I shot a semi-automatic pistol during a visit to the Article II Gun World Range in Lombard on Sunday, Dec. 8.

How would I describe the experience? Thrilling?

No, more like nerve-wracking. My hands were shaking as I aimed at a paper dummy hanging from a clip about 5 yards away. And my first shot sailed high above the “X” in the center of the target, most likely because I was leaning back and anticipating the recoil that comes from firing a 9 mm Ruger, a small gun that packs a big kick.

My next two shots hit much nearer to the mark I was aiming at and for that I have to credit Burne, who walked me through the basics of holding/firing a real gun for the first time. Who knew I was cross-eyed dominant or that I would have to shift the gun in my stance so I could look down the sights with my left eye?

I use the word “real” here because I have distant memories of shooting at tin cans sitting on fence posts with a BB gun when I was boy. This was not a .357 Magnum. But it was not a BB gun, either. Why so unnerving?

The range is tucked—or should the word be hidden?—in an industrial warehouse complex off a frontage road. After you make your way inside, you quickly discover it’s loud—gunshots simultaneously ringing out from multiple stations.

And, when you depart, you go away with the distinct smell of gunpowder on your clothing. I relate this to the cigarette odor that once made visiting a bowling center an eye-watering experience. Earplugs/earmuffs are required. Protective eyewear is a must too, if for no other reason than to prevent injury from a spent shell flying back and hitting you in the face.

When I returned home, my wife asked me if I’d ever shoot a gun again, if I would consider shooting as a hobby. The answer: No.

Guns are not for me.

I met a number of people attending the conceal carry class Burne teaches through his Granite Security Systems, Inc., business and I can tell you they think differently than I do, firm in their beliefs the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to bear arms. Talking with them helped me understand why they want to acquire conceal carry licenses and want to carry guns around with them tucked under their shirttails or stashed in their purses, their reasons ranging from practical (safety) to patriotic (what is more American than defending the red, white and blue in combat duty?).

Still, I will say it again: Guns are not for me.

I wonder when Illinois residents begin applying for conceal carry permits in January if it’s only a matter of time until our neighborhoods and our streets become more dangerous or if there is some reason to believe the conceal carry folks will join forces to create a civilian deterrent to violent crime. I wonder if we are living in the Wild West in the here and now or if we’re heading back to the days of Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill Cody.

Soon, will everyone be carrying a gun? I know this: Crooks don’t bother with rules and regulations.

I wonder how many conceal carry applicants in Illinois will be granted licenses without the benefit of attending a class such as Burne’s that devotes a great deal of time to talking about the law and the ramifications of, “What happens if I do have to discharge my weapon?”

I wonder if 16 hours of training is enough. I wonder how many conceal carry newbies will shoot themselves or their loved ones. I wonder how local and state officers will enforce rules that prohibit conceal carry in places such as schools and parks and on mass transit systems.

I wonder if this is a train wreck waiting to happen. Or if lives will be saved because a shooter in a movie theater will be taken down by the guy sitting in the row behind him—before he can expend all of his ammunition. Can you say Aurora, Colorado?

I don’t have the answers. I do have a number of questions. And I’ll leave you with this one: “In the world we live in, do you know how to tell the good guys from the bad guys?”

PART I: Local Cop Brings Unique Expertise to Conceal Carry Training Classes

PART II: Practical to Patriotic: People from All Walks of Life Pursue Conceal Carry Licenses





David Stanly December 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM
We don't carry guns because of the odds of needing one ,or most of us wouldn't carry. We carry because if, against the odds ,we need one and don't have it, the cost of being unable to save our life and the lives of those who count on us to protect them is so catastrophic as to be simply unacceptable.
henry eroh December 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM
that s ok if he don't like it- that leaves me more time and equipment available to enjoy - yes I own firearms loaded all the time
Joe Mosley December 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM
I have a gun for self defense only.I'm an old man.To old to take a butt kicking,and to young to die.
Blackthorne December 11, 2013 at 11:50 PM
" I wonder if we are living in the Wild West in the here and now or if we’re heading back to the days of Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill Cody" I live in Michigan, where we have 427,000 LAW-ABIDING citizens licensed to carry concealed weapons. Florida, which really got the Concealed carry ball rolling, has just over 1,000,000 licensed to carry citizens. There has been no Wyatt Earp "OK Corral" shootouts by licensed citizens in either state. As the author said, "Crooks don’t bother with rules and regulations." The thing is, YOU choose NOT to own a furearm. I, on the other hand, choose to own a firearm AND carry it in a holster, tucked under my jacket. I won't try to force you into buying a gun, and don't YOU try to make me give up MY gun? Deal?
ARR67 December 12, 2013 at 07:28 AM
I'm for this new law, but I don't own a gun. I have an expired FOID, & I know I have to renew it. My understanding is that in Illinois you can conceal carry, granted you pass a similar course, have no felonies, & all your "ducks" are in order. Right? Is it true, however, that Chicago still will not allow conceal carry? Doesn't the State have authority over its counties & it's cities?
Vince Rukstalis December 12, 2013 at 07:44 AM
Cabalero that's an inappropriate cheap "shot". Wm Luban is correct, when you check the facts.
Robert Ellsworth December 12, 2013 at 07:47 AM
Your parting question is silly? dumb? or offered with little thought. Walking around with a gun or knife in their pocket says nothing about the persons intent. They can be good or bad. Trying to break down your front door, chasing your wife or daughter as she gets off work and walks to her car, robbing the cashier while you stand in line at the bank and many other happenings let you see instantly who the bad person is. I live in Seattle and carry a weapon at all time when I leave my as does my wife. I keep one close at hand as well at home and have actually caught 2 burglars and 1 individual attempting to break in over the years, held them at gun point, (they go into the crap your pants mode at that point) and turned them over to the police. I'm lucky but they are luckier that they did not physically resist or I would have simply ended their sorry life. In Seattle carrying a gun is almost a crime to most of the liberals there. Today I work in Wyoming where open carry is the law and a couple years ago they stopped giving out concealed pistol permits and went to open carry. It's not easy to tell how many carry but from the number of guns I see everywhere everyday the number must be in excel of 2/3rds of the population. I work in the city, not a rancher although I am an outdoors person and there are a few snakes and critters of course. But last weekend I went to a local gunshow here for the first time. Now I am a life member of WAC Wa Arms Collectors in WA state and guns have to be unloaded, zip tied with no magazines in them etc at the show and attendees must show they conform when they carry a gun into the show. Here in Wyoming the displayed guns are zip tied but can have an empty magazine inserted, attendees can simply carry their guns holstered on their hip or where ever and no one says or is worried. Why? well it would take a real freak to pull a gun anywhere in Wyoming to cause trouble or harm because he/she would become a serious bullet magnet. So here with lots of gun ownership and carry common there is no problem. In fact we don't seem to have family dispute shooting work place shootings or very many killings by wackos. And last of all to Sacheldasy Caballero (who must be a girl) Penis size has nothing to do with or the system simply would not let all the women I see carrying guns own one. Not everyone should own a gun and I thank the Patch guy for taking time to get some experience )although not much and he probably should have started with a 22) with one. Best to all from Happy with Wyoming
John Galtwell December 12, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Most of the women I've seen in concealed carry classes usually learn with or qualify with a .22, then work their way up to a 9mm. Perhaps if Ronnie had done this, or taken the class with other women (he?) would not have been so scared. However, given obvious prejudices and lack of knowledge/research, it most likely wouldn't have made any difference. I find it very interesting that those who know that they are weak minded, and can't handle the responsibility that comes with firearms ownership, automatically assume that everyone else must be the same way; and we must protect society from the inevitable "Wild West" shootouts that would occur if they had a gun. Well, those of its that carry are extremely responsible, and are always alert to avoid confrontation whenever possible. Just for the record, none of the cataclysmic wild west death matches have occurred where concealed carry has been implemented. As a matter of fact, gun crime has significantly decreased, despite predictions to the contrary.
John Galtwell December 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM
"Those of US" Stupid autocorrect!
Greg Smith December 12, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Ron, First, look at the statistics in States that have concealed carry...crime drops like a meteor. There are no shoot outs in the streets...it simply doesn't happens, regardless of how many that line is vomited out by anti-gunners. Second, my 12 YO daughter shoots a 1911 in .45 ACP...so your trainer sucked if he let you shoot a little 9MM leaning back like that...no wonder you didn't have fun..you probably felt like you were falling on yer butt.
John Smith December 12, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I wonder about a few things too. I wonder if your wife is wondering if you can protect her and the kids if or when they need it. I wonder if you have testicles. I wonder if you call upon armed men to protect you and your family, when you're not willing to take that step yourself. I wonder what you would have done if you were born in 1922, and got drafted in 1942. I wonder if you feel cheated somehow.
James Christensen December 12, 2013 at 03:33 PM
@Sacheldasy Caballero December 12, 2013 at 03:49 AM "I guess guns are for scared guys with small penises." Hey Sacheldasy! If a bad guy ever kicks in you door at 2:00 A.M., confront him by taking out your penis and waving it at him! Let me know how that works out for you, O.K.?
Tiny Tricia December 12, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Ron, you can say this as an educated caucasian who has always lived in a safe neighborhood. Please go live in East Brooklyn for a year. That will be more enlightening than anything you have ever done as a "journalist"
Frank December 12, 2013 at 05:29 PM
If this guy were a real "journalist" he would have done the research and learned that none of the negative things he mentions have occurred in the states where concealed carry is permitted. In fact there has been a decrease in violent crime in a;; those states. Note that the cities with the most stringent anti firearms laws have the highest number of violent crimes.
Jeff Thurman December 12, 2013 at 05:53 PM
So poor Mr. Kremer is engaged in all of this "wondering," but doesn't do even the most basic checking of any of the research or statistics that are out there concerning gun ownership and self-defense use. Exactly what kind of "journalist" is he? One who doesn't want any of his liberal nighmares debunked, I guess. What would happen if he was also frightened by a latte?
Rachel Klementzos December 12, 2013 at 05:56 PM
I have also taken my conceal carry class (through guns save life, if anyone is interested) and I will tell you that my training that I had was great. From the lectures to the live shooting practice I came out on top. I am 26 and 115lbs and I shot a 9mm ruger with no problems. I can now safety shoot two targets in the dark, with only a flashlight to see... Within 8 seconds. The issue arises that no matter what you are dealing with, whether it be a gun or driving a car, there is always going to be some idiot who cannot function properly. It's the way life goes. I choose to carry a gun not because I want to use it, but because I value my life enough to use it only if I HAVE too. With the way the world is I don't feel comfortable going many places by myself. The class I took also taught us how to tell the difference between a situation where we should have to use deadly force and we shouldn't.
Marvin Harrison December 12, 2013 at 08:53 PM
When I got my first license in NYC I was taught with a pellet gun. My first real weapon was a .357 magnum, but using .38 specials in it. Only when proficient did I move up to the .357. After 50 rounds twice a week it didn't take long.
Al Cloutier December 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Cabellero. You seem to have an obsession with penises.
Sacheldasy Caballero December 13, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Yeah I like to use mine. Shoot my load inside my honey. How about you, you prefer to shoot a gun.
Sacheldasy Caballero December 13, 2013 at 04:23 AM
James Christensen. Well don't wave your penis you idiot wave your fists. I was right these guys are scared of the boogie man.
Thomas A. Stevens December 13, 2013 at 05:44 AM
Mr. Kremer, you are a child. You lack the strength to control a firearm, and the courage to defend yourself, or others. Your critical thinking skills are non existent. All of your assertions, disguised as questions are bald. They lack any evidentiary support and are just your simple minded, cowardly, unsupported opinions. If you chose not to protect yourself that is fine, but it is wrong and disingenuous of you to disparage others. You are a sheep without a shepherd.
Walter Straub December 13, 2013 at 07:23 AM
"When I returned home, my wife asked me if I’d ever shoot a gun again, if I would consider shooting as a hobby. The answer: No." At which point my wife said, "Well, I guess I'll have to take up shooting and defend the family then".
Sheriffchris December 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Guns are scary things....after shooting thousands of rounds I still somewhat scared of my gun. I treat it with the utmost respect, as I would treat anything that scares me, I give it my undivided attention when I use it. I do understand it's power and my responsibility.
Thomas J Burke December 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM
I never really found guns to be scary. I always felt that I had to take care of my gun and protect it if I wanted the gun to protect me.
Allen Burnett December 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Note to bad guys; the author cannot protect himself or his loved ones if you decide to take violence to his doorstep. Personally I don't think it's a good idea to paint a target on yourself. An NRA bumper sticker on your car in the driveway insures bad guys pass up your house and look for an easy target.
Jim December 14, 2013 at 08:12 AM
This is quite possibly the least thought provoking article I have ever read. This gives us all an insight into the editor's mind and what we are seeing on Plainfield Patch. He should probaby stick to covering local high school sports and not allow us to step inside his dull intellect.
joe December 14, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Thank God there wasn't a military draft. I guess the DI would have had to drag our pathetic editor out from under his bunk bed in order to get him to the rifle range. And as for the Cabarello dude, he wishes he had a girlfriend. I think he's under the covers now with his autographed picture of Nancy Pelosi doing what he does best.
James Christensen December 14, 2013 at 01:59 PM
@ Tony Manjalagots: ROTFLMAO! I always like to give the anti-gun types this advice. If you ever hear someone kicking in your door late at night, call 911. After that, call and order a pizza. See who shows up first? Of course, having the pizza is a good thing. It will give the cops something to eat while they are drawing a chalk line around your body, and waiting two hours for the coroner to arrive!
Alamedian December 16, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Ron, if you're wondering why you're getting so much hate in the comments, I'll explain: You're incredibly ignorant about all aspects of shooting, law, and statistics, and you've insulted people who aren't. Naturally people are going to have a bad reaction to that. As for your experience, the smaller and lighter the gun, the less pleasant it is. If you ever try again, shoot a .22, or a full size 9mm, and shoot more than 3 rounds before deciding it's not for you.
John Lyman April 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM
“In the world we live in, do you know how to tell the good guys from the bad guys?” We know them by what they say and what they do. If one is a defensive firearm carrier, then one is prepared/equipped to deal with the bad guys who intend harm. The good guys will never know that one is armed, nor will they need to.

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