Charles L. Cotton

Charles L. Cotton

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Youth Action Pistol League - YAPL

While it is true that most kids enjoy shooting all types of firearms, the hands down favorite seems to be pistol shooting.  This statement can be further refined by noting that action pistol type shooting such as IDPA, IPSC, or Steel Challenge matches, is a favorite activity among youth who gravitate to pistol shooting.

To promote firearms safety and to help kids develop good gun-handling skills, has created the Youth Action Pistol League (YAPL).  Unlike current action pistol disciplines, the YAPL is much more than merely competitive matches.  It includes training programs and coaching sessions much like little league baseball and football leagues, in addition to local, regional and state matches.  The goal is to have shooting clubs and ranges throughout the state create YAPL chapters to conduct training and coaching programs and offer matches to YAPL members.  As the league grows, regional matches will be organized with shooters competing both as a team and as individuals.  A state championship will also be hosted for individuals and teams to win or are highly placed at regional matches.

 YAPL rules are modeled largely after IDPA rules, with significant differences.  Scoring will be identical to IDPA scoring so that chapters can use the excellent scoring software developed by Jane Fleming called ForScore.  Many kids who will be drawn to the YAPL events will be too young and/or too inexperienced to shoot centerfire pistols.  Therefore, younger shooters will first use airsoft guns and when their proficiency level warrants, they will move up two .22 rimfire pistols.  Special divisions will be created for scoring shooters using airsoft guns or 22 rimfire pistols.

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Would the Media Please SHUT UP!?

CLC 08 bustThe mass murder of twenty first grade children and six adults in Newtown Connecticut was a tragedy beyond comprehension.  Unfortunately, the news media is unintentionally increasing the odds that a copycat mass murderer will duplicate the massacre in another school.  Since the Newtown shootings on Friday, December 15, 2012, at least three people have been arrested for threatening to enter schools and kill students and faculty.  How many more are watching the unending television coverage of this event and dreaming of their “15 minutes of fame?”

 Let me say up front that I am not a mental health professional.  However, as an attorney for many years and as a former police officer, I have dealt with numerous mentally unstable people.  A shared belief with a large percentage of these people is that society, or some identifiable segment thereof, has treated them unfairly.  The majority of these folks did not exhibit any tendency towards violence or revenge, but a few made it clear that they felt some form of retribution was an order, even though they stopped short of making actual threats.  The bitterness and antisocial behavior seems to be more prominent in people who feel they are ignored or belittled by the society they have come to fear or despise.

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Why I Enjoy Shooting

samanthaI enjoy shooting because I am gaining the knowledge of others who are teaching me and I will always know how to shoot for the rest of my life. Even if it’s for protection or just for fun, I can have this bit of knowledge that I can keep with me where ever I go.

Shooting is a right as well as a privilege for me as a kid. My gun can easily be taken away from me if I mess up. Being able to shoot allows me to release a lot of pent up energy, and allows me to think about the task at hand rather than all the other ideas floating around in my head.  Shooting gives me an amount of responsibility that is not overwhelming. I have to know where others are and what they are doing, and I can't turn in a 180 degree circle without holstering my gun first.Read More

 Getting behind a firearm takes more than point and shoot. Listening is the key. I have learned that if I listen to the grown-ups around me, my aim gets better. When I listen they are transferring their knowledge to me and making me a better shooter.

Shooting is also a type of therapy. It helps me to unwind after a crazy week at school. It allows me to get out of the house after being cooped up for too long. I can release all that energy and soon, after the first ten rounds or so, I feel lighter. Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I get excited at the thought of more kids my age joining in this wonderful sport. We need more kids out on the range learning to shoot. It's so much fun and it is very relaxing after a pretty hectic week.

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The Truth About the "Castle Doctrine"

Jessie Jackson, Rep. Al Green, Al Shaprton and others are using the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for the repeal of all so-called “stand your ground” laws around the country.  Jessie Jackson was in Houston on April 12thcalling for repeal of the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Jackson erroneously claims such laws promote “vigilantism.”  Jessie Jackson, Al Green and other self-appointed black leaders either do not know what the so-called Texas “Castle Doctrine” requires, or they know the truth and are lying to the public.

 It is hard to determine what is at the center of complaints by Jackson and Green, as they never manage to state precisely what offends them about the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Based upon numerous statements made around the country, it appears that the repeal of the retreat duty is what Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others want to accomplish.  However, they argue that the lack of a retreat duty means people can used deadly force “anytime they feel threatened.”  Undoubtedly, they got this misinformation from the Brady Campaign to [Ban all Guns and Render Everyone Defenseless].

Let us brush aside the lies and rhetoric and look at the history of the retreat duty in Texas, as well as the actual provisions of the Texas version of the “Castle Doctrine.”  Prior to 1977, Texas was a “True Man State” meaning there was no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, but only if the use of  deadly force was  justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  In 1977, the Texas Legislature amended the Penal Code to require a person to retreat before using deadly force, even in their own home!  This was the law until 1995 when the duty to retreat inside your home was repealed.  When SB378 passed in 2007, the retreat duty was repealed, but with safeguards.  There is no duty to retreat before using legally justified deadly force only if 1) the person is legally present at the location where they used deadly force; 2) the person did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and 3) the person using deadly force was not engage in illegal conduct at the time they used deadly force.  (See Tex. Penal code §9.32(c))

As noted earlier, repeal of the retreat duty does not change or diminish the long-standing requirements to use deadly force found throughout Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  The logic for repealing the retreat duty is sound and it was necessary to allow innocent people to defend themselves without fear of prosecution.  Prior to 2007, even if a person “reasonably believed deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent the other person’s use of unlawful deadly force” against them, they still had to try to get away before defending himself or herself.  If they got killed trying to escape, well too bad.  That was an absurd legal requirement that valued the life of a criminal more than the life of their intended victim.

Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others are siding with violent criminals by calling for a return to the days when innocent people had to risk their lives before defending themselves against violent attacks.  Once again Jessie Jackson, Al Green and Al Sharpton are trying to raise money and get some free air time by sprinkling themselves with Trayvon’s blood and lying about so-called “stand your ground” statutes.  Unfortunately, their despicable actions are not a surprise.  This has been their game plan for many years.

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Straight Talk About Open-Carry

If you were to stop ten people on the streets of most cities and towns in Texas and ask them how they feel about “open-carry” the vast majority of them would have no idea what you are asking.  Some would probably think you were talking about walking down the street with an open beer in your hand, relating it in their mind to the Texas law against having open containers in a motor vehicle.  “Open-carry” for purposes of this article refers to legally carrying a self-defense handgun in a holster that it is not concealed from public view.

A significant percentage of Texas residents believe that open-carry is currently legal in Texas, but they are mistaken, except in a few locations.  One can openly carry a handgun on their own property, while engaging in sporting activities in which handguns are commonly used (ex.  hunting and shooting matches), and in their place of business or employment under certain circumstances.

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Reduce Off-Limits Areas for CHL's

CLC 08 bustThe time has come for the Texas legislature to reduce the number of locations that are “off-limits” to holders of a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL).  At the time Senate Bill 60 passed in 1995, it was considered by some as both a revolutionary and radical concept.  This opinion was even by some of the Bill’s supporters in the Texas Legislature.  Due to this uncertainty, SB 60 contained many provisions that were ultimately determined to be unnecessary.  These provisions included the designation of various locations as being off-limits to CHL’s carrying self-defense handguns.

 The media-created hysteria that followed the passage of Texas’ first CHL’s statute in 1995 resulted in thousands of Texas businesses posting generic “no guns” decals.  Typically, they were either 2“X2” or 3”X3” clear decals placed on the lower corner of the business’ door.  The decals were easily missed by a CHL holder meaning they would unwittingly enter posted property.

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