Fan Friday—All Over the Place

Yes, yes. I missed a post . . . or two . . . last week and this and have been late, as per usual. Or often. My point is that I have a lot going on and my little ol’ brain is being taxed trying to keep up with it all.

By request, I’m not posting any more of REPEAT until we’re ready to go to press and, speaking of which, send me all your good energy and maybe a few brain cells so I can get that all finished up, nice and neat.

RHP has a new release coming out, Kindle today and print next week. It’s called AO, Alpha to Omega, by a dear friend, Amy Adams Squire. You will love this—Amy has such a way with words, you’ll laugh until you cry, and I have to also mention her incredible art that is scattered throughout, as well as the cover itself.

Buy it, right away, and read and review it—you won’t be disappointed!

And now I’m going to get up on my soapbox:

Missouri just changed some gun laws and this has folks all up in arms. Ha. So to speak. Here’s the thing: I’ve spoken to many people about the CCW classes they’ve taken, and while many seem to think that this constitutes “training,” they seem to be sorely wrong. To be clear, those who think this class is “training” are usually the ones who haven’t taken the class.

Some instructors allow you bring your own handgun which is what a new gun owner needs to be practicing with and learning on in the first place. Most do not, and you have to use a weapon that is provided. Whether or not the class covers familiarity with that weapon and loading and firing, it doesn’t make much difference if you aren’t you using the gun that you would use under normal circumstances.

They do teach you the rules of the range, which is handy if that’s where you’re going to be practicing, but ranges may have different rules. They also teach the ins and outs of the legalities of gun ownership and usage.

From what I hear, there is very little actual shooting.

Missouri is an open-carry state. That means, in many places but not all, you can walk around like a wild West gunslinger if you want to; the exceptions are businesses that do not allow this, like banks, churches, schools, and so forth. If there’s a “no gun” sign, you can’t bring it in the door.

The new law says that anywhere you can open carry, you can conceal carry, without a permit. Some people are upset because now there will be no proof that the individual is “trained” in using his weapon.

Let’s stop and think about this:

You go out and buy a shiny new handgun—yes, you will still have to pass a Federal background check. You sign up for a class where you learn about gun laws and dos and don’ts and safety. You might get to shoot your gun, but will likely shoot a different one. After that, you’ll soon receive your permit.

How does this make you a safer gun owner compared to someone who purchases a gun, just like you did, and becomes familiar with it by handling it, unloaded and with the safety on because that’s just common sense, dry firing, practicing loading, taking it apart and cleaning it, and actually firing it. Someone who’s read up on gun laws and knows what he can and cannot do, legally speaking. Someone who studies shooter situations.

Missouri has long said that YOU would be the safest shooter because you took a class and the state has documented that by issuing your permit. And, of course, collecting a small fee.

What do you think?

But here’s the thing:

When you are in public, you can, of course, see anyone who is open-carrying. But you don’t know who’s conceal-carrying; that’s the point, right? So you don’t know who’s had this “training” and who is self-trained. Neither before nor after the change in the law would you know who had done nothing but purchased a gun.

And this part won’t change—those with no training or practice or experience, even those without background checks, will still be carrying concealed because officers aren’t going to check every single person.

In other words, you’ve never needed a permit to carry a gun, unless you get caught. Criminals don’t follow the laws in the first place . . .

Anti-gunners seem to think that’s not a valid argument. They also seem to believe that a permit fixes everything and makes a person an instant expert.

Neither of these things are true.

Sure, with the law changes, we could have a new motto, which I saw online earlier: Missouri, The Shoot-Me State. Cracked me up, actually. But we could have done that before, too. Why? Because anyone can buy a gun, either legally or otherwise, and anyone can carry one around in the open or concealed, law or no law.

Think of it like driving—and yes, I’m opening myself up to the standard arguments of “you need a license to drive a car.” But you also take a test that covers the basic situations of driving, in your own car, and you must still practice on your own. You think teens and parents don’t fudge on reporting the number of practice hours? Heck, even a driving permit assumes that the person hasn’t yet been behind the wheel—is it suddenly safer just because a licensed adult is in the passenger seat? If you think that’s safer, you’ve never taught a teen to drive.

If you did take a CCW class, good for you. But you also need to know your gun, practice with it, contemplate scenarios in which you would use it. Having a permit itself doesn’t make anyone safer.

Writer Wednesday—Why You Should Join the Missouri Writers Guild

I joined the MWG a few years ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and while I thought the experience was interesting and looked good on my list of credentials, there wasn’t a lot of activity. Now, admittedly, like a lot of authors, I’m not exactly a joiner in the sense that I’m going to breeze into a room full of people I don’t know and just jump into the middle of things.

Two years later, I decided I was ready to volunteer. Last weekend, I got elected president of the Guild.

Lest you become too excited over this development, let me assure that it wasn’t difficult or even a nod to my capabilities—there was no one else running . . .

I believe that the MWG should be a respected organization that assists and empowers writers throughout the state, or even beyond.

I believe that everyone should know about us, particularly state and local governments, chambers of commerce, journalism organizations, booksellers, publishers, agents, newspapers, libraries, and schools.

I believe that the MWG should be a point-of-contact for all these groups, and especially for those aspiring to become authors or technical writers or illustrators or publishers or journalists.

I believe we should be active and visible on the state level, and regionally through our chapters.

The Missouri Writers Guild was organized in 1915—this is our 100th anniversary year. I intend to ensure that the MWG is around and alive and kicking for the next 100 years, and beyond.

Let me tell you how we’re going to do this:

This past weekend, we hosted a planning conference with thirty Chapter reps from around the state. We brainstormed, we broke into small groups, we discussed and debated and took notes and made lists.

An excellent start.

However, we cannot lose our momentum or our enthusiasm.

To that end, I’ve been working almost non-stop on Guild business since Sunday evening. Our first Board meeting will be May 1st. We have an action committee, appointed at the conference, who will have a report for us in the areas of next year’s conference, website issues and suggestions, and Guild/Chapter communication.

Already, some of those website ideas have been implemented and the conference committee is making decisions. Additionally, we have a contest committee that is working on revamping and expanding our annual contests, a new chapter is being formed, and the Board is working on bylaws changes and membership levels.

Other ideas put forth include additional levels of membership, a statewide writing contest, increased and better technology, more frequent communication between Guild and Chapters, and a lot more! It would take hours for me to list them all.

If you are or were a member of the MWG, I urge you to renew that membership and stay with us. Adopt a wait-and-see attitude, at the very least. Good things are coming, changes are being made, and I think you’ll be pleased. If you aren’t, drop me an email and express your feelings—vehemently, if you wish; let me know what you’d like to see from the Guild or maybe, just possibly, how you’d like to become involved. I assure you, there’s room for everyone.

If you’ve never been a member, now is the time to join us. Go to our website,, and fill out a membership application.

Why should you join? Why renew?

To hang out with other writers. To learn stuff. To socialize. To be involved. To make a difference. Connections, mentoring, education, resources—we’re not just an annual conference. There’s going to be a lot more to come . . .

We’re listening to our members, and we’d like you to join us!