Friday, February 8, 2013



Note: of interest to the "gunnies" mostly.

Sheriff: Firearms safety course takes on added importance amid home
invasion trend
WHAT: Gun safety course
WHEN: Feb. 20 and 21
WHERE: Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office academy, 715 El Cibolo Road in
TO APPLY: For an application, email or stop
by the Sheriff's Office, 701 El Cibolo Road in Edinburg, Monday
through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CONTACT: Call (956) 381-7979 for more information

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 1:45 pm
Posted on February 4, 2013
by Jacqueline Armendariz

The Hidalgo County sheriff said his office's free homeowner firearms
safety course this month takes on added importance amid a disturbing
crime trend in the county and the nation's recent conversation on gun
control, the sheriff said.
Sheriff Lupe Treviño said he does not support an assault weapons ban.
Instead, he said he believes in comprehensive gun control reform that
lets firearm owners protect themselves.
Last month, the Sheriff's Office investigated two armed home
invasions in Mercedes that prompted the assembly of a special task
force, while at least five aggravated robberies also occurred in a
little more than a week.
"What happens now is it gives an added importance because of the
uptick that we've had in aggravated robberies and home invasions,"
Treviño said of the firearms safety course. "We would love to have
the entire citizenry go through it because, look, you can't have a
cop on every corner."
Sheriff's Office rangemaster Fred Perez said the next course is
scheduled for Feb. 20 and 21 at the academy, 715 El Cibolo Road in
Edinburg. Participants must be Hidalgo County residents age 21 and
over to apply and submit to a criminal history check. Students must
also bring their own weapon and ammunition. The course is not a
concealed handgun licensing class.
Treviño said his office has hosted the course mostly on a monthly
basis beginning about three years ago, graduating hundreds of
The first day students hear from an assistant Hidalgo County District
Attorney and deputies regarding the legalities of self-defense,
including the state's castle law — which allows the use deadly force
without retreat in a home, car or workplace. They also learn from
deputies, who are volunteering their time, the firearm's mechanics
and how to safely operate a gun. The second day instructors oversee
students at the gun range in a live fire self-defense course.
"I wanted to do everything that I could to level the playing between
the bad guys and the good guys," Treviño said of the course.
The sheriff said recent talk of gun control has concerned him.
"It is my duty under the oath that I took, to uphold United States
Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment: the right to bear
arms," he said. "I can tell you gun control alone is not the
solution. You need to have more comprehensive approach."
He supports background checks at gun shows and stronger access to
mental health records in relation to gun purchases. He also said it's
crucial the vigorous prosecution of crimes involving guns, which
carry enhanced penalties, continue.
Still, homeowners with firearms are able to protect themselves, he
said, and that's something that could give deputies enough time to
reach them to help.
"Banning assault rifles and taking them away from the good guys only
leaves the bad guys with guns," he said. "We as police officers
cannot be everywhere all the time. It's impossible. There's not
enough of us."
However, Treviño warned, gun owners who claimed self-defense have
been charged with murder in some cases. There must always be evidence
of a threat to life, property or a third party that justifies deadly
force, he said.
Despite Hidalgo County's location on the border, that's one factor
that doesn't play into a homeowner's need to be armed, he said.
Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, is more dangerous when
comparing crimes on a per capita basis, he said. However, FBI data
for 2011 shows the following: Hidalgo County had 20 cases of homicide
or non-negligent manslaughter versus 12 in Bexar County, while there
were also 525 violent crimes here compared with 496 there.

"Just because we live on the border doesn't necessarily mean it's
super important because some illegal (immigrant) is going to kick
your door down and steal your Rolex and rape you," the sheriff said
of the firearms course. "That's not true. It's a matter of leveling
playing field where you live.
Just like bad guys have rights, good guys have rights, too."

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