At Texas Law Shield, we believe the Second Amendment offers protection for all law-abiding citizens’ right to self defense. In particular, we would like to recognize the steps that Lara Wagner of All Can Carry and Jonathan Galloway from Nardis Gun Club have taken to empower and educate the Deaf through LTC classes.
Wagner first realized the need for firearms courses taught in American Sign Language while she was chatting with a Deaf CHL holder four or five years ago.
Wagner recounted, “I met a fellow CHL holder, and I asked them what their favorite part of the class was. They replied that they ‘liked learning about the defense-of-the-third-person law’. My face must have looked confused because they continued, ‘You know, the one where you can shoot to stop a fight between two people’.” Wagner was mortified by this grave inaccuracy and began asking details about the CHL course. As she suspected, the student had been the only deaf person attending a hearing class, where two sign-language students from a local college, not certified interpreters, were brought in to sign the class.
“It was then that I realized I could offer a better, more accurate, and, frankly, safer, alternative teaching method for deaf students seeking firearms education,” Wagner said.
Galloway at Nardis Gun Club had a similar revelation after speaking with a deaf friend who could not find an LTC course offered in sign language. Galloway knew he had the skills and the passion to create one himself.
Even with the rules and regulations of the American Disability Act, most ranges and LTC schools still struggle to offer adequate options for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Even in the most ideal of situations — that is, when competent and qualified interpreters are supplied — it can be almost impossible for students to pay attention to the target, their gun, the instructor, and the interpreter all at the same time. While it is a step in the right direction for gun ranges, making interpreters available are often just an attempt at adequacy, instead of a true effort for equality.
Over the years, Wagner and Galloway have both collected horror stories from their deaf students that corroborate the difficulties the Deaf can face in hearing-oriented classes. Wagner recounted when one student who had tried to attain an LTC in the past was told by the instructor to “just sit on the front row and read the PowerPoint while I teach the rest of the class.”
Another student was promised an interpreter for a class three separate times, only to show up each time with no interpreter in sight. And perhaps most disturbing, one LTC hopeful was told by a gun range to have a 9-year-old family member interpret the class for them.
Wagner and Galloway have now perfected their respective courses and offer both LTC and basic firearms classes entirely in American Sign Language. Class sizes for deaf or hard of hearing students are generally smaller than those of hearing classes, and classrooms are rearranged from typical row seating into a horseshoe or U shape. This layout is more accommodating and comfortable for students because everyone is ensured a clear line of sight.
Galloway utilizes computer-controlled targets to prep his deaf students and prepares them in advance for drills and scenarios. He signs to his students to let them know to get ready, and then activates the targets. Galloway also utilizes a flashlight to “sweep the range” and alert the students to various commands.
Wagner uses lighting as a substitute for verbal instructions as well. Wagner’s husband, an engineer, helped her design a portable and remote-controlled lighting system that she brings with her to classes. Through different colors and different lengths of flashes, students can instantly tell when it is safe to shoot, and when it isn’t, as well as how many shots they should take.
Galloway has the privilege of instructing exclusively at Nardis Gun Club, which features an indoor range, store, gunsmith department and training department that is open to all members of the public, including the Deaf.
Through her organization All Can Carry, Wagner travels to local gun ranges and teaches classes there. Lara holds classes are Eagle Gun Range, Shoot Smart Indoor Range and Training Center of Fort Worth and others.
(Texas Law Shield Members: Check out Shoot Smart Indoor Range and Training Center of Fort Worth on our Member Perks page to see what special offers they and many other ranges offer exclusively to Members.)
Whether teaching a course at Nardis or another welcoming facility, Wagner and Galloway make it as easy as possible for their students to earn their LTC and to take charge of their personal self-defense.
And as always, please visit Our Member Perks Page to see what discounts and special offers you’re entitled to, just for being a Member of Texas and U.S. Law Shield.