Instructor emphasizes gun safety
Jun 04, 2013 | 3440 views | 1 1 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Tom Harkness, a certified Concealed Carry License and National Rifle Association pistol instructor, told Gilmer Rotarians about CCL, common-sense gun laws, and their current status in Texas.

Harkness says on his web site ( that “I moved to Pittsburg, Texas, after retiring from the Austin Fire Department.”

Currently, he serves as a volunteer firefighter for the City of Pittsburg and was recently voted in as the Secretary/Treasurer of the group.

He is a former U.S. Army Combat Medic.

“I served in the Active Army from 1976 to 1979, and then returned to Active Reserve Status in 1980. During my service on active duty, I was assigned to the 1/75th Rangers (Airborne) and then to the 2/9th Cavalry,” he said.

“I completed the Emergency Medical Technicians program, Paratroopers Training, and the Jungle Operations Training Center program. I earned the Expert Rating for the M-14 Rifle, M-16 Rifle, M-60 Machine Gun, M-203 Grenade Launcher, Fragmentation Grenade, and the 45cal Pistol. I also completed training with the 90mm recoil-less rifle.”

During his years with the U.S. Army Reserves, he completed training in the Primary, Basic and Advance NCO Leadership programs. He later became an instructor for each of these programs. In 1996, he was assigned as the NCOIC of the Emergency Room at Brooke Army Medical Center.

He completed the Nursing Program at Austin Community College and received his Nursing License just prior to joining the Austin Fire Department.

“During my years with the Fire Department I used this training for both a second job in Nursing and for helping to move the Fire Department toward a more active role in providing First Responder medical responses to the community,” he said. I I served as an instructor for the Texas Department of Health in the Emergency Medical

In 2003, he joined the Texas State Military in the Military Police.

“Although I had originally intended to serve as a medic for the Law Enforcement group, I was asked to complete the MP training program and soon became a team leader for the 2nd Bat.

“During this time I completed the Texas Concealed Handgun Training and became an instructor with the National Rifle Association. I earned the Expert Rating for the 9mm Beretta pistol.

“I then completed the instructor training program for the Texas Private Security Bureau and began teaching in Austin Texas. In 2008, I completed the instructor program for the Texas Concealed Handgun Program and started teaching in Austin,” he said.

After he retired from the Austin Fire Department, he completed the Police Academy at Northeast Texas Community College.

“Upon graduation I was accepted to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, but was assigned to the County Jail, due to my Nursing License,” he said.

After moving to Pittsburg,, he started the SCFH Training Academy for firearms.

“I currently teach 6 NRA programs and the Texas Concealed Handgun License training,” he said.

He said that CCL classes in Texas are mandated to be 10 hours, but some states have 4-hour classes, with the stipulation that the student has already completed the NRA course on safety, cleaning and general maintenance of a handgun.

Harkness gives a discount to CCL class members who have completed his NRA class.

He said that costs for the NRA class run from $40 to $300.

The disparity depends on whether the student provides his own firearms, ammo, cleaning supplies, targets, etc., or whether Harkness has to loan them the guns and provide the ammo and other necessary materials.

He gave the audience a view into the “twisted minds” of anti-gun mob.

“In arguing with liberals,” he said, they try to avoid answering questions, and when that doesn’t work, try to ride both sides of the issue.

He used a confrontation with a liberal college professor as an example.

Harkness said that, to advance in academia, a professor had to “remove God, embrace Socialism, and curse the Second Amendment.”

Harkness pointed out tha the first major abrogation of the Second Amendment was in the “Jim Crow” South, after the Civil War.

Blacks were denied ownership of firearms, and thereby denied the ability to protect themselves against the bullies in the Ku Klux Klan.

Likewise, governments today would prefer an unarmed, docile populace, Harkness said.

As a side thought, Harkness said, ironically, the antigun movement on the state level is currently strongest in those areas of the country where labor unions still have control, such as the Northeast.

Harkness said that safety is important in handling any gun, and treat any gun as if it is loaded.

His program was enthusiastically accepted by the Rotarians, with the talk generating many questions.
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Texas TopCat
June 03, 2013
Good Article