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Riding Shotgun With Charlie

Dec 5, 2023

Riding Shotgun With Charlie

#186 Jim Irvine

FASTER Saves Lives


Jim Irvine and I have been trying to make this happen for a while. We finally filmed a show in Phoenix at Gun Rights Policy Conference, just before he had to speak. He helped start something that is near and dear to my heart, teaching school staff shooting, medical, and active shooter training. I’ve been working in public and private schools for longer than I’d like to admit. I was teaching at a public school on 9/11/2001 and it made me realize that I needed to learn to defend myself and my family. That’s when I got a license to carry and began my journey as a gun guy. 


Jim has been a pilot for years. After September 2001, GRPC was almost canceled as there were hardly any flights. A group of pilots at GRPC got together and ended up changing legislation so that pilots could carry guns again on airplanes. At one point, they were required to carry guns because they were transporting mail. It kind of worked so it was voluntary then it sort of went away. 


After Sandy Hook, Jim reached out to John Benner who founded Tactical Defense Institute, and has been training school resource officers for years to carry guns in schools more than anyone else in the country. Jim hired Benner to teach a class to teachers and they had 24 spots to fill. At a town hall meeting Jim made the announcement of the course. After being mocked by the media, they had over 1,000 people interested in the course from all grade levels. One of the candidates said he was a former law enforcement officer, went into teaching, and carries everywhere he goes, except at school. Another candidate said she would do anything to protect her students and wanted to consider carrying at school, but it wasn’t for her. 


For the first class, they raised money for everything: materials, hotels, guns & ammo. They were concerned that they were going to spend everything they had. Everyone loved the course. Other people said that since FASTER is doing something other than having a vigil, they would be willing to donate to help them prevent the next event from happening. They ended up having more money than when they started. So they held another class. And another one. FASTER was growing. Jim thought they would be the middleman between the schools and the trainers. But lots of schools were reaching out to have their staff trained. 


I took the FASTER Level 1 course in 2001. What I really got out of it was the active shooter training and the medical aspect. Lots of people die because they’re wounded and waiting for help. After the police go in and stop the murderer, then the medics can come in. That’s a critical time for the wounded. If the teachers can show the students how to apply pressure and apply tourniquets, then more people will survive school shootings. 


One of the unintended benefits is getting the local police involved with the training. They are able to build relationships within the schools and that helps in and outside of the school. Jim talks about the teachers doing qualifications helps the police do better on their qualifications. To pass the FASTER courses, you need a perfect score. Some of the teachers were outshooting the police and they didn’t want that to happen. 


The FASTER program has trained over 3,000 teachers and school staff. FASTER qualified teachers are in over 300 schools around the country. FASTER has programs in Ohio, Colorado, and Arizona. And it’s growing. 


If you want to help your local schools, please reach out to FASTER and get them in touch with your community. This is the best way to stop school shootings from happening. Even if staff don’t want to learn about firearms, they should be learning about medical and trauma. These are skills that will save lives. 


Favorite quotes: 

“You’ve got to carry a gun to protect mail and letters, but you can’t carry a gun to protect children’s lives.”

”We had about 1,000 people sign up in the first three weeks.”

“I love my kids, that’s why I have them.”

“The response from other people saying“instead of doing a vigil, you’re doing something that may stop the next event from happening. I’ll donate to that.”

“There’s one problem they’re going to solve. Every other problem they’re solving the same way.”

“After you stop the killing, now you’ve got to stop the dying.”

“Fighting is not only acceptable, it’s demanded!”

“We are going to end school shootings in our country. Flat out end them.”

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Second Amendment Foundation


Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms



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