Jaffrey

Two officers’ startup aims at gun issues

Blue-U Seminars seeks to educate public on ‘stand your ground’ law

  • Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Lt. Terry Choate, left, and Det. Joe Hileman will lead a seminar in Keene on Saturday in firearm safety, responsibility and New Hampshire gun laws.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

Increased public interest in firearms safety and laws related to firearms use has prompted two Jaffrey officers to start a business through which they plan to offer training programs on the topic locally.

Jaffrey Lt. Terry Choate and Det. Joe Hileman established Blue-U Seminars earlier this year to teach firearm owners, and others interested, how New Hampshire’s “stand your ground” law works. The business is not affiliated with the Jaffrey Police Department, or any other law enforcement agency, according to Choate.

Choate said Wednesday that he posted a brochure for a seminar on a regional firearms forum and the response it received was alarming. The comments included, “If I’m threatened, I will shoot. That simple”; “Anyone stands on my property, I’ll blow his head off”; and “In my castle, doctrine says I shoot.”

When otherwise law-abiding citizens say they would not hesitate to shoot someone who enters their home or comes on their property, that’s a serious problem, Choate said.

Under the state’s “stand your ground” law , a person may use force in self-defense when there is reason to believe another person is making an unlawful threat. In certain situations, a person is justified in using deadly force and there is no obligation to retreat first.

But there are moral responsibilities of the law that people need to take into consideration, said Hileman. And the law is not as clear-cut as one may think, he noted.

“There may be a justified use for deadly force, but its a homicide regardless, and there will be a homicide investigation,” he said.

At Blue-U Seminars, Hileman said he and Choate discuss possible scenarios to help people better understand the law and its application. The discussion includes a deeper analysis of why someone may have infringed upon another’s property, the degree of the perceived threat and methods of response.

Blue-U Seminars has held classes in Manchester and Nashua so far, with 50 people in total attending the events.

When asked why the officers chose not to work with the Jaffrey Police Department or another agency to offer the training program, Choate said, “You can take a side on this issue, so we are trying to make it as politically correct as possible.”

The Rindge Police Department and Rindge Crime Watch recently offered a two-hour gun safety class to residents for free. And there are local movements in other area towns, including New Ipswich, to startup neighborhood watches and community safety programs. While Choate said he did not attend the Rindge class or any other in the area, he believes the Blue-U Seminars will provide people with a clear interpretation of state laws from which they can then make sound decisions. Many training classes just simply read through the laws, Choate said.

Blue-U Seminars do not teach people practical aspects of shooting, or seek to promote one form of self-defense over another, according to Choate.

Hileman said every situation is unique and no one can call themselves an expert, despite what training he or she may have received.

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to [shoot],” Hileman said referring to the moral responsibilities of the “stand your ground” law.

Blue-U Seminars will hold its next training session at the American Legion Post #4 in Keene on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets cost $30 at the door, or those interested can preregister online for $25 at www.Blue-U.com.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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