Gaining new perspectives on life is often a critical facet of deciding to own a firearm.
For example, when he was plinking with a .22 at his uncle’s house in the Poconos, certified firearms instructor Rocco La Rocca was excited by the experience.
Years later, when a series of neighborhood burglaries inspired his wife to want to purchase a gun, the excitement returned — but with a greater degree of understanding of the importance of the right to bear arms.
“The first firearm I ever shot was a really old Daisy model VL chambered in .22 rimless,” La Rocca, founder of R.O.C. Training, recalls. “That was well over 20 years ago. My uncle always included an ample amount of target practice with every visit, because he saw how elated I became when those soda cans were sent flying off his fence.”
Once he started college, “I lost interest for a few of years, then my wife and I moved to New Jersey. After two weeks, four homes in our development fell victim to burglaries. It was then my wife said, ‘Let’s get a gun,’ and my elation began once more — only this time it germinated into a passion for this industry.”
He began teaching a little more than a decade ago, became a certified instructor seven years ago and founded R.O.C. Training in 2012. He will be providing the Utah CCW course the day before the third-annual NJ SAFE Conference in Princeton.
“R.O.C. will provide practically everything you need to complete your Utah CCW requirement,” he explains. “Applications, fingerprints, driver’s license photo copies, mailing envelope and a CD with a ton of resource information including Utah’s training curriculum are all included. All the students have to do is obtain a standard passbook-size photo and pay the Utah application fee.”
The course will focus on:
- Learning how to fill out the applications and fingerprinting
- Safety, familiarity with firearms and concealed carry necessities
- Laws pertaining to firearms and use of force from the Utah and federal perspectives
In comparing the Utah CCW course with others, La Rocca notes that “reciprocity-wise they are practically identical, but the real benefits are location, time and cost. We give these courses anywhere and everywhere. Because Utah does not require a live-fire qualification, we can host a class in any location including private residency. Since this course is only four hours, we can schedule sessions after normal business hours.”
Of course, classroom training is supplemental to hands-on drills. La Rocca has the following advice on:
• Dry fire practice at home: “Do it as much as possible, and snap caps are fine. But don’t limit your dry practice to just trigger control. Practice all of your fundamentals, manipulations, positions, defensive plans, etc. with every firearm you own. Please, before you do any dry practicing make sure your chamber(s) are empty and remove all the ammunition from the room — all ammunition!
• Virtual shooting exercises/simulation: “Anyone who owns a firearm for self-defense should take advantage of this. In defensive scenarios you must make instantaneous decisions under extremely traumatic conditions and this too requires an extensive amount of training and practice.”
• A basic firearms training regimen: “It varies constantly, but my high-level criteria for how I select a curriculum and what objectives I strive for in my weekly practice regimen include: Have I recently practiced this? Is it relevant for what I have planned? And, is it realistic enough that I can implement it with a successful outcome?
Having trained so many firearms owners, La Rocca also has perspective on the big-picture aspects of the Second Amendment struggle in New Jersey and nationwide.
“From a national prospective, I think there will be victories at the federal level — but how many is the question,” he says. “Even though the Trump administration appears to be pro-2A, my concern is that other politicians may not be united with any proposals due to other political agendas or pressures. As a consequence, many pragmatic Second Amendment bills could be hindered.”
With the N.J. governor’s race to be held Nov. 7, “if what polls say at this time are true, I think we will see an eruption of legislation that will eventually lead to the impracticality of gun ownership in this state — and with it a condemning of the firearms culture.”
How might this dim future unfold?
“Holistically, I think — and this is speculation — New Jersey will bear witness to a battle for the utmost restrictive Second Amendment regulation state in the history of this country. The circumstances mentioned above are a forgone conclusion with a Phil Murphy administration, but innovative constraints like requiring so-called smart-gun technology and micro stamping on all firearm purchases, one gun a month on all firearms not just pistols, prohibitions on all .50-caliber firearms and all — yes, all — semi-automatic long guns are prospects that every gun owner (not just hunters) could potentially be confronted with. With over 90 bills introduced and halted during Christie’s admission, New Jersey’s firearms culture will forever be under attack if Murphy gets in.”
Therefore, he concludes, “this is why proficient instructors, New Jersey 2A rights groups, accommodating gun ranges and of course NJ SAFE are necessities for providing the best education to help people understand what we are faced with every day.”