Meet Laura Carno, a successful Second Amendment activist, author, and an integral part of the FASTER Saves Lives program - a groundbreaking firearms training program for teachers.
Laura has had a varied political career, from candidate campaigns, to talk radio, to working as an aide at the State Capitol, and issue campaigns.
In 2016, she wrote a book called Government Ruins Nearly Everything: Reclaiming Social Issues from Uncivil Servants. It lays out the case for solving problems ourselves, and not turning them over to the government to fix. It simply isn’t set up to fix problems. She also founded an organization called SpringsTaxpayers.com, where they keep an eye on the shenanigans of local government in the Colorado Springs area.
We had a chance to catch up with her, and we asked her some questions:
During the 2013 legislative session in Colorado, there was a gun-control majority in the State House, the State Senate, and the Governor was taking calls from Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg money was buying airtime, telling Coloradans to support the gun control bills going through the legislature.
I began running radio ads of my own, telling lawmakers, “If guns aren’t for you, don’t own one. But don’t you dare tell me how I should best defend myself.” The ads caught on, and I did updated versions of that ad —both on radio and TV— during the successful recalls of two State Senators.
Although I work to preserve all freedoms, 2013 is the year I became well known as fighting for 2A freedoms.
FASTER stands for Faculty / Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. It is a training program that started in Ohio in the days following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and is designed for those school staff members who are armed on campus. I attended a class in Ohio in 2016, and came back to Colorado, determined to implement the training for Colorado’s armed school staff. We brought FASTER to Colorado in 2017 and will have trained over 100 school staffers by the end of 2018.
More than 30 states are like Ohio and Colorado, where there is an existing, lawful process to allow armed staff to carry a concealed firearm on campus, with the authorization of their school board. In Colorado, that has been the law for 15 years. At FASTER Colorado, our goal is to meet the demand of school districts. We want to make sure that if there are armed staff members, they have access to the best training available. If the worst happens on their campus, we want them to have the best chance possible of saving lives. We accomplish that through great curriculum, and instructors who are active duty law enforcement trainers, and SWAT leaders. FASTER also includes medical training, a skill easily as important in saving lives in the aftermath of a mass-casualty event.
We also raise private money so that no armed staff member will have to forego this advanced training due to lack of budget. Tuition per person is $1,000. Approximately 80% of our class members go through on a full scholarship.
We have some great sponsors who love this mission like we do. We continue to look for sponsors to help fund scholarships, so that as demand continues to increase, we won’t have to turn anyone away. In the 6 years that our friends in Ohio have been offering FASTER training, they have trained over 1,600 school staff members. That growth is what we see on our horizon in Colorado!
I was introduced to firearms in my early twenties and bought my first handgun for home defense. I was interested right away in the political angle. I felt it wasn't the role of government at any level to take away my right to choose my tool of self-defense. I’m a natural learner and have sought out many classes over the years. Our instructors at FASTER Colorado are the best of the best and are helping me take my skills to a new level.
Recently, I’ve been doing more extensive drills with my Glock 43 and my Glock 19x. In FASTER, we do a drill called Dot Torture that I’ve been working on outside of class. It’s difficult and makes me appreciate the skill level of our school staffers who attend our class.
I am a member and former board member of our local 2A organization, Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition. FASTER is a project of Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Denver, CO that also has a 2A policy center. I am very fortunate to work with the great minds there!
To find out more about FASTER in Colorado, go to FASTERColorado.com. There is also a group of people in Ohio helping other states bring FASTER training to their armed school staff members. Those interested outside of Colorado can contact them at FASTERSavesLives.org.
Lastly (but very important!), Laura would like to remind us that It’s easier to have an impact locally than you think. There are endless ways to participate in your community!