Co-founder of Virginia Tactical Shooting Academy (VTSA) Firearm enthusiast and AR-15 specialist
10 year Army Veteran
Listen, because I have a story...
Eleven years ago, after tour #1, I coached recreational league football. It was a passion of mine. From teaching to nurturing I feel like I damn near raised some of those boys. They appreciated my coaching, discipline, and principles. I often reminded them a black man can be from the hood, raised in the hood, but not become a product of that environment. When I talked to those boys, it was the most fulfilling task of my life. So, imagine how embarrassing it was to be face down in handcuffs in front of the football field while all my players stood and watched...
I was pulled over for having an air freshener in my rearview mirror. The cop approached the car, and I told him that there was a firearm in the vehicle. I gave him my driver's license and military ID. The officer then asked me to get out of my car, he grabbed my pistol from my glove compartment, and asked me to place my hands on my head. I asked, “What for?”, and this is when the fun started. The officer shoved me to the ground, while forcing my arms behind my back into handcuffs. Another officer told me that I was being charged with carrying a concealed weapon
I told them, "You are making a mistake. The law changed 2 years ago!" Virginia law now states under Virginia VA Code: 18.2-308 Subsection J1, that while transporting a firearm in a vehicle without a conceal carry permit, that firearm must be in a "secure" compartment. The officers refused to listen to me.
Fast forward. I met with my public defender, who immediately mentions a plea deal before truly asking what my name was. I showed her the statute under VA Code 18.2-308, and she says "OH!" She was caught off guard that I knew the law, and decided to call the District Attorney’s office. The docket at court was full of people who weren’t as fortunate as me.
That brings me to the reason I'm here today telling my story. It’s the reason Hakeem and I founded VTSA. We desire to teach, educate and inform. We want to ensure Victory on This Side of America... Our side... So brothers and sisters like myself and others like me can properly understand how firearms work, what it means to be proficient with firearms, and most importantly, know the RIGHTS we have regarding the firearms we own.
You can call me Banks.
- Sean Banks
Co-founder of Virginia Tactical Shooting Academy (VSTA).
I was born and raised in Hampton, VA, and I have a story to tell. I graduated from Christopher Newport University with a BA degree in Sociology. My passion has always been to help and give back in any way that I possibly can to the community. I started my job career working with children with disabilities and doing a great deal of volunteer work throughout the community. After college I began working in nuclear armed security, and recently transitioned to my current position working as a production/planner/scheduler.
Now to the good stuff! With my background, I’m sure you’re wondering why I would start up an outdoor gun range? My partner Sean (Co-founder) and I have always talked about impacting the world in a positive manner. Both being gun enthusiasts, we put our minds together to come with a great idea. We developed a business plan for our very own outdoor gun range called Virginia Tactical Shooting Academy. We both have different reasons for developing this gun range, but share similar outcomes. We desire to teach, educate, and inform men and women of their firearms rights. Here is my story of why I decided to embark on this journey.
Many Americans are taught at a young age that guns are dangerous. We hear, ‘You shouldn’t play with guns’ or ‘Guns take lives’ Guns are this and guns are that. For a lot of people, there is such a negative connotation about firearms and individuals who would never want to pick one up! Now honestly speaking, in some cases, those statements can be true. But that’s not the entire case on firearms. Guns can be for sport. Guns can be a hobby. Guns can also save lives. There are many other positive examples of safe and reasonable firearm use and the negative connotation oftentimes derives from lack of knowledge and understanding for firearms. Once a person is taught the right way to handle firearms they are safe and can be fun.
I was taught at a young age the love and respect for firearms. I want to give back what I was taught about the knowledge of firearms. I believe that everyone should obtain the basic knowledge and skills of the “how-to” of firearms, firearms “safety,” and gun laws, which can be different across the globe. To me, these skills are needed through everyday life, just like riding a bike and/or learning to drive a vehicle. Whether it’s for recreational use, personal skill training, or protecting you and your family, being knowledgeable about firearms is important. I think we can all agree that our world has become very unpredictable. As the saying goes, “I’d rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.”
Together, let's change the connotation on firearms!
- Hakeem Garner