I recently had the chance to interview Tim Schmidt, the founder of the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), about how the organization first started.
Q. “Tim, what prompted you to start the USCCA?”
A. “There was a point in my life when I had a successful career and my wife and I were starting a family that I realized I was responsible for their safety and well-being. If someone was breaking into my house, I couldn’t count on law enforcement arriving in time when I called 911. I started buying books and magazine – whatever I could find to try and educate myself about self-defense.”
Q. “How did this lead to starting the USCCA?
A. “I quickly found that there was no specific magazine or resource that focused 100% on concealed carry. I felt that there had to be more people like me who wanted to learn about concealed carry and self-defense. That’s when the idea started to form of a 100% independent member driven resource to support responsibly armed Americans.”
Q. “How did you get started?”
A. “Well, my first thought was to start out with a magazine. I put huge amounts of time and effort into learning the magazine business, and in the fall of 2003 I started on the first issue of Concealed Carry magazine.”
Q. “Was the magazine well received?”
A. “Actually, we picked up almost 1,000 subscriptions the first time out. The problem was, now I had subscribers who were expecting a new issue in six weeks and I was totally unprepared to deliver it. I quickly realized that if I was to be successful I needed to hire qualified people to help with the magazine, while providing more value to my customers. That’s when the idea of starting the USCCA was formed. Soon I was in the business of connecting like-minded armed Americans. Members not only received the magazine, they also were able to take advantage of the training we offer, participate in our forums and sign up for liability insurance.”
Q. “How does the insurance work?”
A. “We’re now able to offer firearms liability insurance for our members to help cover legal fees and costs that might arise from using a gun in self-defense. Three levels of coverage are available from $300,000 all the way up to $1.1 million. Even though using a gun in self-defense may be totally justified, you will still most likely have to prove your case in court. The insurance helps cover those costs, including bail, access to a criminal attorney retainer, civil suit defense and damages protection, criminal defense reimbursement and compensation while in court.
Q. “How has the USCCA grown since you began?”
A. “The growth has been astonishing. We currently have over 125,000 people receiving the magazine, with members in every state of the union. We own a nationally syndicated radio show, Armed American Radio, and we’re in the 11th year of publishing the magazine. We have experienced 378% growth over the last three years, we’re listed as number 1158 on the Inc. 5000 business site and we are number 15 in top Wisconsin companies.”
Q. “Where do you see the USCCA going from here?”
A. “Our mission is to educate, train, and insure responsibly armed Americans. Our goal is to teach one million people, equip 250,000 members, stop 5,000 crimes and save 250 lives. I believe these are attainable goals if we continue to do our part and help those people who believe their safety and that of their families are their own responsibility.”
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Logo and video courtesy United States Concealed Carry Association