No, not at all.
Look at the vast, vast majority of successful legal defensive-use-of-firearms instances in the news over the past year, five years, ten years, whatever.
How many of those are with individuals who have received any form of formal firearms training?
My personal belief is that firearms are a great equalizer. It allows the small, weak, or infirm to be able to mount a successful self-defense against larger, stronger, and more able-bodied aggressor(s). I think if we made training legally mandatory - i.e. legally "necessary" - we will have effectively removed this most effective method of self-defense from some of the very people who may need it most: the single parent who pulls down two jobs to make ends meet, the working-poor who must leave or return to their homes in less-than-desirable parts of town at Godforsaken hours, the elderly on a fixed income or who don't have reliable transportation, those with physical or mental handicaps who either have a difficult time finding an accommodating and knowledgeable instructor to properly train them, individuals who have social phobias, etc.
I think it is theright
of any living creature to be able to defend themselves and those they love. I believe that self-defense with a firearm - or any other tool/instrument - falls under that umbrella. Should we have to be formally trained to fight back with our hands and feet, or do we also surrender that right, roll over and die, simply because we are not "trained?"
Now, all that said, anyone who knows me knows that I am a very strong proponent of training. I completely subscribe to the "Clint-ism" that we should strive for magnificence in our training so that we have the room to fail to mediocrity.
I would advocate, without hesitation, for anyone who wants such training to seek it out, and what's more, I am more than willing to help them - in any
way I can - to do it.
[ Aside: For those who say that when it comes to it, when you're in court defending your shoot, that you can show you've had training is better than to have nothing to show, I submit the very recent and very widely known case of Zimmerman/Martin. We will recall that the prosecution did attempt to use Zimmerman's "training" background against him. The reality is that you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't. It's the job of your defense team to show to the judge/jury that the training you received helped you make the right decision at the time. The other side will always try to use *everything* against you that it can. Your martial training isn't to help you survive the legal battle (unless, of-course, you're an attorney!) - rather, it is to help you survive the lethal force encounter you've found yourself in, at that crucial moment.
To zero-in specifically on what GunnerJacky
wrote above, though:
...joining firearms safety training classes for the sake of improving self defense skills.
That's a very interesting question.
I think that safety has to be taught and reinforced so that it becomes reflexive. And it has to be practiced as-such by the individual as they seek to improve their self-defense skills through training.
Because it will do me absolutely no good if I desired to employ my firearm in self-defense, but managed instead only to shoot myself.
As one progresses through ever more intense training, that possibility of making a mistake only increases. If the shooter cannot safely manipulate the gun in the most basic manner when simply cleaning or storing their weapon, how can they be expected to do so when at the range either in the stall or on the firing-line? If they cannot do so at a static range, how can they be expected to do so when surrounded by their classmates in a square-range training class? If they cannot do so safely on the square-range, how can they be trusted in a shoot-house?
So, yes, safety is essential. And I strongly believe that if one is constantly being admonished "Finger!" or "Muzzle!" by the instructor/RSO or one finds oneself putting shots through no-shoot targets, then perhaps it is time to revisit those most basic, fundamental, and vital Four Rules