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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

“Can Everyone Hear Okay? Over The Gun Fire?”

Important Things I Learned In a Day With Massad Ayoob

Over the last few years, I have been invited to teach Indiana gun law to Massad Ayoob’s MAG/40 (formerly known as Lethal Force Institute) class held at Sand Burr Gun Ranch1 in Rochester, Indiana. Every time I have taught, I too learned new things from Mass.

I remember thinking when I encountered Massad Ayoob the first time–he looks exactly like his picture. Massad is both a commanding figure and presenter. Massad is a gun-handler extraordinaire and a great historian of all things gun-related. Now that I have overcome the star-struck, stage, I am able to peel the onion of teachings back and reach the next level.

At this stage, most of us come to see our heroes through a different lense–and in some cases, they are unmasked and we even start to see them as people just like us; in many cases, we even become disillusioned. As I listened to Mass on Saturday, May 9, 2012, having concluded my Indiana law segment, and while leaning against a silver propane tank under a shade tree, I realized I saw the man who is the foundation behind the MAG Group, Inc.2

It came during the time another renowned trainer was working women through the paces of an introductory pistol class on a nearby shooting range at Sand Burr Ranch. As Massad Ayoob lectured, a long string of gunfire rang out from this other class. Without missing a beat, Mass calmly asks “can everyone hear okay?–over the gunfire”?

This occurred while he was explaining a Florida case where police officers disagreed whether a handcuff was unlatched on a flailing defendant. The force used to subdue the defendant was in question. The one police officer, who used significant force, thinking he was about to lose an eye, was criminally charged.

Mass was walking us through how he unpacked this as an expert at trial to the resulting acquittal. Then the gunfire and his rhetorical question!

For a second, this seemed so comical–all I could do was muse and ponder, “How many places in the United States, on any given day, week or month, would anything like this be asked in a calm, cool and collected way?” Pretty ironic–this situation seemed normal, at least to me– but only because Mass was the lecturer.

At that moment I realized Massad Ayoob–as the guardian angel or paternal figure for both students of today and the past–had observed, time and again, how a ill-made factual assumption or partial observation could ruin a life, be it a civilian’s or law enforcement officers’ who would have life-long consequences of exercising deadly force . . . only to become a criminal defendant.

He seized upon, and had meaning behind, each and every word he said and did not want any student missing any opportunity he could give them to maintain a life outside the exercise of force, gunfire be damned. But if this was not possible, how to have the best outcome on fact, law, and the social dimensions of the day.

Ultimately, I submit that this intensity –being educated, intense, and focused on life both personal and professional–is the hallmark of a person who is a leader and the type of person and professional you should seek out. This is the person I seek out and aspire to emulate. In the event you have the ability to add to your firearms’ knowledge, the Massad Ayoob Group is a great choice.

Massad Ayoob is the real deal, my friends.

This blog post is written by Bryan L. Ciyou, attorney at law, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana. This is not a solicitation for legal representation, nor an indication the firm represents clients outside its areas where any of its attorneys are admitted to the bar. In addition, this blog post is provided for general educational background and is not intended as legal advice.


  1. Sand Burr Gun Ranch, 2111 East 350, North Rochester, Indiana: www.sandburrgunranch.com
  2. Massad Ayoob, Massad Ayoob Group, P.O. Box 1477, Live Oak, Florida: www.massadayoobgroup.com

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More