Let’s take a moment and discuss the various on line offers for concealed carry training that are available in the Triangle. Without getting into the whole “shall not be infringed” argument that often taints the discussion about concealed carry, let’s talk about what these courses actually deliver to their students.
In terms of real world training an on line course offers nothing. These courses will have a student watch a simplistic video about handgun safety, take a test that amounts to 20 different ways to ask “which end do the bullets come out,” and then the student earns a certificate that allows them to apply for a “non-resident, concealed carry permit” from a state other than North Carolina.
Because the North Carolina legislature made a mistake when it passed a law that recognized ALL concealed carry permits from all 50 states, it included these non-resident permits. What this means is that a North Carolina resident can get a non-resident, concealed carry permit from say Oregon, Utah or Virginia and can then legally carry a concealed handgun in North Carolina.
The problem is that these students will not have met any of the requirements established for North Carolina residents to carry a concealed handgun. They will not know the law pertaining to concealed carry and the use of deadly force. They will not have fired a single shot to qualify with a handgun. Knowledge of the law and proficiency with a handgun – the very foundation of concealed carry, and more importantly the keystone for responsible gun ownership – has been completely bypassed.
Cynics who read this will say that because we are instructors with a training company we only want people to take our class so we can make money. We answer that by saying yes we run a business. But we also recognize that because someone has the “right” to do something, they may not have the ability, maturity, skill and knowledge to do so in a complex society like the one in which we all live.
We all know people we wouldn’t loan our power tools to right? Why would we want those same people to carry a handgun without some demonstrated ability to handle it in a safe and responsible way? We have all been to a range and seen shooters whose behavior and safety procedures leave us all more than a little nervous. If you have any doubts about how stupid and dangerous “law abiding citizens” can be with a firearm, just watch You Tube for a little while and you’ll see why there must be standards for citizens carry a concealed firearm.
And here’s the kicker folks, if we as responsible members of the firearms community do not set those standards, someone will do it for us and we will not like the outcome. As instructors we fear that someone who takes this short cut to concealed carry will use their firearm when they are not justified and kill someone.
At that point everyone who has a concealed carry permit and earned it by taking the instruction that delivers on all the state mandated requirements, will be painted with the same broad brush. We will all be labeled as “Gun Nuts, just looking for the chance to shoot someone.”
We have to prove everyday to those who wish to ban firearms that we as gun owners are responsible, are safe, and can be trusted and that we respect the views and feeling of those who may not share our perspective on gun ownership.
Taking the short cut that on line, concealed carry training delivers is not the way to instill confidence in our decision-making and gun handling skills.