TX CHL (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“My wife goes to Communist New York to watch the plays.” “You guys are going to need a barf bag. This book was written at the height of women’s lib.” “Politicians are lily-livered people who will sell you down the toilet for a vote.” “Blue states (in this map)  are the real United States. The rest are hero-free Communist states.” “These laws were made when criminals had all the rights and you had none.” I agree with everything my Texas Concealed Handgun License instructor had to say about corrupt politicians, scumbag criminals, bone-headed laws and liberty-sucking liberals. But that kind of talk has no place in a course designed to teach the general public how to safely and legally use a handgun for self-defense. Right wing concealed carry class agitprop is counter-productive on at least three levels . . .

1. It wastes time

I’ve taken four state-mandated concealed carry courses: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Utah and Texas. They are the dictionary definition of interminable. Despite our Texas instructor’s efforts to inject his “personality” into the statutory information transfer, or perhaps because of it, Dan and I turned to each other and said “shoot me” at the exact same moment when we finally got our first break. The teacher’s digressions put us at least forty minutes behind in a course recently re-designed for four hours. That ended up taking six. And felt like sixteen.

2. It alienates non-conservatives

For some people, concealed carry courses are their very first encounter with guns and – gulp – gun culture. It may seem as unlikely as finding an Israeli supermodel link in the middle of a post about concealed carry class, but some handgun newbies hold center or left-leaning political perspectives. (Yes, even in Texas.) They might enter the class thinking gun owners are paranoid trigger-happy R. Lee Ermey wanna-be’s. Nothing our instructor said during the class, validated by a dozen nodding heads, would have disabused them of that notion.

3. It detracts from the core message

The right wing rants are a distraction from what these courses should teach. I don’t mean the farrago of firearms safety lessons thrown against the students’ mental wall in the hopes that something will stick. The only thing these grizzled vets should be imparting to their charges: when it’s legal to use a firearm for self-defense. Everything else – from the four rules to safe storage to where you can and cannot carry – can be put in a [small] Driver’s Ed-style booklet and provided as pre-test prep. Communism ain’t got nothing to do with it.

I am against mandatory firearms training – a position I will explain in a subsequent post. Meanwhile, I have a simple message for handgun license class instructors trying to make the material “come alive” by waving the flag, retelling state history, lambasting liberals or sharing real-life stories of encounters with violent perps. Don’t.

142 Responses to Note to CHL Instructors: STFU

  1. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the lack of that in the two or three concealed courses I’ve attended (including the one that got me my permit). I expected some of that crap, and I viewed it in the same light as the guy at the gun counter that won’t shut up, except I couldn’t walk away from the class. Luckily, I never felt the need.

    • My experience in TX was the same, Matt. Our instructor was pleasantly droll, and the politics never rose above the level of showing the clip of Suzanna Hupp’s 1990s-era testimony before the Senate. Which was maybe unnecessary, but it seemed to play well. The course was a boring waste of my day, but it was not a gun rights revival or anything.

    • I took the hunter’s safety class and it fulfilled the CWL training requirement under FL law. Killed two birds with one stone for free. Granted, it did cost me an entire weekend but I loved learning about our game laws and animals.

      Did you know you can kill a feral pig on your property with whatever you want?

      Like theoretically someone could chase one down with a chainsaw and put its habitat-destroying ass out of commission Leatherface-style. Or open up on it with an AK with a standard capacity magazine (as long as the bullets stay on your property).

      Listening to a wildlife officer encourage us to kill the invasive species identified in the handbook he gave us was pretty epic.

      • Last year the Virginia DNR told us that go have some fun and kill the pigs before they get entrenched. They didn’t put it that way but just said anybody could shoot them on private land anytime and no hunting license required. Public lands you still need the ticket.

        • Yup, same way here in FL.

          If it’s your land, go hog wild. If it’s someone else’s you need their written permission. If it’s public land you need the proper equipment for the season, a permit, etc.

        • In Michigan you needed A (emphasize the capital A) permit. Any permit. Have a permit to hunt ANYTHING? Go shoot a pig.

      • West Virginia states that if ANY non-endangered or protected animals are causing crop or property damage, you are permitted to quash their efforts. I believe this is for inside city limits also, but not sure.

        We did have legal bow hunting 10p-6a on Main Street in 2009 due to deer nuisance in trash cans. City Building/.Courthouse property and all. Bows had to be OOS by 6am, and not a minute later.

    • Same experiences as Matt’s in NM for my ccw courses (home state plus UT) and some basic and beginners courses I’ve retaken with newbie friends.

      My first-ever handgun training course – in CA, so I could buy one in the first place – was much more like Robert’s and Dan’s experience. Not as bad, but the guy was pretty unhappy with the state of the state.

  2. I had the same problem!

    My county in NY required a course (NY itself does not) to get my CCW permit [which, is also required to purchase a handgun]. He went off about all of this too.

    I agreed with it, but it was neither the time nor the place for it.

    • Mine, too. i was grateful. Always appreciate an instructor that keeps to the subject matter and covers material and lesson plans in a matter of fact way.

        • Where is that coming from? the comment above mine and my comment were positive remarks about how our instructor didnt waste our time and merely stuck to what we were there for. Not sure who you are talking about being butthurt. I think you need to go to the range and vent some stress. your anger issues are obviously spilling all over the keyboard and the interwebs.

  3. Professionals don’t do this. They focus – and have the students focus – on the course. In the more intro courses, the right wing agiprop is even more off putting. I’ve taken a few women to the range for what would be intro-level training when the courses they took started with this kind of crap. Keep it pro, keep it on target, keep it simple.

  4. If only gun shops and gun ranges followed the same rules. … or even gun websites.

    I hate hearing people assume I think like them just because I also like guns and keep having to hear the same derp over and over again.

    • It’s really fun when people assume that just because you’re the same age/race/gender that you automatically hold the same prejudices and bigotries too.

    • The older and more clean cut I get, the more I run in to this. Just because I’m in my 40’s and 20 pounds overweight doesn’t mean I think like you, Mr. Rush Limbaugh T-shirt.

      • I have to admit, I kind of have fun with it. I’m always polite, but the look on people’s faces when they spend 30 minutes ranting about Obamacare, liberalism as communism as a mental illness, and bloodsucking lawyers….and I listen nicely, then politely mention “Oh, me? I’m a center-left moderate Democrat who volunteers for pro-gun nonprofits, works in the legal field, is grateful that at least the ACA means I can finally actually buy health insurance without being denied for my genetics, and ‘rolls his own’ AR15s, AR10s, and ammo”.

        *awkward silence*

        To be fair, I don’t get this often. “All gun owners are 100% right wing” is just as false a stereotype as “all gun owners are mentally ill hillbillies”; almost all of us are much more complicated than any simplistic caricature, and get along just fine despite varied disagreements. (the day I meet someone who agrees with me on everything is the day they create human cloning :P) But when you do happen to run into a walking stereotype…boy is it fun to make their jaw drop.

        For the record, I do this with my liberal friends too. 30 minutes of discussing things we agree on, then they mention the evil NRA and I casually mention that I’ve built double digits worth of AR15s and that the blue thingamagiggy on the bench behind them is a Dillon reloading press. *awkward silence* Quote of the day: “Yeah…please don’t set your cigarettes on the table…that jug right there is full of ‘gunpowder'”.

        • Seconded here. I also like confusing people by my car plates and the collection of stickers underneath. The plates (WA) themselves are “Share the Road” with a bike, so people assume “hippie tree hugger”, smile (I live in Seattle metro area) and move on. The next sticker says “Go green, go nuclear!”, and that’s where the smile usually begins to freeze and a confused expression begins to set in. The next one is an CCRKBA sticker complete with a minuteman profile; you can practically see the mind boggle at that point (I used to have an NRA one, and that had an even more instantaneous effect, being very recognizable; but I refuse to support them in any way, shape or form after their recent crusade on “violent media”). The next one is ACLU, just to muddy things a bit further.

          My only annoyance is that I tend to get a lot of crazy right-wing spam. You know, “stop Obama from selling this country to communists before it’s too late!!1!!!” kind of stuff. It’s not that I’m particularly fond of Obama, but the amount of stupid in those pamphlets is so great that they’re not even funny.

          OTOH, every now and then I get the one about “Do you think you’re paying too many taxes? Please fill out that ballot, and we’ll send it to the Congress!”. Which I dutifully fill out by marking the appropriate answers, vis. “No, I don’t think I’m paying too much” and “Yeah, we could use a more progressive income tax” – and mail them back in the provided envelope. I figured doing that once would be an effective way to say “please unsubscribe me from this mailing list”, but no, they keep sending them to me. I now sign them as “your friendly local commie gun nut”.

  5. In PA no class needed for concealed. Hunting needs a safety class. No politics, no BS, and straight to the point. The class was over in 2 sets of 4 hours as described.

  6. Thank you Robert for writing that. Far right rabble rousing is more likely to be turning off people we want and need to be on our sides than it is to be changing any of their opinions. The gun culture must include all walks of life in America to survive.

    • While I have to agree that a gun safety class is no place to be pushing a political opinion, it might in fact be appropriate to some small degree to at least mention which political party is most actively concerned with denying Second Amendment rights to us. Just sayin’, And keep it short and factual.

  7. I have to agree on this.
    Teach the law, and safety. Of course laws change as well as where you license is valid, yes some states actually have reciprocity.
    Keep on point..

  8. I will disagree to a point. The message he is putting across is to remind those that cherish their RKBA that elections have consequences. Even if the liberally leaning gun owners don’t want to hear it, they need to understand that their party is actively pushing to disarm all non-government employed citizens. The way the message came across may have been less refined than it should have been, but the message is of dire importance.

    • Just because somebody might self identify as a liberal doesn’t mean they belong to a party. Second, it is very likely their definition of what a liberal is is very different than yours, thus when you say liberals need to learn, that is not only patronizing, but already declaring that you are not talking to a person, but what you think the person is. See, your post is a good example of exactly the kind of assumption about others that gets tiring.

    • Yeah and I’m sure getting blasted with that message at a class they paid for to learn about gun handling \ safety is going to convince them. (end sarcasm)

    • No, the class was about firearms, not politics. Talking politics would probably cause lots of people to stop listening to anything the instructor said, even about guns.

    • If you have a problem with the message, do your research. There are literally tens of thousands of certified “trainers” out there. If you are picking the first one you run across, you deserve what you get.

      3 of the 4 CWP classes I have attended have instructors that are overly chatty. From politics to why revolvers are superior handguns, caliber wars, you name it. If you want quality instruction, look for quality instructors. Just like your doctor, tattooist, barber, mechanic, etc…you have the burden of finding competence.

      3 of the 4 classes I attended had horrible instruction. These classes ranged from an ex cop making some side dough, a “certified” mall ninja, to the local gunshop goober. The one class I appreciated was a gentleman that held the class on his property out in flyover country. Quality instruction and no chatter. His wife feeds the group, and it is a professional, yet friendly atmosphere. I refer everyone to him now. I handle the political chatter with those I refer.

      And Manimal, if you have a problem with how the term Liberal is used, blame the communists that hijacked it.

    • What connection does “You guys are going to need a barf bag. This book was written at the height of women’s lib.” have to gun rights, or rights in general?

  9. Wow… that sounds incredibly unprofessional.

    I need to get my TX CHL class knocked out. I hope I can avoid this joker.

  10. I had the same experience in my concealed carry class last fall. I agreed with all he had to say but the comments were superfluous to the content required by the class.

    It was so extreme, I decided to have my wife take her class with the a different instructor. She’s a total firearms noob and somewhat of a liberal. The new instructor was former LEO and did not include any political banter.

  11. The only anecdotes my CCL instructor gave were tragedies borne of careless handling, careless storage, and carelessly handing a suicidally depressed person a gun.

  12. My instructor in Texas (Austin area) showed us a lot of “don’t do this” gun videos as well as some clips of heavy-duty military armament firing, but thankfully didn’t inject any politics or rude asides into his class. This was back during the full day course, and it made it more enjoyable. I’m glad I didn’t get a political commentator.

  13. Granted I took my CCW course for AZ over 9 years ago and it was 16 hours long, I fortunately didn’t have to put up with rhetoric like that. My class was also taught by two long time local LEO’s who both professional in their teaching and talking and spent probably even more time on topics than they needed to (apparently some common sense things aren’t so common sense to people new to guns).

  14. Should the Appleseed program go away too? I mean they might offend some left wing radical who believes America was formed by racist imperial crazy religious types. I call BS on the idea that POG are some homogenous group all deserving of respect and love. Just cause some scumbag owns a gun don’t make him my brother. Personally I’m a firm believer in not arming the enemy. So I say to those CHL instructors in Texas and elsewhere, RIGHT ON BABY !!!

    • If they are in the class with you and are purchasing guns for their own protection, for hunting or for the sport of hunting, then are they really the enemy?

      • Bingo. I’m a CC license instructor with some firm political views and I keep them the hell out of my classes. Unfortunately people are REQUIRED BY LAW to come to me for a permit. They should not have to put up with my political bias. I even make a point to try to avoid showing any preference for a particular handgun because I don’t want to place doubt in a newbies mind that they may have purchased the “wrong” gun. Instead I cheerlead “sweet! A gun!”

    • There is a time and place for that discussion. A class designed to introduce new shooters to the legalities of concealed carry is neither.

    • Non sequitur.

      Everyone has the right to self defense. Whether a person politically leans liberal, conservative, libertarian, anarchist, green, communist, socialist, whatever … all of us have the right to self-defense. All of us have the right to keep & bear arms.

      Anyone who is interested in bearing arms for self-defense gets a “+” in my book, even if I think their political viewpoints are completely wrong.

      And FWIW, I think that if someone is willing to consider arming themselves for the purpose of self-defense, that person has at least some potential to be persuaded that people should take personal responsibility for other areas of life too, and that person may become more accepting of the idea of individual liberty. It’s certainly no guarantee of it, but even so, I think that more people taking responsibility for their own safety is a good thing.

    • Clearly you missed the point that it’s not about “what I agree or don’t agree with” and it’s actually about “I didn’t pay to hear your blowhard opinions and it’s a friggin’ waste of my time to make me listen to them.” The inclusiveness aspect is an additional point, but I don’t really give a rats ass about that.

      I basically live my life by this rule: Don’t lie to me and don’t waste my time, and I will extend you the same courtesy.

    • Tommy I am guessing you already know that Appleseed is more than a basic rifle class in that it covers history.

      So its nof the same as a basic handgun course and your attempt at guilt by association is a logic fail.

      You are distracting from the larger point thaf its also a waste of time ” unprofessional, and counterproductive in that forcing those with may deter political beliefs other than yours to listen to a diatribe is likely to dissuade them from returning and learning more about guns.

      But it still oesn’t require a dogmatic lecture on left vs right

      • Argh. sorry for typos and stub at end there. old kindle is not liking the edit window or my fat fingers…

        Tommy. A thought experiment: if the instructor went on and on abt global warming, gay rights, religion, redistributionist tax theory or (you name it)…would you be more or less likely to respect his instruction on guns and want to come back for more?

  15. I went to my class a few weeks ago…I scanned through all the targets while people were on break and I was a little surprised that some people almost failed the shooting test with .22!!!

    • Yeah sometimes people fail the shooting portion. I’ve been teaching a handgun carry class for several years now and there is a percentage that fail. It’s been my experience that 99% of the failures are due to a case of nerves more than ineptitude (though you do get that from time to time). People new to guns when taking a class tend to be quite nervous. This is a benefit actually as you can use this as a teachable moment to illustrate how stress will affect you in a shooting situation. Most folks calm down enough and eventually do fairly well.

  16. The only biased thing the instructor said in my CCW class for the state of Missouri, was we could carry in every state around Missouri except the Socialist State of Illinois. This was a couple of years ago. BTW, he was a democrat Sheriff.

  17. My goal in a chl class is to be as fast and perfuctory as is legally possible. I don’t care what they say, generally I won’t be listening except for when the instructor says time for a break or time to leave. I’m the same way about defensive driving classes.

  18. I guess I was lucky, none of that in my TX class. It was definitely not a OFWG circlejerk. Almost half female and most all races represented. Probably some liberals. I took the 8 hour version this past summer, and I couldn’t honestly imagine how you’d cut the course length in half and still cover everything. The guy seemed to enjoy talking that much (I guess you’d have to) but it all seemed relevant. The only time his opinion was inserted was on matters such as (paraphrasing) “TX law DOES state that you can defend yourself from a cop under certain circumstances, but please do not try. Take your beating and sue them later”.

  19. Esti Ginsburg…Yaeah!

    Sounds like your CCW class needed some inspirational graphics both male and female friendly (fair is fair – gotta keep the ladies happy, too).

    • But seriously, when there is a discussion about these CCW classes, something that always seems to be missing from the syllabus is a thorough exploration of the moral, legal, and practical aspects and consequences of deploying a gun in a DGU.

      A lot of people have no law enforcement experience or training foundation on which to grasp the complications that arise once a firearm is brought out during an incident; how it will affect and change their lives, their family’s lives, and the lives of all others connected to the incident on any side of the equation.

      This is an important element that should provide much fodder for a vigorous discussion, introspection, and debate. If not addressed, the instructor and training provided is seriously incomplete and a dis-service to the prospective CCW holders.

  20. I think he may have been trying to kill time with political rhetoric. time requirements like “YOU SHALL BE TRAINED FOR 15 HOURS 12 OF WHICH WILL BE SPENT IN THE CLASS ROOM AND 3 ON THE RANGE” don’t make any educational sense, therefore instructors often have too fill inn with non-curriculur discussion if their ill prepared or just talk faster then they intended.

  21. It’s articles like this that demonstrate TTAG’s ability to call out all agitprop regardless of its source and adds to growing number of reasons to follow the site.

    Thanks Robert.

    • Agree. Thank you. This is the reason I recommended to my wife she take the online class. My instructor spent fully 65% of the class on his grumpy old gun guy opinions.

  22. To be honest, I would have enjoyed SOME commentary in my CPL class. That class consisted of the instructor reading “Personal Protection in the Home” VERBATIM for 6 hours. I know there are things they are legally required to talk about, and recitation is probably the easiest way to be certain it’s all covered, but my God is it boring…..

    On an only slightly related note, why is it that “Personal Protection in the Home” seems to be the required course in so many states? I’m not familiar with the course content but it seems to me that if I’m seeking a concealed carry license I’m more apt to need “Personal Protection Outside the Home.”

  23. Concealed carry class I took in VA Beach was a straight shooter. No political rants. No religious rants. Just straight gun talk starting with gun safety. Instructor was extremely helpful. There were only 6 of us. So, we got personal individual attention when needed.

  24. SIXTEEN hours of classroom required in Illinois….though a few Obama Care innuendos hoping the ISP website did not crash…the subject was the law and proper technique. BTW, no matter their political persuasion, color or religion, most everyone in Illinois that takes the class are decidedly Conservative LIVING folks. IMHO most Americans are….but save the political opinions for elsewhere.

    BTW, the course agenda is mandated by law but there is plenty of opinion from the class allowed by the instructors. ALL OF IT is related to firearms and the law!

    BTW, I’m somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh…..:)

  25. Ah RF truly knows the formula for a great post…random links to Israeli supermodels! Seriously though if someone would of showed me pics of those crazy Israeli military chicks topless when I was in high school you could guess what my carrier path might of been.

  26. My class was in Columbia, MO for two days. I don’t remember any politics in the class, just information about guns and laws. I usually have trouble staying awake in classes these days but didn’t in this class. We had three different instructors, including one local judge for the law, and they all were very professional.

  27. I know you are correct. However, personally, I found the politics and anecdotes in my mandatory 10 hour TX CHL class entertaining. This was back in the day, of course. As a noob, I found the ethics anecdotes and trigger safety demo useful. No time for that in the new four hour course, but that’s ok.

    I’m about to do my second renewal, and very happy this one will be done online, thanks to the change in law in the last session.

  28. Wow so you had to deal with hearing the opinions of a strong personality for the length of a work day in order to exercise your constitutional rights. I see that it really hurt your feelings. Tell us more about how traumatizing your driver’s licensing test must’ve been.

    Jesus Christ man, I think you’re exaggerating the problem a little bit – and I say this as someone who doesn’t particularly appreciate Freeper conspiracy theorists either. I would put up with it for a few hours to get a CHL license.

    …of course, I live in WA state, so I don’t have to go to some lame class to exercise my rights. I just have to give the state all sorts of personal info and pay a fee instead.

  29. I’ve done two CHL classes thus far, both where eventually relegated to gun/caliber debates and questions regarding nonsensical gunfight scenarios.

  30. Very much agree with the article. I think that a complete explanation of the risk to the license holder for carrying and defending oneself will illustrate the absurdity of gun control.

  31. Handgun use and safe storage of your handgun are topics your instructor is required to teach in a Texas chl class. So you gotta give the guy a pass on that.

    However, it sounds like your instructor was a moron, esp given your previous comments that suggest he didn’t properly explain the legalities of hospital and school carry.

  32. Instead of waterboarding terrorists, we should send them to a mandatory eight hour gun class. That’ll teach the bastards a lesson that they’ll never forget.

    • The use of weapons of mass destruction against foreign states or their agents would generally be considered a war crime.

  33. ” “You guys are going to need a barf bag. This book was written at the height of women’s lib.” ”

    That really is a dumb thing to say in a CHL class or anywhere else. Fortunately, all my experiences with male firearm instructors has been to cheer women on to arm themselves against rapists. My last instructor made fun of grumpy gun store guys who always try to steer the little lady to small pink revolvers, thinking we can’t handle a semi-auto.

    • “steer the little lady to small pink revolvers, thinking we can’t handle a semi-auto.”

      It might not be the sexism you want it to be… I still haven’t met a female who can pull back the slide on any semi-auto. At all. Ever. Not one. Were I the gun-selling-guy, I would probably learn from this experience and have a tendency to guide a potential buyer towards the products I’ve learned are best suited to the demographic standing in front of me at the moment. That’s how selling things works. Might be wrong about it. But, so far…

      If it hurts to set your hand on fire, do you do it again every day just to make sure it is STILL a bad idea? No. Of course not. Neither would I hand a G23 to every girl who walks through the door when the first 500 of them couldn’t pull the slide back… I don’t like to waste my time, nor the time of others. I wouldn’t stop her if she wanted to, and maybe it would be cool to see a woman do that for the first time, ever. But, even apes and rats learn from experiences. It almost seems like you’re implying the only way a man can be acceptable is to be a total dumbass who never learns… Gold-diggers seems to make a pattern of that one, but I digress…

      Besides, if you burn your bra, that cuts back on a few places you could conceal that PT738… Or maybe you’re so endowed that you can do it with a Desert Eagle. Whatever blows your skirt up…

      Seems I hear the sexism card played about as much as the race card… Getting tired of it. Just because a man directs a woman to a certain product doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist… I’ve never directed a man to the Tapon Aisle when he was moody, either… I have a little experience that tells me tampons probably aren’t the most useful product for him…

      • You’re hanging out with the wrong women. The girls & women I’ve been at the range with have had no problem with any of my guns. P238, XDm, SIG Mosquito, even my buddy’s 1911. The only one that gave one of them an issue was the XDm, and that was only because she was trying to grip it with her thumb and the side of her index finger (kinda like a slingshot). Once I showed her the proper “hand wrap” method, she never again had an issue.

        • “You’re hanging out with the wrong women.”

          I’ve been told by many others that it’s a geographic thing… I’m told anywhere else in the country women are a lot more intelligent/useful… Seems accurate from my limited sampling of out-of-state cuisine. But, I don’t see much point in picking up chicks when I’m on vacation since I’m not into the short-term thing… Women around here expect to be bought and paid for, do nothing, know nothing, weigh 300+lbs, never bathe, shave, or brush their teeth; and HE better damn well like it that way. I suspect most probably could rack the slide, but it’s too much to ask in that she’s used to getting a man to do everything for her, and for the first time she’s faced with doing something herself. The whole self-defense personal responsibility circus is fun to watch… Most of them end up quitting on the whole process before getting their permit because there is so much they, and no one else, has to do, and that’s just below them, not to mention, foreign and they don’t want to look bad making a mistake doing something they’ve never done before; anything at all.

          Without welfare, it would be nothing but men for 100 miles in any direction from where I sit.

        • Be careful showing her that ‘hand wrap’ technique, that’s your buddy’s girl after all! 😛

      • My wife has no problem with the Sig Mosquito and even has deemed it “hers,” but a couple years back I ordered two CZ-82s, intending one to be hers. When I brought it home, she tried to rack the slide and couldn’t do it at all. I think it was the biggest eye-roll I’ve ever done. It’s like she didn’t even want to try harder.

        She likes to shoot AKs but watching her try to rack the carrier is just painful. My wife is fairly strong too, so I don’t get it. Seriously I think she’s not even trying, like it’s a mental issue.

    • My wife took her Texas CHL class that was run entirely by local area LEOs, which was aimed at getting thousands of local area teachers free training and certification, which was funded by The Chris Kyle Academy. The main thing is nearly all the attendants were of course women. Texas, we like our women and wives with guns. Now only if we could get more schools that allowed teachers and parents to carry.

  34. Thankfully, my instructor was very entertaining and very light on political rhetoric (he actually apologized at the beginning for any he injected but I didn’t notice any).
    My friend took the CHL course from a different guy and came away spitting mad about the political agitprop in it…and his guy charged 2x as much. I’m guessing I dodged a bullet…I know (by reputation) one of the local instructors and I’ll never attend oneo f his classes. He runs a booth at the quarterly gun show with signs proclaiming Obama is the antichrist (I mean this literally) and makes Alex Jones seem sane. I always get nervous thinking about new people taking his course.

  35. I’ve taken a CCW class every other year since 1998, when our may-issue carry laws were revised. I’ve had 5 instructors in that time. One has been consistently calm and professional and very good. Three were more than adequate, including two retired LEO’s.

    ONE was a raging loony that wasted my time and everyone else’s with right wing agitprop and an insulting lack of professionalism. The irony is that this was a class held in a Community College!!

    That class still bugs me, and it was at least 6 years ago. There were a broad spectrum of people (even by California standards) and the majority were new to guns and carrying concealed. Instead of presenting important information and making constructive suggestions and prescriptions on how to get started, this self important a-hole spent his time talking about irrelevant political garbage and sniveling about how he “used to be” a cop. Uh-huh. The final insult was the 4 hr class being truncated to 2.5 hours, irrelevant to me but wasted educational time for the new-to-guns crowd.

    Waste of space, waste of skin, waste of air – what a terrible representative of The People.

  36. I couldn’t understand a single thing after the link in the second sentence of the second section. What was the question?

  37. Yep, your gripes match mine.

    County mandated 4 hour course offered nothing of value. I suppose for those completely foreign to guns, there was some pertinent information but also a lot of time wasted on incessant bragging on the part of the instructors. Almost to the tone of “I’m cool because I have a CCW and you don’t, so worship me for the next 4 hours and I’ll teach you how to be cool like me”

  38. My class (Arkansas CHL) was on-track for required info, very thin on politics & bs, thank goodness. I actually learned a lot, despite my previous military experience providing a good grounding.

  39. Eh, I take issue with only one point… Alienation. You’ve got your head way up your ass on that one… Sorry man…

    Were the Marines afraid of “alienating” the Japanese at Iwo Jima? Liberals are the same… They reject every premise of this nation, and have declared war upon it. You’re afraid of polarizing them any further? I’m really not concerned with “alienating” people who already chant “I HATE YOU AND I WANT TO KILL YOU” in their sleep…

    Speaking of them in appropriate (vulgar) terms is the only way the other side of the story even gets told. They are the oppressors, not the oppressed. If someone were raping me, I would not the slightest bit worried about “scaring them off” with a little righteous indignation and colorful language…But it probably wouldn’t work, which is why I have a gun. Oh, the examples… You’re essentially advocating the same soft-handed approach to rehabilitation that the Liberals have towards murderers and child molesters. It doesn’t work.

    They're already not our friends, and that isn't going to change. They're indoctrinated and will never learn anything, ever. "Hate the other guy" is all they know and they're never going to give that up because it pays their bills.

    Anti-gun Liberals are absolute shit excuses for human beings. Say it like it is. They're neo-soviet trash. They would happily kill every poster on this blog if they could get away with it.

      • I’m not trying to.

        Fence sitters never hear them described as what they are, so how wrong can it be to tell the truth?

        Please ‘splain to me how perpetuating the media’s angle yourself will help. Do tell. I can wait.

    • That you think that all liberals are subhuman beasts who sleep and dream of killing you tells more about your paranoia than it does about liberals. Have you ever tried to, I dunno, talk to one?

  40. I didn’t have any of those problems when I got my CHL in Texas almost two years ago. The instructor kept to the script, was very professional, and focused on the legalities (mostly through case studies) on defensive use of a firearm. We had a small, but diverse class and I don’t recall anything political even coming up once.

    The best summary of the class in terms of should one shoot if the need arises is, if you have enough time to think about if you should draw, aim, and discharge your firearm and you are mentally arguing to yourself if it is legal to do so, maybe you shouldn’t; but, if you don’t even have time to ponder that question because you NEED to discharge your firearm, then there probably isn’t any doubt.

  41. Agreed with everything said, politics is totally irrelevant and counterproductive to a supposed gun safety course.

    In response, a look at the carry permit class for Connecticut. The minimum requirement is the NRA Basic Pistol Course, with live fire. To my knowledge there is no guidance on how much live fire is required, but certainly there is no proficiency testing, you just have to actually shoot a real handgun. A .22 counts. Also important, is that there is a de facto ban on firing a handgun at public gun range in the state without your carry permit. This is not state law, but I have yet to find a range that allows someone without a permit to shoot at their range. This means that if you want to practice, you had better either have enough land that you can safely build your own range, or get your permit. With that in mind, the NRA Basic Pistol course provides precisely ZERO information about carrying. Nothing on the gear, the law, proficiency, nothing. It teaches you the 4 rules, some terminology, and thats about it. It lasts 8 hours. Enough said.

    There are two huge problems with this:
    1) If you do not plan on carrying, this is a huge hurdle to responsible ownership, because it’s an expensive process (start to finish EXCLUDING the class is on the order of $200-250). But you have to do it otherwise you might not get to practice. That is an awful lot of money for a lot of people, and is before you even buy the handgun and ammunition. So if you want to buy a handgun for self defense in your home, even the cheapest route is going to run you near-as-makes-no-difference $1000 when all is said and done.

    2) If you DO want to carry, it provides zero guidance on how to do it responsibly, safely, and legally. So you have just forked over about $350 to get this piece of plastic, once you include the class, and it doesn’t give you one iota of information on how to actually conduct yourself safely and legally.

    To quote Yoda, do, or do not, there is no try. Either actually teach people how to carry safely and legally, with a proficiency requirement, and include staged permitting or other framework so that people who do not want to carry can practice at their local range, or do Vermont Carry. Pick one, but the current system is bureaucratic BS that makes no one safer.

    • “If you DO want to carry, it provides zero guidance on how to do it responsibly, safely, and legally.”

      This is a good point. The amount of information in my concealed permit course that actually had to do with carrying a concealed weapon was approximately zero. It had some home defense info, and some vehicle carry info (I guess that’s concealed carry related), but that’s really about it. My comment at the time was that the class, and the videos we watched in it, were more like a “here’s why you should own a gun” class than a “you have a gun and want to carry it” class. In that way, it was very much preaching to the choir.

      • Which begs the question . . .what’s the point? I totally understand the idea behind needing a permit to bring a handgun around with you in public, not everyone agrees with this, but those are my personal feelings. But it really ticks me off when the process to do that has precisely nothing to do with making people safer or better informed. I would have really appreciated some new information; instead we got to rehash the basic parts of a pistol. Multiple times. Did I mention it was an 8-hour course?

  42. My experience was different again. In New Zealand, there are no such things as concealed carry licenses, as defensive use of firearms is abhorrent to the authorities. In fact, any expressed wish to use firearms for this purpose means you get no firearms license at all. To wear a concealed handgun means you go to jail.

    The course I attended was a Mountain Safety course, where various rifles were displayed, primarily the Lee Enfield which is so ubiquitous here. Operating the controls, safety considerations, and what can go wrong, were all covered. Once we demonstrated proficiency and passed the exam, I had to wait for a policeman to inspect my home and firearms safe, and interview neighbours and relatives, to see if anyone had any reason to consider me unsuitable to be a firearms owner.

    Once I had my license, I could go to a gun shop, and buy a rifle or shotgun the same day. The license must be shown when buying ammunition. The owner is licensed, not the individual weapons, though we are restricted to A category unless we apply for a higher category of license.

    The irony is that my SKS is only allowed a 5 round mag, when the Lee Enfield has a 10 round mag, and is in nearly every other household…

    As long as you are not a criminal or mentally unstable, our Police make every effort to encourage us to be responsible firearms owners. Our safety record is excellent. This system could obviously not apply in the USA, where there is a written Constitution and a Bill of Rights, but there are some aspects which show what works and what doesn’t. The criminal and insane are blocked at the beginning of the process, and neighbours and family have considerable say in who is allowed firearms. I think this could be used to your advantage.

    • I appreciate what you’re saying, and it’s always interesting to hear from a different (geographic and national) perspective. That said, as far as your second to last sentence goes… I live in an apartment complex. My neighbors (with only one exception) don’t know me, and I don’t know them. They’ve got no more right to be passing judgment on my fitness to own a firearm than I do on theirs.

      • You could make a decent argument that you should have some say in whether the neighbors that are separated from you by a wall, floor, or ceiling of an apartment are capable of having a gun without being idiots and sending lead into your living quarters.

        • No, because giving me that say in their life would give them the same say in mine. Unless it didn’t, but I don’t believe in “for me but not for thee” rules. So neither option is acceptable.

    • “In New Zealand, there are no such things as concealed carry licenses, as defensive use of firearms is abhorrent to the authorities. In fact, any expressed wish to use firearms for this purpose means you get no firearms license at all.”

      Which really means, you don’t have a right to self-defense. Not having a right to own a firearm for self-defense means you cannot effectively defend yourself against a motivated or inhibited attacker, i.e. most of the people who might attack you. Don’t believe me? Try having a mock knife fight using markers with a friend sometime. Now imagine that each mark is a slice or puncture wound. Didn’t go so well did it?

    • First off, not preventing people from enjoying a basic human right and having the means to defend themselves is far more important than preventing the occasional crazy from doing bad things in one very specific way.

      Secondly, if you have a dangerously mentally ill person and they have a gun, removing the gun from the equation will do little to mitigate any danger to others. However, if you remove the dangerously mentally ill person from the equation you eliminate all danger.

      So I don’t see the value in letting family or neighbors help decide ones suitability to own guns since the guns aren’t really the problem.

  43. Rhode Island does NOT, I repeat NOT, require any course to be taken for a concealed carry permit. 11-47-15 requires that you pass a shooting test, but I repeat, NO CLASS IS REQUIRED!

  44. OK, how about a different viewpoint. Before you lay the general smackdown on Texas CHL instructors, did you vet this bonehead at all before you committed your time and money to his instructional shortcomings? You’ve got a vast following here at TTAG. You could have easily put out a call for bids on your CHL weekend, interviewed the applicants, and, most likely come up with a much better instructor. Do you hire a re-modeling contractor to redo your entire house because he’s the one that’s available that weekend?
    Too late now, but I would have happily driven to Austin to do your class gratis as thanks for what you do here. And I don’t do crap like the guy you were subjected to.
    Just sayin’

    • We like to do things that “normal” people do and report on them here. We rarely pull the TTAG card. While average folks might shop around, we thought we’d choose a course and see what happened.

  45. I teach these classes and I don’t do the agitprop your instructor did. This usually leaves more time for shooting.

    The reason I started teaching is because the guy who taught my first class was even worse than your instructor and I left class barely having a clue what I just learned. I was determined to not let others go though the pain. I am on point, answer questions, and get people out of class as fast as possible depending on questions asked and however long it takes to get through the shooting portion.

    • Pascal, what do find to be the most difficult aspect to teaching concealed carry licensing? For me, it’s the tendency of students to want to what-if me to death. I know they’re interested and eager, but like most people, they never realized that the law simply doesn’t lend itself to that many bright lines.

      I find they’re looking for the definitive “right” answer, but it’s frustrating at times when one simply doesn’t exist. I guide them as best I can, but in the end, I’m not a lawyer, and even a lawyer can’t provide all of the certainty they’re seeking.

      • Yeah, that’s crazy, people – who paid for a class and want to know what they’re potentially getting themselves into and the legality of it all – asking you questions.

        • Some of the questions we get are NOT useful or illustrative or at all thought out.

          Like, if there are two terrorists holding hostages, one holding an old lady and the other holding a baby at gun point, which one should they shoot in the head from 50 yards away first?

          That’s a real question.

        • Ahhh….Rollo……another one from the unrealistic expectations crowd. Nobody said questions as such, but rather endless, ridiculous, singularity-seeking questions when no such answers exist.

          It’s your job to know and obey the law. All of it. It’s only my job, per the DPS, to facilitate your introductory familiarity with the general concepts. That, and to verify your ability to shoot a piece of paper about a foot in front of your face without blowing anyone’s head off. Take responsibility for yourself, and quit trying to pin your failures on someone else.

          “I didn’t know…..”, “Nobody told me….”, “He didn’t cover that….” Crybaby excuses from people who shouldn’t breed, let alone carry. Thankfully, the DPS promulgates a special end-of-session form where you initial for each topic we covered and sign that you understand them completely. That’s our get out of lawsuit free card when you act illegally, then try to sue me. Ha ha ha! Happy trails, Hoss!

  46. I took my class from Rich Wyatt of American Guns fame. The class was good, to the point, and the anecdotes he used were appropriate. He brought in an attorney experienced in 2A related self defense issues to teach on the law and take questions. The focus was on safety and the law. Rich can be a self promoter and political, but he damps it down for the class.

    So overall my experience was positive, but I can certainly see the points here and agree with them.

  47. My first CHL instructor was ex-military, recently separated from service after serving in the initial invasion of Afghanistan. Nice guy in his late 20’s or so, intelligent, but prone to using some battlefield lingo. Not vulgar, just a little colorful. One pearl-clutcher complained during a break to the manager. Nothing happened. Complained again next break. Nothing happened.

    Finally, frustrated with the instructor’s repeated use of the term “smoke-checked”, she tried to stage a mass walkout among us. When she got to the door, turned around, and realized that no one, not even her husband, was following, she skulked back to her seat; harrumphing and pouting all the way and the rest of the day.

    You could almost see the little thought clouds, like in a comic strip, above the twenty other heads in the class that read “Wow. Just wow.”

  48. I read this article with a bit of tongue in cheek. Realizing that you have taken other classes, then yes, the Texas legislation mandated course of a minimum of 4 hours (not more than 6, not including range time) may have seemed a bit over the top for you. But please, hang out on some of the Texas CHL forums on the web or facebook and then laugh and point at the posts where people who have been certified to carry in Texas, still don’t know the laws. Or they were told something by their instructor that is completely untrue.. (can’t carry in a church.. or a hospital.. period!) Or folks who have never seen a 30.06 sign, or know what a legal posting is. The class is designed to teach the laws, you may be surprised at the number of folks that show up that have never shot a handgun before.
    We don’t have constitutional carry in Texas, and sometimes, sitting in these classes, that’s a good thing.

  49. As a libertarian I have a set of core values that are split across both parties. I came to libertarianism from liberalism and so I really get grumpy hearing the hardcore liberal bashing in some circles. To me it grates just as badly as hearing liberals go on about gun nuts. Truth is, both sides are made up of human beings, largely good hearted and reasonable, who think they are fighting the good fight. When we attack eachother we just serve to make our side seem even more obviously made up exclusively of crazy jerks.

    I got into guns the same year I voted for Barack Obama in my first presidential election. Thankfully I was able to ignore the politics of many of my fellow hobbyists and now I’m used to brushing off both parties’ silliness, but if you want to turn people away from guns for whom the hobby may have been a gateway into seeing the value in other conservative ideas… this sprt of thing is a great way to go about it.

    • Your experience almost perfectly matches mine, except that these days I find there is a LOT less about republicans that pisses me off, whereas nearly everything liberals say now drives me into a fit of rage.

      I’m totally OK with trash-talking modern liberals. I find them to be an absolutely detestable group.

      The only time I get as close to tooth-gnashing over what republicans say is when they start to bust out the religion card as a means to judge people’s worth and quality, or the use of Bible passages to form foreign policy – i.e. US’ unwavering support of whatever Israel wants, just because the Bible says Israel has to be there for the second coming to happen.

      I used to think I was a liberal, but Obama and modern democrats helped me to realize I was a libertarian who just didn’t know it yet.

      • Libertarians are a mixed group as far as where they come from … some came from the “liberal side,” others came from the “conservative side,” and still others either were brought up libertarian or came from a non-political upbringing. I’m not convinced any of these groups is a majority within the libertarian movement.

        I am neither conservative nor liberal, although I have both conservative and liberal folks in my circles of friends. What I find is that I get along far better with those who either have an open mind or are at least accept the idea of agreeing to disagree on certain topics.

        Some liberals are the “good hearted but wildly misguided” type – they want to help others and are caring people, but are going about it absolutely the wrong way (government coercion). Others are just control freaks, and actually fit the “libitard” stereotype. Conservatives split into similar groups, although perhaps in different ways. The one thing they have in common is that they all think that “their way” is the “right way.” That point – that people think their way is the right way – is pretty much true of everyone. However, the politically active conservatives and liberals suggest that they should then be able to take the extra step and use government coercion to enforce “their way” as the law. That’s where I have a problem.

        As far as the goal of gun rights, I don’t think discussion of other political views is in any way helpful at a gun class, other than how existing (and proposed) laws affect what you are and are not prohibited from doing. I do think that persons who have accepted that they are responsible for their own safety and are taking a gun class have taken a step towards liberty, even if it is a small step, and that should be encouraged.

      • >> the use of Bible passages to form foreign policy

        How about the use of Bible passages to form domestic policy?

  50. As a certified instructor when the state mandates x number of hours it gets hard finding creative ways to fill all that time. The material is at the very most worth two hours tops. When the state mandates eight, well, thats a whole lot of dead air to fill. Even the most zealous triggerman can only poke.holes in paper so long.

  51. I tok a class from a very experienced trainer with leo wnd mil experience who I still respect greatly. But he made a racist-sexist joke once that was so out of context and behibd the times that I still hesitate to recommend him to some. If you think about it Robert is doing this guy a favor by Not calling him out by name but rather getting some broader feedback from other POTG about whats professional and what is not.

    • 2A rights apply to all Americans left an right and if I am required to get some mandatory training I’d rather it be about the facts, not some blowhards self aggrandizement at the expense of my patience. Theres lots more to learn than 16 hours worth and I’d prefer all the time to be about guns if thatsxthe subject matter.

      Plenty of other places including here to go talk politics.

  52. Totally agree. It’s not a captive audience for you to harangue at will. Keep the focus on the subject — proper firearms handling and safety — and pipe down with the propaganda already.

  53. My TX CHL class was light on the political rhetoric, but the walk through the facility to the classroom was lined with posters and bumper stickers full of it. Didn’t surprise me any.

    On the other hand, I just shelled out a hefty membership fee for a range a pretty fair drive from my house. It’s a nice facility that’s noticeably lacking in political sloganeering, and that was a factor in deciding to join — I want to go for the shooting, not a political rally.

  54. My apologies, buy a gun, have no idea how to use it. Training is a waste of time, it’ll come to you. I am also against “mandatory” training as a political requirement. But, if you buy a firearm, you better train how to use it. You better be willing, you better be right. Those computer games are not training. A bullet can not be taken back. Learning from mistakes of others is not as painful as learning from your own. Experts are people that make three correct guesses in a row, you will not have that luxury.

  55. If you have a problem with the line of thought that is typical of the freedom based gun culture you might want to reconsider your personal values.

    If you thing the welfare state culture goes hand in hand with a culture that requires personal responsibility you are at 2 entirely different ideologies all together.

    If you go to a class and feel like a victum because you hear a different point of view then your own maybe you are not emotionally mature enough to own a firearm. I triple majored and spent 6 years in school with many teachers having different opinions of the world then I did and I listened to them. If you come here expecting sympathy from me you will not find it.

    Owning a Firearm and carrying one at all times is a great PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. If you cannot accept listening to these points of views for a few hours and your response is just shoot me to hearing a different point of view then you have a lot of growing up to do. If your response to these encounter is complaining online rather than talking with them after the class then you are perpetuating the problem rather than talking about it and also coming away from the lesson with a better understanding of how the others use of a view sees the world if you ask me you got a gift by spending more time hearing his view since you are paying for the course not by the hour. I always talked with my professors after class especially when I disagreed with them to get a better understanding of how they think.

    • To mangle a line from a movie, “I have three degrees, none in reading, writing or arithmetic”. My parents taught me two very important things, if I screwed up they would drive me to the police station. If I was right, god help everybody else. I have a problem with anybody that messes with me, or mine. College kids that think they know it all, not a uncommon thing, I knew it all once. Austin, Tx. public place, college kids, exercising their “freedom” of speech, F**K this, F**k that mostly. I stood up, hit the tallest one in the left kidney lightly with two fingers, and explained the rules of conduct to all. Nobody blinked an eye, it was better after that.

    • You’re missing the point. It’s not a class about politics or sociology. It’s a class about gun safety and gun laws. To express political opinions of any kind (but especially so the ones that are controversial or offensive) is plainly disrespectful to people who paid you to teach them the class. If you want to talk politics with them, then invite them to stay after the class – on your own dime, if you care so much about saying it.

  56. It always cracks me up when some whiners with left leaning persuasions get a bit upset when comments are slanted against their way of thinking. Funny, I thought that the left were the tolerant ones open to all views? They never stop to understand that it is *their* side that wants to remove the ability for people to protect themselves. So instead of getting tweaked maybe they should try some introspection and learn to live within their means and with responsibility. Getting their CHL is a good first step………..

      • Same could be said of the entire K-12 public school curriculum. Yet, I don’t often hear the liberals complaining that leftist politics should be barred from the classroom.

        • “…I don’t often hear the liberals complaining that leftist politics should be barred from the classroom.”

          – Freaking BINGO.

  57. Over the course of several of these state-mandated classes through the years, one instructor stands out. This particular instructor is known nationwide but presented the worst class in my memory. No politics involved. Just one continuous stream of erroneous information. I was embarrassed to even be there.

  58. Agreed. If instructors ‘on our side’ want to alienate liberals such as myself, that is nothing but counterproductive.

  59. As a CHL / CCW instructor for over 20 years, I have to admit that I, too, have fallen short of the ideal. My goal is to teach safety first, techniques of manipulation and the law secondarily. Self-examination on this topic finds me at 95%. I’m glad to have read this article so that my instruction is at 100% on target. Let’s leave the politics for the beer session. By the way, no beer in the class !!

  60. My CWFL class here in Florida was conducted in a small group setting by a certified instructor. There were six of us, all of varying experience levels. The only “politics” came around when the instructor explained the moral ramifications of firing your weapon in self-defense, i.e. any person with a conscience is going to feel like dirt after.

    Other than that, it was strictly a class on safety, the law, and a Q & A. Politics didn’t enter the equation at all other than him stating that “business was good because of politics”. Since it was a small group we also had ample time to pick his brain on buying recommendations as well.

  61. Jeez, who knew TTAG was filled with this many commie-symps, jihadi- appeasers and “feminist” gay-marriage humps.

    If you “guys” think you are preparing for your side for CW2, hope you bought your designer toe-tags.

    *********

    “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.”.
    – Charleton Heston

  62. Maybe the issue for all you libs here is that a class where an instructor dropped in his politics should have been advertised as being given by someone who will mention how much he loves the U.S. Constitution and hates Obama and everything he and his supporters represent.

    Then you could, ahem, have a “choice”.

    I want to take my CHL class with Crockett Keller. (Click my name for article on him).

    “If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as under the law,” said Crockett Keller in the advertisement. “Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class. Once again, with no shame, I am Crockett Keller… thank you and God bless America.”

  63. Right here is the perfect site for everyone who
    hopes to understand this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not
    that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for decades.
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  64. If you have specific questions, I answer them, otherwise I explain gun basic safety and handling procedures, no politics come into play. A CHL class is a basic pistol handling course in Ohio, not a CHL law course, BUT in my class we go over the CHL law after the basic pistol test has been passed by the class, I find the basic pistol section only takes 4 hours but the requirement is 6, so the laws take up the other 2. As for not agreeing with a mandatory classs, I’m opposed to people not taking at least one course especially if they’ve never handled a firearm before. Someone buying a firearm that doesn’t seek training will put themselves and others at risk without proper knowledge, as for telling stories, stories in my class are told to help get a point or law across as to how they work, such as why using the slide stop (not a slide release) to reload a fresh magazine is a bad idea (this is not the movies)

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