I train as often as I can. I see no reason to stop training, ever. But I don’t believe it’s the government’s business to decide how, when, where and how much firearms training a civilian should receive to qualify for concealed carry. As the T-shirt says, “What part of ‘shall not abridge’ don’t you understand?” I know that the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision left the door open for “reasonable restrictions.” That was a mistake. If the highest court in the land wanted to draw a line in the legal sand, they should have provided specific guidelines. As it stands, gun rights get trampled and the system gets abused. As this story from wlky.com highlights, most officially-sanctioned concealed carry firearms training is a joke . . .
A man certified in Kentucky to teach people gun safety has been named in a 186-count indictment.
Authorities said Henry Pruitt signed off on concealed carry permits even though his students were not adequately trained. Some people even got their permit without ever firing a shot. That’s just one key part of the training that Pruitt is accused of skipping.
The gun range is the final step in eight hours of training needed to qualify for a concealed carry permit in the commonwealth. The course includes classroom instruction with a two-hour video covering legal issues, among other things.
Pruitt, a Mount Washington native, was charged with providing incomplete training to 93 people. And since he took their money for that training, he was also charged with 93 counts of theft by deception.
Four of his former students said Pruitt did not take them to the gun range. They are required to shoot 20 times at a target 21 feet away, hitting the target at least 11 times.
I’m sure TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia could make 11 hits out of 20 on a target that’s 21 feet away, firing any gun in any caliber. The argument for the test: CCW holders need at least that much marksmanship to not shoot someone that doesn’t need shooting. The argument against the test? Legion.
First, passing the test creates dangerous complacency. I’ve seen it in up close and personal; newbies who barely git ‘er done who consider themselves “good enough” to defend themselves with a gun. They are not. Not by a long chalk. Which is another way of saying that . . .
Second, the test is irrelevant. Grip, stance, using the sights properly, trigger control, recoil management—an effective shooter must master these fundamentals. You can gain these skills at a range, and measure them with paper targets. But they are not the fundamentals you need for armed self-defense.
Those would be: situational awareness, legal knowledge, strategy (e.g., knowing when to draw), tactics (e.g., knowing how to shoot and move) and a profound understanding of your own limitations. You could argue that these are more important than shooting skills. You could tell a new shooter to simply hold fire until they’re at bad breath distance.
For example, someone who faces an immediate threat who needs a gun RIGHT NOW. Oh wait; first they have to pass the instruction, file the paperwork, pay the fee, and wait for bureaucracy to do its thing. At least they’ll get the necessary legal and fighting skills info from a two-hour video, which may or may not be banned by the Geneva Convention.
Speaking of bureaucracy, is it any wonder that men and woman like Henry Pruitt work the system to their advantage? Their clients aren’t novice shooters. It’s the government. In Kentucky, a CCW permit applicant must . . .
Demonstrate competence with a firearm by successful completion of a firearms safety or training course offered or approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Training.
Ever heard the expression “close enough for government work”? Well exactly. Have you ever taken a state-approved firearms training course? How about the Utah out-of-state concealed carry permit training? I rest my case.
It would be great if all CCW holders trained to a high standard. They don’t. Most could never get there. In fact, if you raised the standards to what the rabbi, Massad Ayoob or other gun gurus would consider acceptable, you’d exclude most of the people who currently hold a CCW permit. And that’s what I call abridgment.
Does Constitutional Carry—no permit required—create collateral damage? Sometimes. But not much in the grand scheme of things compared to say, fully-licensed and tested drivers. Anyway, what’s your take? Is CCW training a joke? Should it be abolished or improved?