Firearms Training: How Much Should Be Required?
In many states, before you can complete your application for a concealed carry permit, you have to demonstrate that you successfully passed a concealed carry training course signifying you understand the basic practice and theory of concealed carry. This can become a pretty divisive topic among gun owners for the simple reason that there is a lot of debate over what constitutes “suitable proficiency”.
In this article, we'll talk about some of the merits for and arguments against making concealed carry training mandatory.
Argument: Mandatory minimum concealed carry training sets a baseline
PRO: If all concealed carriers are required to understand just some basic principles about when the use of deadly force is authorized and can prove they can hit a paper target at X number of yards, that at least sets a proverbial bar by which to ensure basic adherence to safety in a self defense situation.
CON: Being forced to demonstrate that you can hit a target at 7 to 10 yards doesn't give any indicator you're more prepared, willing, or able to use your concealed carry handgun successfully in a self defense situation. It should be incumbent upon the person to pursue training to the degree in which he or she feels proficient in the use of that firearm in a lawful use setting.
Verdict: Not every state imposes minimum concealed carry training standards in their ccw application process. Pending multiple independent studies correlating the effectiveness of that training to reduced mishaps, there is no clear indicator one helps or hurts the other.
Argument: Requiring training or even a license to conceal carry is unconstitutional.
PRO: “...The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Bill of Rights guarantees certain privileges to all law abiding United States citizens. The requirement to pursue a concealed carry permit to carry a gun impedes a person's ability to do so. While cars and motorcycles require a license, title, and registration in order to go out on the open road, the right to possess and carry firearms upon one's person is a constitutionally guaranteed right. As such, requiring a permit much less training to do so is unconstitutional and thus an illegal request by the state which countermands those rights granted to me by the Bill of Rights.
CON: In the United States of America, we are a representative republic comprised of individual states which each have their own set of agreed to laws and regulations. The federal government, at this time, does not regulate the carrying of concealed firearms – the states do. As such, the state's legislature agreed to whatever laws are currently enforced for the state you're living in. If that means registering your guns and going through an extensive background check with fingerprinting and training, then unfortunately that's a process that needs to be corrected through the legislature.
The best way to correct this isn't by simply saying, “oh it's an illegal request”, because according to the laws of that state, it is a perfectly legal request. If it's not to your liking or not your definition of the Second Amendment, then it's time to take it up with your House Representative and ask him to carefully consider permitless concealed carry or removal or change of the training requirements. For now however, every concealed carrier needs to be well informed about each states concealed carry reciprocity requirements.
Verdict: Some states, like Illinois, have some ridiculous guidelines in place in order to purchase, own, possess, and carry a concealed firearm. If that process is not to your liking, it's time to leverage the democratic process in correcting it. Contact your House representative or state senator to amend, revise, or correct the laws of your state.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.