Firearms instructors accused of racketeering
Firearms instructors accused of racketeering [9:30am] - Farmington Daily Times
CARLSBAD (AP) — Two firearms instructors who were ordered earlier this year to stop teaching courses for people applying for state licenses to carry concealed weapons are now facing charges of racketeering, forgery and tampering with public records.
The state Public Safety Department announced Monday that Stephen Bare of Carlsbad and Raymond Lunsford of Loving were arrested March 24 on the charges.
The men are accused of teaching concealed-carry courses in southeastern New Mexico that didn't meet legal requirements. Their students were given only three to four hours of instruction and were not required to demonstrate firearms proficiency.
Minimum requirements set by the state Concealed Handgun Carry Act and administrative code are at least 15 hours of instruction and proving firearms competency on the range.
After authorities suspended the men's instructor privileges in January, state police continued the criminal investigation into the racketeering and other charges.
The department said instructors must submit course curriculum and outlines to the Special Investigations Division to be approved to teach a concealed-carry course. After being approved, instructors must provide attendance rosters and firing range competency scores.
Department spokesman Peter Olson said many of these documents submitted by Bare and Lunsford show all students qualifying with 100 percent accuracy despite never firing a handgun during the class.
Both men posted bond after being booked into the Eddy County Detention Center.
The department has said about 1,200 students took concealed-carry classes from Lunsford and Bare since they were approved as instructors in 2005. Agents with the Special Investigations Division attended a class taught by the two in November after allegations of incomplete instruction were brought forward.
Olson said students who have had their concealed-carry license temporarily suspended or their application denied due to insufficient training can attend a free concealed-carry course.
DPS officers are scheduled to teach courses in Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs and Roswell in April and May.
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