Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns

Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns

This is a discussion on Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns -- OrlandoSentinel.com OrlandoSentinel.com SPECIAL REPORT: CONCEALED WEAPON PERMITS Florida in cross hairs ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array CharlieMike's Avatar
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    Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns

    Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns -- OrlandoSentinel.com

    OrlandoSentinel.com
    SPECIAL REPORT: CONCEALED WEAPON PERMITS
    Florida in cross hairs for its lax training requirements to carry hidden guns

    Henry Pierson Curtis

    Sentinel Staff Writer

    April 30, 2008

    Some of the 500,000 people holding concealed-weapons permits in Florida qualified by using toy guns.

    Recent complaints to state officials pointed out that almost anyone who wants to carry a handgun to the movies, mall or church can do so. The shortcomings they cited include training that allows firing bullets without gunpowder, and passing students for merely pulling the trigger once or twice without ever loading or unloading a handgun.

    Quickie permit classes had become so common, the National Rifle Association threatened this month to fire any NRA-certified instructor who didn't use real guns to teach students in Florida.

    Though carrying a concealed weapon requires a state permit, gun owners need only take a gun-safety course and show they know how to safely fire a real bullet. That's not the case in at least eight states -- where applicants must be able to hit a bulls-eye repeatedly.

    "Unlike Texas, we do not have to have so many rounds at 10 feet or so many rounds at 15 feet. Florida just doesn't have that," said Buddy Bevis, director of licensing for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The concealed-weapon statute "just says you have to be able to fire and handle a firearm safely," he said. "It doesn't say if it takes one [shot] or 100."

    Shoddy training became an issue this month, more than a year after a retired military officer first complained to Gov. Charlie Crist about classes at gun shows.

    "You can only train a corpse in 3 hours," Col. James K. Otto Sr., an NRA instructor from North Florida, wrote to the governor. "Our NRA certified instructors take 3 days to a week to make sure their students not only know the law but also know how to handle firearms and ammunition safely with at least a half day firing at a local range."

    The letter started a sputtering chain reaction after landing on Bevis' desk with the added detail that some students at these classes trained with toy guns. Bevis called the voice of the NRA in Florida to complain.

    "I did call Marion Hammer and say, 'I don't know what you've got going on down there, but you better tighten it up,' " Bevis said in a telephone interview. "And that's it."

    Hammer, a former NRA president and one of the state's most powerful lobbyists, alerted NRA national headquarters. Within days, every NRA-certified instructor in Florida was warned they would lose their credentials for not using real guns with real bullets in class.

    "Specifically, Air Soft or other air-driven guns are not acceptable," stated the April 14 memo. "Florida law requires that you maintain records certifying that you 'observed the student safely handle and discharge the firearm.' "

    Air Soft guns are plastic replicas of firearms, which cost as little as $5 to more than $300. Many are sold as toys equipped with orange muzzles to distinguish them from real guns.

    Hammer said the NRA issued the warning to make sure every class it certifies complies with state law. She finds nothing wrong with not requiring concealed-weapon permit holders to demonstrate a minimum level of shooting ability.

    "In the 21 years that this program has been in effect, I know of no incident or accident that occurred as a result of lack of training," Hammer said by phone from Tallahassee.

    The law "was never intended to make target shooters out of people. It was never intended to make street cops out of them," she said. "This is merely to show that individuals know how to load, unload and safely use a firearm for lawful self-defense."

    Florida permit holders can carry their concealed weapons in 32 other states. Fifteen other states do not grant such reciprocity. One of them, South Carolina, cites Florida's low standards as the reason.

    The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence advocates rigorous testing of shooting ability, knowledge of state laws and giving law enforcement discretion over who should be allowed to carry a hidden handgun.

    "In Florida, where you're permitting them to legally carry a loaded, hidden handgun in a crowded situation where people may be running all over the place and then you're expecting them with no training to hit their mark -- that's crazy," said Brian Malte, the group's director of state legislation and politics. "Law-enforcement officers . . . miss their mark 80 percent of the time even after all the training they get."

    Tighter restrictions on toy guns still don't mean all applicants must show they know how to shoot a pistol.

    Concealed-weapon permits are available to graduates of classes taught by state-certified instructors and hunter-safety courses as well as NRA-certified classes. Graduates of the state's 12-hour hunter-safety course fire a .22-caliber rifle, a 20-gauge shotgun and a bow and arrow, but not a pistol, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Many Central Florida gun-shop owners are critical of quickie permit classes.

    "If somebody was to cold call and say, 'Hey, I've never fired a gun before and I want to take your concealed-weapon class,' we will not allow them to sign up for the class," said John Ritz, manager of East Orange Shooting Sports in Winter Park. "It's not an introduction-to-shooting class. It's not a brand-new, basic beginner's class. We have those classes, and we do those classes several times a week."

    Ritz estimated that about 1 percent of permit holders actually carry their guns daily. Those tend to be shooting enthusiasts, who fire at least 50 bullets in practice each month. Perhaps 25 percent of his students occasionally go armed and the rest almost never do, he said.

    Soon, gun owners in Florida will be allowed to take their weapons to work.. Floridians already had the right to keep a loaded handgun in their vehicles. The new law, which takes effect July 1, lets gun owners park on company property and leave a handgun locked in the trunk.

    Few safe places remain in Central Florida's urban sprawl for shooters to practice.

    Orange County -- home to more than 23,000 concealed-weapon permit holders and 70 gun dealers -- has five public shooting ranges and one private gun club, records show.

    Shoot Straight in Apopka, one of Florida's busiest gun stores, allows inexperienced shooters to take its permit classes. But store manager Larry Anderson said instructors stress that anyone carrying a firearm in public should be so skilled that its use is second nature.

    "People need to practice more, there's no doubt about that," he said. "You need to be so proficient with that gun, you're comfortable."


    Henry Pierson Curtis can be reached at hcurtis@orlandosentinel.com. or 407-420-5257.
    A related story ran on page A1.

    Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Mtbiker's Avatar
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    The requirement isn't lax. It sounds like the instructors aren't doing their job. NRA course is what I needed in CT and it wasn't a quickie.










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    IIRC technically the way the permit requirements where written it says "Any course Taught By an NRA instructor."

    This sentence doesn't mean they are teaching NRA courses it just means that an NRA instructor is teaching the A course. Technically the course could be "underwater basket weaving" with a twist on handguns and that would satsify the requirement in florida.

    I'll be honost I don't know why everybody is all huffy puffy about this.

    Are Florida permit holders accidently shooting tons of people?
    Is there a track record of Florida permit holders getting into trouble with their guns?

    I sincerly doubt the answers to these questions are YES!

    Lets get real people! Alaska has NO requirment and NO permit requirment I believe Vermont is the same. PA You walk in and fill out the form.

    Training should be chosen by the individual and should be an optional choice NOT a requirement!!!!!!!!
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Exactly. If Vermont and Alaska aren't having problems, how is this even an issue?
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    Exactly. If Vermont and Alaska aren't having problems, how is this even an issue?
    Because the liberal media feeds by generating hysteria with alarmist stories such as this.

    What they refuse to acknowledge is that the right to defend oneself is not limited only to those that have special training and/or proficiency to do so!

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    "Law-enforcement officers . . . miss their mark 80 percent of the time even after all the training they get."
    This is obviously a biased and uneducated statement. What they're forgetting is that the distances that LEOs shoot in a gunfight are usually much greater than in a personal defense scenario. Also, their targets are moving at a greater speed and more random. Those are not my words, but the words of an LEO on the radio this morning who called in to comment about this article.

    You can't compare LEO firearms training to personal defense training. It's two different practices for two completely different scenarios.
    Keep emotionally active. Cater to your favorite neurosis.

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    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
    Because the liberal media feeds by generating hysteria with alarmist stories such as this.

    What they refuse to acknowledge is that the right to defend oneself is not limited only to those that have special training and/or proficiency to do so!
    The problem the Training Requirement is already in place therefore they use any ammo to try and justify making it harder.

    This is REALLY a NON-Issue... It was like the Open carry NOVA scare that happen a few years back.

    The media said that people would be getting shot daily by law abiding open carrying people OK CARRAL style in Arlington, Alexandria (THESE SHARE A BORDER WITH Washington DC) and Fairfax county. UMMMMM STILL hasn't happend. IIRC one article said there will be BLOOD running in the streets.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

  8. #8
    srg
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    Last fall, I took a "gun show" course in Florida. I was brought up shooting long guns, shotguns and rifles (Lived in NY, where pistols are pretty much forbidden). So I was taught about how to safely handle a weapon, know your backstop etc. I had taken the NY hunter safety course and had gotten my Hunting license when I was still a teenager. Last fall, Handguns were still new to me.

    The person who I really depended on to learn how to handle a handgun is a friend who is a veteran law enforcement officer, who suggested a Glock 19 for self-defense. He's the one who showed me loading, unloading, even how to field strip, and clean my Glock. We've gone to the range practicing and plan on continuing that.

    I took the course specifically to meet the requirements to apply for a carry permit.

    I found that the course is really a mass-production cattle drive. The classroom environment, if you could call it that, was the corner of the large hall the gun show was in. Needless to say, hearing the instructor was hard. While he was teaching, students went through the finger printing line, and the passport picture shoot line.

    The "safely handling of a firearm" was in a "range" that was a few miles from the gun show. It was a double-wide mobile home converted to a sound-proofed range. On a mass production line, you waited your turn to fire a revolver once at a target about 5 feet away and pick up your certificate.

    I know enough about firearms to know that this training would be woefully inadequate for a new shooter. Since we're planning on my wife getting a carry permit, last week we BOTH went to take the Florida Concealed Weapons Permit Class and a concealed weapon permit training class at a local range.

    Altogether, during the 2 classes we spent 8 hours at the range. About four hours classroom instruction and four hours on the range. We fired 200 rounds each, using different stances, point-shooting, multiple targets, etc. Along the way, our weapon handling was observed and critiqued.

    The courses were more expensive than the gun-show course. This is a case of getting what you pay for. I feel a lot more confident in my abilities and have better knowledge of when I should use a weapon for self-defense.

    srg

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    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    This is nothing but one of the standard hysteria pieces that reporteres love to do. I agree that some training on the laws and at least basic proficiency of handling a handgun should be required I don't really see a need for the so many rounds at so many feet deal. It does add to the value of the course but not necessarily to the worth of the permit. But I agree that the proficiency should be demonstrated with more than a toy or airsoft gun. The recoil should be felt.

    As someone else said the problem isn't really with the law but rather the instructors. I see it here in SC that some instructors want to give you some training and knowledge where others just want to get you certified. Which one you choose is up to you and how you want to spend your money. Some people go to college to learn and some just to get their degree.

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    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    I got my permit in a similar class (real gun, though...no toys). However, several years prior, I took another CCW course that actually trained basic handgun use, and we had to score so many hits on a target from 7 yards to get our certificate. I just didn't bother w/ paying for my permit at that time, so took another course more recently.

    While I appreciated the expediency of being able to take a short course to finally get my permit, I did have training, and was experienced by the time I took that shorter course.

    And while I'm glad I had that convenience, I can see the point behind the story based on an incident in my own class. There were a group of officeworkers there, apparently taking the course together. All we had to do at the end was fire a .38 round into a target about 7 yds away from a .357 revolver. The officeworker groups all shot their 'qualifying shot' before me. As I was leaving, I heard them all giggling in the parking lot about how NONE of them even hit the paper, much less the silhouette.

    The idea of them being allowed to carry a weapon does NOT inspire me with confidence regarding the safety of anyone in their vicinity.

    -JT

  11. #11
    BAC
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    srg, that very range is the one my dad went to for his CCL (also at the nearby gun show). TINY little place.

    I kind of liked the armed security qualification I did. Not exactly training (same can be said for LEOs' requals), but still very good practice that I think would serve everyone a lot better than the "gun show method". I'm of the mind that if we're going to point to the Second Amendment as justification for keeping and bearing arms, we better make sure we're doing our part to fulfill the "well-regulated" part. I have no problems with a training requirement, provided it's not used as an exclusionary tool.


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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    Exactly. If Vermont and Alaska aren't having problems, how is this even an issue?
    Further Florida itself is not having any problems either per the states own stats on license holders including numbers of crime committed by license holders.

    - Janq
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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    My state, WA, is shall-issue and there are no training requirements. One need not have ever owned, handled or even seen a gun to acquire it. I'm not aware of a "problem with our lax training".
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    It sounds to like the media are trying to 'invent' a problem and a place for it to happen...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cakewalk View Post
    This is obviously a biased and uneducated statement. What they're forgetting is that the distances that LEOs shoot in a gunfight are usually much greater than in a personal defense scenario. Also, their targets are moving at a greater speed and more random. Those are not my words, but the words of an LEO on the radio this morning who called in to comment about this article.

    You can't compare LEO firearms training to personal defense training. It's two different practices for two completely different scenarios.
    The actual LEO statistics are interesting. Fist in a real gun fight accuracy goes to pot. Cops who qualify at 90% usually hit no better than 20 % in gun fights, in part of course for the reasons stated.

    What is scary to me is that the FBI report which came out last fall showed that the average B.G. trained more than the the average LEO and had more "hit" in street fights.

    As to the 2nd fanatics who think any idiotic yahoo should be able to have a gun with no training, I say B.S.

    Let the yelling at me begin. Sorry guys but plain old common sense has got to play a role in society and a hell of a lot of people don't have any.

    Maybe you think the 2nd gives some macho retarded nose picker without the sense God gave a gnat to carry and wave around a .44 Magnum anytime and place he wants but I'm not buying it.

    I took training, go to the range at least once a week, know the law and constantly read gun forums etc. I earned the right to carry my gun and I'm not interested in sharing the streets with some untrained moron who fingers a trigger as often as he fingers his nose and genitals, who knows nothing about the laws or anything about a gun except how to pull the trigger.... how not when.

    When I know personally of "unloaded" guns going off, of things like some yahoo in Arkansas a few years back who decided to show off to his girlfriend by playing Russian Roulette.... with a semiautomatic , and read how regularly idiots plug each other with unloaded guns

    I want people to have some semblance of brains, common sense, experience, education and training before being turned loose with a gun.

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