A local friend just received her carry permit and posted a photo of it on her Facebook page. I sent my congrats and then added a “shameless” post that I was offering a Defensive Pistol I & II November 10-11. A friend of hers asked that I PM her about the courses. I sent her links to my company page as well as the blog. Her response went something like . . .
“I looked over your site, I couldn’t see where you offered a CCW class.”
Heavy sigh. In fact, I don’t offer a “CCW Class” in the context that most Iowan’s mean. Iowa went to a ‘Must Issue” state in January of 2011. Prior to that, if the county sheriff didn’t like you – you simply couldn’t get a permit. Some refused to issue them for “the safety of the citizens” . . . . and a host of other reasons. Iowa law now states that after gaining a basic understanding of firearm safety and taking a course presented by an NRA Instructor or LEO, a permit must be issued provided they pass a standard background check. There is no requirement for range time or the demonstration of any kind of weapon handling skill at all.
And, honestly, I have absolutely no problem getting as close to constitutional carry as we can – you’re a citizen – you can carry. Period! But . . . . (you just knew there was a ‘but” comin’, right??) I AM a firm believer that any student I turn out must know the basics and must be able to demonstrate them TO ME. Does this conflict directly with the 2nd Amendment – yep, no two ways about it. Yet – if I am expected to sign on the dotted like that I trust this person to safely handle a firearm – then I damn well want to see them actually do just that.
During the first 6-months or so I jumped in with another instructor and we taught a very good (all IMNSHO, of course) 4-hour basic firearm safety course. This met – and still does meet – all Iowa requirements for a firearm safety course. There was no range time or fire-arm handling of any kind in the course. In half I focused on the firearm and handling them safely and in the other half the other instructor focused on Iowa law. $50, 4-hours, pass a background check and you’re on your way to your permit.
Since then I’ve stopped working with the other instructor – just not enough demand to justify two of us in the classroom and he does a great job on his own. And, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart.
I ask students that are about to carry for personal protection to think very hard about what they are about to do. Are you ready to kill a person? I could beat around the bush about the word “kill”, yet – that is the second worst case scenario that you will have to survive. The worst scenario?? YOU die. Dirt Nap. Ziploc City. It’s at this point I can usually see a few glimpses of doubt in a couple of the folks. Just to clarify the point my second question is “Are you ready to die?” To leave your life unfinished, your kids and grandkids without the benefit of your life experience? To leave your spouse to handle the rest of their life on their own?
Those two questions usually put things in perspective. I am interested in teaching a set of skills that give the person a fighting chance and that, if need be, will make sure of who – exactly – leaves the fight in a Ziploc.
So yes, I do teach a CCW class. I currently teach three of them. But they require time, effort and much more than simply sitting in a seat for 4 hours.
On top of that – they are merely a starting point – a glimpse of the skill set a person needs to integrate into their life to truly give themselves the best possible chance to walk away from a live/die fight.
If you are a new shooter. If you are looking for a skill set to defend yourself, your family and your friends – please . . . . there are no shortcuts . . . . it’s about so very much more that a simple slip of paper in your wallet or purse that says you can carry a loaded weapon . . . . it’s about learning a life style and that takes time, effort, practice and commitment . . . .
I’d love to be part of your journey.