A bit of a rant . . . apologies in advance . . .
Integrity: : the quality of being honest and fair
: the state of being complete or whole
I live in Iowa, about 90 miles west of the Mississippi from Illinois. They are taking their first steps into the carry world - the last to join the rest of us in an ability to carry a firearm to defend ourselves, our family and any friends in our charge. It’s been a painful process to watch over the years. On the one side you have a state government seemingly intent on keeping their citizens dependent on the local law enforcement community for their safety. And on the other side, citizens that are tired of the assaults, break-ins and murders committed by those that have long since given up living under the rule of law.
While some states have instituted “Constitutional Carry” – you are a citizen able to purchase and possess a firearm, therefore you can carry it, others have enacted requirements that can be both arduous and expensive. Illinois is, to me, one such state. The basic requirement is 16 hours of face to face training. No short cuts, no videos, no on-line . . . face to face contact. Section 75 of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act goes into the details of what is covered, requirements to be a firearms instructor in Illinois and what the passing score in on the range. The act itself is 168 pages long, you’ll find the requirements under Section 75 on page 30.
Which brings us to what prompted this post today. I received an email from a fellow instructor with links to two separate stories about firearms instructors losing their training certifications and their students losing their carry permits because these trainers decided to take shortcuts with the training . . . and the students went along with it. So . . . let’s spend a bit of time on the personal trait of INTEGRITY. Take a few moments to read these two articles first . . .
Integrity – the quality of being honest and fair. The state of being complete or whole. Pretty clear – to the point. I want to examine this from both sides of the coin – the instructor and the student.
An instructor should be who they say they are – that simple. And, they should be fully familiar with what they are teaching and be able to demonstrate it. I’ll take it a step further – instructors should demonstrate all drills and shoot all qualifications right along with the students. An instructor should have a purpose – a mission. Why is he/she teaching? Is it important to them? Does it matter that the skillset is taught or simply that the checks cash? If the instructor is presenting coursework that they claim meets or exceeds a particular state’s training requirement – they better make damn sure it does. The standard dodge – “gee, I didn’t know I had to teach that”, “or I didn’t know I was required to provide 16 hours of instruction” – simply doesn’t cut it in the training world. And yes, I know . . . other states may require far less from their instructors. Move. Otherwise, it’s the responsibility of every instructor to know the material they’re teaching, know the laws of their state regarding training and to simply do their damn job!
And if they’re unwilling to do that – few of us will be sorry to see them go.
My kids are long since grown, one with three daughters of her own. Periodically, as they were growing we would be at odds over the performance of a specific task or the timing of an event or the breaking of a rule. Both came to an understanding that the words “I didn’t know” simply carried no weight. It was BS . . . they knew it . . . and they knew I knew it.
And so it is with the “victims” of these instructors. Were they all to be interviewed, and were they all to answer honestly . . . I suspect they ALL knew the 16 hour requirement but simply chose to believe that there was a shorter path, that these instructors knew that path and less time in the classroom is always better – right?
So, I call BS . . . there were no secrets as to the requirements, simply a willingness by both parties – instructor and student – to get by on a wink and a nod for part of the state requirement.
As “students of the gun” ( I am not associated with any groups using that phrase – I simply believe it accurately reflects what we all are in the shooting community) we know there are no shortcuts to being a better shooter, to being an armed citizen, to being trained is a skillset that we can use to defend ourselves, our families and friends in our charge. It requires range time, dry fire, ammunition, seeking our coursework to help us grow, reading broadly, listening, joining in “the discussion” of training and use of firearms. IT. TAKES. REAL. WORK.
So, if you’re an instructor intent on taking the shortest path – or a path that doesn’t “meet spec” – shame on you. Get your crap together or quit teaching.
And, if you’re a student looking for a quickie permit . . . remember, you get what you pay for. When they put your wife, your child, your friend in a ZipLoc the words “I didn’t have time to train” or “I thought I had all the training I needed” or “I only had to take a 4-hour class to get my permit” is going to be of little consolation to you.
Be an adult! Be a man! Be a woman!
Put on your big kid panties and get to it!