CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Community News Network

November 11, 2013

The gun-training class that teaches students to keep firearms under the bed, loaded

NEW YORK — A North Carolina doctor named Ty L. Bullard recently published an alarming op-ed in the Charlotte Observer about his recent experience in a state-mandated concealed carry handgun (CCH) class. To get a CCH permit in North Carolina, you have to complete one of these classes, which are supposed to teach students about gun safety, shooting technique, and their legal rights and responsibilities. But, as Bullard tells it, his class was dominated by random questions from the students - "What if my ex-husband tries to come to the house?" - and reckless advice from the instructor - "If he doesn't have a right to be there, then you do what you gotta do. . . . Remember, they don't have to be breaking in for you to shoot."

"Perhaps most shocking," writes Bullard, "was the advice we received from a practicing law enforcement officer regarding the storage of firearms: under the bed, preferably loaded." This is very, very bad advice, especially if you have children in the house. (It also directly contradicts North Carolina's child access prevention laws.) And it raises a broader question. Though concealed carry is now legal in all 50 states, many still require aspiring concealed-carriers to take a basic training class before they are issued a permit. But if all CCH classes are like the one Bullard describes, then what's the point? Was Bullard's experience typical?

"My kids asked me about that article," David Harrington, a North Carolina firearms instructor, told me last week. "And I said, 'Hey, that wasn't my class.' " I called Harrington to get a sense of how these classes are supposed to run, and to try to figure out why Bullard's class was so bad. (Bullard did not identify his instructor by name in his Charlotte Observer op-ed, so I wasn't able to contact him or her to ask about how that specific class was run.)

A longtime police officer in Matthews, N.C., Harrington teaches the same sort of CCH classes that Bullard wrote about in the Observer. He was chagrined to read about the tenor of the discussion in Bullard's class. Leaving a loaded gun under your bed "is the most foolish thing you can ever do, in my opinion - other than having it under your pillow," he told me.

In North Carolina, CCH classes last at least eight hours, plus extra time spent on the shooting range. Much of the class time is spent on laws and liability issues. The state provides instructors with a standard lesson plan, but they're allowed to stray from the manual as long as they register their course materials with the state. There is also ample time for questions.

"I'll be honest: The people ask some crazy questions in class," Harrington said. "And I don't think it's so much that they're the 'shoot first' type as that they're thinking about the oddest scenarios they can come up with." He noted that the best instructors use those questions as teaching moments, rather than to validate students' paranoia. "When I teach my courses, I teach that your gun is your last line of defense, not your first line of defense," Harrington told me. "We talk a lot about safety in general - being safe outside of the home, being aware of your surroundings."

Harrington has strong words for those instructors who shirk their duties and promote reckless behavior. "That's what gives programs like these a bad name; you're just handing out certificates for money," he said. "I probably have more people fail my class than any other instructor in my area. I tell them, 'If you're not safe, I will not pass you.' "

Harrington sounds like a great instructor. Bullard's guy sounds like a very, very bad one. And that's the problem: There shouldn't be this much variance in quality. Though CCH instructors in North Carolina must be accredited and meet a few other requirements, the state does not actively monitor those classes to make sure they're being run competently. That's a mistake.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network

New England News
Obituaries
  • Marie Rose (Robidoux) Audy

    LAWRENCE — Marie Rose (Robidoux) Audy, passed away at her home surrounded by her family, after suffering a stroke in April. She was born in Lawrence and was the daughter of the late Rose A. (Betit) and Alfred Robidoux, originally of Quebec, Canada. She was predeceased by her husband of 28 years, Armand Joseph Audy, who passed away on June 28, 1976.

    Continued ...
    6 days
  • Charles Anthony "Chuck" Carnival, 79

    Jackson, MS — Charles Anthony “Chuck” Carnival, 79, formerly of Raymond, N.H., passed away Thursday, June 19, 2014, at Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

    Continued ...
    13 days 1 Photo
  • Francis M. Lurvey, 76

    Bar Harbor, ME — Francis M. Lurvey passed away Sunday, June 22, in Bar Harbor, Maine, after battling cancer. By his side were his sons, Edwin Lurvey and Steven Lurvey and his niece and husband, Debra and Richard Carey, as well as cousin, Marion McDonald. He was the son of Edwin R Lurvey (Bar Harbor) and Delia Amazeen (Dexter). He is survived by five children, a stepson, and their families. His sons, Edwin and wife April, Steven and wife, Pam, David and his daughter, Meghan, as well as his daughters, Lorraine and Ellen and her husband, Paul DiScipio with daughters, Katherine and Julia, and his stepson, Brian Faulkner and wife, Jody with children, Trevor, Rachel, and Keith. He is also survived by his sister, Sheryl, and many nieces and nephews including Frank Lurvey and Elaine Langer. Francis was predeceased by his twin brother, Frank, as well as his brothers, Edwin and Erwin. He was also predeceased by his longtime companion, Brian and Edwin’s mother, Maureen Faulkner and former wife, Roberta Lurvey Gilmore.

    Continued ...
    20 days 1 Photo
  • Norman R. Cote

    Atkinson, NH — Norman R. Cote, of Atkinson, was called to his heavenly home on June 16, 2014, following a period of declining health.

    Continued ...
    20 days
  • Frederick M. Hopper, 64

    Epping, NH — Frederick Michael Hopper, of Epping, N.H., passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Predeceased by his wife, Alice Hopper, he is survived by his longtime girlfriend, Joann Peatfield; daughters, Shay Belair and Jayne Pond; sons-in-law, Adam Belair and James Pond; mother, Arlene Hopper; father and stepmother, Frederick S. and Barbara Hopper; siblings, Susan Hardy, Stephan Hopper, Scott Hopper, and Sherri Chagnon; grandsons, Benjamin Belair, Jonathan Belair and Jackson Pond; and numerous nieces and nephews.

    Continued ...
    27 days 1 Photo

Stocks