Mandatory CCW Training

I’ve been through any number of firearms training classes over the years covering everything from the basics to more advanced stuff. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken the intro level NRA course in my lifetime—I can think of at least a half-dozen instances off the top of my head—but even though it is repetitive it has never been time wasted. I always manage to learn something new or see something in a new way depending on the instructor and his or her skills.

Most of the time I’ve taken the course to satisfy the requirements for getting a concealed carry permit. I’ve done that in Connecticut, New York, Washington and, most recently, for a non-resident permit for Utah. Some of these classes have had a shooting proficiency element, others have not.

I've never thought much about the requirement to take one of these classes, but Larry Correia over at Monster Hunter Nation, who has taught CCW classes for years has and he's concluded that mandatory training classes are essentially worthless:

When I first started out, I did a full on basic handgun class in addition to the lecture portion that was required by the state. What I quickly discovered was the people who were going to be smart, were smart. People that were going to be stupid, were on their best behavior while I watched them, then immediately went back to being stupid when they were on their own.

He makes a number of very compelling points in his essay. I still believe it is a good thing to make sure a person at least knows how a pistol or revolver functions and that it is worthwhile to drill folks in the basics of firearms safety (or to try to at any rate) but it is hard to argue with Correia’s point on how any proposal for a shooting requirement is little more than just window dressing.

—John Snow