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Interest in Concealed Carry Weapon permits on the rise

By Leigh Ann Rutledge
FPS Accent Editor

Concealed Carry class
PRACTICE. Four students in a recent National Rifle Association/Concealed Carry Weapon permit class practice safe use of pistols. Participants in class at Two Tall Oaks Training Academy had the opportunity to try different types and sizes of pistols.

In light of recent events across the United States, concern for personal safety is becoming a priority for citizens.

There has been an increase in registrations for Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) classes as well as permits.

In Carroll County, since Jan. 1, 30 applications have been filed for CCW permits and seven have been issued. Classes that allow citizens to apply for CCW permits are quickly filling.

Many residents who had no knowledge of the CCW process are now taking interest and asking questions.

Is a concealed carry license for you?  If so, how do you obtain a license?

Owning a firearm is a constitutional right in the United States of America.  The option to carry a concealed weapon is a privilege.  The dictionary defines “privilege” as “a grant to an individual, corporation, etc. of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions;” and “any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of a country by its constitution.”

Carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) legally requires a person to go through a licensing process.  The publication, “Ohio’s Concealed Carry Laws and License Application” from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine notes first thing, “Before you obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun, you will need proof of your competency certification.”  Competency can be established several ways, including (but not limited to) having a certificate of completion of a firearms safety course which was offered by or under the auspices of the National Rifle Association (NRA) containing certain minimum educational requirements.

The minimum educational requirements required to obtain a certificate are:  10 hours of certified training on the following:

- The ability to name, explain and demonstrate the rules for safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;

- The ability to demonstrate and explain how to handle ammunition in a safe manner;

- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner;

- Gun-handling training

Applicants must also have two hours of practical training, including range time and live-fire experience.  The applicant must complete a written exam and a physical demonstration of safe usage and handling of a handgun.

David “Doc” Dray is an NRA certified instructor who owns and operates Two Tall Oaks Training Academy in Carroll County.  Dray, a retired member of the US Air Force and Army, was a commander in the Army Marksmanship Training Unit and competition unit.  He has shot all over the world and qualified as an expert in the US Army. 

Dray has been operating Two Tall Oaks Training Academy for four years.  He noted prior to the Newtown, CT, shooting, he had people sign up for the CCW class but often a portion did not show.  Now, each class is full and people are waiting.  Class size is limited to 16 people maximum. 

Training for CCW begins with Dray teaching the NRA’s Basic Pistol course.  At a recent class, Dray asked participants why they were there. 

“If you are here to go Rambo and just shoot a gun, this course is not for you,” he said.  “If you are here to learn how to protect and possibly save your life and the life of your family, this course is for you.”

His goal as a teacher is to “teach the basic knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for owning a pistol.”   

With a power point presentation, Dray goes through the NRA guide, continuously reiterating safety.  When his eight-year old grandson walked into the class, Dray asked him, “What is the first rule of gun safety?”  The youth replied, “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.”  The other fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are:  2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; 3) Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

“Guns are neither safe or unsafe by themselves.  The only thing safe is the person handling the gun,” Dray stated.  “People need to realize there really is no mechanical safety.  Mechanical parts fail.  Safety is dependent upon the user.”

A portion of Dray’s training involves participants experiencing a firing range.  Participants get a “feel” for an array of pistols, in sizes such as .22, 357 and 38 caliber and 9mm, revolver and semi-automatic style. 

Dray feels no one can actually purchase a gun without shooting it.  “More people are making purchasing decisions based on the ease of concealment than on effect,” he said.  “A gun should be comfortable in your hand and needs to be one you can manipulate easy.  If it isn’t easy to shoot, you won’t shoot it very often and won’t be skilled.”

Dray is partial to revolvers for personal protection.  “If you have a revolver, you shoot twice,” he explained.  “If the first bullet is bad the second shot is immediate.  If an automatic pistol has a problem, there is no immediate second shot.” 

Semi-automatic guns require more practice for the user to sufficiently clear jams, loading and unloading, and cycling misfires through.  “A revolver is kind of a ‘keep it simple’ KISS gun,” he said. 

Dray’s CCW classes are still predominantly male but he is seeing more women in the course and 40 percent of those women have never shot a gun before.  The majority of the people taking a CCW course are in the 40-50 age group.

Throughout the classroom instruction, Dray covers not only the NRA booklet but discusses CCW.  He is NRA certified to train Basic Pistol Safety in all 50 states and can design a training course to fit each person’s needs.  He can teach rifle, tactical, and home defense.  Many participants taking the pistol class repeat the class.  Repeat attendees are not charged for classroom, only for ammunition they use.  

After completing the education and practical training portion, the participant must read the booklet from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, fill out an application and schedule an appointment for a background check with the sheriff’s department in the county in which you reside.

Anyone wanting to apply for a CCW permit should contact Deputy Jane Michel at 330-627-2141 to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting, etc.  Michel said it takes approximately 45 days to receive notification.
“Applications for concealed carry permits are on the rise,” said Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams.  “I expect this aspect of the office to be busier than in the past.”

 In 2012, 214 permits were issued, 38 permits renewed, one suspended and four denied, compared to 171 issued, 5 renewals, three suspensions and one denial in 2011.  A CCW permit is denied based on the applicant’s background check showing a criminal record, such as a felony or domestic violence charge.

Williams said when a deputy makes a traffic stop, the vehicle license plate will tell them if the owner has a CCW.  According to the Ohio Attorney General booklet, the licensed person is required to inform law enforcement officers that they are licensed to carry and whether they are carrying a weapon.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s office has not had any problems with persons with a CCW if they are stopped for a traffic violation.  “As long as they abide by the rules, there will be no problems,” Williams noted.

To sign up for the NRA Basic Pistol Class and earn a certificate to apply for a CCW, contact Dray at 330-705-4376 or by email at twotalloaks@yahoo.com.  Two Tall Oaks Training Academy is located at 4237 Arbor Rd., Mechanicstown.

“If participants leave my classroom with more questions about CCW than when they walked in, then I have done my job,” noted Dray.  “I want them to try to understand, a gun can be used as a deterrent instead of deadly force because once a bullet is fired, you can’t take it back.”

For more information about concealed carry regulations and restrictions, visit www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.  Scroll down on the home page to services.  Click on concealed carry.

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