Monday, October 13, 2008

How To Select A Firearms Instructor Without Getting Scammed

The selection of a firearms instructor is an important decision. It is definitely a task that shouldn't be made lightly or conducted in haphazard fashion. If a student chooses poorly, he could find himself receiving far less than he may have originally bargained for in the process. A bad choice could have a student receiving not only bad or incomplete information that could lead to criminal charges, but a poor choice could also lead to the student being on the wrong side of a civil liability lawsuit, and the student could suffer unnecessary harm due to his inaction during a violent encounter.

When evaluating a firearms instruction provider, the very first thing that you want to check is their credentials to teach the class you are interested in taking. In Michigan, the only persons that are authorized to teach the Basic Pistol Safety Training Class are either persons that have been authorized by the state (i.e. Michigan Coalition Of Law Enforcement Standards) or individuals that have been certified by either a national or state firearms training organization (e.g National Rifle Association).

In any case, all authorized training providers should have in their possession firearms training credentials from their parent organization that corroborates their authorization to instruct. Do not be afraid to ask to see it. If they are qualified, they will proudly display it to you. However, if they come up with excuses as to why don't have any training credentials you can be sure that you are talking to an unqualified firearms training provider.

After you have verified that the firearms instructor is duly certified by an appropriate firearms training authority, the next thing that you want to check is the agenda of the class that they are presenting to you to attend as a prerequisite for getting your Concealed Pistol License (CPL).

The state of Michigan statute is very clear as to what a bona fide Basic Pistol Safety Training Class must cover. In short, the following items must be covered: safe storage of firearms, shooting positions, firearms law, ammunition knowledge, avoiding criminal attacks, and controlling violent encounters. If you are considering a class being promoted by a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Instructor, you want to be sure that it is the "Personal Protection In The Home Class."

There are several unethical firearms instructors in the greater Detroit-area intentionally teaching the wrong classes to students who desire to get a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). In most cases, these rogue instructors are fraudulently promoting the "Basic Pistol Class" as a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class. The "Basic Pistol Class" has a lot of good quality information in it. However, it does not meet the state of Michigan's explicit training standards for a CPL.

Teaching the Basic Pistol Safety Training Class "the right way" involves having a qualified legal authority present to teach firearms law. As you can imagine, a lawyer's time can be costly. Thus, the scam artists in the firearms training field simply opt to not cover it all. They would rather pocket a couple extra hundred dollars per class and short-change their students.

Carrying a concealed firearm without proper legal training is not advised and is an accident "waiting to happen." Firearms are the most heavily regulated items in our society. Thus, it is very easy to run afoul of the law. A Concealed Pistol Licensee may face criminal charges if he acts inapropriately with a gun. There is no such "animal" as common sense gun law. The law is very clear as to what is lawful. Not knowing the law is no excuse for breaking it.

Furthermore, if a Concealed Pistol Licensee shoots someone outside of the confines of lethal force/self-defense law, not only could he face murder charges but he may also face a civil liability lawsuit from the injured party or the injured party's estate. Furthermore, a Concealed Pistol Licensee might also be injured from an attacker because the licensee did not act for fear of acting unlawfully. For all of the above reasons, it is imperative that someone, who desires to get a CPL, actually takes the correct class.

Moreover, when evaluating a firearms training service you should also research their credentials. Some instructors only have training credentials to teach the CPL Class. Other instructors have every possible certification available. Obviously, the more certifications that an instructor has in his training background the more likely it is that he can deliver outstanding value to his students. Instructors of this caliber can deliver more info from related firearms courses and more clearly illustrate complex topics.

The level of professionalism of the firearms training service should also be evaluated. You want to know how long this service has been operating; brand new and unproven instructors deliver questionable value. When entrusting your firearms training to a service provider you want to know how well he has trained others in the past. You should check out their web site and see whether there are any testimonials from satisfied customers, any helpful articles he may have written, and any objective evidence of training ability - such as photos and videos.

Further evidence of an instructor's committment to being a competent authority in his field would include memberships to various gun rights organizations: National Rifle Association, Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Owners, and etc. An instructor who belongs to several gun rights groups is keeping abreast of the latest developments with regards to gun policy at the local, county, state, and federal levels of our government and can keep you informed.

Other items that would be helpful to know about your firearms training provider is the level of support that they can provide to you after the class. Does the company offer an alumni newsletter or other means of contact to keep in touch? Can you call them when a unique situation develops and you need advice? Are they available to help you consider firearms and accessories purchasing decisions? Fly-by-night operators in the firearms training field quickly forget you when the class is over.

In summary, before you consider signing up with a firearms training provider for CPL training, you need to do your research. There are many scam artists - credentialed and uncredentialed - that are short-changing their students by not teaching them the law.

Taking the wrong class can have dire circumstances: criminal charges, lawsuits, and unnecessary harm. Further, you should also evaluate a firearms training provider's list of qualifications, affiliated firearms memberships, level of service, and support after the class is over. Only when evaluating these items can you make an informed decision as to which company provides you with the best value.
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