Local firearm instructor says gun owners need training, no matter how they carry

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — A local gun instructor says even though a permit-less concealed carry bill is set to become law in Kentucky, people who buy guns should always get training.

Gov. Matt Bevin has said he will sign Senate Bill 150, which would allow Kentuckians to carry concealed handguns without a permit or the associated training. The bill says the following:

“Persons age twenty-one (21) or older, and otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm, may carry concealed firearms or other concealed deadly weapons without a license in the same locations as persons with valid licenses issued under KRS 237.110.

“Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the carrying or possession of any deadly weapon where it is prohibited by federal law.”

Under current Kentucky law, you have to get a permit to carry a concealed gun. The first step is to go to your local sheriff’s office to find out about certified instructors in your area. Then, you have to be trained. 

After you complete the course, the instructor notifies the Department of Criminal Justice Training about whether you passed.  If you did, you get a certificate from the department.

Once you get your certificate, you give it, an application, and a $60 fee to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office will give the paperwork to Kentucky State Police, which will conduct a background check and either issue or deny your license. KSP will then mail you a “flash pak” telling you to pick up your concealed carry license at the sheriff’s office.

The entire process can take several months, and the concealed carry license must be renewed every five years.

Meanwhile, Kentucky does not require a permit or training to open carry a gun.

But Nicole Cressler, chief training officer at Range America, says getting proper training should never be neglected, regardless of how a gun owner carries.

About 5,400 viewers voted in our Facebook poll about whether they support the new bill.

“I think you need open carry training as well. Yeah, anytime you’re going to use a firearm, you have to be responsible to that firearm. If you decide to use your firearm, you’re responsible for that bullet the minute it leaves your firearm,” says Cressler. “You have to have the responsibility as a gun owner to take that training upon yourself and get that training before you ever decided to carry a firearm. First rule to carrying a gun is know how to use it.”

Cressler says her training courses include six hours of classroom time to learn handgun basics — such as how to hold a gun and how to stand — as well as what the law says — such as which places allow guns firearms to be carried. Participants get up to two hours of qualifying time at the gun range. Cressler says she also covers things like how to draw a handgun from concealment.

“It is important to learn proper draw stroke technique: where your hands need to be, your trigger needs to be. Trigger finger needs to be outside the trigger, outside the trigger guard. So, that’s where that needs to be before we ever draw our firearm. If we go to draw our firearm with our finger on the trigger, we might accidentally pull the trigger,” says Cressler. “That’s why it’s important to train.”

It’s unclear when the governor will sign the permit-less concealed carry bill into law.

The National Rifle Association, which supports the bill, says in a statement, in part:

“Self-defense situations are difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate. Accordingly, a law-abiding adult’s right to defend himself or herself in such situations should not be conditioned by government-mandated time delays and taxes.”

But Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America released its own statement opposing the bill, saying, in part:

“Passage of this dangerous bill would make Kentucky one of only a handful of states to abandon the core safety standards that are ensured by the state’s concealed carry permit system.”

On the WPSD Local 6 Facebook page, about 5,400 people voted in our poll about the new bill. About 55 percent said they support it; 45 percent were against it.

The full version of Senate Bill 150 is below.

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