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Friday, October 16, 2009

"Dead-eye" Dan Casey Continues Assault on Online CHP Training

Since last July, Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey has taken Virginia, and by extension, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, to task for allowing Virginians seeking a concealed carry permit (CHP) to complete the required safety training by taking an online or electronically delivered course. Casey has written several columns detailing how he completed a course and received his permit without ever touching a handgun. He's at it again.

There's still no doubt in my mind that the state law that deemed me "competent" enough to get a Virginia concealed handgun permit via that online course is
asinine and irresponsible.
What he does not tell readers is that was always allowed even before Senator Cuccinelli's legislation became law on July 1, 2009. Oh sure, he alluded to the fact in his original column but he never clearly states that since 1995, anyone without a criminal or mental disability could qualify for a CHP by taking a simple firearm safety course, completing the required application, and paying a fee. The statute does not require an applicant to have ever handled a firearm during the safety course or at any other time. A qualifying firearm safety course can include among other things a hunter safety course. Hunter safety courses do not require the participant to handle a firearm during the training and many of the classroom courses approved for a CHP permit also do not require the student to handle a firearm.

VSSA advocates that everyone considering purchasing, owning, and using a firearm, do so safely and responsibly. A member who is also an NRA Certified Instructor even contacted me after the Cuccinelli bill passed expressing his disappointment that VSSA supported the bill because in his view, requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit should be more, not less strict.

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to carry a firearm, whether it be openly or concealed - not least of which is if the individual is prepared to handle the consequences of defending oneself should the situation arise. But that is for the individual to determine. The Commonwealth decided its responsibility was to insure that the individual had a minimum level of training to qualify for a permit and that it was not going to take a "nanny state" approach.

This writer might agree that someone should take the step of spending considerable time at a range before applying for a CHP. But unlike Casey, I don't think I should be making that decision for other people.

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