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Monday, September 24, 2012

Dallas Morning News Gets it Wrong on Virginia Concealed Handgun Permits

Online firearm safety courses are once again in the news, this time in the land of Texas.  For the last month or so, various news outlets have made a big deal about the fact that Virginia allows the completion of an online firearm safety course to qualify as meeting the firearm safety training requirement in the concealed handgun permit (CHP) statute.  This time it is the Dallas Morning News urging the Texas legislature to pass a law that would stop the state from recognizing permits issued in Virginia, especially Virginia's non-resident permits, which supposedly are increasingly being issued to people who have completed an online course.
It’s no exaggeration to say that anyone with $39.95, an Internet connection and one hour can wind up duly licensed by Virginia to carry a concealed handgun. This not only increases gun danger for everyone, it cuts the legs from under Texas law.
The exaggeration is the inference that Virginia ever required range time or even the same training that Texas requires for their permits.  Most of the classroom courses that qualify for meeting the training requirement are four hour classes but Virginia never had a minimum number of hours of classroom training. Texas requires 10 hours.  The Hunter Education course, which also qualifies, is currently an eight hour class but even that is transitioning to a partly online/home study and partly class room course.  And it could be argued that a hunter safety course does not prepare someone to carry a concealed handgun.  But that was never the purpose of the training requirement.  It was simply to make sure that someone with a CHP had a basic understanding of firearm safety.

This is all a lot of to do about nothing.  Virginia has allowed online courses for three years and there has not been an incident caused by anyone who received a permit after having completed an online course.

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