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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WTVR Story About Online CHP Courses

WTVR TV6 is the latest to go after the online safety courses that are acceptable to qualify for a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP).  VSSA has been asked to comment for a number of firearm related stories that WTVR has run in the past and have found them to be fair.  The reporter for this story, Mark Holmberg, pointed out in the story that he believes a "well armed and well trained populace"  is the best defense against foreign invaders as well as "threats among us."  But he either misspoke, or made an over generalization about what concealed carry courses "historically" require.
Historically, conceal-carry classes take hours and include hands-on classroom instruction and then training and testing on the firing line. Even strong gun-rights states like Texas take this training very seriously.
I'll give Mr. Holmberg the benefit of the doubt that he was speaking in general and not about what Virginia "historically" has required as a qualifying safety course as Virginia has never required range time and even accepts hunter education courses as a qualifying safety course for a CHP. There are probably some people that would argue a hunter education course does not prepare you to carry a concealed handgun.

People can debate what should or should not be required to qualify for a CHP (and VSSA has heard from at least one NRA Certified instructor who believes Virginia's requirements are not strong enough), but let's be clear, an online course imparts basic safety information, which is all Virginia law has ever required.  This writer has counseled anyone considering getting a CHP and carrying firearm for self-defense to a)take the decision very seriously and b)training to carry means more than just the basic course required for the permit.  Many will probably agree that is commonsense.  What causes debate is whether the government can and/or should legislate commonsense.  Holmberg's complete report is below.

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