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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bill Introduced in General Assembly to Eliminate Online Training for CHP

Prince William Democrat Delegate Luke Torian has introduced a bill for the 2013 Virginia General Assembly that changes the training requirements that must be completed before applying for a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). Currently, the following qualify for the training requirement:
  1. Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
  2. Completing NRA firearms safety course; 
  3. Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
  4. Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
  5. Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;
  6. Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in the Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
  7. Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
  8. Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
  9. Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.
House Bill 1326 would remove #s 1, 3, and 7 as options and would remove option of presenting evidence of participation in organized shooting competition in #5 as options to complete the training requirement.  Additionally, the bill adds the language "that focuses on the use and handling of a concealed handgun" to #s 2 and 9.  In other words, it appears that Delegate Torian is trying to infer that the training include range time without specifically stating such.  Currently, Virginia does not require range time as part of the training requirement.

Virginia's option allowing for online training received a lot of media attention earlier this year when numerous news outlets in- and outside of the Commonwealth reported about the "jump" in non-resident CHP permits, and attributed the increase to the ability to complete training online.  None of the articles offered any concrete evidence that non-residents used the online training option exclusively or even overwhelmingly over other training options.  They simply looked at the numbers and presumed because the increase appeared to coincided with the law clarifying online training was acceptable, that had to be the reason for the increase.  With this in mind, it is likely that online training is the real target of Delegate Torian's bill.

Commonsense tells us that anyone who chooses to carry a firearm should spend hours at the range practicing, not just before they get the permit, but also after, as shooting is a perishable skill.  But government should not try to legislate commonsense.  The training requirement was meant as a minimum to apply for a CHP.  This is a solution in search of a problem.  The CHP law has been in place for almost 20 years.  The online training clarification was added three years ago and there has been no problems.  VSSA will vigorously oppose HB1326, not because we don't support training, but because the bill is one more piece of nannyism.

1 comment:

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