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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Words of wisdom about gun courses

Regarding “Toddler died after finding loaded gun” (front page, May 9): First, I would send my condolences to the family that lost their child and to all families that have lost a loved one through ignorance and carelessness of proper firearm safety. I am an NRA training counselor and certified instructor. I am very concerned about what I am hearing being done in the name of “training” by “instructors” in name only. A lot of these instructors could be NRA-certified instructors, but they are not using NRA basic materials to conduct their class. The state of Florida trusts the instructors to properly train their students, whether they be NRA instructors or otherwise. I teach the NRA Basic Pistol Course and tell all my instructors who go through my Certified NRA Instructor Training that NRA Basic Pistol is the bare minimum I will sign off on for a concealed carry class. This is an 8- to 10-hour class with live range fire of at least 50 rounds. I also add concealed carry information above the NRA material, along with briefly going over Florida concealed carry laws with instruction that students need to read the laws fully and become familiar with them. I have to cringe when I hear of the two- to four-hour classes, some using blanks and pellet guns and some with just primers. The Florida law concerning instructors is quite clear in that the instructor is to “witness live fire” before signing off on the training.
Instructors with “one shot and you’re qualified”? Please! Concerning keeping your firearm safe and away from any “unauthorized persons,” look at what Florida law says. The law is quite clear on this, as are all NRA training courses: You, the gun owner, are responsible for keeping your firearm safe and away from all unauthorized persons. I also stress that it is not only children but also older adults with mental difficulties whom we need to be concerned about. Instructors, if you are not teaching this, you need to start — it’s part of the training. Your article was informative and did have some anti-gun overtones but shows a problem with lack of training by some. I would also like to note that there are a lot of great firearms instructors teaching responsible gun safety courses out there. I advise those seeking to get their concealed carry permit, or who are just looking for a firearms safety class, to do their research and ask questions. Look for NRA-certified instructors teaching NRA-certified courses. Students, look at the time and money spent on the training and compare what you are getting for your money. Don Haverkamp Lake Placid
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