Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Alaskans See Uptick in Concealed Carry Courses as Response to Crime, Shootings

AlaskaIt’s difficult to turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or log on to the Internet without hearing about another tragic mass shooting or reports detailing an increase in violent crime.

As the public discusses how best to handle these tragedies, some individuals are taking their security into their own hands by taking concealed carry classes.

Not all states require coursework to have a CCW permit. In Alaska, anyone over 21 that can legally carry a firearm can carry it concealed with no class or special permitting required. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping Alaskans from choosing to learn the best and safest ways to have their weapons on them at all times.

Instructors that teach the specialized classes from all over the state have reported a surge in class registration and attendance. James Henry, founder of Anchorage-based Spectre Tactical reports an uptick in class registrations starting as far back as 2015. Henry also notes that other instructors in the area have seen the same rise.

Usually, Spectre Tactical keeps their classes at 12 students or below, but recently the increased demand has forced them to allow more students to attend.

Despite the class not being required, the safety aspects are bringing in more interested parties. For many participants, they have purchased a gun but never owned or shot a weapon before. The classes give them confidence with their weapon and an understanding of the safety precautions needed when carrying it in public, out of sight.

CCW classes have similar curriculum regardless of where they are given. Since the laws surrounding concealed weapons is different for each state, most courses incorporate information about the laws in the state the classes are being given in.

In addition to the safety elements of carrying your weapon in public, classes typically also include information on the regulations for the use of a weapon in public. There are many things owners can and can’t do depending on situations and location.

These classes also help students understand exactly what is required of them when they are pulled over by a police officer when carrying their weapon. There are states that require that you inform a peace officer if you have a concealed weapon, while others have no such laws. However, even in states that don’t require the information, many officers indicate that they prefer to be informed so that they can take the appropriate precautions.

If it’s not required, it’s up to the individual if they feel they will benefit from the knowledge and training included in the class. Clearly, however, the residents of Alaska are looking to build confidence with their weapons.

The article Alaskans See Uptick in Concealed Carry Courses as Response to Crime, Shootings originally appeared on Clipdraw

Monday, October 30, 2017

Las Vegas Concealed Carry Owner Prevents Kidnapping

Armed citizen prevents kidnappingIt started with a loud noise.

Justin Pearson was in his home in Las Vegas on October 5, 2017, when noises on his street drew him outside.

“I opened up the door,” Pearson recalls, “and this big BMW goes flying by — 60 mph in a 25 mph zone. I dialed 911 immediately.”

The next thing Pearson did, though, was pure instinct and habit. Before leaving the house to investigate and keep police apprised of the situation, Pearson put his Heckler & Kock VP9 pistol on.

“I carry a concealed firearm everywhere I go,” Pearson said.

Moving down the street to get a license plate number for the 911 operator, he saw the car nearly lose control. Then the driver turned the vehicle around and stopped in front of a house where a 6-year old boy was playing in the front yard. As Pearson continued to move closer to the situation, the driver got out of the car.

He described the driver as a “solid” 6’ 4”, 250-pound man. Although of a similar height, Pearson’s body type is wirier.

“He was a very big dude, and I’m not a menacing person by any means,” Pearson said. “I don’t think I could have physically stopped the guy. It would have been super ugly if it was just me versus him.”

What happened next is what made Pearson begin to add up what an altercation would look like in his head. The driver, now out of the car, grabbed the 6-year old and began shoving him into the BMW. Luckily, his firearm evened the playing field.

Pearson yelled “Hey, stop!” at the driver, and at the same time lifted his shirt and placed his hand on his weapon, without drawing. That was enough. The sight of the gun made the would-be kidnapper pause just long enough for the young boy to jump from the car and run.

With the boy no longer in his control and facing an armed citizen ready to draw, the driver left the scene. The police would not arrive for 17-minutes.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police confirmed that the driver was the boy’s biological father who had neither permission to take the child or parental rights. Without Pearson’s quick actions, the boy would have become another of the thousands of people each year who are abducted by someone they know.

In the end, Pearson credits his firearm for being able to intervene. “If I didn’t have a firearm, I don’t think there’s much I could have done.”

The article Las Vegas Concealed Carry Owner Prevents Kidnapping originally appeared on Clipdraw

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Oregon Vet, Concealed Carry Owner Stops Knife Attack

On September 28th an Oregon veteran and concealed carry permit holder, Mica Smith, stopped an assailant who had pulled a knife on another man.

As Mica Smith sat having dinner with his wife and some friends on the patio of Conversion Brewery in Lebanon, Oregon, he witnessed an argument between two men in the parking lot. One man, Elizah Bullock, was in his car. Smith’s full attention was drawn to the altercation when the other man, Michael Ryan VanGelder yelled “What did you (expletive) say to me?” at Bullock. Then VanGelder pulled a knife.

Smith reacted to VanGelder’s threatening posture by leaping from the patio to the parking lot and pulling his concealed Glock 42 .380 and instructed VanGelder to drop the knife.

When VanGelder ran, Smith and Bullock gave chase. They caught VanGelder, and although Bullock was injured in the pursuit they were able to hold VanGelder until police arrived. VenGelder was arrested for unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, second-degree disorderly conduct, and fourth-degree assault.

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley praised Smith and how it was clear that his previous weapons and concealed carry training turned a potentially dangerous situation into a positive outcome. “That’s a good example of what concealed carry permits are intended to do,” said Riley.

Riley emphasized that the concealed carry training gave Smith awareness and discipline that an untrained citizen might not have.

Smith concurred. When asked about the details of the incident, Smith said “I did not put my finger on the trigger. I do not put my finger on the trigger unless I’m going to fire.” Smith added as he discussed his responsibility in the situation, “I knew that somebody’s life was in danger and that others could be threatened too.”

For other concealed carry permit carriers, Smith recommends having a high familiarity with your weapon is important before carrying it out in public. He says he doesn’t carry a weapon that he hasn’t put 50 to 100 rounds through at the range. This allows him familiarity with the weapon and how best to fire it.

Smith hopes never to fire his weapon outside of the range, but says “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”. But he also feels that concealed carry is better than open carry beyond the training requirements. “I think with open carry, you could end up with someone picking a fight just to see if you’re a badass,” he said.

The article Oregon Vet, Concealed Carry Owner Stops Knife Attack originally appeared on Clipdraw

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Arkansas Law Maker Looks to Expedite Permits for Domestic Violence Survivors

In an effort to protect survivors of domestic violence, Arkansas senator Trent Garner (R-27), has begun drafting a bill that would expedite concealed carry permits for this group.

Although the bill will not be up for review until lawmakers are back in session, the intent of the bill is to provide a mechanism for these survivors to quickly obtain a concealed carry permit so that they can protect themselves in the aftermath of the violence they experienced.

“I’ve seen a lot of other states do this, and the thing that jumped out to me – we want to make sure these brave women and survivors don’t become a statistic, that we don’t come back and see that they were gravely injured or murdered when they could have protected themselves,” said Sen. Garner.

The bill would allow domestic violence survivors to participate in an expedited process to obtain their permits. While a background check would still apply, as would the associated fees for a permit, the required concealed carry training would be given a 45-day grace period. This would allow survivors to begin protecting themselves quickly, while also maintaining the standard of concealed carry training.

Sen. Garner points out there is some evidence to support the idea of providing survivors with guns in an expedited manner. “In testimony in Indiana, a firearm expert said that he had trained hundreds and hundreds of women and they all said the same thing, ‘He stopped coming for me when he saw the gun.’”

The will is likely to see some opposition from survivor advocates groups. The concern, as Angela McGraw, Executive Director of Women and Children First, comes from the willingness and ability of the survivor to protect themselves, and the reaction of the attacker.

“They get the gun, and the person that’s the perpetrator comes toward them or whatever, they’re going to beat the crap out of them just trying to get the gun from them. It’s going to be a worse beating than it was beforehand,” said McGraw.

Sen. Garner, however, is sensitive to the need for adjustment and open discussion around the bill, which is why he started drafting it so early. He has indicated a desire for feedback, and an openness to adjusting the training grace period if needed.

The article Arkansas Law Maker Looks to Expedite Permits for Domestic Violence Survivors originally appeared on Clipdraw

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wisconsin Sees Surge in Concealed Carry Permits in 2017

As the state legislature continues to consider permitless concealed carry, Wisconsin sees an increase in the number of permits being applied for across the state.

So far in 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has processed 68,000 concealed carry permits. More than 24,000 of those applications were for new concealed carry permits, while the remainder were for renewals of existing licenses.

According to the state’s Department of Justice spokesman, Johnny Koremenos, the state has 331,323 active permits for concealed weapons as of August of 2017.

Nearly 65% of this year’s applications come from renewals, which should be expected. The original law allowing for concealed carry in the state required license renewals every five years. That law was passed in 2011, putting many permit carriers at the 5-year mark.

Gun shop owners across the state report that those seeking permits come from all walks of life, despite the time commitment involved for the current training required.

Under the existing laws, those looking to carry a concealed weapon must complete associated training as part of the permit process.

While the current requirements for training have many supporters, there are those who feel that the stipulations for licensing and training are too restrictive. Since the original concealed carry permit law was passed in 2011, new laws pushing for permitless carry within the state have been introduced twice.

The first law was failed to pass during the 2013 legislative session. The second attempt is currently being considered by Wisconsin state law makers.

As previously reported, the new law would allow anyone legally allowed to own a gun to carry it as a concealed weapon without additional training or licensing. The permitting process, however, would remain in place. This would allow residents who wish to transport their weapons across state lines to do so into states that recognize a Wisconsin permit.

Exceptions to the current training requirement include individuals who have completed hunter safety training and those who have served in the military.

The article Wisconsin Sees Surge in Concealed Carry Permits in 2017 originally appeared on Clipdraw

Monday, August 28, 2017

Utah Doubles Concealed Carry Permit Fees

Utah Increases Concealed Carry FeesMembers of Utah’s Administrative Rule Review Committee began reviewing a recent fee increase by the Bureau of Criminal Identification regarding fees associated with concealed carry permits in the state. The fee went into effect on August 1st, 2017.

The addition to the cost for fingerprinting and background checks as part of the permit process effectively doubles the cost of these checks, adding $20 to what was previously a $25 fee.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification believes that the increase is within their authority based on a law based in 2015 regarding fee increases for background checks for school teachers. However, critics claim that stretches the meaning of the law and oversteps the bounds of the bureau.

Under review is the “legislative intent” of the 2015 law, which legal review by the bureau claims includes the ability to increase the costs of background checks for concealed carry as well as teacher checks.

Only recently did the bureau realize that the law could be applied to both. And while they agree that the original bill’s author may not have meant for the law to be used this way, the language doesn’t preclude it. In fact, according to Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, the law explicitly allows for a concealed carry fee increase.

Opponents, on the other hand, claim that Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, who originally authored the bill, only meant to give the bureau the power to increase the fee for teacher’s background checks.

Rep Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, spoke with other lawmakers about the original law and said that despite being sympathetic to the bureau’s financial needs, this isn’t the correct interpretation of the law.

NRA lobbyist Brian Judy also opposes the hike. Judy said that the NRA would be interested in working with the bureau to ensure the correct fees are paid, but not more. “If the fees are necessary, we will pay the fee that is required to conduct the entire process,” he said.

But according to Lt. Ryan Van Fleet, the fees will be put to good use. The additional funds will help pay for the bureau to place background information in a multi-state identification system known as the Western Identification Network.

The article Utah Doubles Concealed Carry Permit Fees originally appeared on Clipdraw

Monday, August 21, 2017

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Agreement Reached Between Wisconsin and West Virginia

In an announcement made over the weekend, West Virginia and Wisconsin now have concealed carry reciprocity for permit holders from both states.

In a statement released on August 20th, 2017 from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the states have agreed to recognize concealed carry permits from the other. This is an extension of the existing recognition, whereby West Virginia permit holders were allowed to carry in Wisconsin, but Wisconsin residents did not enjoy the same privilege when visiting West Virginia.

“I take protecting the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners seriously,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Residents of West Virginia and those who visit here should be able to exercise their right to bear arms.”

The two states recently began talks to consider a reciprocal agreement for concealed carry permit holders. Statutory notice was provided to West Virginia from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, formalizing the request for reciprocal recognition of permits.

The agreement points to the importance of a concealed carry permit, even in states which do not require permits for residents. Residents of West Virginia are allowed to carry a concealed weapon within the state without a concealed carry permit. Similar legislation is currently being considered by Wisconsin lawmakers.

Both states, however, still have an optional permitting process specifically for residents that desire to bring their weapon with them while visiting other states.

West Virginia has had a progressive stance on allowing residents of other states to carry within their borders. The state has full reciprocity agreements with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, and now Wisconsin.

In addition, West Virginia residents can carry their weapons in Montana, but a mutual agreement does not exist between those states. Some residents may also carry without a permit in Maine and Vermont.

Wisconsin, however, is catching up to West Virgina’s 37 states, with a current total of 32 states with permits honored in Wisconsin. Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Permits from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are also recognized.

The article Concealed Carry Reciprocity Agreement Reached Between Wisconsin and West Virginia originally appeared on Clipdraw