Constitutional Carry & Training Requirements

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Oh geez, he’s starting a blog off with the 2nd Amendment.

I mention this because apparently some of you think it somehow applies only to hunting or sport-shooting.  So consider this a friendly reminder.  Read it again.  It doesn’t say “keep and bear Arms only at home,” but most of you already fully understand that.

There are several states that currently do NOT require a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed handgun (Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming), and that seems to align pretty well with the text above.  “Permitless carry” has come to be known as “Constitutional Carry” and rightly so.  In the interest of full disclosure, Massad Ayoob dislikes that term and he’s forgotten more about the firearms training industry than I’ll ever learn.  I think he’s invoking the 10th Amendment when he says “SCOTUS has confirmed that the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is indeed an individual right.  However, both of those decisions have also made it clear that the states have the right to regulate the practice.”

My point is just this: while I fully support the 10th Amendment, I won’t do it at the cost of the 2nd Amendment.  They’re both equally important.

So call it what you will, and I’m perfectly fine with “the Vermont model,” but I don’t think the government should be in the business of mandating training requirements in order to exercise a natural, individual right.  In my opinion, all of the states that mandate some kind of training before you can get your permit have it all wrong.  In fact, I’ll even go so far as argue that requiring a permit itself is unconstitutional.

“Well what about driver’s licenses?  Are you saying that any idiot could just get behind the wheel without a license?”

Wait, are you arguing that 100% of the drivers on the road today are fully qualified to be operating their vehicle on public roadways?

If only they’d had a driver’s license this would never have happened.

According to one source, there are about 300 million cars in the U.S.  That’s interesting to me because by some estimates there are also about 300 million guns in the U.S.  And yet we also require a driver’s license before you can drive.  Has that really made us safer on the roadways?  Really?  I suppose it’s also unfair to ask whether we have more gun accidents every year or car accidents.

You see, they’ve set you up using a false premise: the theory that if you mandate training, you’ll be safer (or more law-abiding or less likely to be involved in an accident or however you want to slice it).

Should’ve purchased the floating tires upgrade.

If that were true, Washington state, who requires a Concealed Pistol License to carry a concealed handgun – but does not have any training requirements – would be a constant bloodbath of unsafe people just randomly shooting people on accident and over any trivial personal conflict.  But the truth tells a different story.  It’s interesting that Vermont, Arizona, Wyoming, and Alaska are consistently near the bottom of list of per capita gun crimes and gun “accidents.”

Point #1: who, specifically, decides how much training is good enough?  A state legislator?  The governor?  A panel of “experts?”  The NRA?

There’s the problem: just like I want the government out of my health care, I also don’t want them deciding when I’m ready to carry a gun (it’s a natural law, remember?)

One instructor I know has taught ccw classes in Wyoming and told me that “the day Wyoming passed that damn Constitutional Carry thing, it killed my business.”  My reply: “then maybe your business model needed a little work.”  He didn’t appreciate that.  His argument is that people are careless and if given the option, will pick the stupid path every time.  I fundamentally disagree.

And that’s basically the bottom line with this entire argument, and is the center-piece for most of the political discussions today: either you trust the people to govern themselves or you think government should be making decisions for us.  I’ll choose the former, thank you.

Here’s another reason I oppose government-mandated training to get your permit: I’ve taken a lot of firearms classes.  I wrote about some of them (herehere, and here), but many of them not only didn’t make the cut for my blog, but they’re actually the reason Jenna and I got into this business in the first place.  We’ve had some HORRIBLE advice along the way – I won’t list them out, but one instructor actually encouraged all of us to go out and commit a felony.  He’s still teaching, as far as I know.

I’ve actually witnessed people pass a basic qualification course, then point a loaded gun at themselves trying to unload it – and they still passed.  I’ve seen people pass a written qualification test and then turn right back around and ask why “.45 bullets won’t fit in 9mm clips.”  I know people who carry regularly but have said “well I could never shoot anyone.”  I’ve seen people qualify and then practice regularly – but they’ve never once shot a gun one-handed and never fired while moving.  Yet many of those same people own a gun and assume that since they own the gun, they’re prepared for self-defense.

Quick aside – read this article (Talisman thinking) and then this one (Five Stages of Growth).  That second article, by Kathy Jackson, may just change your life (it did mine).  Don’t get stuck in the first “I will!”

This is my perception: many government-mandated classes do not adequately prepare you for those things that the public expects them to.  Heck – many of them don’t teach you how to shoot!

Here’s my observation: there are a great many classes available that attract thousands of people every year that don’t teach you a thing about self-defense, about how to use your firearm as a self-defense tool, about the law, about how to raise self-defense, about how violence really works, about personal responsibility, about carrying in a purse, about reloading in a hurry, about fixing a malfunctioning gun, or about how the body reacts under stress.

Many of these classes are very good at “stand here, hold the gun exactly like this (or you’re wrong), don’t call it a ‘weapon,’ keep both eyes open, focus on the front sight,” etc.  But again: that’s why we’re doing this – to give people another option (and because we love talking about Kevin Youkilis).

Don’t get me wrong – many classes are great.  But that’s my whole point: state-mandated training means nothing.  Great classes will be great regardless of what the state mandates.

It’s about responsibility.

Carry on, Colorado!


3 comments on “Constitutional Carry & Training Requirements

  1. Thomas J. Aikman says:

    Thanks Jeff! Great Blog

  2. Jim Konzak says:


    And it’s up to us as consumers to look for the best training we can afford and support those businesses. That’s why my wife and I take classes from Carry On Colorado and tell anyone who is interested to do the same. (unsolicited endorsement, honest!)

  3. Dave Jiles says:

    I am glad to see another instructor that does not count on the State to mandate that citizens use his product. I took the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor class a few years ago and discovered that although it meets the requirements for Colorado CCW, it doesn’t begin to prepare you for the responsibility. I encourage everyone to get as much training as they can, get it from different sources, and continue to take professional training. But I would never advocate allowing Government stooges with an agenda be allowed to set the standards so high that very few would be eligable.
    When people try to use the “drivers license” analogy I like to say, “so I can get a licese at 16 years old, carry any type of handgun I want, and do it in every state in the Union, sign me up”.

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