Headline: CCW instructors get jail for cutting class short
The Lima News is reporting that two concealed carry instructors who released students more than two hours short of the mandatory 12-hour requirement have been sentenced to 30 days jail.
From the article:
Forest Gordon, 49, was sentenced on the charge of attempted complicity in falsification to obtain a concealed handgun license, a fifth-degree felony.
Dain Stauffer, 37, of Cairo, was sentenced on the charge of falsification, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Both men were fined $1,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours community service with 100 hours suspended if they have a job. They must pay restitution to those who paid for the class and had to take another class to meet the requirement to obtain a concealed carry license.
Gordon was placed on probation for three years while Stauffer will serve one year probation.
The matter surfaced through a complaint to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office. When they investigated and sent a person through the course, class was over after nine and a half hours, Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach said.
The registration process for the concealed handgun license classes for the men took place through Patriot Arms in Van Wert, Riggenbach said. Patriot Arms is a local gun shop that lists Gordon as the agent for the company.
Gordon is the former Ottawa and Kalida police chief who was convicted of two felonies in 2010 and sentenced to a year in prison, only to have the charges of two counts of theft in office overturned on appeal.
Gordon was accused of selling guns from the property room at the Ottawa Police Department as well as theft of equipment belonging to the Kalida Police Department. The appellate court ruled the sale of firearms had nothing to do with his official duties as police chief and could not be theft in office. They also said there was insufficient evidence of criminal intent.
In late August, the Ottawa Co. Sheriff's office began issuing letters regarding another instructor who allegedly issued training certificates to individuals who had not completed the course requirements required by Ohio law. Buckeye Firearms Association is also aware of an investigation involving an instructor in Williams County.
Instructors and students be advised - Ohio law still requires concealed handgun license classes to be 12 hours in length, and sheriffs are watching. If you take a class that fails to meet the required 12 hours of instruction, your certificate is not valid for purposes of obtaining an Ohio CHL. Further, if you apply for a CHL using an invalid training certificate, you could face criminal charges. Penalties could include suspension/revocation of your CHL, fines, jail, and a lifetime ban on possessing firearms.
As my friend and colleague Jim Irvine wrote recently, "There are many laws that Buckeye Firearms Association is working to change, but it is critical that we follow the laws that are on the books. It does not matter if we like or dislike a law. It does not matter if we think it's a good or a bad law. All that matters is that it is a law, and we follow it. When something like this happens, it paints all CHL holders, and all gun owners, in a bad light. It is unfortunate that the acts of a few people can damage such a large segment of society, but that is the political reality of such reckless behavior."
Ohio has a more extensive training requirement than many other states, and it is clear from these unfortunate incidents and others like them in the past, that there is demand for a class that is not so time-intensive.
Indeed, this Van Wert incident exposes the problems with a one-size-fits-all approach to training:
The attorney for both men, John Fisher of Lima, said the men were not intentionally cutting every class short. He said they had a lesson plan they covered and if they finished early, students were released.
Fisher said there were times that classes ran more than 12 hours, especially when the class had students with little or no firearms knowledge.
“In this class, people were more proficient than other classes and they were faster,” Fisher said.
Ohio House Bill 203 would reduce the training requirement to obtain an Ohio CHL to a more reasonable four hours, but the Republican-led Senate has failed to act on the bill, which passed in the House by a 63-27 over one year ago. Senate Bill 338 would reduce the training requirement to eight hours, which is still above the national average.
If the Senate does not act, HB 203 and SB 338 will die at the end of December, along with the many other pro-gun bills that are pending. If you want to see the General Assembly act on this and other important bills, call your Representative and Senator NOW and ask them when pro-gun legislation is going to move in Ohio. They wanted your vote in November. Tell them we want their votes too.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.