INSTRUCTOR DOES IT RIGHT: Fails undercover reporter in CHL class

April 06, 2004 (NBC Ch. 3 Cleveland)

CLEVELAND -- On the eighth of April, Ohio residents will have the right to carry concealed weapons.

With the new right comes questions concerning the quality of the classes needed for acquiring the concealed carry permit.

Will those with conceal carry licenses get the training required? Is it enough to keep you and those carrying weapons safe? Target 3 investigator Dave Summers shows us why some people are worried.

If you're going to conceal and carry a gun in Ohio you have to take 10 hours of classroom instruction and two hours on the range.

With no standardized conceal carry class or test though, trainers may be shooting from the hip.

A Target 3 producer we'll call "Erin" took a class in Mentor at B&T Gun Shop.

Erin failed the 50-question test needed to get in the class.

Instead of giving her money back, General Manager Jim Titlow gave her a second chance at the test, giving her many of the correct answers.

B&T did redeem itself though, telling Erin she must repeat the class.

The conceal carry law, as it exists today, has few specifics regarding training.

Ohio Governor Bob Taft refused to sign off on a conceal carry bill before the blessing of law enforcement.

The Fraternal Order of Police decided not to oppose the bill only after legislators added more training hours.

"You actually will have more hands on training with a hand gun than I received in the US Army when I was qualified to use an M-16," said State Representative Tim Grendell.

State Representative Grendell and Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland are teaming up to help residents understand this vague law.

We posed this question to Representative Grendell: "How do we police the folks that are teaching carry conceal so they are not just handing out certificates for cash?"

McClelland answered, "they have a liability issue if they are putting people on the street that who aren't qualified to handle a handgun."

How much liability could it be? State Attorney General Jim Petro's minimum educational requirements do not include a state standardized test nor standard certificate of completion.

The attorney general does not endorse any particular form of training or instructor.

Jim Miller is an NRA instructor certified to teach everything from basic pistol to personal protection.

"I won't teach a class until I know what the class is," said Miller.

Many of the instructors that are teaching classes and charging money today aren't certified to teach.

And if they are certified, Miller questions what they are teaching.

Currently the NRA does not have a 12-hour course.

The state requires only that instructors be certified to teach through the NRA or the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.

"I would verify that certificate at the front end of the program before you lay down your money," said Miller.

Whether you're getting what you pay for or the police and public are getting the protection they insisted on is still being decided.

State Rep Tim Grendell says Ohio can expect one million residents to receive conceal carry licenses in the next three years.

There are already thousands who have completed available training courses and are on waiting lists for a license.

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