Sheriff breaks up illegal Columbus-area CCW course certificate scheme

by Chad D. Baus

WCMH (NBC Columbus) is reporting that three people are facing charges, accused of helping falsify licenses to carry a concealed handgun.

From the article:

According to Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, an undercover investigation began in April 2012 into the issuance of fraudulent training certificates to obtain a CCW permit.

The sheriff's office said that through the investigation, it was determined that three people were allegedly involved in the permit scheme.

It is alleged that 62-year-old John Michael Marshall, a certified firearm instructor, was selling his signed training certificates to 41-year-old Adam Chaykin and 48-year-old Ken Fouch, who were allegedly conducting illegal training classes, which fell far short from the required training.

Investigators said that in some cases, no training occurred.

The suspects are charged with complicity to falsification to obtain a CCW permit.

In June 2012, evidence was obtained from search warrants at the suspects' homes.

According to the sheriff's office, it is alleged that approximately 600 people may have obtained their concealed handgun licenses after being led to believe that their training was valid.

Authorities said the majority of the permits were issued in Franklin County.

The sheriff's office said that all CCW permits issued as part of the alleged scheme, which were obtained after January 1, 2010 will be suspended.

If the validity of a permit is in question, the permit holder will receive a letter from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office with further information.

Anyone with questions can call the Franklin County Sheriff’s CCW permit office at 614-525-5090.

While any example of dishonesty or criminal activity among the firearms instructor/CHL community is frustrating and damaging, and while I hope that these miscreants, if found guilty, are punished to the full extent of the law, I would like to inject a little perspective into this story.

First, this incident also shows that, when people want something badly enough, they'll find a way to get it. Creating laws that infringe rights without having a significant effect on safety simply creates new classes of crime. We should have learned this from Prohibition.

Second, the end result of this alleged criminal activity is that 600 people may have obtained Ohio concealed handgun licenses without undergoing the state-mandated training. In other words, these 600 people, albeit illegally, joined the ranks of every CCW license-holder in our neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Indiana in obtaining a license without completing any mandatory training.

That's right - Pennsylvania and Indiana do not require ANY training for people to obtain a license to carry. And just as has been the experience in those states, these 600 Ohioans have apparently created no other problems as a result of their having received no formal training.

None of these 600 illegally-obtained CHLs are alleged to have unintentionally injured anyone as a result of their lack of training. None are alleged to have employed the use of deadly force at an inappropriate time as a result of their lack of training.

So again, while I certainly do not condone the alleged actions of these three "instructors," nor of the persons who purchased these certificates, it would seem to me that this serves as further proof that mandatory training is not a prerequisite to proper behavior while carrying a concealed weapon.

It always comes as a surprise to my CHL students when I tell them that I would fully support a move to remove training requirements from Ohio law. Even CHL students are often under the impression that having no training requirements would create problems, at least until they are informed of the law in our neighboring states.

Also, they expect that I would be opposed because such a change would put instructors like me out of business. I don't believe that it would, because there are lots of people who enjoy obtaining additional training, even without the state forcing them to.

But even if it did put me out of business, I would still support such a change in Ohio law. The fact is that Ohioans should not have to face missing work to get time off for, and face missing few meals to pay for, obtaining the state-mandated training necessary to get a license to bear a concealed firearm for their defense and security.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vite Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor who teaches concealed carry classes at Northwest Self Defense LLC.

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