Over fifty percent of states in our nation now have permitless carry; this means that an individual who is of the required age and has no felony criminal record can carry a concealed handgun in public, where permitted. It is truly remarkable that we have come this far. Florida was the first state in the union to adopt “Shall Issue” carry in the late 1980s. Shall issue means that, as long as a state resident has no violent criminal background, a carry permit shall be issued with no need for a Sheriff, Judge, or other county or state official to give approval. Before Florida, there was no Shall Issue. Now, over half the nation requires no permit at all for concealed carry. That is a very good thing. Requiring any sort of permitting system is a violation of the Second Amendment, and the entire nation should abandon all permit requirements.
The proclaimed danger of allowing citizens to carry with no permit has proven to be false, and the blood in the streets that the anti-gunners predicted has not turned out to be the case. Rather, locations with the strictest gun control still prove to have the highest violent crime rates. Those that want gun control fail to comprehend the simple truth that criminals, being “criminal” in nature, don’t obey laws, and the people who are the problem, to begin with, have always carried guns, legal or not, under state law. Eliminating permit requirements simply allows law-abiding citizens to defend themselves without state interference, as it should be.
However, while this author completely supports permitless carry, I continue to urge the individual to seek out the training necessary to carry a concealed handgun safely and responsibly. Now that the majority of the nation does not require a carry permit, even that limited form of required training is gone. While training should not be required to exercise a right, the individual should require it of themselves if they wish to prove personally responsible. If you are a trained and experienced concealed carrier, you should urge those that you know who are arming themselves to seek out training.
Typical Permit Training Requirements
The truth is the training requirement for obtaining a permit has proven to be exceedingly limited in most states. Still, it remains the only training of any kind that most citizens receive regarding carrying a defensive handgun. It is not possible to take a beginner and bring them to a level of competence in only a single-day class. Most permit classes have proven little more than a box to check.
However, the states that have more practical requirements (again, there should be no requirement, but if there is, why not make it beneficial) focus on legalities. I recall getting my permit in South Carolina in the early 2000s, and the state-mandated course focused mostly on firearm safety and legal issues. The legal teaching, in particular, proves to be the area most citizen gun carriers are most ignorant of, and this ignorance is the source of most bad outcomes in civilian self-defense. Therefore, with the elimination of a permitting system, even fewer gun carriers will receive any form of safety or legal training. Experience is proving that there is no increase in crime due to permitless carry, but the individual should hold themselves to a standard of competency if they carry a firearm in public so as to be an asset rather than a liability to themselves, their family, and their community.
Now with the elimination of a training requirement for the majority of the nation, we must run on the assumption that most new concealed carriers have absolutely no training whatsoever. Are there downsides to this? This author would argue that the training requirements that have been in place in most jurisdictions up until this point were not substantial enough to truly impart any sort of competence on the armed citizen anyway, with the few exceptions that focused on legalities. Therefore, the individual responsibility to seek out training might be more important than ever, but it is certainly not a new need. There are no states that have a training requirement that would be considered adequate training among those who actually train in concealed carry, self-defense, and use-of-force law.
The Most Pressing Training Requirements
For the citizen who is inclined to take personal responsibility for their own safety, you must seek out training on your own time and dime. Most concealed carriers are hardly training enthusiasts, so dedicating to any sort of training is a big ask. However, there is too much at stake when it comes to self-defense to simply strap on a gun and walk out the door with no idea what you are doing.
The most fundamental of training that the new concealed carrier should seek out is professional instruction on firearm safety. The gun is a safety tool for the law-abiding citizen, yet it can become a liability if you are unsafe with it. A thorough understanding of the rules of firearm safety are in order, and you should be trained in the safe and proficient mechanics of actually drawing the gun from a concealed holster. Such safety should be the first priority in training.
The other priority in training that should, perhaps, proceed any sort of firearms training at all should be learning self-defense law. The single greatest detriment to uneducated concealed carriers is their ignorance of the law as it pertains to self-defense. In the wake of a defensive gun use, your knowledge of the law, and your actions within the confines of what is legal, will have serious ramifications for the remainder of your life. Defending yourself to only end up in prison for inappropriate use of force is hardly ideal, so a very robust, working knowledge of self-defense law is in order.
While the mandated training for carry permits has never been satisfactory, no training requirement at all means that most concealed carriers have no professional instruction in the carry and use of a lethal tool. The elimination of state-mandated training to exercise a right is a good thing, but the individual must take personal responsibility for this deadly serious skill.