Concealed Carry / My Experience / Personal Defense

North Carolina Concealed Permit Course/Training Requirements Compared to Virginia

In April 2015, a North Carolina certified concealed carry instructor, Larry Wegman of FTA-Firearms, contacted a Raleigh area television station about people using the Virginia non-resident option to get around the course/training requirements of the North Carolina concealed handgun permit.

As noted in my last post, Wegman was particularly concerned about the ability to satisfy the course/training requirement of Virginia’s permit by taking an online course and test. According to Wegman, “Online is not training. It’s information. They don’t fire a shot, and they don’t learn anything about the law. North Carolina has a fairly high standard for concealed carry permit holders, and this bypasses that standard completely.”

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This statement got my attention because I have been working on a summary of the course/training requirements for concealed carry permits across the United States recently. Although Wegman was raked over the coals in online forums for his lack of commitment to the Second Amendment and his greed (not to mention the unspeakable things he probably does to animals and his family members), I believe it is objectively true that – compared to many states, including Virginia – North Carolina does have a fairly high standard for concealed carry permit holders.

(I am bracketing here the issue of whether the Constitution itself permits people to carry firearms in public, whether a state government should require any course/training in order to get a permit, and whether what North Carolina requires actually constitutes “training” – all of which are important issues in themselves, but not my issue here.)

North Carolina General Statute 14-415.12 specifies that an applicant for a concealed carry permit must successful complete “an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of this State governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force.”

The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission was charged with creating guidelines for courses that would meet the statutory requirement, which are published as Section 09F.0100 of Title 12 of the North Carolina Administrative Code as follows:

The course entitled “Concealed Carry Handgun Training” shall consist of eight hours of instruction and shall include the following identified topical areas:

(1)        Legal Issues (two hours): The student shall be able to explain the following:

(a)        the types of situations that the use of deadly physical force would be justified;

(b)        list areas where the carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited;

(c)        the requirements of handgun storage under G.S. 14-315.1; and

(d)        the laws governing the carrying of a concealed handgun.

 The instructor shall determine the student’s level of understanding of the relevant legal issues by a written examination.

(2)        Handgun Nomenclature: The students shall be able either verbally or in writing to list the primary parts of their personal handguns.

(3)        Handgun Safety: The students shall be able to:

(a)        list at least four rules of safe gun handling and demonstrate all of these procedures during range exercises;

(b)        list four methods of safely storing a handgun and choose the method most appropriate for their personal use;

(c)        describe safety issues relating to the safe carry of a handgun; and

(d)        determine the proper storage of their handguns when there are minors in the home.

(4)        Handgun Fundamentals: The students shall be able to:

(a)        demonstrate how to load both a revolver and a semiautomatic handgun;

(b)        demonstrate how to unload both a revolver and a semiautomatic handgun;

(c)        describe the operational characteristics of their handguns; and

(d)        achieve a passing score on a proficiency test administered by the instructor as prescribed in Rule .0105 of this Section.

(5)        Marksmanship Fundamentals: The student shall be able to:

(a)        demonstrate a proper handgun grip;

(b)        demonstrate either the Weaver or Isosceles Stance;

(c)        describe the elements of sight alignment and sight picture; and

(d)        demonstrate trigger control in a dry fire exercise.

(6)        Presentation Techniques: The students shall be able to demonstrate the draw or presentation with their handguns.

(7)        Cleaning and Maintenance: The students shall be able to:

(a)        demonstrate how to “field strip” the handguns if their handguns can be field stripped;

(b)        describe how to perform a “Function Check” on their personal handguns; and

(c)        based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, list the lubrication points of their specific handguns.

(8)        Ammunition: The students shall be able to list the four components of handgun ammunition.

(9)        Proficiency Drills: The students shall be able to:

(a)        demonstrate how to check a handgun in order to ensure that it is safe;

(b)        demonstrate how to fire a handgun from a ready position;

(c)        demonstrate the ability to fire a handgun from various distances; and

(d)        achieve a passing score on a proficiency test administered by the instructor as prescribed in Rule .0105 of this Section.

Instructors are required by 12 NCAC 09F.0105 to examine students to determine whether they meet the expectations specified:

(6)        administer a written examination to the student on the legal issues block of instruction to demonstrate that the student is knowledgeable in the laws of this State governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force; and

(7)        administer a proficiency examination which shall demonstrate that the student is competent in the actual firing and safe handling of a handgun. Such examination shall include the following:

(a)        The student shall fire 30 rounds of ammunition at a bulls-eye or silhouette target from three, five and seven yard distances;

(b)        At each yard distance the student shall fire ten rounds;

(c)        21 of the 30 rounds fired by the student must hit the target.

To be sure, there is variation from class to class in North Carolina in how well these aspects of the curriculum are covered. The concealed carry course I took did not cover many of the required elements well. That said, the code developed by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission at least specifies that two of the most important aspects of defensive firearms training be covered and examined to some extent: being able to use a gun properly and knowing when you can and cannot do so for self-defense.

In my opinion, the Massad Ayoob Group’s “Armed Citizens’ Rules of Engagement” course (commonly known as “MAG-40”) is the gold standard of defensive firearms courses for armed citizens. Although no one who has taken both classes, as I have, would mistake the North Carolina concealed carry course for MAG-40, both curricula recognize the importance of knowing both how AND when to use firearms in self-defense.

The “40” in MAG-40 refers to the 40 hours a student in the course will spend over 4 or 5 days: 20 hours in the classroom covering legal issues, tactical issues, and managing the aftermath of lethal force encounters, and 20 hours of instruction and live fire on the shooting range covering defensive handgun use under extreme stress.

A good North Carolina concealed carry course – one which follows the requirements specified by the North Carolina Administrative Code – will cover many of these same topics, albeit in an abbreviated fashion. Therefore, objectively speaking, the requirements for receiving North Carolina’s concealed handgun permit are higher than Virginia’s.

Whether people opting to save time and money by getting a Virginia non-resident permit rather than a North Carolina resident permit is a problem or not is another issue. I know of no evidence that shows concealed carry permit holders have more problems in states with low course/training standards – or no standards, as is the case in Alabama, Georgia, and the permitless carry states – than states with high course/training standards.

If such data exists, please let me know!

 

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3 thoughts on “North Carolina Concealed Permit Course/Training Requirements Compared to Virginia

  1. Pingback: 22 Minutes for a Concealed Weapon Permit in Seattle | Gun Culture 2.0

  2. I was certified to instruct in Nevada— talk about tough standards… some standard better than none, NC requirements to INSTRUCT CCH is a joke. I know this, because I am also a certified CCH instructor in NC and I have seen the ‘quality’ of these instructors…. “good God yes, come here and teach, we need good instructors:….local charlotte range…

    Liked by 1 person

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