Early Sunday, we wrote about a seven-year-old Florida company that was advertising Illinois-certified concealed carry classes on their website. For $280, they would provide the 16-hours of training Illinois requires and better yet, they were offering this training in a dozen or more cities in Illinois “at this time”.
It seemed too good to be true.
You know what your mom said about things that sound too good to be true, and sure enough, Equip 2 Conceal’s Illinois “certified” classes were just that: too good to be true.
Ignore for a moment that it’s hard to teach a class in “Champagne”, not because these fellas from Florida can’t spell Champaign correctly, but because these out-of-state people don’t realize there are no ranges in Champaign.
Even more challenging, their company has no Illinois State Police-approved courses, despite their advertisement’s initial claims. Nobody does as of this date.
Furthermore, they don’t list any Illinois-approved instructors and last time we checked the Illinois State Police’s approved instructors list, there were none from Florida.
Well, a few hours after our early morning post Sunday, yours truly’s phone was blowing up.
It was Equip 2 Conceal’s vice-president Chad Ward. He’s from Colorado, by the way.
Chad had a bone to pick with us and after the first few minutes of heated discussion, we began to find common ground. You can see our post on the conversation here.
In the end, Chad assured us that Equip 2 Conceal would tweak their promotional page advertising their Illinois CCW classes. We thought that was a kind and generous offer, and we took that as a good sign they weren’t a bunch of scam artists and scumbags looking to fleece Illinois gun owners with false and misleading advertisements for “certified” classes for Illinois CCW. We modified our original post to reflect the assurances offered by Mr. Ward of E2C.
Chad also said E2C wasn’t planning on coming into Illinois to teach Illinois CCW classes, but that they were having local instructors teach for them as affiliated instructors. “We’re not a bunch of out of state guys who are planning to roll into Illinois,” Chad said (paraphrased).
About eight hours later, the Equip 2 Conceal company president Rob Shewmake posted this at Illinois Carry. (Reprinted as posted)
Posted 21 September 2013 – 06:25 PM
Molly we will be exploring our options against gunssavelife.com on Monday for their slanderous story. We will not tolerate this kind of abuse nor do we want to be wrapped up in any other peoples business. I also have bad news for that group and that is they will see the Raptor along with several of our other marked vehicles in the region within the next few weeks. We would like to thank you for your hard work and valuable advice to the public. Keep doing what you do!
Mr. Shewmake isn’t the first person to threaten GunsSaveLife.com with legal action over our hard-hitting reporting on controversial topics. We don’t shy away from topics just because they might hurt someone’s feelings or that we might show a “supporting team member” (read: $ contributor) in a poor light. The truth is the truth and we call ’em like we see them.
Lawyers have threatened us with calls and letters on behalf of anti-gun public figures and corporations (and at least one pro-gun individual) more times than we can recollect right off the tops of our heads. In fact, one of our favorites was a land-shark from a high-rise law firm in Chicago committing the Class 3 felony of intimidation for threatening legal action against us for publishing public information that the attorney wrongfully (and we maintain knowingly and fraudulently) claimed was legally confidential. Strange we never heard from him again, despite a “hard deadline” for us to retract an online story and to take the information down from our website.
Shewmake’s harsh words also call into question E2C Vice-President Chad Ward’s assurances of E2C having Illinois instructors affiliated with Equip 2 Conceal doing the teaching. The company’s owner, Rob Shewmake, instead promises to send a fleet of “Equip 2 Conceal” vehicles into Illinois to teach. How kind of him. We can hardly wait for his triumphant arrival to the Prairie State.
Now, E2C people are very quick to deflect criticism with talk of their support for the Second Amendment. I noticed that in each of my conversations with Mr. Ward.
It’s funny, though, that I can’t recall seeing their fancy $50-75k Raptor pickup truck at the I-GOLD rallies in Springfield these past four or five years. I haven’t seen them at any Guns Save Life meetings and nobody’s mentioned them appearing at the Sangamon County Rifle Association meetings in Springfield either. I haven’t seem them talking with Illinois legislators or writing letters to the editor or knocking on doors either.
Well, where were these white knights the past five, ten, twenty-plus years – when you and I have been fighting long, hard days and nights to get where we are at now and to defend and protect our right to keep standard-capacity magazines and semi-auto firearms in what is arguably one of the most anti-gun states in the nation?
Why is it only when there’s money to be made is Equip 2 Conceal suddenly Johnny on the Spot coming into Illinois touting their undying support for gun rights? …With their classes advertised on the web: “This class meets the certification and re-certification training requirements for the Illinois CWP. We have the following locations at this time…”
And they wondered why they found themselves on our radar.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was one other post from the thread at Illinois Carry where Mr. Shewmake threatened GunsSaveLife.com with legal action that caught our attention.
It was this one from whom we believe to be someone affiliated with the Metro Training Group:
Have you, or anyone affiliated with your Florida-based company, ever made a statement to anyone to the effect that you’re the biggest concealed carry training company in the country and that you’re coming to Illinois and you will put all of the Illinois instructors out of business?
There was no reply from “Hammerheadfl” (the handle of Mr. Shewmake on Illinois Carry) so I asked Chad about that last night on the phone. His reply: (paraphrasing) “there’s going to be more business than anyone can handle and I can’t believe we are going to put anyone out of business”.
In that point, he has a point.
There’s going to be more people needing training than anyone can shake a stick at.
In the end, it’ll be up to you to decide whether or not you want to patronize an out-of-state company operating fast and loose with arguably deceptive descriptions of courses, suggesting to readers that they provide training needed to get an Illinois carry permit when they do not – at least for now.*
Or if you want to spend money with a company that threatens legal action against GunsSaveLife for calling them out on their deceptive course announcement…
* To be fair, they did add qualifiers Sunday morning.