Word has it there’s going to be a bill introduced early this coming session of the General Assembly to make it a Class A Misdemeanor for instructors fraudulently signing off on students who have not been trained to state-mandated minimums. The catch? It’s going to be a non-probational offense, meaning these instructors will not only lose their certifications, they will be spending from one to three hundred sixty-four days in jail.
We at Guns Save Life haven’t seen the formal language, but we support the basic premise behind the bill, and we’ll tell you why: There’s way too much fraudulent training happening as ethically challenged instructors cut corners, oftentimes grossly short-changing students. It needs to stop and being nice about asking instructors to do things properly hasn’t worked in most cases.
Want some examples?
Example Number 1: Equip 2 Conceal
Let’s start with Equip 2 Conceal, the company out of Florida. Equip 2 Conceal has hired some Illinois State Police approved instructors to teach their classes in Illinois. Gavin McKee from Macon County has been one of their instructors. On Sunday, December 22, he was teaching a “Phase 2” class – what Equip 2 Conceal has labelled its second-eight hours of IL CCW training, in Champaign at the Baymont Inn.
He took his class over to a farm near Decatur to shoot 30 rounds for the qualification around or shortly after lunchtime. He acknowledged all of this to us in a phone call at about 4:20pm that very day. Our sources said his students were either on their way home or at home at 2pm that day. Mr. McKee disputed that with us, saying things finished up closer to 3pm. In either event, that wasn’t the eight hours required for the second half of the Illinois training requirement.
We urged Mr. McKee to do it right in future classes, as the last thing we need is an expose in the mainstream media about instructor malfeasance. He politely assured us he would. Fast forward to January. A class he was teaching at a hotel in Springfield was sent over to the Capitol City indoor shooting range at roughly 2pm with B-27 targets. Mr. McKee reportedly told his students to shoot the state-required qualification and bring the targets back to the hotel where he would be waiting for their return.
Management at the range found out why a bunch of people were walking in with those big, B-27 targets (about the size of Sasquatch, minus the fur) and they were not happy. They called Mr. McKee and told him to “bring his ass” down to the range to supervise his students.
We sent Equip 2 Conceal a detailed narrative of what we had uncovered and has been reported to us by others, complete with names and phone numbers and they did not reply. We sent a follow-up asking for comment once again, and have not received a reply. We will update this story if a reply is received.
Example Number 2
This email was forwarded to us.
Subject: Concealed Carry Class
On January there will be a CCW class available to all personnel as well as their immediate families. The class will be taught by NRA certified/Illinois State Police approved instructors. The coursework normally covered in the state mandated 16 hours will be condensed into a more manageable day. The instructor expects that the students accept that well will be having “Working breaks” including an abbreviated lunch in order to streamline the hours. He has equated the expected time frame to be that of a OSFM course.
All coursework mandated by the ISP will be covered and your certificate will reflect 16 hours of training. Additionally the instructor will be offering the paperwork as well as ink fingerprints free of charge for Utah non-resident as well as Florida non-resident permits.
Range time will be handled at Rink’s on Lockport, IL. Throughout the day. Rinks will be charging a nominal fee of less than ten dollars for the use of their range per person. Students will need to bring at least 30 rounds to qualify with but I suggest additional ammunition be brought in case one needs to shoot more than once to qualify.
Illinois does not mandate fingerprints be submitted with your IL CCW application but doing so will expedite the process. xxxx the owner of xxxxxxxxxx has invested tens of thousands of dollars to be able to offer that service at the site. He will offer students the ability to complete live scan fingerprints which guarantees your application within 90 days from submission date. Otherwise if you do not submit fingerprints the minimum wait period as identified by the ISP is 120 days.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I understand that this is a costly expense but after much leg work on my part I have found that most instructors are offering the same price if not more. If the instructor is cheaper they do not offer the 2 additional courses nor the ability for live scan prints.
- One company (we’re not sure who) between Champaign and Bloomington, run by a couple of police officers, is reportedly dismissing NRA Basic Pistol students after 3.5 hours, far short of the 8 required by the NRA and the 8-hours the Illinois State Police require.
- Illinois State Police still require four hours of weapons handling as part of the Illinois concealed carry class, even though proposed (but as we understand it, not yet officially implemented) rule-making would reduce this to a minimum of a single hour. A school in the Chicago suburbs spends about 10 minutes of dry-fire with the students, then has them shoot the 30-round qualification, two at a time at an indoor range while the rest of the students sit around waiting their turn. After they shoot the qualification, they are sent home with their certificates. They charge $275 per day for this training. Plus range fees.
- The Illinois State Rifle Association’s Richard Pearson has information about instructors who are not even requiring students to attend a class, instead simply signing off on training certificates without students even setting foot in a classroom or on a range.
- A poster over at Illinois Carry asked if instructors could condense the entire 16-hour training course required by the new Firearm Concealed Carry Act into 9 hours as a friend of his received credit for the full 16-hours in just nine hours:
“Can Instructors condense 16hrs., to 9… …if they cover all material required by law? Reason I ask is a friend of nine said he got the full 16hrs., credit in 9hrs., the first day, and on the 2nd day he did his shooting qualification and then was allowed to go home. I asked him if they covered everything and he said yes. I asked him if he was given his NRA certificate and he said no, just the qualification one needed for his permit. This doesn’t sound right…is this legal and what suggestions would you make to him?”
- A security guard college in Chicago is offering a “Basic Pistol” class that sounds a lot like the NRA Basic Pistol class online, that they claim satisfies the first 8-hours of the Illinois law. Without any live fire. NRA prohibits any part of its courses being taught online and mandates their NRA Basic Pistol class include live fire. In fact, NRA mandates instructors provide both firearm and ammunition to students if they do not have their own they wish to use.
- One company held an arena-style NRA Basic Pistol class for 250 participants. With two (count ’em: two.) instructors. If you guessed the NRA requires more then 2 instructors for 250 students in an NRA Basic Pistol class, you are correct.
Providing firearm training that meets the State of Illinois training requirements isn’t terribly difficult.
Instructors who cannot or will not teach an 8- or 16-hour class to state standards need to be held accountable. While we’re going to withhold final support of this bill until the time when we can see a draft of the proposed legislation, we support a law that will put fraudulent instructors in jail for grossly and willfully substandard classes.