The Illinois State Police have decertified a pair of instructors in St. Clair County, IL after an investigation initiated in January found that they were spending as little as two hours of class time teaching Illinois 16-hour concealed carry class. The two found themselves on the ISP’s radar after students contacted the ISP and reported substandard courses.
According to KTRS, the pair, operating out of Sparky’s Armory in Mascoutah, IL fraudulently certified just shy of one hundred people who have since had their applications denied pending retraining.
Under a deal with authorities, the pair will reimburse all students 100% of their tuition costs and they have agreed to never teach Illinois CCW classes again.
It’s good to see the Illinois State Police following up on instructor complaints. Sadly, they didn’t nab these two weeks before now.
This is exactly what Guns Save Life has advocated since late last year.
“Corner cutting trainers? Ask them to do it right.” is a story we wrote and posted in December 2013, urging students who take a class from instructors who do not meet the ISP-mandated minimums to ask the instructors to do it right or report them to ISP.
It seems the “asking them to play nice” didn’t work, so now Sparky’s will be spitting out almost 100 checks to former students.
Here’s an ad of theirs from Facebook:
CCW Class Starting November 2, 2013. Instructors: Daniel Wittenstrom Ryan Warner Price: 16 hour $150 12 hour $125 8 hour $75. Payment: Cash Check
It could have been worse for the two. There is legislation pending to criminalize this behavior, complete with mandatory jail time.
House Representative Ed Sullivan, Jr. (R) has introduced House Bill 4290.
In a nutshell, it’s more or less a single-paragraph in length (why couldn’t more bills be like this one?) and says if you fraudulently certify someone has completed firearms training as required by Illinois law, you shall be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor and it’s non-probational. In other words, commit instructor fraud and you’re going to spend time in jail – up to 364 days, in fact.
You’ll also never again be an Illinois State Police-approved instructor. Ever.
Representative Sullivan told GSL that the bill was a pretty close to a sure thing to pass both chambers and be signed into law later this spring or summer. Brandon Phelps, the downstate Democrat who introduced Michael Madigan’s authored Firearms Concealed Carry Act last year, was added to as a co-sponsor.
Guns Save Life supports this bill as lazy, inept or crooked instructors offering non-compliant training for personal financial gain should not be covered-up, but instead dismissed, prosecuted and shunned. We think a guarantee of jail time *might* the incentive enough for some of these crooked instructors to shape up and do it right or give up training.
The Illinois State Rifle Association also supports the bill (last time we checked) and the NRA-ILA’s Todd Vandermyde is also supporting the proposal to jail unscrupulous instructors.
Not everyone agrees. IllinoisCarry.com, the Illinois internet forum gun rights organization that announced the creation of an IllinoisCarry.com Instructor Oversight Commission, has come out dead-set against this bill, with that group’s president Tim Bowyer explaining that they are concerned out how it could be applied.
While IllinoisCarry disagrees with Guns Save Life, ISRA and the NRA-ILA on how to deal with bad trainers, we all agree there is no place for them under the new law.