Guns Save Life, in conjunction with the DeWitt County Sportsman's Club and GSL Defense Training, announces a free 16-hour Illinois Concealed Carry class for public and private school staff. In short, space still remains. About 20 slots, in fact.
Right now, I've processed all the enrollments I have – and we stand at 40 enrolled. We've got teachers and staff from everyplace from Chicago to Springfield to Champaign signed up so far. One school in Bloomington-Normal wins the prize for most teachers from a single school.
So, you can still sign up today. Even better, don't let the cost of 250 rounds of ammo stop you from attending. A very generous Guns Save Life member who wishes to remain anonymous donated 2,000 rounds of ammo so some teachers – especially new teachers who don't make a lot of money (especially new private school teachers) can take this training.
So if you know some school employees who cannot afford the $75ish cost of ammo, get them to submit a form and ask for the free ammo offer. We're not going to ask for verification of income or anything, but will do this on the honor system.
Here's the information…
Here's more about the reasoning behind making our offer, from the GSL Defense Training website:
For educators, especially those who aren’t sure about guns or who are maybe afraid of guns or certainly anxious around guns, we’re offering this class at no charge July 7 & 8, 2018. Our instructor team will patiently work with you to make you an expert at gun safety. We’ll help ease your concerns and anxieties concerning guns. And should you choose to become a gun owner afterwards, we’ll empower you with the knowledge, skills and abilities to use that firearm ethically and legally in self-defense.
Why are we doing this? Simple: We want to take the fear out of the subject of guns with educators courageous enough to come out with an open mind (or at least an open curiosity) about firearms and firearm ownership. You’re under no obligation to become a gun owner afterwards, or even to get a FOID card or a concealed carry license. You will, however, have that avenue opened to you as upon successful completion of this class, you will receive an Illinois State Police Certificate of Training should you someday wish to apply for a carry license.
Someday, we hope Illinois will join roughly two dozen states that currently have provisions for licensed and trained school staff to have the option to carry a concealed firearm at work. You may be skeptical about that now, as many rightfully are. However, plenty of folks were skeptical about concealed carry in public twenty years ago. Back then, less than two dozen states had right-to-carry provisions. Today, all fifty states have some form of concealed carry law.
Perhaps some of you will someday be part of the first educators in Illinois to carry with you the ability to fight back should the worst ever happen in your school. Either way, after successfully completing this class, you’ll be an expert at making a gun safe should you or one of your kids or students encounter a gun. You’ll understand the legal, moral and ethical considerations about using force, and deadly force. You’ll understand some of the unpleasant things that happen should you be forced to use deadly force to defend your life of that of another innocent person.
To help you form a decision of whether or not to invest a weekend of your life, and about $75 to $100 in ammunition, we encourage you to read the rest of this page. Also visit our instructors page to learn more about our instructor team. No, we all don’t turn out for every class. Usually we only (“only”!) have a dozen instructors show up. For this class, it might be closer to twenty. We’re all volunteers. We do this because of our passion to empower good people and to save the lives of innocent, good people. If this is for you, download and print the registration form. Enclose a photocopy / scan / photo of your school employee ID card in lieu of payment and mail the form in to the address at the bottom of the form. We’ll mail you back a welcome letter with recommendations on what you might bring (and what to wear), hotel accommodation recommendations and a map and directions to the DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club.
This offer is available for teachers, administrators, and yes, maintenance and support staff as well. If a cook is trained and licensed to carry and law allows it, we hope they will someday discreetly pack a safety rescue tool along with teachers and administrators. Armed good guys can and do provide backup for police officers on a daily basis. At the same time, if you’re already a shooting enthusiast, consider passing on this opportunity to allow someone else a shot (no pun intended) at this opportunity.
Do you need a FOID card? No. Illinois law provides that non-FOID holders may take training under the supervision of FOID holder instructors. Not only do our instructors all have FOID cards, we’re required to have carry licenses as well (or be legally able to carry without a CCW license).
Don’t I need a gun? No, we have dozens of loaner guns available for your use, along with gear (holsters, etc) available at no charge.
What about ammunition? We recommend purchasing ammunition from your local gun shop. The cheapest 9mm or .38 Special that’s modern, factory loaded is fine. Failing that, visit your local Walmart. (No reloads in our loaner guns.)
Don’t I need a FOID card to buy ammo? We will have limited quantities of ammunition non-FOID holders may purchase from us on the day of training for use in the class, at roughly our replacement cost. 9mm $75. .38 Special $100.
Isn’t .22 rimfire ammunition cheaper? Yes, it is. However, you’ll get a LOT more out of this class shooting centerfire ammunition that’s FAR better suited to self-defense against anything bigger than a hamster or guinea pig. If, for medical reasons or disabilities (including hand strength, arthritis), you cannot handle or shoot a centerfire pistol, we do have some .22 caliber loaners available. And ammo at roughly $25 per 250 rounds.
Pregnancy. We generally discourage shooting recreationally or in training during pregnancy, especially the last trimester. If you’re pregnant and dead set on taking this training (and everyone has varying reasons for doing this, and we’re not here to judge), we’ll probably detail an instructor to you and have you do a lot less shooting, using a rimfire pistol, and away from the rest of the other shooters to minimize your exposure to lead and noise. And we’ll require you to wash your hands after handling guns or shooting.
Also, you’ll need to bring your own lunch. Sorry, there’s no free lunch in addition to the free class.
The GSL Defense Training team wrestled with whether or not to offer this course for some weeks now following the Parkland massacre. In the end, we've had several reluctant students over the years come to us because their spouses or kids brought them. Many frankly did not want to attend, but they did so, facing their fears and anxieties head on. In the end, the experience profoundly changed them. Heck, one of them is now one of our female instructors. The knowledge and skill sets we teach can be quite empowering to most folks.
Another was an administrator in a school in the Peoria area. Her husband had to bribe her with a trip to Hawaii to attend. We thought we lost her Saturday afternoon. She came back Sunday, and through a lot of patience we worked with her. She didn't get a certificate of completion as she didn't complete the live-fire aspects of the course. A few months later, Wendy and I ran into her husband. He said that not only did his wife finally allow him to bring his guns into their home, but she had bought her own revolver. On her own. Six months after that, we saw him again and he said his wife had bought a second pistol and had taken two anti-gun teacher friends to a "Women on Target" NRA class and they all had a great time.
And there was a dad who openly said he was anti-gun during introductions. His young adult son lived at home and had bought a couple of guns and dad wanted to know enough to be safe around them. At the end of the class, he wrote on the course evaluation, paraphrasing: "I came thinking that guns were for killing. I now understand that guns are for living."
Hopefully, we'll reach some teachers, administrators and school staff who are very reticent about guns in general and certainly opposed to guns in school. With some training and education, hopefully we'll open their minds to an alternative view of the world.