Twenty-one states with permitless carry prove on a daily basis that a lack of state-mandated firearms training and licensing to carry guns outside the home does not result in blood running in the streets. In a perfect world, all fifty states would recognize the 2nd Amendment as the only carry license needed.

Alas we live in Illinois. Most of our state’s laws and too many of our leaders are neither perfect, nor even sober all the time. As such, we have a state-mandated 16-hours of training that we little people must complete in order to apply for a $153 carry license.

The Illinois State Police regulates CCW training course content and how instructors teach. They also watch over CCW instructors with increasing scrutiny.

Sadly, a handful of trainers still work harder at finding ways to cut corners instead of providing better training. Ironically, even a few instructors affiliated with otherwise reputable gun shops and ranges have fallen into this category.

These ethically-challenged instructors will provide online learning (prohibited), shave hours off of classes (prohibited), or even use airsoft or make-believe guns for the mandated gun-handling aspects of the class (because range time is expensive). Others have even used airsoft guns to shoot the qualification!

Other instructors might be under the impression that eliminating breaks and teaching through “working lunches” will allow them to end the class early.

If you attend a class, a 16-hour initial or a 3-hour renewal, and you see one or more of the above problematic areas, discretely ask the course sponsors to cut you a check for a refund and leave.

I used to counsel people to ask the instructor to do it right or ask for a refund. But if they’re doing it wrong for your class, they’ve probably had a pattern of non-approved training. Even if they straighten up and fly right for your class, it probably won’t matter to ISP.

If an Illinois State Police investigation determines that an instructor failed to abide by our state’s legally-mandated training requirements in any class, the ISP will send a letter to EVERY student that instructor has trained in that same course title. Hence why license applicants enter the instructor number and course number in the application process.

That letter will require the recipient to re-complete that training with another instructor in good standing, at the applicant’s expense. If they do so, their license will remain in good standing. If the recipient fails to do so within sixty days, their license will be revoked. Worst case: If the training deficiencies were exceptionally bad (or training certs were issued for no-show students), the revocation might even be immediate.

Ask for the refund and I’ll tell you why: All it takes is one undercover / retired cop in a class. Or even a single student to drop a dime on that instructor. It might not even be from your class or even the same training year. Heck, it might even be a third party who spots a student’s post on social media bragging about how they finished early.

The long arm of the law may even reach out and tap you on the shoulder if your original instructor six or seven years ago cut corners and ISP uncovered that. You may have to retake that original 16-hour class even if you’ve since renewed your license. Or you can refuse, in which case your license will be revoked and you can start over from scratch as a new applicant (and pay the associated $153 fee all over again and wait five to six months to get your new license).

So yes, if your class isn’t even close to 16 hours (or 3 hours for the renewals), or you aren’t handling a gun (four hours of gun handling is recommended), or you’re sitting in a ZOOM call instead of a classroom, it will catch up to you eventually.

It has already happened to thousands of applicants and even those who had a carry license in their wallet when they received one of those “pending revocation” letters.

And I guarantee you, in the coming weeks and months, thousands more will likely get these letters.