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Equip 2 Conceal threatens legal action against GSL

September 23, 2013

Rob Shewmake’s Ford Raptor pickup truck.

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!

Click for full size screen grab.

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…

Screen capture of the top of the Illinois Concealed Carry Classes page at E2C website as of 1:44p 9/23/13.

* To be fair, they did add qualifiers Sunday morning.

 

 

31 Responses to Equip 2 Conceal threatens legal action against GSL

  1. Menachem Rebelski on September 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    There’s no accounting for taste, but I will not give a cent to anyone who drives around in one of those monstrosities, let alone chooses to use them as a marketing prop for firearms classes. Can you scream “ghetto” any louder than this? btw, who stole your chrome rims bro?

  2. King James on September 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Saw a post on Facebook. Seems Equip to Conceal has a rep for being nimrods in Florida too.

  3. Samuel Whittemore on September 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Seven whole years’ experience and they’re the biggest company teaching concealed carry classes? Good for them. An American success story.

    Judging by that truck though, I’d say the owner has a bigger ego than the mountain pictured behind it.

    Samuel W.

  4. duh duh on September 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    alligator mouth hummingbird what ?

  5. Thirdpower on September 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Maybe they should learn that it’s ‘Libel’ when written and ‘Slander’ when spoken before they start threatening legal action.

    • ken on September 24, 2013 at 6:14 am

      Those are ancient terms. In most states it’s simply “defamation” now.

      • Zermoid on October 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

        Don’t you have to have character before it can be defamed?

  6. Concerned Citizen on September 23, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Perhaps the big truck compensates for some small thing.

    Nah. Just a big neon sign that says “look at me!”

  7. CA on September 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Opportunists…..like sharks to chum.

    • Benjamin A. on September 24, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Shitbirds is more like it.

      Equip 2 Conceal seem like scumbags and fraudsters than dazzling defenders of the 2nd Amendment.

  8. J.C. on September 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Hmm. So John and the fine folks at GSL have been some of the most hard-working and dedicated defenders of 2nd amendment rights since before I met them in ’98 … they provide top-notch training at uber-competitive rates … they’ve supported legal defenses of law-abiding gun owners who’ve been railroaded by the state … but they don’t have a truck. Seriously? No truck?

    Sorry, John – looks like I have to dump you. You know how boys like shiny trucks!

    Oh, wait – that’s right, you’re too busy helping people and the cause to flush money down the toilet on a ridiculous toy truck … instead you donate money to youth training camps and the like.

    Forget the truck … GSL forever!!

    • jboch on September 24, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Guns Save Life could have used that $10k we gave to the new Olympic training facility in Bloomington on a down payment on a fancy Raptor instead…

      Painted it up with “GUNS SAVE LIFE” and driven it around the region.

      Of course, that wouldn’t do much for the cause of gun rights, nor would it be a place for the next generation to learn about the safe and responsible use of firearms.

      I’ll stick with my rusty minivan with 220k miles and spend my extra cash promoting gun rights and activism.

      John

  9. Daniel on September 24, 2013 at 1:00 am
    • Samuel Whittemore on September 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

      Holy cow. He should stick to is day job. That “commercial” was horrendous.

      If his presentation isn’t any better than that video, I’m afraid it would be a very dull course indeed.

    • jboch on September 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Shewmake should have paid someone to do that commercial for them.

  10. DM on September 24, 2013 at 7:06 am

    If you look at their web site, they show a class with 22-23 students and one instructor. I know it is just one picture – but it makes you wonder how many students they have in each class.

    In my experience, GSL classes have a student-to-instructor ratio more like 4 or 5 to 1.

  11. jim on September 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

    My dog would like to pee on those truck tires.

    • Yosemite Sam on September 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Maybe equip 2 conceal should use that winch to pull his head out of his ass.

      • jboch on September 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

        LOL. I agree.

      • Zermoid on October 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        Damn, this site needs a like or thumbs up button on posts.
        I Soooo want to thumbs up that post!
        Beautifully said Sam!

  12. Fred on September 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    So, let me get this right…

    Jboch talks with this out of state company’s vice-president and everything is calmed down. GSL even tempers its earlier post to the point of saying nice things about them…

    And then this Rob Shewmake guy goes and posts that crap on illinois carry, threatening to “explore” his (implied legal) options? And then he says he’s going to come into Illinois with his fancy, painted up truck and plenty more like it?

    Either Rob Shewmake is a brainless douche nozzle of the highest order or he’s a hothead who maybe shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

    Either way, I’ll be telling my friends about Equip to Conceal every chance I get.

    There are plenty of local instructors who are decent and who aren’t “Johnny come lately” types: Dave Lombardo near peoria, several up north, GSL’s Defense Training in Bloomington who has something like a dozen great instructors all by themselves, Greg Powell is good, the Lawsons, Bruce Semrau, and more. Hell, even Don Huskey down in Effingham. He’s a bloviator, but he teaches decent stuff.

    None of these guys (and girls) drives a flashy 50k pickup truck to impress people, but instead impress people with their teaching abilities and reputations built over many years of high-quality training at affordable prices.

    Hey, Rob, why don’t you save on gas and keep your ass in Florida. We don’t need your type of b.s. artist here. We’ve got enough already in Type A and a couple of others deceptively advertising courses as approved when they are not.

  13. jboch on September 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

    For everyone’s benefit: Shewmake was supposed to call me yesterday. He didn’t. Chad Ward said either Shoemake or himself would call and let me know what was going on.

    They didn’t. So this article went up at 5pm (6p Florida time, approximately 24 hours after Shewmake’s threatening missive at illinois carry).

    So, Shewmake: How are those options coming?

    Can we move on to other topics, or should we keep digging on Equip 2 Conceal?

    Last time we kept digging, we found the company we were writing about had recently hired Lon Horiuchi’s partner as an instructor. If you want to know how well that investigative report went, call or email Troy Industries.

    John

  14. Yosemite Sam on September 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I for one vote for you to keep digging.

    I think you’ve got a live one on the hook!

  15. Yosemite Sam on September 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Maybe they’ve hired Jody Weis!

  16. duh duh on September 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

    with this much fertilizer being stacked, there has to be more than just “flowers” bloomin’

    • Zermoid on October 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      I’m smellin’ alot of Manure myself……

  17. Sara Jean on September 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Why do they need to confuse people? Are they that hard up for business?

    I googled them and noticed they spam a lot, too.

    I know my husband and I will need some training to apply for our IL licenses, since IL won’t recognize our Florida licenses or our previous training.

    We’ll stick to the local people. Thanks for the information, GSL.

  18. Brent Harney on September 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    And now they are advertising on Illinois Carry as well.

  19. jboch on September 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Wouldn’t be the first group / training school advertising on Illinois Carry with a history of deceptive advertising.

    John

  20. Fred on September 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t know. On his website he states his folks have 347 years of combined experience. In 2011 he had over 40 instructors, divided into 347 gives an average of 8.675 years, but he posts more states to include the 347 years.
    They don’t list instructors and their experience on the website, unless I missed it, possibe . . . .
    It looks like he has few LEO’s or military who retired if you use the 347 years of experience and divide by more than 40 instructors.
    Seems odd as most organizations have a good sprinkling of RETIRED LEO’s and Military, just sayin’.

    • Zermoid on October 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Personally would prefer to see Military over LEO instructors, sure there are bad apples in the Military as well as LE, but at least fighting to stay alive is more a daily thing for Military than LE personnel. If I’m paying for training to keep myself and family alive in the face of treat I rather have a military trained person who has been deployed to combat doing it than Barny Fife from the next town over doing it.
      JMO.