Obviously, as a Utah Concealed Firearm Permit instructor, I want people to take the concealed weapons class, but it goes beyond that–I think EVERYONE should take the class. Many people think that the course is only for those people who want to carry a concealed firearm or for firearm owners and enthusiasts. Obviously the permit allows you to carry a concealed weapon, but the benefits of the class extend beyond that. I personally took the course before I owned a handgun. It gave me a lot of great information and helped me understand something I was very new to.
But even if you don’t ever want to carry or even own a gun, I still recommend taking the class. If you have never actually attended this type of course, it can be difficult to accurately judge its value in a society where misconceptions exist about what a concealed firearm permit course actually teaches. So I’d make the case that everyone, whether you are familiar with firearms or not, should take the time to sit through one of these courses. I’d go so far as to say the class should be taught in our schools and communities to everyone. Whether you own a firearm or not, whether you intend on carrying a firearm or not, attending a concealed firearm course will help you understand what firearms are–and what they are not. It will help you learn the basics of firearm safety and be able to treat and handle a firearm safely should the need arise.
So why would someone who doesn’t want to own a gun take this course?
Well, I’ve taught the course to several people who had no intention of carrying a firearm but wanted to be able to know how to safely handle a firearm should they be placed in a situation where proper firearm handling was necessary. In a few cases, I’ve taught the class to some that were against concealed carry altogether, but wanted to gain a better understanding from those that do carry a firearm every day. Taking the course will help you gain valuable information and build an understanding of basic firearm safety, handling, and equipment. Chances are pretty good that at some point you will encounter a gun. Your children also may encounter firearms and should understand what to do should they come across one. Like it or not, guns are a large part of American culture and they aren’t going away.
Understanding things helps reduce fear and increase your ability to handle them properly. Firearms can be dangerous, but gaining knowledge regarding safe handling and operations will help keep them safe. On that note, one of the best parts of these courses is the access to a knowledgeable and experienced instructor who is excited to teach and answer any questions the students have. Participants should take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the instructor! Permit courses are primarily designed to teach the laws that govern concealed carry in the regions where they are valid. The laws vary from region to region and state to state, so not every course will be the same, but you will gain valuable knowledge on which laws govern your locale and will affect you if you ever need to protect yourself or loved ones. The course may even touch on options other than firearms to defend yourself should you decide that is a better option for you and your family (if it doesn’t, you can often ask the instructor for additional information on available options).
So what does the Utah CFP course actually cover?
There are two main sections. The first section covers basics of handgun safety and use. This is by no means comprehensive, but it is a great start. It’s the basic information that you need to start learning to use guns. The second section of the class is all about the laws regarding the use of guns and the use of force in Utah, as well as a section on federal firearm laws. This is the information you need to know about carrying a gun and using that gun for self-defense. There is no required live-fire portion of the class, but some instructors will include a range portion and others will offer separate classes that will take you shooting in addition to the permit class.
You may also learn surprising statistics about firearms, real life case studies/situations, and how to structure your decision-making processes in defense situations. Perhaps more importantly, you can gain insight into the mindset of law-abiding citizens who do decide to carry a firearm and why it is important to do so.
Above all, permit courses seek to build understanding about firearms and safety. Fear of the unknown can be very powerful, but when you seek to understand something, it can often become less intimidating. No matter what your stance on using or owning firearms may be, learning more about their safe use and true capabilities through a course is empowering. In Utah, there have been a number of calls to police by citizens when they see another citizen openly carrying a firearm. This wastes law enforcement time and energy and diverts them away from handling actual threats to public safety. Understanding that it is legal for people to openly carry a firearm and also understanding why some people want to do so may help alleviate some of these calls so we don’t end up wasting police time on non-threats.
But what I don’t want to carry a gun…
Taking the course does not mean that you have to apply for the permit, and applying for the permit does not mean that you have to carry a firearm if you don’t want to. Instead, you can use the course to increase your understanding of personal safety, become more aware of your surroundings and teach you how to protect yourself and loved ones. It helps to take a look at several courses and instructors to make sure you get a good fit for your level of comfort, so make sure to know what to look for in a concealed firearm course. If anti-gunners are serious about solutions to reducing firearm accidents they would support everyone to get additional training with firearms. These classes contain valuable information and they help build understanding of a subject that many might be misinformed about. You don’t have to be a firearm enthusiast to appreciate the hands-on training provided by these courses.
So What’s Next?
Now that we’ve talked about why everyone should take a concealed carry class, read: What you should look for in a concealed firearm course