Devil5052 wrote:Most law officers, at least in this country, receive extensive training in the use, & more importantly, the non-use of firearms that cannot be duplicated in a 2 hour, afternoon class that many states require for handgun licensing. (many localities require no training at all ) We (law officers) live with guns, sleep with them & potentially face them on the streets every day, so naturally have a different attitude towards them than does the average citizen, many of whom consider them little more than another "toy" to occasionally play with. Being able to hit a paper target & clean your weapon tends to be the main purpose of most civilian firearms training, with just a passing "mention" towards gun safety..........& it just is not enough. I would favor a much more stringent requirement for licensing that would reverse the emphasis of most firearms courses to deal with gun safety first & foremost.
I don't know about other states, but NY is primarily a gun safety course. 3-4 hours depending on county and who is giving it. Nothing about cleaning (except to mention the safety rules once again). Starts with safety, proper handling, safety, gun locking, storage and transportation laws, safety, revolvers vs autoloaders vs single shot in terms of operation and suitability to use, safety, basic self-defense shooting legalities and CCW issues, proper post-shooting procedure, proper traffic stop procedure, safety. They make a strong recommendation to take other CCW or self-defense handgun classes if intending to use for non-sport purposes. Throw in some "war stories" that the instructor feels interested in sharing and thats the class.
I'm fine with this lecture set and requirement. The courses are cheap (under $20) and informative. Most importantly, they stress the responsibility that ownership of a handgun (or any gun) entails and the need to be ever vigilant in proper safe handling. I do have an issue with the state and counties limiting the number of people they certify as instructors for these courses and thus minimize the number of courses offered in a year (maybe 6 per region), which just ads that much more unnecessary time delay onto the whole permitting process.
There are no live fire proficiency requirements because it is illegal to even hold a pistol without a permit in this state. Not in a store, not on a range, basically never. Stores enforce this strictly. Most people on a range will let you handle an unloaded gun if you ask and some will let you squeeze off a round or two, since they understand the shortcomings of the law and how it forces people to seek a permit before they even know if they are comfortable holding and shooting a handgun in the first place.
Getting back to license training, my thinking of this training is this: We (society) would never think of licensing anyone to drive a motor vehicle without first taking a fairly extensive driver-training course (including on the road ), & then demonstrating their driving proficiency/safety in front of a qualified officer. Why not do the same for firearms licensing? Of course it would add some expense to obtaining a license, but so does driver training.
It is far easier to get the driving license (to say nothing of learning permits) than the handgun permit, at least in this state. Younger people can get the drivers license. It costs much less. It is a far more objective process. It is a far more timely process. Has no background check associated with it. Has no required safety course, only a short written test and a short driving test. The DL has the virtue of having that basic proficiency exam, but there are also learners permits there whereas with the handgun permit its all or nothing with no "learning" mechanism available as a general practice (except if one wishes to seek an upgrade to CCW after having had the premises or sportsman permit, and then many issuing authorities either really like or outright require, despite the law not requiring it, the applicant to have demonstrated proficiency and taken CCW specific training prior to applying).
I'm not complaining about the classes or even the proficiency aspects to the CCW permit in those counties that have them. I'm all for them, if only they would speed things along, make it a bit cheaper, and make it a far more objective and predictable system. I'm just saying as a general matter it is far easier to legally get behind the wheel of a automobile (aka Licensed Rolling Accidental Death Machine) than to get a legal handgun (aka Licensed Life Saving Tool, far less likely to result in accidental death than a car) in this state. And, of course, illegal handguns are the easiest to get of all. And yet oddly illegal handguns are still responsible for fewer yearly deaths, intentional and criminal though they are, than car accident deaths. Actually, all gun deaths (handgun and long gun, accidental, criminal, and suicidal, licensed and unlicensed) each year total up to significantly less than car accident deaths (to say nothing of intentional criminal and suicidal deaths involving cars) each year.
I'm sure everyone here will agree with all I have just said, so I'll look forward to all the agreeing responses!
I'm for reasonable, objective requirements and standards. A minimum of cost. As streamlined a process as possible with enough staffing and funding to satisfy demand in a timely way. What's timely? 3 months should be the maximum time to go through this, application submittal, processing, and approval/denial should all happen within 1 month, the rest is to account for class scheduling. It is done in days or weeks in other states with no problems, so NY having such a drawn out, slow process is really unjustifiable.
I believe a lecture strong on generic safety, storage, transport, general info on the types of handguns, identifying a justifiable self-defense shooting situation, etc. is a must. I'm not for a live fire proficiency requirement for a premises or sportsman permit. I think it is unworkable so long as the law in this state is so restrictive as to make it a crime to even hold an unloaded, safetied handgun without a permit.
I like the idea of the CCW being an upgrade from the basic permit and having a basic live fire proficiency being part of that requirement, but the cost has to be lower ($150 would be reasonable, $300-$500 is the average in this area now and is too much for a mandated expenditure), the frequency of classes has to be more often, and the inordinate delays in processing things through the county office and issuing authority need to be much shorter before I'd agree to it being a requirement. And most fundamentally, it can not be a subjective approval process whereby a person has to meet some nebulous "need" based justification criteria for which listing mere "self defense" is not enough in most cases.