Last month, an excellent editorial was written about getting training if you choose to arm yourself. What the Editorial Board didn’t realize is that training to learn how to shoot and carry a firearm is not readily available in the Tri-Cities.
There are some routinely available gun courses, but none of them teach someone how to shoot or deal with many aspects of concealed carry.
Ranch and Home occasionally sponsors free gun safety courses. A huge thank-you to them for doing that. However, that’s a bare minimum and doesn’t cover actually shooting. There is no actual shooting taught in these courses.
Another company teaches “concealed carry” courses, but these courses only cover enough information to be able to obtain concealed carry permits — in other states. These also do not cover the above topics, nor do they cover much about Washington law because these courses are only to meet the other states’ qualifications. Good that they exist, but they are very limited in scope. Again, no shooting.
Once in a while, the Hole In The Wall gun shop is the location of courses that do teach one how to shoot, but they are infrequent.
What most people who choose to carry need are courses that teach about personal protection, the law, how to conceal a firearm, mental aspects of carrying and also gives one the opportunity to actually shoot one or more guns. Many new shooters first need to learn how to shoot!
This type of course is not regularly given here.
The National Rifle Association has a series of Basic courses designed for the general public. They are Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Protection In The Home (PPITH) and Personal Protection Outside The Home (PPOTH).
In Pistol, students learn about handguns, gun safety and how to actually shoot.
In PPITH, students learn about gun safety in the home and legal and mental aspects and how to safely shoot a handgun in a defensive situation.
In PPOTH, students learn methods of how to carry and draw and shoot from a holster.
NRA Personal Protection courses are the bare minimum of what one should know when they have a handgun for personal defense.
We have a local training team here that wants to teach all of these courses, but we have a problem: There is only one range at which we can routinely train, and only just this month did the members vote to continue to allow it. They were going to shut us down, because of (legitimate) schedule pressure. Details regarding it are being worked on now.
Hole In The Wall will also allow training, but scheduling range time and the cost of renting the range do not allow us to make much use of it. Their reasons are quite understandable.
In Benton County, and now in Franklin County, training by our team is not possible at all. The only range in Benton County that could accommodate us is the Rattlesnake Mountain Facility. That range is run by the Tri-Cities Shooting Association (TCSA) and the policy they have adopted is dictated, they say, by the Benton County Parks Department and will not allow us to use their beautiful Training Range. In Franklin County, the Tri-Cities Metallic Silhouette Association (TCMSA) has taken steps to not allow it.
The Benton County commissioners, upon advice from their attorney, now require excessive liability insurance of $4 million. The only instructor insurance that is affordable and readily available is NRA-approved and caps out at $2 million. The attorney says that two instructors with $ million each is not acceptable.
And a firearms instructor would be insane to teach without insurance, which, of course, drives up the cost.
There is a range in Benton County that the Richland Police Department uses that was at least partially paid for with NRA funds, but they will not allow anyone else to use it and when they have been contacted (multiple times) they have refused to respond at all.
In summary, training those with permits is a great idea. We just wish we could. We certainly don’t try to make any money from doing it.
R. Theron Cammer is a NRA Certified Instructor and Training Counselor (someone who teaches people to become instructors).