Concealed handgun instructors say more details needed for expanded carry law

By ANDREW DeMILLO The Associated Press
This article was published November 1, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas concealed handgun instructors said Tuesday they need more details on how to prepare for a new state law that allows guns on college campuses, government buildings and some bars for those who undergo additional training.

A dozen instructors aired concerns about the rules for carrying out the law approved earlier this year allowing concealed handgun licensees to carry at the new locations if they undergo up to eight hours in additional training. The Arkansas State Police is gathering public comments on the rules and training guidelines through Nov. 10 before they're expected to go before a legislative panel next month.

Some instructors said they need more flexibility on the requirement that the additional training include six hours of classroom instruction and two hours at the gun range, saying the time may need to be altered depending on the size and experience of the concealed handgun class.

"You never train to time. You train to standard," Richard Green, an instructor from Sherwood, said at the hearing.

Arkansas has about 225,000 concealed handgun license holders and about 1,000 instructors, according to State Police. Instructors will be required to offer both training for both the regular licenses and the enhanced licenses under the rules, and must first pass a test to offer the instruction.

Thomas Gage, an instructor and a reserve deputy with the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office, said active shooter training for law enforcement needed to also be updated to prepare for the potential of people carrying concealed handguns at the new locations.

"Our active shooter training is if there's a shooter with shots fired in a school, we're coming into the school armed ... and we're going to shoot anybody who's a threat to us," Gage said.

Instructors said they're already seeing a large amount of interest from people who want to undergo the additional training for the enhanced licenses. Nathan House, who owns the Arkansas Armory in Sherwood, said he already has more than 100 people who have signed up for the classes when they're available.

"That list will grow to several thousand by the time we get to January," House said after the hearing.

State Desk on 11/01/2017
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