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Think safety when it comes to new concealed carry law

Published: Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

Anyone that lives in Illinois, and is interested in their Second Amendment rights, is well aware of the fact that Illinois finally passed legislation legalizing citizens to carry a concealed firearm.

Illinois was the last state in the nation to do so.

As a result there has been a flurry of activity in Springfield on how to handle the new law, what regulations must be passed and numerous other issues.

One of the items that needed to be figured out was what would the concealed-carry class look like?

What would be required in order to take it?

What must a person be able to do?

How well do they have to shoot?

The list is long.

I am fortunate enough to have some firsthand knowledge on this topic.

I am going to be a certified range safety officer for a company that is offering the concealed-carry classes. A safety officer keeps an eye on the range and makes sure everyone is being safe with his or her firearms.

The demand for these classes is going to be high, and qualified instructors and safety officers are important to teach students to be successful.

A couple of weeks ago we ran through a trial class out at the range with real students to try and see how it would run and what bugs needed to be worked out of the course. During that session, I was able to pick up a few things that I wanted to pass along to you in case you were ever interested in taking a class.

The first thing that became quite apparent is that you should make sure that you are extremely comfortable handling your pistol. I know this sounds obvious, but things can be overlooked. You should know how to change magazines quickly and efficiently, be familiar with the safety features and most importantly be comfortable with holding and firing the handgun.

All of these things are covered in-depth during the first pre-requisite class that you need before you sign up for the concealed-carry class.

In other words, you need to pass the NRAs basic pistol course first.

This class covers all the different types of pistol actions, their safety mechanisms, the parts and nomenclature, not to mention the different types of ammo and what they are for.

This class is a great primer to cover all the basics. It includes time on the range and the instructors can help you learn to grip the pistol properly and how you should position your body.

They also guide you through the process of looking down the sights and proper trigger pull.

If you haven’t signed up for this class you should do so to get the first eight hours out of the way.

The concealed-carry class does more actual range shooting than the basic pistol class.

It also brings students face to face with targets that are images of criminals aiming back at you.

I know that doesn’t seem all that impressive or important, but let me tell you, when you see that gun pointing back your direction you tend to notice. The hairs on my neck stood up.

The next target had a bad guy with innocent civilians in and around the store he was supposed to be robbing. Real world.

If you were ever in a situation where something like this happened you have to be aware of your surroundings and who or what is beyond the target.

It was a big reality check.

I was very proud to be working with these instructors going through this trial run.

This is serious stuff. Yes, we have the right, just like our fellow Americans in every other state, but with that right we need to be serious in our preparation and responsibility.

If this is something that you are considering make sure to do your part and be prepared and sign-up for a legitimate class with qualified instructors.

Maybe someday soon I will see you on the range.

Until then, be safe.

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