How Florida Firearms Instructors Can Survive Permitless Carry | regular guy guns

In just about a week, the great State of Florida’s rather unique permitless carry law will go into effect. On July 1st, 2023, anyone within the borders of the State will be able to carry a concealed handgun in public without having to first obtain a Florida Concealed Weapons or Firearms License aka the CWFL.

Representing an admittedly watered-down version of one of Governor (and now Presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis’ wish-list items, the Florida permitless carry law promises to kick the Gunshine State out of a decades-long doldrum with regards to firearms rights. While the vast majority of Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens in Florida see this as welcome news, there’s a small amount of Quisling-esque behavior emanating from the community, most notably from some firearms instructors…

Of course, the ones willing to talk to the media gussied it up as being “concerned about safety”, but the simple fact is that more than a few instructors in Florida paid their rent and then some teaching a class which met the bare minimum for an lawfully-qualified individual to be issued a Florida CWFL. They would go over the basic laws, have the students demonstrate “safe handling”, and send them on their way to the Department Of Agriculture And Consumer Services office with their application packet. To them, it was income.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with making money. It’s a bedrock principle of our nation. However, one should not rest their career on the whims of the State, and then be surprised when the State changes the game. Governments grant themselves the privilege to do that, either by vote or by decree. However, the lack of a legally-mandated training requirement does not mean one has to stop teaching the basic concepts of safe and effective firearms usage. From the point of view of a customer, here are some suggestions by which Florida firearms instructors can survive and thrive in a permitless carry environment.

Teach the NRA’s Basics Of Pistol Shooting Course

Florida’s Permitless Carry law only does away with the mandate of a “training” requirment to carry a firearm outside the home in Florida. However, it does not take away the personal obligation of one who chooses to carry a firearm to seek out personal training in the fine art of defensive handgun use. That GLOCK is just a dangerous fashion accessory if you cannot confidently put rounds on target.

The NRA, outside of it’s political action groups, also defines and promotes all manner of real firearms safety and education courses. Indeed, prior to the Cinncinnati Revolt of the 1970s, where the NRA became more active politically, the organization was historically known more for it’s training and educational side. A great course for anyone to take, either as an introductory or refresher course, is the NRA’s Basics Of Pistol Shooting course. Covering the Four Rules, proper operation of a semi-automatic pistol, the operation of a revolver, and the maintenance of both, the “BOPS” course is a great “Guns 101” for everyone. On average it seems to cost $125 plus the cost of ammunition, depending on the instructor.

Plus, here in Florida it more than satisfies the training requirement for a concealed weapon or firearms license. Whether it’s to take one’s first step into the world of the Second Amendment, or as a refresher course, it’s worth it.

For an instructor, this is a goldmine. People like to feel confident in their skills, and this will go a long way to providing that confidence.


Provide Classes Teaching More Advanced Skills

It’s one thing to be punching holes in paper at 7 yards. Ironically in a lot of states variations of this basic training evolution satisfy the requirement for carrying a firearm in a law enforcement capacity. But that’s for another article.

Anyways, it’s one thing to shoot paper in a well-lit and well-ventilated environment. It’s another game entirely when under stress and having to draw from concealment. Encouraging firearms owners to level up their game can be another source of income for the more experienced instructor. Indeed, experienced instructors in Florida and around the nation already instruct and advertise more advanced courses such as ones that follow the NRA Defensive Pistol curriculum. Drawing from concealment, under pressure, in less-than-ideal conditions. Because an attack on one’s person isn’t going to happen when it’s 72 degrees out and breezy. Costs can vary but for the most part, more advanced defensive classes run under $200.

Instruct Citizens On The Effective Handling Of An AR

Sure, “AR” stands for Armalite Rifle. But in a cultural sense it can stand for “America’s Rifle”. More than any other type of long gun, the AR-pattern rifle is the best-selling rifle in the nation. Ironically due to it’s constant attention by the opposition as being supposedly more lethal than the Death Star, a lot of people looking to take their first steps into the world of the Second Amendment look to purchase an AR-15 of some variant as their first gun, even before a pistol.

And, who can blame them? An AR-15 in it’s standard 5.56x45mm chambering and say, a 16 inch barrel is a very forgiving and easy-shooting platform. Designed to be ergonomic, even in it’s first iteration way back in the late 1950s, the AR-15 is truly a versatile firearms platform. Despite the propaganda, it’s not “scary” to run, and even someone new to guns can be hitting a stationary target with confidence within a half hour.

In that, there is a window of opportunity for a firearms instructor. Like any weapon, an AR-15 must be handled safety and with respect. The Four Rules must be observed and the rifle should be maintained on a regular basis, even if it has not been shot in that interval.

Quite a few AR owners can only shoot the rifle in a basic stance, and sadly neglect maintenance or just turn it over to the gun shop for cleaning and service.

However, maintenance and skills development on the AR platform is easy, and fun. Get people into differing shooting stances, shooting on the move, and so on, and they’ll gladly pay for the opportunity. Basic “AR 101” courses usually run around $200 sans the cost of ammunition.

Force On Force Training

Shooting at a stationary target is one thing. Shooting at a target while on the move is another. But paper and steel don’t shoot back, and they cannot feel pain.

That’s where force-on-force training comes in. Using modified pistols or AR-pattern rifles, students can shoot at each other with projectiles that are basically amped-up paintball rounds. There’s a bang, some recoil, and a definite “pain penalty” when hit.

Because in reality a threat will most likely be shooting back. The physiology and dynamics of a real gunfight can be closely approximated with a force-on-force class.

It does involve some investment in equipment on the part of the instructor. Simunition or UTM-compatible pistols should be acquired, as a student is unlikely to have one. A student most likely will not have a compatible AR bolt carrier group either. In the interests of safety, both types of simulation firearms cannot chamber a live round, at all. No Alec Baldwin situations are possible, though standard firearms safety rules must be observed.

Anyways, the initial investment in gear is usually recouped in charging a small fee to rent the firearm or bolt carrier group, and the specialized ammunition can be charged for as well. All on top of the instruction fee.

Typically a per-student cost can range from $300 on up depending on the time and depth of the training.

A hard sell considering the current economic climate, to be fair. But force-on-force training is intense and fun. A student will learn more in one hour of getting their asses handed to them than they will in a month of shooting at a stationary target at a standard firearms range.

Explain How A Florida CWFL Is Still Useful, Then Sell On A Course

Florida’s permitless carry law is a much-needed step on the road to restoring full and traditional firearms rights in the Gunshine State. However, as has been noted in the pages of this blog in the past there are several currently-unresolved disadvantages to “going permitless”.

The first and biggest downside to just carrying a firearm in Florida sans permit is the Gun Free School Zones Act. Passed in 1990 and (ironically) signed into law by supposed Second Amendment supporter George Bush the Elder, the Act prohibits the introduction of a firearm into a school facility and restricts the carry of a weapon in a 1000-foot radius bubble around a school. To be compliant with the GFSZA, one must have a carry permit issued by the state in which the school is in, or the weapon in question must be unloaded and enclosed.

To show the danger present, just pull up a map of one’s local area and count the schools. A person carrying Constitutionally is guaranteed to commit a technical foul. Ironically the Supreme Court struck down the law in 1995, but it reappeared with a spurious “gotcha” clause where the government granted itself the authority to do the GFSZA via the Commerce Clause. The government’s argument is that since a gun is a product of interstate commerce, they can regulate it’s movement. And a firearm is a product of interstate and international commerce. The parts come from multiple places and the government could potentially argue that even the raw materials come into play, i.e. the steel comes from overseas or something similar.

Anyways, until the GFSZA is struck down, the only real way to “stay legal” and not risk a technical foul while carrying is to obtain the relevant state permit.

A Florida firearms instructor could go hard in the promotions stating this fact and gain some clientele, at least until the GFSZA is struck down for good.

Permitless Carry Isn’t The Death Knell For Florida Firearms Instructors

With some basic marketing techniques and outreach, a Florida firearms instructor whose bread-and-butter was the $48.88 concealed weapons and firearms license course, can easily pivot in the new and more Second Amendment-friendly reality of permitless carry finally coming to the Gunshine State.

And they should be OK with it. If one is going to teach firearms, a job requirement should be to support the absolute right to keep and bear arms. It only makes sense…

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