RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A state commission overseeing training for concealed carry permits is moving forward with new rules officials say will ensure instructors fulfill their responsibilities but are not as far-reaching as previously proposed.
Members of the state’s Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission met Wednesday after considering a series of rule changes over the last several months.
Leslie Cooley-Dismukes, criminal bureau chief of the N.C. Department of Justice, said the commission began considering the rule changes in response to reports of some instructors failing to fulfill their responsibilities.
She cited an example of an instructor who had students send them a picture of their target but did not witness the training in person.
“And we want to be very clear that that is not okay,” she said.
On Wednesday, a committee approved some new rules including that all training be done in person and that all people participating in a class be given a physical copy of the state-approved training manual known as the red book.
The commission is part of the N.C. Department of Justice which is under the authority of Atty Gen. Josh Stein (D).
Harvey Morse, president of the N.C. Concealed Carry Handgun Instructors Association, had been concerned for several months that the state would push for additional rules beyond what was approved Wednesday that he says would have burdened instructors and required them to submit identifying information about students to the state.
He added that the state has not been able to verify all the claims regarding instructors failing in their duties. There are about 2,600 instructors in the state.
“The system that they’ve been using has been working for 15 or 20 years. Why change it? It’s been working. It’s not going to accomplish their goal to find a bad instructor,” he said. “We don’t want any bad actors out there. But, there isn’t a profession that doesn’t have bad actors: doctors, lawyers.”
Morse was among dozens of instructors who attended a public meeting in Garner about the proposed rule changes. He said he was concerned about some of the other changes that had been on the table because the state has insufficient staff to audit the concealed carry classes.
He added he’s still concerned about the requirement to give students a copy of the red book, which costs $6.99. He urged the state to put the book online so it can be distributed for free, but there are concerns about copyright.
The full commission will vote on the rule changes Friday. After that, the state’s Rules Review Commission will take up the matter, potentially by the end of this year.