Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Some taking gun course say it's about more than a concealed carry permit

WEEKI WACHEE — Taking careful aim, Danny Ambrose squeezed off the last round from the .22-caliber Ruger Mark III. He smiled and nodded at his paper target 12 feet away.

With 15 shots finding their mark, Ambrose, 35, successfully completed the "live fire" portion of the Hernando Sportsman's Club's concealed weapons permit class Wednesday. The course, one of several NRA courses offered by the club, is required of applicants for a Florida concealed carry permit.

By day's end, Ambrose and 15 other students were eligible to apply to join more than 900,000 Floridians who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

However, Ambrose said that really wasn't his intention when he signed up for the gun safety class. Although he has fired rifles in the past, he hasn't had much experience with handguns.

"I don't even own one," he said. "But if I do decide to get one, I want to know how to handle it safely, that I'm doing things the right way. I think it's everyone's responsibility to learn that."

So does Tom Knott, 83, who has been teaching NRA-sanctioned gun safety courses at the club for 30 years. For $60, participants can learn from Knott and his instruction team the fundamentals of shooting a handgun. Participants are taught to load, aim and how to shoot a weapon before heading to the firing range.

Knott said simply getting comfortable is the hard part for many people.

"It's often a matter of practice," he said. "We don't have a lot of people that fail the course, but we do get them. It's not for everyone."

He said he's seeing more and more novice gun users signing up for gun permit classes. He figures it's a sign of the times.

"A lot of people really just want the ability to protect themselves if necessary," he said. "My job is to teach them how to do that correctly."

The February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford ignited controversy when the city's police department, citing the state's "stand your ground" law, initially did not arrest suspected shooter George Zimmerman. (He has since been charged with second-degree murder.)

In the aftermath, criticism spread to the large number of concealed weapons issued in Florida, far more than any other state, and the ease of receiving these permits.

However, Hernando Sportsman's Club president Randy Rickert said the state's regulations on concealed weapons are strict enough because convicted felons, people with mental health issues or those with domestic violence injunctions cannot get one.

"It's a totally political issue," he said. "Nobody is saying that there are no weak points in the law. But as far as I know there's no law that's going to stop stupidity. People have to accept responsibility in owning a handgun."

Rickert said his club's gun safety instructors routinely turn away anyone who lacks what he calls "the common sense needed to own a firearm." But he says that's not likely to do much in the long run.

"If you really want a concealed firearms permit, you can get it. There are plenty of gun shops and dealers who will be willing to overlook things. But we won't."

To learn more

About twice a month, the Hernando Sportsman's Club offers firearms safety courses that meet the requirements to obtain a Florida concealed carry permit. Courses cost $60 and include equipment and materials, including firearm, safety gear and ammunition. Call (352) 597-9931 for information, or visit hernandosportsmansclub.com.

Some taking gun course say it's about more than a concealed carry permit 05/02/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick Friday night in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101