Virginia changes concealed handgun permit training requirements
“After the General Assembly session in 2020, beginning January 1st, the online training goes away and you can only take in person training,” Steve Landes said.
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - In order to apply for a concealed handgun permit in Virginia, one must go through training.
Currently, that training can be done in person or online. But that won’t be the case for long.
“After the General Assembly session in 2020, beginning January 1st, the online training goes away and you can only take in person training,” Steve Landes, the Circuit Court Clerk for Augusta County, says. In his position, he works directly with the area’s permit applications.
Just down the street from Landes, is Jim Wood, who has taught more firearm classes than any other instructor in the state of Virginia. He believes this legislation is long overdue.
“Virginia started their online classes when they were in the red, revenue wise, and found it a way to create revenue,” Wood said.
There are many online course options, ranging in price from $20.00 to $50.00, but according to Wood, the content of the online classes is inadequate.
“It’s a 20minute video, a ten minute test and you’re done,” Wood said.
Although Wood teaches in-person firearms classes, he says has gone through the online training out of pure curiosity.
“I was actually kind of shocked and a little embarrassed that that’s the extent of training that the Commonwealth would expect out of someone to carry a firearm,” said Wood.
He says in-person training covers everything from safety, to handling fundamental, rights and responsibilities and Virginia laws.
And recently, since the beginning of the pandemic, Wood says training class attendance has been on the rise.
“I get a lot of people in the classes who took the online course, and they’re so disappointed with it anyway, they come for follow-up training which is great,” said Wood.
According to Wood, solid training is crucial when it comes to a self defense situation, and he believes the new legislation will ultimately help prepare people better and keep them safer.
“People pick an instructor a lot of times like they pick their doctor or their hair dresser,” Wood said. “They want it to be somebody they trust, someone with the background and the resume to give them quality training. And just doing a class like that online is not quality training.”
Steve Landes says, anyone looking to apply for a concealed handgun permit, should contact their Circuit Court Clerks office to discuss the process. And if you decide to do training online, you only have until the end of this month as the new requirements go into effect January 1st.
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