Central Lakes College may soon become a prime target for central Minnesota residents who want to get a concealed carry permit. According to a new law that goes into effect May 28, applicants must complete a training course before a permit will be issued, and CLC's one-day course is already drawing interest.
Criminal Justice Department head Terry Fairbanks has received calls from 12 sheriffs around the state who told him they will be recommending the CLC class to permit applicants.
The course will be offered May 31, June 8, June 21, June 29, July 12, July 26, Aug. 9 and Aug. 24. Each session will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be taught by Pat Sergott, a CLC instructor and Pine River police chief. The CLC fee is $50 and applicants must provide their own revolver or semi-automatic weapon and ammunition.
If someone fails one session, they can take another session without paying for the class a second time. The course also will be offered during the fall and winter semesters.
The eight-hour session is patterned after the courses that prospective police officers must complete. The only difference is the lack of a night shooting element.
"Citizens shouldn't have lesser standards than law enforcement officers if they are going to be packing a gun," Fairbanks said. "I've looked at the other 34 states (with permit laws) and ours has the most robust and rigorous standards. Some states have no training requirements. AT CLC, we are taking this very seriously and using the highest standards."
The classes begin with one hour of discussion about when and when not to use a weapon, followed by three hours of weapon handling and secure concealment instruction.
Places to conceal a weapon include clothing, a fanny pack or an ankle holster, Fairbanks said. The class also will stress the tactical aspect of having a concealed gun readily available.
"They have to demonstrate that they can safely access the gun and get it out," Fairbanks said. "If they can't, they don't advance to the next stage of the course."
The session concludes with range shooting tests at an off-campus site. Sergott will be assisted by several CLC criminal justice students who will monitor safety.
"Safety is the No. 1 prerequisite," Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks applauded the legislation when it passed last month.
"You should be allowed to defend yourself if you want to," he said. "If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, then you get to make the decision to fight or flee. If you choose to fight, it makes sense to protect yourself."
Fairbanks said if more law-abiding citizens have guns, public safety will be increased.
"If you look at the mass shootings in recent years, if one responsible citizen had a firearm, the death toll would have been lessened," he said. "There are a lot of good reasons in this day and age to want to protect yourself and others."
To register for the class, call 855-8142, toll-free 800-933-0346, extension 8142.
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