Where Can I Take a Gun Safety Course?
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to firearms. Anything you can do to increase your knowledge of guns is a good thing, and this is especially true when it comes to safety. So, whether it's to increase your own personal knowledge or to meet your state's various licensing and permitting requirements, taking a gun safety course is extremely beneficial.
It can be a little confusing as to where you need to go or what you need to do in order to take a gun safety course. Sometimes, an overwhelming amount of information can cause someone to avoid an issue and not make a decision at all. Thankfully, a number of options are your disposal for taking a gun safety course.
5 Places You Can Take a Gun Safety Course
Almost everything can be done online these days, and firearms safety courses are no exception. This is extremely handy for people with busy lifestyles and countless commitments. Whether it's a course designed to introduce you to the basics or a more involved, interactive learning experience to teach complete gun safety, it can be found online. Hooray for modern convenience!
Online learning has come a long way over the years. In addition to being an at-your-own-pace environment, it typically includes interactive options and elements that can provide a complete and thorough understanding of gun safety. Many of these courses are so in-depth that they actually meet the criteria for licensing purposes in certain states. The flexibility, ease of use, and certification components make the online route a primary option for many gun owners, so it's worth checking out.
However, ensure you look at and compare available programs. Some might not be the right fit for your situation. This is especially true if you're taking the class for licensing requirements. Take time to review certifications and accreditations for the course. As long as it meets your state or personal criteria, you can feel confident in doing it online.
2. Courses via Gun Advocacy Organizations
Almost every gun organization in the nation has some kind of gun safety class you can take. These organizations offer various levels of training to meet needs for gun owners who range from complete newbies to seasoned professionals. Plus, many of them offer both online and in-person classes and, in some cases, a hybrid approach.
One of the main perks of going to a gun advocacy organization for training is that they hire professionals — people with a lifetime of gun experience. From law enforcement and military personnel to competition shooters, these organizations hire individuals with experience in every aspect of gun safety. If you can think of a scenario involving firearms, chances are these organizations have instructors who have experienced it firsthand. You get the benefit of quality instruction and the advantage of real-world knowledge from genuine experts in the field.
On top of that, most states will accept gun safety training from these organizations as a requirement for licensing. Most, though not all, states recognize these organizations have the experience and expertise to provide thorough training. It's definitely worth looking into if it's an option in your state or even for just increasing your own knowledge base.
3. Courses From Gun Stores/Ranges
It likely comes as no surprise to most people that you can get training on the safe operation of your firearm from the place you purchased it. While not every gun store has the capability to provide gun safety classes, many of them do. Even if they don't, they can probably point you in the right direction.
A good thing about getting a course from a range or firearms store is that these places typically have some kind of relationship with law enforcement or military personnel. Why is this good? Because it gives you hands-on instruction in a face-to-face setting with people who use guns the most. Also, getting a safety course from a range or gun store can offer you the opportunity to try a variety of guns out in a controlled setting, because most have an inventory available for this purpose.
4. Gun Safety Instruction From State Organizations
In some states, you can get gun safety instruction directly from the state itself. Agencies that might provide such services include, but aren't limited to, fish and game departments, criminal justice agencies, and departments of health. Which department handles this on behalf of the state varies, so you'll have to do the research to find out what options are available in your location.
How you sign up for instruction varies by state, but you can contact the state government or check its website to find out what you need to do.
State programs can be helpful for many reasons, not the least of which is that if you receive instruction straight from a state-controlled agency, there can be absolutely no doubt that you're meeting requirements for a license or certification. In some states, it may even be the only way to meet specific requirements for licensing to purchase a firearm or receive a concealed permit.
The drawback to this method is that state agencies might not provide as many options for how to receive the instruction. Since state agencies are responsible for specific areas of the government's operation, you may be required to sign up for a class that is only offered at a specific time or in specific locations. It's certainly not a huge inconvenience, but definitely something to be aware of as you may need to block off a large chunk of time in your schedule.
5. Courses Offered by Law Enforcement Agencies
Many people may not think of this one. While not all local law enforcement agencies offer firearms training, it's something that's widespread enough that you may want to look into it.
Again, a benefit of this option is that you can be assured the instruction will meet your licensing or permitting needs. However, you'll likely encounter the same scheduling restrictions as with courses from state agencies. Law enforcement agencies are busy, so even if they do offer instruction in your area, it may be scheduled well in advance. There might also be a possibility that it could be canceled for an emergency and you might experience long wait times between available classes. On the plus side, it's coming straight from the police, who are well acquainted with gun safety and the laws surrounding firearms.
Honorable Mention Option for Gun Safety Training
Another area worth mentioning here is home video. More than a few firearms and accessory manufacturers offer DVD/Blu-ray courses you can watch in the comfort of your own home. The plus side is that you own the materials and can watch them to learn or refresh your knowledge any time. Also, the information is often presented by extremely knowledgeable and well-respected firearms trainers, often including seasoned military or law enforcement veterans.
The drawback is that these will not meet any state licensing standards for carry or purchase and don't come with certifications or accreditation. Plus, there are no methods for you to ask questions and get more in-depth information than what is presented. Though these methods are purely for personal use, they're worth mentioning for the educational value.
We live in an age of variety and convenience, which makes for a variety of options when selecting a gun safety course. Consider multiple options to find one that suits your needs and schedule. Be sure to take into account the method that will best fit with your way of learning, too. It doesn't matter how convenient online learning is if you're more of a hands-on learner, for example.
Find what works for you and go for it. Happy learning!