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Police provide free concealed handgun course

Posted on March 29, 2021

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Spring Hope Town Commissioner Drew Griffin and his wife Jennifer discuss safety with firearms instructor Brandon Lane prior to shooting on the range Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The concealed handgun training is being offered free to town residents.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Town Commissioner Drew Griffin and his wife Jennifer discuss safety with firearms instructor Brandon Lane prior to shooting on the range Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The concealed handgun training is being offered free to town residents.

Firearms instructor Brandon Lane talks targeting technique with Spring Hope resident Jennifer Griffin on Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The course is possibly the first time in North Carolina that a police department has paid for residents to receive such training at no cost.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Firearms instructor Brandon Lane talks targeting technique with Spring Hope resident Jennifer Griffin on Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The course is possibly the first time in North Carolina that a police department has paid for residents to receive such training at no cost.

Spring Hope Town Commissioner Drew Griffin and his wife Jennifer discuss safety with firearms instructor Brandon Lane prior to shooting on the range Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The concealed handgun training is being offered free to town residents.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Spring Hope Town Commissioner Drew Griffin and his wife Jennifer discuss safety with firearms instructor Brandon Lane prior to shooting on the range Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The concealed handgun training is being offered free to town residents.

Firearms instructor Brandon Lane talks targeting technique with Spring Hope resident Jennifer Griffin on Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The course is possibly the first time in North Carolina that a police department has paid for residents to receive such training at no cost.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

Firearms instructor Brandon Lane talks targeting technique with Spring Hope resident Jennifer Griffin on Saturday during a free course on carrying concealed handguns. The course is possibly the first time in North Carolina that a police department has paid for residents to receive such training at no cost.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

SPRING HOPE — In a possible first for the entire state, a police department is footing the bill for town residents to receive free training on carrying concealed handguns.

The safety course is Chief Nathan Gant’s brainchild. The Spring Hope Police Department is using grant funding from the District Attorney’s Office to pay for residents to receive the training — which can run as high as $150 per person -— required to obtain a permit to carry concealed handguns.

Sgt. Brandon Lane of the Zebulon Police Department has been a state-certified firearms instructor for more than a decade. He provided the training to a group of Spring Hope residents on Saturday.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and have never heard of it being paid for by police,” Lane said. “Concealed carry classes can be expensive. Spring Hope is very fortunate to have Chief Gant.”

Lane told participants that carrying a concealed handgun is one of the biggest responsibilities a person can undertake.

“I have no problem with good people having a handgun,” Lane said. “Laws will not stop bad people from carrying guns.”

Town Commissioner Drew Griffin and his wife Jennifer attended the training.

“I think this is good for the community,” Griffin said.

Griffin said he’s considered taking a concealed carry course for a while. He was checking around for a class for him and his wife to take when Gant announced the town-sponsored course.

“It was difficult to find a spot,” Griffin said. “So we signed up.”

Seven other residents joined the couple for Saturday’s class. The course entailed eight hours of instruction on the legality and safety aspects of carrying a concealed handgun in North Carolina.

The day ended with a trip to the police department’s firing range to shoot a minimum of 30 rounds. Participants shot targets at 3, 5 and 7 yards.

After the course, Lane presented the inaugural class with a state-issued training certificate to present to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

After a successful background check that includes fingerprinting and a mental health screening, participants will receive a concealed handgun permit.

During training, Lane explained that under state law, concealed carry permits only apply to handguns. It’s never lawful to conceal a handgun, a Bowie knife, daggers, metallic knuckles, a razor blade, throwing stars or a stun gun without a permit.

Rules on where concealed handguns can be carried are constantly changing in North Carolina, mostly to gun owners’ benefit, Lane said.

Right now, concealed handguns cannot be carried on educational property, which includes most hospitals and any churches that operate a curriculum school.

Proposed state legislation — House Bill 134 — seeks to make it legal to carry concealed handguns at such churches and for emergency medical workers to carry concealed handguns.

Church members and EMS workers should be allowed to carry concealed handguns, said retired state trooper J.P. Barnes, owner of Barnes Safety and Consulting in Middlesex.

Barnes teaches his own concealed carry course. He said with proper training and a thorough background check, anyone should be allowed to carry a concealed handgun.

Rules used to prevent concealed carry at any assembly that charged admission or anywhere alcohol is served, but that has changed in the last few years.

Now concealed handguns are allowed at such venues, including restaurants and bars, provided the carrier doesn’t consume alcohol. The consumption of alcohol temporarily negates the permit.

While firearms aren’t allowed on most federal property, the Obama administration made it legal to carry concealed handguns at federal parks in 2010.

In North Carolina, concealed handguns aren’t allowed at demonstrations or on picket lines. That rule used to apply to parades and funerals, but the law has changed.

Concealed handguns aren’t allowed at law enforcement facilities, prisons or courthouses in North Carolina, but are allowed at interstate rest areas.

Some of the safety points covered in Lane’s class included treating all guns as loaded, always pointing a firearm in a safe direction, keeping fingers off the trigger until firing and being sure of the target and what’s behind the target.

Over the next few months, the Spring Hope Police Department will host more training courses for residents to become qualified to legally carry concealed handguns.

The classes are free of charge to residents within the town limits.

Classes are kept small so the instructor can spend as much time as possible with each participant and to comply with social distancing guidelines. Masks are required.

Each class will have a limit of 10 people and take place at Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Announcement of the next class date is forthcoming.

Prospective participants must meet the following requirements:

• Must not be a convicted felon.

• Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm.

• Must be 21 or older.

• Must bring their own handgun and ammunition.

• Must reside within Spring Hope town limits.

In order to register for a class, residents must meet with Gant in person at the police station. To make an appointment to meet with the police chief, call 252-478-5504, ext. 229.

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