Andrew Crighton


Editor’s Note: This section contains my subjective opinions on the enhanced carry class. Next week will feature an interview I conducted with the instructor of the class.

Two words sum up how I feel about this course that the state requires for an individual to receive an ‘enhanced’ carry license: not enough.

I went into the class with the expectation of an intense five hours of class lecture on principles of self-defense, how to react in a violent encounter and training techniques for what is ultimately a combat situation.

But it was honestly not much more than an extreme basics course, with a graphic lecture and PSA on the security of educational institutions added in.

I would like to disclose that the first words out of the instructor’s mouth were, “Welcome to the Idaho enhanced carry class. There is nothing enhanced about this class, it is a basics course.”

In addition, the prevailing sentiment from the instructor was the importance of responsible ownership of firearms, and that includes training. I cannot say for certain at this point because I have not spoken with him one-on-one yet; but it was my perception that he believed that this course fulfilled the state requirements but did not address the responsible ownership portion. That is something I intend to ask specifically later this week.

The reality of the class material was that there were only two or three important pieces of information that I did not learn in hunter’s education when I was 12 years old.

The deadly force triangle, to only use factory ammunition and modify your firearm through a trained gunsmith and gritty details of the largest mass shootings in our nation’s history.

It is personally concerning that when the class ended, both I and the handful of others who could not recite the four basic rules of firearm safety, would receive the same certificate that would allow us to apply for an ‘enhanced’ carry permit.

I don’t place any judgement on the course administrators, the company that provided it or the other people who attended the class and left with very little information.

The instructors taught what is required by law, the company provided the service described and the individuals learned what was required of them to pass the class.

I blame the slack requirements set by the state. I know that Idaho is an extremely gun-friendly state, and I like that. However, it could possibly be too much of a good thing.

When you look at the differences between the two types of concealed weapons licenses in Idaho, the standard license can be granted given a sufficient level of firearms experience. That can be hunter’s education or military and law enforcement service. But it can also be as simple as, “I’ve grown up my whole life around guns.” One of the instructors mentioned that there probably wasn’t a sheriff’s office in Idaho that would deny a basic permit with that as your experience.

The problem is knowing how to shoot a gun, and how to react in combat situation are two very different things. Hunting isn’t any better. There is an entire other dimension to consider when defending yourself against a human attacker.

I fully admit that I am not prepared to go into combat, but that’s why I elected to pay double the cost of a standard permit in order to get an ‘enhanced’ one.

Carrying a firearm, especially on campus, is a magnificent responsibility; and that ought to carry the additional cost and time of real training as well.

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