Virginia Ends Online Classes for Concealed Carry Permits

Starting tomorrow, Virginians will no longer be allowed to take an online class to satisfy the handgun competency requirement for the state’s concealed carry application.  

Politicians who backed the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2021, claim that online courses are no substitute for in-person training.  

Prospective applicants almost got a break as the Senate this year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, passed a bill that would have delayed the rollout until July of 2021.  

However, the House of Delegates shot that bill down, thus keeping things on track for the start of the New Year. 

Given the impending deadline, many Virginians in recent weeks signed up for online concealed carry classes.  

Ryan Heathcock, of Chesterfield, finished an 8-hour virtual class on Wednesday morning.  Though he has yet to purchase a handgun, he wanted to get his ducks in a row before the law changes.  

“I’m just glad that I was able to sneak in with the law as it’s currently written and not have to deal with what happens after January the 1st,” Heathcock told WRIC. “It’s not an accident that the courthouse is full today. I’m not the only person who feels this way.”

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While anti-gunners will no doubt tout this new restriction as a win for “gun safety,” one local gun shop owner believes the focus should be on the quality of the training, not simply whether it’s virtual or in-person. 

Steve Dowdy, the co-owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, argued that getting rid of online classes makes little sense because there is no live-fire mandate as part of the training.  

“There are going to be thousands of classes held where people just sit in, listen, learn and never touch a handgun, so in my opinion what’s the difference between online and that?” said Dowdy.

Dowdy suggests that if the state is going to mandate in-person classes, there should be a hands-on portion to familiarize students with firearms.  

To obtain a concealed carry permit one must be 21 years old, provide documentation of proof of handgun competency, pass a background check, and pay a nominal licensing fee not to exceed $50.   For more information visit the Virginia State Police website

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Godfrey Washington January 1, 2021, 8:10 pm

    Meh another barrier that does nothing except turn citizens into either victims or outlaws.

  • Kenneth Jamin January 1, 2021, 6:24 pm

    Learning the “three Rs” is NOT the same as learning how to legally carry and use a firearm. Virtual training is NOT a substitute for in person training for CCW.

  • Kenneth Jamin January 1, 2021, 6:19 pm

    While I sympathize with students who can’t find classes (I’m not instructing right now either because of COVID) I still feel that in-person training is necessary for everyone’s safety.

    I have been an Illinois Concealed Carry instructor ever since IL finally legalized CCW six years ago, but I became a certified firearms instructor in the early 80s’ and was teaching personal defense (“gunfighting 101”) long before CCW became legal in Illinois. I have always felt it is important to know a little something about my civilian students’ motivation for wanting CCW. Over the early years, I turned away a couple students now and then that I just did not feel right about, and in each case, my suspicions were later confirmed by others. This is why I keep my classes relatively small (12-15) students and I encourage them to ask questions and interact with me (in a controlled fashion).

    Illinois CCW training requires 16 hours of instruction (with up to 8 hours credit for military personnel, veterans, certain NRA training, etc.) as well as a 30-round live fire qual. for everyone without exception. While 16 hours seems long and is the longest of any state, it does not begin to scratch the surface of what civilians need to know to “carry the lightning bolt” and prevail in that split second encounter if it ever comes down to it. I know there are instructors who “teach by the pound,” packing students into a classroom or teaching remotely (not legal in (Illinois) at bargain basement prices and lecturing to them, military-style, but I consider this a rip-off and just going through the motions of teaching students what they need to know.
    DVC

    • Area52 January 2, 2021, 10:24 pm

      I strongly disagree and I suspect some instructors are trying to get mandatory training requirements passed just to make money. Also bear in mind, with the creativity of lawsuits don’t think that you as an instructor can’t be sued for a self defense act that one of you former students did whether justified or not.

      As far as turning away students you didn’t “feel right about” how is that even legal without just cause. Unless a wanna be student that was applying for your class and was deceptive, provided false ID, had a criminal or mental health background issue, or made threatening or outrageous remarks such as” when I get a carry permit I going to kill the next person who cuts me off in traffic” ; I would agree that the aforementioned are valid reasons for turning down a student. However allowing instructors to pick and choose students and turn down students on a whim in a state that has mandatory training requirements is unethical and throws the whole state back into a “may issue ” state.

      That is the first step in the gun banners playbook to ban civilian carrying of firearms.

  • Oleg Levin January 1, 2021, 12:41 pm

    Every dictator disarmed people then he enslaved them: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, F. Castro, Ortega, Hugo Chavez, Maduro.

  • John January 1, 2021, 10:45 am

    Chief Governor Black Face says!

  • Phillip DeWitt January 1, 2021, 10:15 am

    I resented took the CWP class in South Carolina. It took 12 hours in class and at the range including firing 50 rounds. I’ve been shooting regularly for over 60 years and I learned a lot. Some people in my class had never fired a gun before. Everyone could benefit from taking a class from a qualified instructor even the know it all’s.

    • Area52 January 1, 2021, 12:00 pm

      I agree anyone can learn something from quality training. However the problem with mandatory in person training is finding a class that has an opening. They can only take so many people at once. If there is a live fire test the training area will require a range. It could take months or longer to get into a class. If someone knows an instructor or has political connection they will be able to jump the line. The process will be worsened if they require this testing procedure upon renewal. Now with the covid restrictions in place, if they are allowed to run classed they will be even further limited in size. It could take months before the average person can get a carry permit, not to mention the fees and other administrative procedures such as background checks and fingerprinting. It’s a backdoor carry ban and it will delight the gun banners who want to disarm the law abiding citizen.

    • Big Al 45 January 2, 2021, 11:26 am

      So, why stop there? Why not a require a course before being ‘Allowed’ to Vote????
      MOST Americans are extremely ignorant of our System of Governance, so wouldn’t that be great??
      I do hope you see both MY sarcasm, as well as YOUR foolishness.
      Rights CANNOT be subject to arbitration, otherwise they are NOT rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      There is NO guarantee of safety in the Constitution, not from crime nor from a ND by another citizen.
      Should one take a training course for firearms? Yes.
      Should it be required to carry a gun? HELL NO!!!!!!!

  • Gomer January 1, 2021, 8:59 am

    What a load of bullshit. The Virginia CCW curriculum has NOTHING to do with “handgun competency.” It’s about how to avoid a gun related conviction, should one find it necessary to drop some scumbag who has entered the home in order to steal one’s stuff and rape one’s women. I can’t imagine WHAT benefit there is for this being done in a classroom. After all, online “learning” is good enough for the kids in school…..

  • Michael Nicholson January 1, 2021, 7:58 am

    So schools can’t have in class learning, but if you want to complete a conceal carry class you have to set in a classroom.

  • Beachhawk January 1, 2021, 5:13 am

    This is just another way for Virginia to gouge a little more money out of their citizens and to discourage others from seeking a concealed carry permit. The state will now tell those interested in enrolling in the required classes that hey cannot attend due to covid-19 restrictions and when they do allow classes, applicants will have to travel to Richmond to attend them. The classes will be taught by favored off-duty cops from police academy lesson plans which have little or no bearing on armed civilians.

  • JB December 31, 2020, 7:32 pm

    Gee. Virtual learning is good enough for our kids, but not valid for firearms education.

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