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GOCRA pushes for carry instructor standards in law, not at the whim of bureaucrats

GOCRA has recommended, and is working with Minnesota legislators to introduce, a bill that moves the standards for carry permit instructor organizations from the discretion of an unelected bureaucrat to black-and-white law.

The currently standards — which have a proven track record stretching back almost six years —  are fair, but are subject to change at any time with no notice, almost no limits and no recourse.

The bill we are proposing would lock the current, proven, fair standards into Minnesota law, which would ensure that the state can continue to ensure quality instruction while preventing an anti-gun administration from making it more difficult, time-consuming or expensive for Minnesotans to get carry permits.

You can help!

Please call, email and send a letter or a fax to Representative Tony Cornish and Senator Warren Limmer, urging them to support this proposal.

Representative Tony Cornish
437 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4240 or 800-704-8525
rep.tony.cornish@house.mn

Senator Warren Limmer
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room 122
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
651-296-2159
sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn

Here’s some more background, as well as our current draft of the bill:

The Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act of 2005 — our carry law — requires that before getting a carry permit, each applicant must take a class providing information on gun safety and operation as well as laws relating to guns, their ownership and their us in self defense.

The carry law delegates authority to the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety to determine what standards instructor certification organizations must meet before training and certifying carry permit instructors.

Under former Commissioner Michael Campion, the standards — after some close calls and a lot of wrangling — turned out pretty well. But these standards can be changed at any time, at the merest whim of the DPS commissioner.

This is particularly worrisome because the current commissioner, Ramona Dohman, was appointed by anti-gun-rights Governor Mark Dayton. Dohman, in her previous employment as police chief in Maple Grove, did not earn a good reputation for respecting gun rights, nor for meeting her responsibilities to gun owners under the law.

The current standards are working well — there are more than 150 certified organizations — so we are proposing that those proven standards be written into the law, removing the discretion of the DPS to change them. It also requires the DPS to show cause to a court before revoking an instructor or organization’s certification, and provides a means for an instructor or organization to dispute an unjustified denial or revocation.

The text of the bill is below:

GOCRA                     Instructor-Certifying Organizations                  3.11.2011

1.6      BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

1.7      Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 624.714, subdivision 2a, is amended to
1.8      read:

1.9      Subd. 2a. Training in the safe use of a pistol. (a) An applicant must present
1.10     evidence that the applicant received training in the safe use of a pistol within one year of
1.11     the date of an original or renewal application. Training may be demonstrated by:
1.12     (1) employment as a peace officer in the state of Minnesota within the past year; or
1.13     (2) completion of a firearms safety or training course providing basic training in the
1.14     safe use of a pistol and conducted by a certified instructor
, as described in subdivision 2b.
1.15     (b) Basic training must include:
1.16     (1) instruction in the fundamentals of pistol use;
1.17     (2) successful completion of an actual
live fire shooting qualification exercise; and
1.18     (3) instruction in the fundamental legal aspects of pistol possession, carry, and use,
1.19     including self-defense and the restrictions on the use of deadly force.
1.20     (c) The certified instructor must issue a certificate to a person who has completed
1.21     a firearms safety or training course described in paragraph (b). The certificate must be
1.22     signed by the instructor and attest that the person attended and completed the course.
1.23     (d)
A person qualifies as a certified instructor if the person is certified as a firearms
1.24
instructor within the past five years by an organization or government entity that has
2. 1
been approved by the Department of Public Safety in accordance with the department’s
2.2
standards.
2.3
(e) A sheriff must accept the training described in this subdivision as meeting the
2.4      requirement in subdivision 2, paragraph (b), for training in the safe use of a pistol. A
2.5      sheriff may also accept other satisfactory evidence of
the training in the safe use of a pistol
2.6
required and specified in paragraph (b)

2.7      Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 624.714, is amended by adding a subdivision
2.8      to read:

2.9 Subd. 2b. Certified instructor. (a) A person qualifies as a certified instructor if
2.10
the person is certified as a firearms instructor within the past five years by a private or
2.11
government organization or entity that has been approved by the commissioner under
2.12
subdivision 2c.
2.13
(b) The commissioner shall order the certifying organization or entity to suspend
2.14
for a period of one year the certification of an instructor who falsely attests that a person
2.15
attended and completed a firearms safety or training course under subdivision 2a,
2.16
paragraph (c). The commissioner is authorized to investigate, document, and determine
2.17
whether an organization is in compliance with this paragraph.
2.18
(c) An instructor or certifying organization or entity may appeal, by petition to the
2.19
district court, the commissioner’s order of suspension of the instructor’s certification. The
2.20
district court must hold a hearing at the earliest practicable date and in any event no later
2.21
than 30 days following the filing of the petition for review. The matter must be heard de
2.22
novo without a jury. If the court grants the petition, the court must award the petitioner
2.23
reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees.

2.24     Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 624.714, is amended by adding a subdivision
2.25     to read:

2.26 Subd. 2c. Organizations that certify instructors. (a) Before certifying firearms
2.27
instructors and every five years from the date of first approval, a private or government
2.28
organization or entity must be approved by the commissioner as an organization or
2.29
entity authorized to certify firearms instructors to teach applicants for permits to
2.30
carry. The commissioner must approve, within five business days of submission, an
2.31
instructor-certifying organization or entity that registers with the commissioner by filing a
2.32
signed written notice stating that the organization:
2.33
(1) maintains adequate records of its instructor candidates to verify the candidates’
2.34
training;
3.1
(2) provides proficient instruction to instructor candidates, including 3.1 legal updates
3.2
on law pertaining to firearms, and ensures the instructional practices and integrity of
3.3
its instructors; and
3.4
(3) employs a curriculum to train instructor candidates that ensures that instructor
3.5
candidates are able to teach the basic training requirements under subdivision 2a to
3.6
applicants for permits to carry and includes:
3.7
(i) fundamentals of handgun use, including knowledge of handguns and safe
3.8
practices in shooting, loading, unloading, clearing firearm malfunctions, storage, and
3.9
firearm care;
3.10
(ii) one actual, live-fire shooting qualification exercise that includes instruction in
3.11
the evaluation of shooting proficiency and safe handling skills of students in a practical
3.12
firearm shooting exercise;
3.13
(iii) fundamental legal aspects of handgun possession, carry, and use, including
3.14
self-defense and the restrictions on the use of deadly force, and also including legal,
3.15
psychological, and physiological effects of a violent threat encounter; and
3.16
(iv) fundamentals of proper record keeping for students who have completed a basic
3.17
training course described in subdivision 2a, paragraph (a).
3.18
(b) In addition to the requirements in paragraph (a), a nongovernment organization
3.19
or entity must be registered as a business organization or corporation. with the Office of
3.20
the Secretary of State, or the office performing similar functions in the organization’s
3.21
jurisdiction. Non-Minnesota organizations must provide the commissioner with a certified
3.22
copy of proof of registration.
3.23
(c) The commissioner may deny approval if the commissioner determines that the
3.24
organization or entity has failed to comply with paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (3), or (b).
3.25
An organization or entity may appeal, by petition to the district court, the commissioner’s
3.26
denial of approval as an instructor-certifying organization or entity. The district court
3.27
must hold a hearing at the earliest practicable date and in any event no later than 30 days
3.28
following the filing of the petition for review. The matter must be heard de novo without
3.29
a jury. If the court grants the petition, the court must award the organization or entity
3.30
reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees.
3.31
(d) If an instructor-certifying organization or entity becomes noncompliant with
3.32
a requirement of this subdivision, the commissioner must provide the organization or
3.33
entity with notice of the specific allegations of noncompliance. The instructor-certifying
3.34
organization or entity shall have 30 days to rebut any allegation of noncompliance or
3.35
to correct any noncompliance. The commissioner may file a petition to the district
3.36
court seeking an order suspending or revoking its approval of an instructor-certifying
4.1
organization or entity only when the organization or entity has intentionally failed to make
4.2
the necessary corrections pursuant to the commissioner’s notice. Venue shall be in the
4.3
district court having jurisdiction over the county where the organization or
4.4
entity’s principal office is located, or in Ramsey County if the organization or entity is
4.5
not located in this state. If the court denies the commissioner’s petition, the court must
4.6
award the instructor-certifying organization or entity reasonable costs and expenses,
4.7
including attorney fees.
4.8      (e)
The commissioner shall maintain a publicly available list of state-approved
4.9
instructor-certifying organizations and entities on the department’s Web site. This
4.10
information must be updated in a timely manner.

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