The Hill Air Force Base Rod and Gun Club held its 10th Concealed Firearms course Feb. 23 with more than 50 people in attendance and approximately 100 people on a waitlist to attend.
The popularity of the course, which is certified through the State of Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification, could be linked to the fact that more than 32 states and certain countries accept the Utah permit to legally carry a concealed firearm, said Jerry Hunsinger, one of the certified instructors of the Concealed Firearm course. This allows a mobile service member to take the permit with him or her to the next duty station without having to pay and reapply for another permit in the new location.
The standard application cost for the Utah permit is $65.25, but the cost for the Concealed Firearms courses vary, with the Hill AFB Rod and Gun Club's course being the cheapest local option. The club charges $25 to $35 for the 3âââÇ1/2 hour course, whereas off base the courses can range from $65 to $150.
Hunsinger says the fee covers course materials. Any profit gained goes to the club's shooting ranges. The course fee also covers the student's fingerprinting for the criminal background check and photo to submit for the permit card, all of which is completed during the evening course.
"I don't charge an instructor's fee to teach this course. All profits go to purchase targets for the skeet, archery, rod and gun ranges," said Hunsinger.
The retired U.S. Marines sergeant major works with Hill's Defense Logistics Agency and volunteers his time with the Hill AFB Rod and Gun Club and teaching Hunter Education courses at the Sunset city courthouse. The Hunter Education courses are open to children and adults and emphasize the importance of educating the public about respect and safety around firearms.
"Even if you don't hunt it is important for you and your children to take this Hunter Education course to learn about firearms safety just in case they may find a firearm, they will know the right thing to do," said Hunsinger. He noted that the primary cause of firearms accidents is related to insufficient knowledge of firearms.
Safety is also the main focus of the Concealed Firearms course, as well.
"Most people think this course is about firearms, but it is really about safety," he said.
"This class helps you understand what you are allowed to do, and also to help you understand the consequences of your choices," Lt. Col. Andrew Chudy, 419th Fighter Wing Deputy Operations Group Commander and Vice President of the Hill Rod and Gun Club, informed the class at the beginning of the Feb. 23 course.
Although the permit allows one to carry a loaded weapon on their person, the permit does not protect the person from the legal consequences of using the firearm as a weapon.
The course also reviews where a civilian is not allowed to carry a concealed weapon, including federal buildings, military installations and a few national parks. A comprehensive list of restricted areas can be found on the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification's Web site, www.bci.utah.gov.
The Web site also maintains information on current firearms laws that are updated biannually in January and July.
The Concealed Firearms course covers the same material as a course offered off base, except that, due to limitations on firearms transportation on to the installation, the attendees of Hill's course do not physically handle firearms. In lieu of this, an instructional video is shown to review the different types of firearms, how to load and unload the firearms, basic shooting fundamentals and modes of firearm concealment.
The courses are open to anyone 21 years of age or older and are usually offered on the last Tuesday evening of each month at the Rod and Gun Club facility, Building 2707. The next courses are scheduled for March 30 and April 27 with several spots still available. The $25 fee for military (active, reserve, retired or spouse) or $35 for a civilian can be paid by cash or check at the Outdoor Recreation facility, Building 805. More information about the course is available by visiting Outdoor Rec during its business hours or by calling them at (801) 777-2225.
To view instructional videos on personal protection, gun basics and firearms sports, visit www.guntalk.tv.