Surge In Requests For Virginia Concealed Carry Gun Permits

5:37 PM, Sep 6, 2012   |    comments
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LORTON, Va.  (WUSA) - Virginia is issuing a rising number of concealed weapon permits to people who live in other states. 
 This week alone saw a surge in requests from just 50 to 1,000.
And none of those people will have to fire a gun to get their permits.

"That's ridiculous," says Kate, the manager at the Lorton shooting range Sharp Shooters. She says they refuse to sell people guns if they've never fired one.

"You've got to know how to shoot In order to buy a gun...or, to carrying a concealed... you need to know how to use it," said Kate. 

That's not what the state of Virginia says. In fact, there's nothing that requires you to know how to fire, or even hold a gun before receiving a Virginia concealed weapons permit from the Virginia State Police.  

Thanks to a 2009 law pushed by then-state senator and now Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, gun classes for concealed permits can be taken on line.

Most online courses cost just $39. The only requirement is that the instructor must be certified by the state of the National Rifle Association.

 The website targets residents in those states which have permit reciprocity with Virginia.
They are Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri and Texas. Even if those states have stronger requirements, it doesn't matter.

For example, Texas requires a 10-15 hour course. Along with passing a written exam, applicants must score at least 70 percent in firing 50 rounds from a handgun from different distances. But in the online process, those requirements are waived.

Youtube video shows Lily Habtu, a young woman who was injured in the Virginia Tech shootings, taking one of the online classes. It only takes an hour, and she admitted to cheating to show how easy it was to answer the required 15 of the 20 questions. She received her permit in the mail without ever touching a gun . The video was produced by Omar Samaha whose sister was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings.

"After Virginia Tech, there was an outcry from concealed carry permit holders that, "oh, concealed weapon permit holders should be able to carry in class because they're trained and they've gone through background checks and all of the above. But the truth is, in Virginia, you don't have to be trained to get your concealed weapons permit. You don't have to ever fire a gun. Which is completely outrageous," said Samaha.

Even the Sharp Shooters manager says the law lacks common sense.

"No instructor in his right mind would sell you a gun without your knowing how to firing it," said Kate the manager.

A spokesman for Attorney General Cuccinelli says Virginia's concealed weapons program has never required hands-on training because its goal is to teach gun safety, not proficiency.


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