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WE ARE CONCERNED NC LICENSED CCH INSTRUCTORS

Over 2,113 emails have been sent out by my company to all CCH instructors registered with the state of North Carolina opposing the proposed CCH instructor rule changes. 71 emails bounced, 2 people asked to be unsubscribed, and 3 said they were OK with them. Over 1,300 instructors have now read what is happening. Many have commented, and that number is increasing daily as people continue to open their emails and as additional emails are being sent to all instructors. Below is a synopsis of  this attempt to impair instructors, affect their livelihood and make it more difficult for citizens to obtain their carry permit. 

 

Question #1:

Why wasn’t there any mention of the August 9th Hearing when the “proposed” rule notice was sent out on June 23rd in the evening, to all CCH instructors? 

 

Question #2:

Why were the new forms and rules posted by the State on the Instructor’s official site in June indicative of their being in effect, prior to the August 9th Hearing, and prior to official adoption of the proposals? (Note: Director Smythe when asked if he personally authorized the posting, ultimately advised that it should have said “Draft”).

 

Question #3:

Why wasn’t any reason or explanation for the proposed changes ever communicated to the instructors?

 

Question #4:

Why was no input first sought from the instructors themselves?

Immediate Actions: 
Send in the letter to the Rules Commission

Send emails with your comments
Show up August 9th at the Hearing, to voice your opposition in person

Dear Fellow CCH Instructors,

 

On Friday evening, June 23rd at 4:48pm, many of us (but not all), received an email regarding proposed changes by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission amending the rules and procedures for CCH instructors effective October 1, 2023.

 

It appears the State is primarily concerned that it is unable to verify instructor compliance as it presently does not have the ability to determine where and when classes are being held in advance so inspectors can attend, assuming it has a sufficient investigative staff. As instructors, we understand the need for the State to require adherence to its rules and regulations and its mandate to weed out those who are fraudsters. Solutions should not disrupt or create problems for legitimate instructors.

 

The proposed procedures place undue burdens upon instructors, create additional work, time, and expense, and impose restrictions prohibiting our ability to teach upon request which affects our livelihood. 

A Hearing is scheduled for AUGUST 9th, 2023, 10:00am at the WAKE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING CENTER, 321 CHAPANOKE RD, RALEIGH and we would hope many instructors will attend, speak up, and beforehand, send emails presenting your objections or agreement with the proposal.

Please Email Your Comments to:

Mr. Bob Overton, CCH Director                  BOverton@ncdoj.gov   

Ms. Michelle Schilling, CJST                        MSchilling@ncdoj.gov  

PROPOSED CHANGES

1. Not fewer than 30 days before a course, instructors are being asked to send in a form with the instructor’s name, course type, and the date, time and location of the course.

If this takes effect, we will no longer be able to teach individuals, groups or walk-ins, who are not scheduled for a class 30-days in advance, or for whom waiting would be problematic.  Many instructors do not teach with a specific schedule but upon request. If someone contacts you today and has 10 people for a class next week, you will be unable to teach them. If one person calls tomorrow, and wants a private class the following day, you cannot teach them. Is there a procedure to cancel a class after you have sent in a 30-day notice? What if nobody shows up for a pre- announced class or there is an insufficient number of students for the instructor to proceed? What if a class is cancelled due to last minute inclement weather? Can it be resumed in one or two days without filing additional documentation? How are instructors assured that the State received your class pre-announcement? Is there a penalty for having a last minute class without being able to notify the State? 

Losing the ability to teach upon request harms instructors as they are running a business and it penalizes the law-abiding general public in search of training based upon their individual schedules.

 

2. Within 10 days AFTER the class, instructors must submit another form to the State containing the name(s) of the instructors and other class details, and if any changes were made from the pre-course 30-day form and must include the actual number of attendees with a class roster containing student’s personal information.

 

Now, two forms must be submitted, each with a deadline. Why does the State need to know the number of people who showed up and their details as they are automatically notified when a permit is issued by the Sheriff’s Office. What if people take a class and do not obtain a permit? The number of students in a class is irrelevant as rosters can be maintained by the instructors for inspection. What is important, is how the course is taught. 

 

3. Then, the State seeks a third form, known as a “roster”, with the date of the course, the instructor(s) names, every student’s full legal name, email address (some do not have any), personal information, and if they passed or failed the range requirements. (Instructors would not have issued a certificate if they failed!) Further, we are being required to maintain that form for the State’s inspection for an unknown length of time in addition to submitting it.

Most instructors maintain this information anyway, but it now must be in a specific prescribed format. The State’s form? The instructors form? Can we mail in a roster? Is there a violation of any privacy laws to inform the State who took a course and may have failed, or passed but didn’t obtain a permit?

 

How long are we to maintain these forms, records and documents? What if they are lost or accidentally destroyed such as a fire, flood or storm? Will additional paperwork be required? If we did send it in, why should we maintain it because the State already has it? What are the consequences if the records were not maintained?

4. The State wants us to provide a “Red Book” to each student during the class but advises that instructors can collect them after the class.

Many of us have our own form of instruction that includes the significant content of the red book that we teach in our own style. Some may teach directly from the book, boring students by reading to them resulting in minimal retention. Some have worked diligently to teach via a well thought out and designed presentation that teaches in a more logical and detailed manner that is interactive, understandable, and educational. Instructors are teachers while anyone can read a book aloud. For those who have created their own courses, handing out a book that is not going to be used during class is a distraction. Further, the cost of the books keeps increasing, now at $8.75 each plus shipping equating to $10 a copy. This proposal serves no useful purpose.

 

When books change, we will be required to update the books, throw the old versions away, and purchase new books. Instructors can display what a book looks like, pass one around, inform the students where they can purchase a copy and direct them to the State’s firearms website.

 

Practically speaking, many people are not likely to be able to follow and understand the wording in the book as written or may have issues with the type of font. Human interaction with comprehensive explanations, diagrams, photos, discussion, and answering specific questions is a far more effective way to educate and disseminate important information. The state could require the cost of the book to be added to the permit application fee, and the Sherriff’s Office can supply them.

 

The Red Book is indistinguishable from reading a dictionary. The Red Book should be a reference not a requirement. Why doesn’t the State allow this book to be placed online if its an official State handbook such as the Driver License manual? The State will not allow CCH instructors to put it on their websites and has refused to make it available for download on the Internet. Why isn’t it available as a state resource?  Isn’t restricting access the contents contrary to dissemination of information the State wants citizens to know? Is that against public policy and a detriment to the citizenry? Why should a citizen have to purchase this book to have the information?

5. If the proposed rules are adopted, the above forms are to be emailed to Mr. Bob Overton at BOverton@ncdoj.gov , the Program Administrator. Is he going to acknowledge the receipt of each form? How would instructors be able to prove they sent information as required? Each document should require a receipt sent to the instructor, and that the state maintain proof of sending it.

Do all instructors have Internet and emailing capabilities? Do all instructors have a working computer and scanner? If no computer scanner or no Internet, then the instructor must find another source to send in the forms, often a paid source such as Staples, OfficeMax, Fedex, and so forth. Is sending the information secure?

 

What if the instructor sends in the form, but it is not received by the Program Director for whatever the reason? What proof is there that the instructor attempted to comply? What about the non-compensatory time to submit these forms and to maintain a copy if proof is needed? Is the State going to acknowledge the receipt of each individual form for the instructor’s protection? Do they even have that capability?

6. New proposal:  No online permit classes are allowed. 

Covid changed the manner in which the State conducted business by allowing meetings, trainings, Notarizations and so forth to be held online. Covid, and other airborne infections are still an issue. We agree that there is significant benefit teaching in-person, however, portions of a course could be taught online with standard online instructional safeguards such as all students must key in their name or a rotating code given to them, every 15 minutes. Obviously, range time and the examination would be conducted as is presently set forth. A blanket policy as proposed may be contrary to the needs of some citizens, handicapped individuals, and would best be decided on a case-by-case basis by the instructor. Online courses are allowed for law enforcement training, but not civilians?

7. New Proposal: NO CCH instruction by NCPPSB instructors 

 

The Commission will not accept the Private Protective Services Firearms Trainer Certification for NC CCH instructor certification – That probably eliminates a few hundred instructors right there!

8. New Proposal:

The State wants instructors to use a system known as ACADIS and to enter personal information into a database. Name, address, date of birth, email, and so forth. Databases are breached daily. Why is this a proposed requirement, what protections for confidentiality are in place, is it publicly available and who can access it?

Here are some suggestions for the State to consider:

Suggestion One:

Since instructors must renew annually, have the instructor certify they taught a minimum of five people during the year which would then subject each instructor to maintain records for the State to Inspect. If an instructor has not taught five people in a year, revoke their teaching certificate as they probably don’t need to have one, but they would be eligible for renewal.

 

Suggestion Two:

Require the Sheriff’s Office to conduct random permit application inspections including the instructor who issued the certificate, as the Sheriff is the primary permit issuing authority in each county. 

 

Suggestion Three:

Require the instructors to maintain certain documentation without any pre or post course forms and have the State conduct random inspections of instructor and their records with penalties for violations. The State conducts inspections for other licensed activities and CCH instructors should be no different. This would place the task upon the State to ensure that instructors are conducting business properly as it should be, not upon the instructors.

 

Suggestion Four:

Add a statement to the permit application forms under oath, wherein the applicant acknowledges the course was at least eight hours long, confirms a list what was covered, confirms that the range time was in addition to the course time, and create a criminal penalty for false acknowledgement. The State can then question the applicant directly.

 

Suggestion Five:

Have the state hire more personnel or share existing state inspection resources from other branches to conduct random classroom inspections (restaurant, barber, beautician, real estate inspectors etc.) including licensed private investigators trained to know what to look for.  

 

Suggestion Six:  

Since the “Red Book” was printed with State funds, there is no acceptable reason why it is not available for download on the Internet as are other state manuals, nor any reason why an instructor should be prohibited from posting a link to the manual or the manual itself on their website for past, present, or future applicants to review and have as a reference without cost?

CONCLUSION 

We are being asked to incur time, effort, and expense to solve the State’s problem of eliminating dishonest instructors, or does the State want to have less instructors making it more difficult for citizens to obtain a carry permit.  The current proposals are impracticable and unworkable and were not promulgated by teachers, but bureaucratic administrators.  

 

Most instructors in NC take an NRA or now a USCC course which costs between $350.00 and $650 in addition to travel, hotel, food, and transportation and the State’s course. They must renew their permit every year for $50.00, which is substantially higher than all surrounding states. (SC’s renewal $100 for 5 years – TN’s renewal is $25 for three years – FL, GA and Virginia have no instructor fees, no renewal fees as do many other states, and none require the purchase of certificates at a cost of $2.00 each from the State, and in minimum quantities of 25. Other states permit instructors to print their own certificates and that is the common practice). Many of us pay for advertising, range usage, targets, ammunition, classroom space, handouts, business and instructor insurance, printing, legal fees, websites, and phones. Purchasing certificates and now adding the inflated cost of Red Books will mandate exorbitant advance out of pocket expenses.  

 

The course is 8 hours long without the range time. A typical day of instruction with setup and teardown equates to 10-11 hours or more. (Many of us believe that a 5 or 6 hour course would be just as effective).

 

To add more to our workload with increased time and costs is simply not fair and does not create a more knowledgeable armed citizen which should be the State’s primary objective. Those owning ranges able to charge less than instructors who do not own a range and instructors do not have a level playing field. We have each made a significant investment in training, equipment, and physical resources to conduct own businesses, and for all practical purposes the State now wants rules to restrict when we can teach, in addition to the additional workload. 

Your instructor’s permit allows you to open your doors to teach as we have met all the requirements to do so. The proposals will dictate when and where we can be open for business for the State’s convenience, not yours and not for the citizens of North Carolina who are unable to plan their schedule a month in advance.​

The proposed rules are unfair, unreasonable and should not be adopted. Please plan to be present in person at the August 9th Hearing to voice your objections, and also send them by email.​

Email:     Mr. Bob Overton, CCH Director                  BOverton@ncdoj.gov   

                    Ms. Michelle Schilling CJST                         MSchilling@ncdoj.gov  

The members of the Commission and their emails are below:

Leslie Dismukes, Committee Chair                ldismukes@ncdoj.gov

Robert Hassell, Committee Vice Chair        robert.hassell@rockymountnc.gov

Richard Epley                                                               richardaepley@yahoo.com

Estella Patterson                                                        Estella.patterson@raleighnc.gov

Frederick Sellers                                                         fesellers@northcarolina.edu

Amir Henry                                                                     henryaa@wssu.edu

Billy Gartin                                                                      billy.gartin@raleighnc.gov

Jacques Gilbert                                                          Jacques.gilbert@apexnc.org

Jeff Welty                                                                        welty@sog.unc.edu

Plan to attend the Hearing on AUGUST 9th, 2023, 10:00am at the WAKE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING CENTER, 321 CHAPANOKE RD, RALEIGH. We hope many instructors will attend, speak up, and send emails presenting your objections to the proposed rules.

PLEASE MAIL THE FOLLOWING LETTER PRIOR TO AUGUST 9TH, EXACTLY AS WRITTEN:

[Name]

[Address]

 

[Date]

 

N.C. Rules Review Commission

1711 New Hope Church Rd.

Raleigh, NC  27609

 

Re: 12 NCAC 09F .0103-.0105

 

Members of the Commission:

 

I request that the above rule(s) be reviewed in the upcoming legislative session as set out in N.C.G.S. 150B-21.3. I further request that the rule(s) be subject to a delayed effective date as set out in that same provision.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

[Name]

 

[Signature]

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