I don’t carry a gun, nor do I own one. Getting the permit was a lark, an exercise to demonstrate how ridiculously lax Virginia’s concealed-carry requirements are.
I had no criminal record or any restraining orders against me. I was neither a habitual drunkard nor a dope fiend. No judge had ever committed me to a mental institution. Those are the basic qualifications.
About the only remaining hurdle was my “competence” with a handgun. Although I’d never touched one in my life, or taken a gun class, that was no big deal, thanks to a law that took effect July 1, 2009. It was sponsored by then-state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli.
The law said I could prove gun competence by taking an online gun lesson. I chose a one-hour internet video course by the Concealed Carry Institute, a pioneer of the field. It cost $39.95.
After that I took a simple true-false and multiple-choice quiz. Presto, my certificate of “competence” popped up on my home computer screen. I printed it out, filled out a form, paid another $50 to a court clerk and got my permit a little more than a month later — without ever touching a handgun.
Since 2009 it’s gotten even more ridiculously convenient. Now you can qualify by paying $24.95, watching a 17-minute online video and passing a quiz offered by Virginia Gun Training, a Concealed Carry Institute competitor. Virginia Gun Training boasts on their website that no customer has ever failed to earn a certificate.
Finally this year a Virginia lawmaker tried to repeal that dumb 2009 law. Like me, Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William County, believes it makes little sense for the state to issue concealed carry permits to handgun virgins. After all, the DMV doesn’t hand out drivers licenses to people who’ve never touched a car.
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