Permit to carry online classes denied by sheriff's - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Permit to carry online classes denied by sheriff's


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- More Iowans are working to get gun permits to carry concealed weapons. The first day of this year, Iowa became a shall issue state. That means all counties are required to issue a permit to anyone who applies. But only after meeting certain criteria and passing a background check. Before, each county's sheriff had the discretion to deny someone a permit.

It's been a concern for law enforcement authorities. For example applicants don't need to qualify at a shooting range. They only need to take a class. But now there is confusion about where you take the class.

Believe it or not, there isn't a clear answer in the Iowa law. The current law requires a class to be taken by an NRA and State certified instructor. But the Iowa Department of Public Safety isn't accepting classes that don't allow interaction with an instructor. So what does it mean if you take an online course?

Eric Korn is the owner of American Firearms Training. His company is based in Virginia but they offer online courses to residents in West Virginia, Iowa and Idaho.

"We've taken a very vigorous course that is modeled after the NRA basic pistol program and have a couple of former police officers that have taught it in a video based format," Korn said over the phone.

He says his business has been booming since Iowa became a shall issues state. But recently, some of his students from Iowa have been denied a permit despite taking his pistol safety class.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner says his office is following the guidelines by the Department of Public Safety not to accept online gun courses because they don't offer a hands-on interactive class. He says most online courses aren't in a webinar format either, so they don't offer question and answer sessions.

Tim Flynn is a National Rifle Association certified instructor. He teaches permit carry classes in Dubuque.

"Invariably, whatever topic we're covering there is a lot of Q & A. A lot of 'what about this?' 'what about that?' a lot of hands on," Flynn said.

And while Korn admits that his course isn't hands-on, he says it meets the requirements, as they are written.

"Regarding the 2nd amendment, it should not be required all to take any course to carry a fire arm. However, we feel that our online course is a good compromise," Korn said.

One thing many online courses don't cover are specifics of 'use of force' and Iowa law. Flynn says if you take an online course, keep that in mind. Also check with your local sheriff to see if it is covered under Iowa law.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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