For a $117 licensing fee, residents of Florida who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal resident aliens, are at least 21 years of age, have demonstrated competency with a firearm, and pass a 13-point eligibility test, can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Jim Clark, a freelance expert in personal protection techniques and concealed weapons training, conducted a class at Lake Eva Park in Haines City and on a shooting range at Tim’s Gun Shop in Winter Haven, on Aug. 27. He plans to conduct another class on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Students must sign up for the three hours of classroom training and may sign up for the fourth hour on a shooting range. The three-hour segment, which focuses on practical personal protection techniques which do not necessarily involve the use of a firearm, costs $45. The second, one-hour segment costs $75.
Haines City Police Chief Rick Sloan says concealed weapons are a benefit to the individual carrying the weapon and “maybe” to the community at large. However, that benefit may be a mixed blessing.
“There’s absolutely an element of danger,” said Sloan, who added that one can do unintentional harm to self and others.
Five students attended Clark’s Aug. 27 class and all took both segments. Teran Adams of Orlando was one of those students. She intends to file for a concealed weapons permit. She said she has had altercations at parties and on the street. She said her life was once threatened by a person simply because that person “didn’t like my brother.”
Clark said his self-protection techniques are “counterintuitive.” It’s like facing down a snarling dog, he said. One needs to show the would-be attacker that he or she is a serious person with whom to deal while, at the same, exhibiting no more aggression, if any, than is necessary.
“They (the would-be attacker) should “believe it’s going to cost them,” Clark said. “Keep your chin up and look the person in the eye. Say ‘Can I help you?’ Take the initiative. Leave the impression ‘I can deal with you.’”
Felons are ineligible for permits unless the convicting authority has restored their rights to carry weapons. Applicants must not have been convicted in the past three years of a misdemeanor involving violence. They must not have been convicted for violation of controlled substance laws, or twice within the previous three years for driving while intoxicated. They must not have been committed to a mental institution or adjudged incompetent or mentally defective.
Concealed weapons permits are issued by the State Department of Agriculture’s Division of Licensing in Tallahassee. Call 850-617-7737 to learn about additional eligibility standards and for other information.
To enroll in Clark’s Nov. 12 class, call him at 813-719-0091 or visit www.ccwfl.com.
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