Tribune-Courier News Editor
A Sharpe woman said interest in her concealed carry weapons permit training class is gaining momentum with the national dialogue on gun control.
“Most instructors I’ve talked to say their classes are filling up fast,” Charlotte Keogh said. “People are worried there will be a change in the gun laws and are worried they will no longer be able to get a permit.”
In addition, Keogh said tough economic times may be driving people to arm themselves for protection. Fears of home invasions may encourage more people to buy weapons.
“Someone did a study that asked incarcerated criminals if they would rob a home with a handgun. The majority of them said no,” Keogh said.
Keogh said she normally teaches the classroom portion of the program at her home. With greater demand, she has been forced to rent a meeting room at Green Turtle Bay resort in Grand Rivers. A normal class size is about 12, but has grown to over 20.
“The state caps class fees at $75, but allows for expenses,” Keogh said. “For the building rental, I charge an extra $10.”
To qualify for a permit, a person must be a Kentucky resident for at least six months, have no felony convictions, and complete an eight-hour training class. Keogh said the course covers safety, handling and operation of a handgun. People seeking a permit must be 21 or older.
“The class has a shooting test to ensure a student can safely hit their target, and a 25-question, written open book test,” Keogh said. “Once their class is complete they will receive a certificate from the Department of Criminal Justice.”
Once people seeking a permit have the certificate, they may go to the sheriff’s office to apply for a permit. Keogh said they need a $20 money order for the permit and a passport photo. They need a second $40 money order for a state background check. The sheriff’s department has five days to submit the application, and the state has 90 days to complete the background check before issuing a permit.
Keogh said she became an instructor after the death of her sister two years ago due to domestic violence.
“I was looking for a way to use some of that negative energy to do something positive,” Keogh said. “I like working with handguns and training people to use them. I decided to get involved with the training aspect.”
Keogh said she had to complete a two-day state instructors’ course, including a closed book test and a shooting test at twice the range of the conceal-carry class. She also had to prove herself as an instructor and show she could operate a shooting range safely.
“I grew up around guns, and enjoyed them even as a kid,” Keogh said. “I’ve been in the Coast Guard for 27 years and around weapons in the military.”
More women are joining classes, Keogh said. Some join because their husbands have bought them weapons as a gift. Others decide to carry firearms for self defense.
“Most people have never had any formal training in handguns,” Keogh said. “It’s nice to have women in class because they may ask questions men are too macho to ask themselves.”
Students are required to bring their own handguns, at least 20 rounds of ammunition, cleaning kit, safety glasses and hearing protection. For students that do not own a handgun, Keogh recommends they borrow one for the class. During training, students will have an opportunity to shoot a variety of handguns to find one that best fits their hand and a caliber they are comfortable shooting.
“My class focuses on safety and there are some additional training aids that are not in the state book,” Keogh said. “I also teach with Shae Copeland, because we’ve found we can offer more individual instruction that way.”
For more information or to enroll, call Keogh at 270-703-7360.