I received the following email this afternoon (this is a fairly common question we get) so I decided to post my response below for everyone to read.
I'm not sure how you can claim to equip people for ccw carry while not requiring any sort of actual shooting or weapon handling skills in your classes. Don't you think these skills would be a critical part of a concealed weapons class? Gun safety related classes should require a gun, shouldn't they? I know you don't call your classes "gun safety classes", but it seems you are claiming that your classes will fit the ccw permit requirement of needing to attend some sort of firearms safety class in order to get the carry permit. Would you issue someone a driver's license after requiring some classroom time, or would you require the person learn some practical hands-on skills? Your thoughts please.
LEGAL HEAT RESPONSE:
We don't claim our classes qualify students to carry a concealed weapon, we guarantee it. More specific to your point, you seem to be concerned that in many of the states we offer training no testing or shooting is required prior to student certification. One might share that same concern when pondering about how people are allowed to vote, procreate, marry, receive representation during a criminal trial, and freely express themselves in public without any formal training or testing beforehand. Of course, that person might be encouraged to review the Constitution for a resolution of their concern. Allow me to expand.
Here in the United States each legal citizen has a finite set of inalienable, fundamental, constitutional rights (they are often called civil rights). These are rights that have been incorporated through the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause as effective against the states. Among those rights are the right to vote, marry, procreate, express oneself, receive a speedy and public trial, and the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment (this list is inclusive, not exclusive). What you may notice is that although each of these rights may be exercised irresponsibly to cause substantial societal harm, none of them require any formal training or testing prior to their exercise.
To put this into perspective please consider the fact that in the United States over 50,000 people will contract HIV this year (once every 9.5 minutes), 1.4 million abortions will be performed and 19.7 million people will contract STDs. I think we can both agree that irresponsible procreation causes substantial societal harm. Knowing this, ask yourself when was the last time you were put through a state mandated formal certification prior to having sex? We could do the same harm analysis for other fundamental rights like voting (read: wars, 17 trillion debt), speedy and public jury trials (read: Casey Anthony), or any of the other fundamental rights. Would you be ok with mandatory voting tests to avoid wars or procreation training (including hands on training) to avoid the proliferation of STDs? I wouldn't.
The crux of the issue is that there is a tremendous difference between what one SHOULD do, and what one SHOULD BE REQUIRED to do. When a test is placed in front of the exercise of any fundamental right it serves as a deterrent upon the exercise of said right. Voting tests would deter many from voting, just as shooting tests would deter many from exercising their fundamental, God-given, right to bear arms. In all reality, shooting tests would only serve to discourage the demographics most in need of the right to bear arms, like women, or victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes. My wife, though never the victim of a crime, would never have obtained her permit if some man like me was going to yell at her while she shot a gun in front of a group of strangers. Just as one SHOULD study about who they are voting for or SHOULD be sober when they decide to procreate, we likewise believe one SHOULD receive hands on training. We tend to believe people should do a lot of things, though we're not in the business of using coercive force (like that of a state) to compel others to abide by our "shoulds" in contravention of their civil liberties.
Hope that answers your question!
All the best,