Early in the pandemic, Governor Charlie Baker in MA shut down a number of business his administration deemed “non-essential” including gun shops, ranges and by extension via communication from the state police, Firearms instruction. You need to have a State Approved Basic Firearms Safety class certificate to get your Firearms ID card or License to Carry license.
Yes, you need a permit to own and possess firearms in MA. That’s another post though.
Instructors in MA were informed via email that they could not conduct classes virtually. Which was peculiar, since we have never been able to do that.
It turns out, they were contemplating a way to allow us to teach the class virtually. A few weeks ago, several of our MA based instrcutors were authorized to teach the Basic Firearms Safety Class, LTC-019, virtually with some caveats communicated to the students:
“This program is being taught online due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the state of emergency is in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the social guidelines instituted by Governor Baker.
If you are taking this online program with another person(s) in the same room, you should maintain a distance of 6 feet between all person(s) at all times. All other social guidelines regarding Covid-19 should be complied with during the duration of this program.
Because this program is live and interactive, you are encouraged to ask questions during the program.
You do not need a firearm with you in order to take this program. As such, we request that you not have firearms available to you while taking this program.
The live fire portion of the program is not required for you to successfully complete the program. As such, the live fire portion of this program has been removed from the online version. You are welcome, and encouraged, to participate in the live fire portion of the program for free after the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines have been lifted for the state. You are also welcome to take the entire live version of the Basic Firearm Safety Program for free after the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines have been lifted for the state.
You are required to familiarize yourself and follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws regarding the possession and use of firearms.
This program cannot be video or audio recorded without prior approval from the instructor.”
We pride ourselves on our class being hands on, with live fire, and lots of personalized instruction, so we convened a group of LGC instructors to talk through this, and determine if it made sense to sacrifice that portion of the class near term, to provide the service to interested students. The class is mostly lecture anyway, with huge focus on safety and legal matters, and technical demonstration of firearms operation.
The 2a rights of those students won out over any perceived loss in course quality. So, yesterday, we taught our first virtual class in MA. Our social Distance Learning series was hugely beneficial as well, so we were able to apply lessons from our other online classes here.
And now, we will help those students navigate a pandemic limited licensing process, and bring them, hopefully successfully, into firearms ownership.
We don’t know what the next few weeks will look like, but we are excited to help bring new firearms owners safely into the community.