Sheriff investigating CCW instructor

By Tom Corrigan - [email protected]

A chief deputy for the Scioto County Sheriff’s office confirmed county law enforcement officials are looking into a Lucasville area firearms instructor regarding allegations he or she improperly conducted firearms training classes or improperly handed out certificates for completion of such training, training which is needed for persons to obtain Ohio concealed carry weapon permits.

Scioto County Chief Deputy Todd Miller said Friday he is “wrapping up” an investigation into the weapons instructor. Miller said the investigation had been ongoing for about six weeks.

Miller added he has contacted the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office regarding appropriate charges. However, as of press time no charges have been filed, Miller declined to release the name of the instructor under investigation. He did not discuss how the situation came to the attention of authorities and was unable to give a date for completion of his investigation.

Rick Jones is a local firearms instructor as well as the south-central Ohio spokesperson for the Buckeye Firearms Association. He said should problems be found with the firearms instruction classes given by any instructor, persons who used that instructor to gain a concealed carry permit may well lose that permit.

Jones talked about another case currently underway against an instructor in Akron. He said several years ago an Ohio instructor was convicted of selling course completion certificates without actually requiring buyers to take any training. Persons who had used the instructor lost any money they paid to that person and any who had gained a permit using that person’s instruction, lost their permit.

The Daily Times reached out to the Ohio Attorney General’s office to determine what penalties someone convicted of improperly awarding training certifications might face. The office did not respond by press time for this issue.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, state law gives county sheriff’s offices control over concealed carry permits. Persons must apply in their county of residence or in a neighboring county. A key requirement is completion of an eight-hour firearm safety course “conducted by an instructor who was certified by an official or entity of Ohio, another state, the United States Government, or a national gun advocacy group that complies with the minimum educational requirements.”

Sheriff’s offices statewide have the authority to determine if an organization qualifies to conduct firearms courses. Courses must meet certain minimum educational requirements consisting of both hands-on firearms experience as well as a written exam.

Rules are different for law enforcement officers as well as military personnel. All persons hoping to gain a concealed carry permit must pass a criminal background check and not have been deemed mentally incompetent, among other requirements.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, there are roughly 21 concealed carry instructors in Scioto County certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. There are likely additional instructors certified by groups such as the National Rifle Association.

Statistics on the attorney general site state in 2017 Ohio sheriff’s offices issued 131,345 regular concealed carry licenses, including 77,281 new licenses and 54,064 renewals. The state denied just over 1,200 permit applications.

Locally, in Scioto County, the sheriff’s office last year issued 711 concealed carry permits, with 509 of those being renewals. They denied applications in only three instances.

The Daily Times will continue to follow the investigation and update our readers to any new developments.

By Tom Corrigan

[email protected]