CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 100 North Carolina residents a year are receiving concealed carry permits without taking courses that meet the state standards, Channel 9 has learned.
According to Virginia State Police, 139 North Carolina residents received permits through Virginia last year. Virginia is one of a handful of states across the country which allow online courses, with no hands-on training, for concealed carry permits.
"I think good firearms training requires good hands-on training," said Dan Starks, a firearms instructor.
The course that Starks teaches meets North Carolina requirements. It lasts eight hours and includes a written test and time on the range.
However, North Carolina residents can avoid such training because reciprocity laws recognize Virginia permits in North Carolina.
"It's a problem we don't need to have," Starks said.
- WATCH VIDEO: Dan Starks on conceal carry class safety:
Eyewitness News took one of the authorized Virginia online courses to see what kind of instruction it provided. It consisted of a 10-minute video that addressed holding a firearm and reloading and cleaning the firearm, followed by a test.
After a little less than 14 minutes, Channel 9 was able to print out a certificate that could be mailed in, along with an application for a Virginia permit.
"I think the lack of hands-on training is going to give a lot of people access to firearms and be in an unsafe condition," Starks said.
But not everyone agrees.
"I think the idea that we should do something about Virginia permits is a solution in search of a problem," said Paul Valone, president of firearms rights group Grass Roots North Carolina.
Valone said it's not an issue because there is no evidence that people who have taken the Virginia courses have caused any problems.
- WATCH VIDEO: Paul Valone on Virginia's permit policy:
"If you can demonstrate that there is a problem from Virginia issuing permits the way they do, then we'll talk about it. But right now, nobody has demonstrated a problem," he said.
North Carolina lawmakers have previously introduced legislation that would end recognizing concealed carry permits from other states. That legislation went nowhere.
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