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Local firearms instructors react to changes in the state’s gun laws

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — The state’s new gun laws are now in effect. Lawmakers raised the requirements for people looking to get their hands on a pistol permit.

James Emmick with firearms training of Western New York is figuring out how to get people certified for a pistol permit under the state’s new requirements. Those looking to get their permit now need to log and prove 16 hours of training, including two hours of range time.

“It puts a huge roadblock in front of most instructors, it really does,” Emmick said. “They’re saying 16 hours, which is 2 days. It’s already tough for a lot of people to give up three hours. To take a three to five hour class, that your county requires to give up 2 days is a lot.”

While that training requirement seems daunting to those applying, local firearms instructors are saying they’ll be overwhelmed as well, and it will create a big lag time in training availability.

“There’s a lot of stuff the state is mandating people teach that they’re not certified to teach and the majority of them are not prepared to teach. Many of them will go out on their own and become proficient in teaching this but what this is going to do is create a huge lag time in people being able to apply,” Emmick said.

He’s also concerned not all instructors will be qualified to instruct the course under the new requirements.

“99 percent of instructors out there are certified to teach how to shoot a gun, how to hold a gun, and how to clean it and store it. All of that is included in the new law, but the new law also says those same people that are only certified to teach that, are, have to teach suicide prevention, federal gun law, state gun law, article 35 in use of deadly force,” he said.

He expects the course will be costly.

“You need a place to teach it, you need insurance, you need the guns, the amount of guns you need to teach all the students, ammunition,” he said. “We are having a really hard time figuring out how to teach this course to people and not lose money.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.

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