Firearm experts hold training courses after Tennessee gun law change

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's been weeks since a law went into effect allowing Tennesseans to obtain their firearm permit through a 90-minute online course.

Now firearms experts in the Mid-South are ramping up their education and training methods in response to the new state law.

Hopeful instructors are in town for advanced NRA certification, while beginners are taking advantage of weekly classes.

In the shadow of the new Tennessee handgun law, the pros are happy to provide knowledge that can get lost on an internet test.

“We could not skimp on the most basic parts of carrying a handgun. Like handgun safety, actually showing me that you can shoot one safely, that you can handle one safely, and that you know the laws pertaining to carrying that handgun," said Will Dougan, Director of Training and Safety.

The new handgun law was controversial before it went into effect. In the few weeks that it has been active, there haven’t been any notable firearm safety related instances.

"I have heard of several people that have gone and gotten their license this way. But I haven’t heard of any instances good or bad, one way or the other," Dougan said.

Some experts hope that hosting an NRA instructor's course this early into 2020 is a sign that gun owners who feel proficient with their weapons are still seeking knowledge and safety. They hope anyone trying to acquire a handgun will still consider the old-fashioned route.

As of now, there are no Memphis-area firearm schools that offer the internet-only permit course.

The National Rifle Association’s legislative arm backed the new measure. But the Tennessee Firearm Association opposed it, contending that other states may refuse to acknowledge Tennessee’s existing handgun carry permits or only the new ones. The group also said adding the permit could get in the way of its goal of permit-less carry.

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