NRA Carry Guard throws NRA T&E and others under the bus!

NRA Carry Guard 1Once again I'm writing about another slap in the face to the NRA Training and Education Department, the 125,000 NRA Instructors and Training Counselors as well as organizations like USCCA, 2nd Call Defense, CCW Safe and the Legal Defense Network. Most of this stems from 1 or 2 persons higher in NRA management that personally I think are trying to bring down the NRA from with-in. The same individual(s) responsible directly or indirectly for the Blended Training atrocity. According to my sources (and they are solid) this individual is Josh Powell the Executive Director of Operations and his staff.

I am an NRA Training Counselor and Life Member, and I am certified in just about all disciplines NRA has to offer, including Advanced Pistol, Personal Protection in the Home and Outside the home. I am also an SAF Training Division National Master Instructor, and have trained under Tom Givens, Spaulding, and many other top firearms instructors in the country. I was a an NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator for 7 years, I co-chair Friends of NRA Banquets every year, I’m also an NRA Recruiter as well as an NRA Speaker when needed in this area.

I am writing today to address some of my concerns about NRA Carry Guard and the way this has been rolled out and the way it is being marketed. I also have some other concerns on the course the NRA is heading. One of my biggest concerns with Carry Guard stems from a recent post on the NRA Carry Guard Facebook page stating that NRA Carry Guard is the “ONLY Firearms Carry Program developed and supported by the National Rifle Association".

With that single post NRA immediately negated every one of the 125,000 NRA trainers (Instructors, Training Counselors & Coaches) out there and the entire NRA Training & Education Department including its advanced pistol and personal protection outside the home courses. It’s like none of us even exits! Quite frankly, this has to be one of the stupidest things I have seen NRA do since they threw the Blended training fiasco down our throats essentially killing NRA's flagship class which will never be the same. There are very capable and competent NRA trainers in every state of the union... many with better reputations and credentials then these trainers selected to be the NRA Carry Guard Instructors. Don't go looking for their credentials however, cause all you need to know is EX Navy Seals.

They not only threw NRA Training and Education under the bus, but just at the last moment ejected all competition to NRA Carry Guard insurance from the NRA Annual Meetings a week before the conference. This included USCCA which also provides CCW Insurance after a buy out of USCCA by NRA failed. This is usually not how NRA plays and this is an absolute horrible trend for NRA to start - but I guess there is new management in town. In order for the 2A community to continue to keep winning more battles than we lose - we must all work together, however the NRA has created many more enemies in the last 2 years and those are large organizations within the 2A community. Watch out for friendly fire!

NRA Professional & Experience Trainers & Public Opinion (Offensive VS. Defensive Training)

Instead of NRA joining forces with their own trainers and working with the excellent resources that they have available to them, they chose to lose a potential 125,000 member sales team to sell Carry Guard - namely all NRA Trainers. A sales team with a very large student base nation-wide. One almost has to laugh at some of the decisions being made at NRA, but here is NRA once again showing that it completely disregards us and goes outside to find some no name trainers no one has ever heard of. Seal team training, military training never does and never will equate directly to training civilians in concealed carry. Someone who is ex-military even an ex-military trainer is not necessarily qualified to train civilians in concealed carry training since it is two completely different worlds.

carryguradexpert2Military training is offensive in nature but in the civilian world it is defensive training. Military and law enforcement are trained to run to gun fire while civilians should be going the other way. Civilians using military tactics will get the you in trouble really fast with the law if not dead. Also, think of the way it looks to the public that now the "NRA is using Navy Seals to teach civilians on how to kill people". This is how the headlines are going to read once the anti-gunners figure it out, and they will. This is truly not the image that NRA wants to portray for the average home owner or concealed carrier that simply wants to protect himself and his family. 

I'm not questioning Navy Seals or their training, they are the very best at what they do. However, this entire program has not been marketed correctly, images of these top trainers with multiple safety infractions that conflict with existing NRA gun safety rules and simply poor form is not enticing to me to sign up for a $850 class.

Please note, in defense of James Jarrett (pictured above) he has had his entire hand reconstructed around the gun due to a grenade accident, but non-the-less why would anyone, especially Ackerman-McQueen* select this image and others to promote a program such as Carry Guard. 

*Ackerman-McQueen handles all of the advertising and marketing for the NRA and the NRA Carry Guard Insurance and NRA Carry Guard Training programs. They have worked for the National Rifle Association since the 1980s and the relationship has been called one of the strongest in the advertising field.

Liability, Use of Force and State Laws

The way NRA Carry Guard was rolled out leaves the NRA vulnerable to many laws suits. I'm not sure what CG is teaching as far as use of force and whether they are even paying attention to varying state laws and use of force thresholds. But this kind of needs to be address. Every state has different laws in the use of force, carry permits etc. With NRA Carry guard being a new program, I'm sure these trainers are not versed in all the state laws where they are teaching, many states will not even accept this training for CCW permits. It is also, simply irresponsible if they are teaching these tactics without teaching the use of force laws, criminal code etc in these various states, as well as prevention, situational awareness and deescalation techniques. Again, using your own internal trainers in their own states and using the Personal Protection Outside the Home course and the Defensive Pistol Course taught only by Advanced Pistol Instructors where they actually do teach state law, federal law and use of force specific for each state would have been a more intelligent idea with much less risk of liability to the NRA.

19958969 1022654254536420 2899803065688866536 nHigh Cost of Training and Limited Access

Using the current NRA trainers would also have had a big advantage since we are available in every state, and roll out of Carry Guard Training would have been available in every state almost instantly because we are a cadre of very competent trainers with many of us being ex-Military, ex-Law Enforcement with a large base of students already. And we have gone through the civilian training and have been teaching it for many years. The way this is rolled out, we now have a couple classes in remote areas of the country with a class price of $850 dollars per level. YIKES!!! I have news for you, that is way too expensive. There also lacks a course description, if you want people to sign up for a $850 class, pay travel, airfare, car rental. Meals etc, you've got to tell them what they are getting in return. NRA Carry guard says nothing about the syllabus or what they will learn - just a lot of hype. I'm starting to think no one at NRA thinks about these decisions, does any market research or talk to anyone internally. What Carry Guard should have had, or could have had is a roll-out in all 50 states with the professional trainers the NRA already has in place.

NRA Carry Guard is also being sold as the "Gold Standard" of training, yet visit this page at the NRA Education & Training Department https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ and you'll find the "Gold Standard" of training reaching 1 Million people a year. NRA Carry Guard will never even come close to training even 1000 people a year without the help of NRA Instructors, Training Counselors and Coaches.

In their defense however, they have thrown us a bone saying that any NRA Instructors, Training Counselors, Coaches active and retired military and law enforcement can sign up to become trainers... That was months ago, but when anyone ask about the training, cost details, they are either not responded to or they get shut down.

Sub-Par Insurance

I understand that NRA tried to purchase USCCA and when that deal fell through decided to bring to market a sub-par insurance backed by secondary lines insurers like Lockton and Chubbs. The fact that the insurance does not help members during the course of the trial does not help them, reimbursement only after acquittal is nice but kind of useless when you need the money to pay for those high priced lawyers and expert witnesses. Truthfully, I carry USCCA insurance because to a jury I bought a membership which included insurance with it, as opposed to going out and buying insurance specifically, which looks really bad to a jury, and a prosecutor would certainly use that against you. I can see how it plays out in court, "You went out and bought self-defense insurance, you must have been planning to kill someone." See the comparison chart I've included below of a head to head with NRA Carry Guard vs. USCCA. Larry Vickers also seems to be 100% behind CCW Safe which is technically not insurance but legal assistance. No matter what you chose, defending your liberty in court can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, most families don't have this, so you need assistance during the trial, not after.

It is absolutely deplorable that the NRA would market such a terrible product to their members that falls so short and will deliver nothing until after the trial is done and you are found not guilty.  It's really too bad for you and your family if you are found guilty becuase they will have to deal with all the bills from your trial which most likely will end up in bankruptcy. This is not my idea of insurance, insurance is suppose to help you when you need it not when you don't. I'm just waiting for the first sucker that needs this insurance on a self defense claim, files a claim and the Insurance company tells them - yes, we have your claim, let us know when and if you are acquitted.  It is simply unbelievable and unethical to me that the NRA could take advantage of their members in this way.

!!! READ THE POLICY HERE - DECIDE FOR YOURSELF !!!

vickersNRA Carry Guard will Fail ~ bringing more disgrace to the NRA

These of some of my concerns and I am sure that many NRA trainers are feeling just as left out and discourage as I am. What is the future of the NRA Training and Education Department and is it ethical to even be doing NRA Personal Protection Instructor classes any longer since NRA now considers Carry Guard the gold standard of traing.

I predicted the failure of Blended training and I predict the failure of NRA Carry Guard as well. Bringing a product to market should not make this many enemies from within or even outside the organization. The are many NRA Trainers that have already left NRA because of the Blended training fiasco, do you think that the rest of us are going to help NRA Carry Guard, probably not! Many of us have very large student base and they usually ask us our opinions first before buying these programs. We are the NRA boots on the ground... I believe NRA should consider looking at us as part of team instead of constantly pretending we don’t exist. The entire reason Blended Training failed is because of how it was presented to us, so most refused to partake, created their own programs and continue to teach those. In my opinion Carry Guard was done all wrong, marketed all wrong, and from a management point of view fails miserably for not using the outstanding available resources the NRA already has.

FIRE Josh Powell and his Staff.

Frankly, based on NRA Carry Guard and the Blended training fiasco… I think Josh Powell and his staff should be fired. Truthfully, I think he is deliberately trying to discredit and hurt the NRA or he is just simply over his head in his current position. Bad business decisions without the necessary market research and thinking things through is going to destroy the NRA from within, they can’t keep doing this. A big question I have is how did they ever convince Uncle Wayne that this was crap a good idea.

I know many members that have been alienated for many different reasons including kicking out USCCA and all the other competitors out of the annual meetings, this is not the NRA way at least the NRA that I know. Good pro-gun people are turning away from the NRA in droves. As a recruiter, the #1 complaint I get about the NRA is the constant and relentless phone calls and emails looking for more money, I wonder what the members would think about the NRA is spending millions of dollars advertising the NRA Carry Guard program instead of protecting their gun rights, or that Josh Powell takes an annual salary of $550,000+ for what? All wasted money!! 

The sad part is that WE ALL LOSE, becuase the strength of the NRA is it's members, and taking advantage of your members will make for a mass exodus from NRA, if this happens how long is it before we all lose our rights - and it's already begun... We need the NRA to run the straight and narrow, and bring the industry together, not tear it apart.

I spent 25 years in management (as an Engineering Supervisor) for a 100 million dollar company and have launched many new products in my time and this is truly sad to watch. The NRA Board of Directors needs to stop the bleeding and I mean soon.

Let the NRA know how you feel.

If you share some of the same concerns that I do, let the NRA know how you feel by writing to the Board of Directors at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the CEO Wayne LaPierre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also send letters to the Board of Directors at:

National Rifle Association
NRA Board of Directors
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

NRA Board of Directors are:

Allan D Cors J. William Carter Richard R Childress
Allen B. West James S. Gilmore III Robert J. Wos
Bert Shelton James W. Porter Robert K. Brown
Bill Miller Joel Friedman Robert Nosler
Blaine Wade Joeseph P. DeBergalis Jr. Ronald L Scmelts
Bob Bart John C Sigler Ronnie G. Barrett
Carl T. Rowan, Jr. John L. Cushman Sandra S. Froman
Carolyn D. Meadows John M. Allbaugh Scott L Bach
Charles L Cotton Johnny Nugent Sean Maloney
Clel Baudler Karl A. Malone Steve Hornady
Craig Morgan Lance Olson Steven C. Schneider
Curtis S Jenkins Larry E. Craig Susan Howard
Dan Boren Larry Sisco Ted Nugent
David A Keene Linda Walker Ted W. Carter
David Butz M. Carol Bamberry Thomas P Arvas
David E. Bennett Marla Heil Timothy Knight
David G. Coy Marlon P. Hammer Todd J Rathner
Don Saba Matt Blunt Tom Kling
Donald E. Young Mercedes Schlapp Tom Selleck
Dwight D. Van Horn Oliver L North Wayne Anthony Ross
Edie P. Fleeman Owen Buz Mills Wiles K. Lee
Ester Q. Schneider Patricia A Clark William A. Bachenberg
Grover G Norquist Pete R. Brownell William H Allen
Herbert A. Lanford Jr. Peter J. Printz William H. Dalley
Howard J. Walter R Lee Ermey William H. Satterfield
J Kenneth Blackwell    

Let me know your comments below.... Do I have legit concerns or am I barking up the wrong tree.


 

uscca vs carryguard

Another Comparison

Here's another great comparison of the programs at the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network  https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn/support-plan-comparison


UPDATE 08/7/2017:

Obviously someone at the NRA has taken notice of this article. In the past week they have been posting on the NRA Carry Guard Facebook page encouraging people to signup for NRA Basic Pistol Classes, Personal Protection in the Home and Personal Protection Outside the home classes. So they are now starting to throw us (NRA Instructors) some bones. 

Then today, this happens as it appears the people over at NRA Carry Guard have now been appointed as head of the NRA Training & Education Department. Now isn't that convenient.  I'm still processing this and what it means for NRA Training & Education Department, is it going to be phased to be replaced by Carry Guard, is the NRA going to move into more tacticool classes, are we going to be incorporating Seal Team Training or is it going to be business as usual. We shall see, I guess!

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Who is Suitable? A Personal Story

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by Michelle Levell, Chairwoman

micehlleTurns out that the answer to that question is surprisingly difficult. I thought that when I submitted my Pistol Revolver License renewal in early July that it would be a simple process. I could not have been more wrong.

In January of this year, I attended the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Senate Bill 116, the bill that would clarify the requirements for applicants seeking a Pistol Revolver License. I heard testimony from numerous people who were denied by their police chief for arbitrary and subjective reasons. Later in March, I heard more people speak to this same problem. Why was it so difficult to determine who could have a license?

It turns out that the requirements are undefined. The criteria rests on who local law enforcement believes is “suitable” enough. And believe it or not, "suitability" is not defined anywhere in statute. SB 116 sought to define it as anyone who is not prohibited by New Hampshire or federal statute from possessing a firearm. These prohibitions are clearly spelled out in statute and include a number of exclusions including felons, unlawful users of controlled substances, and those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

Also in March, the Women's Defense League of NH revealed the discriminatory origins of NH's Pistol Revolver License. There are clear ties connecting statutory creation of the license to the Amoskeag Mills strike in the 1920s, a device intended to punish and effectively prohibit firearms ownership and possession by ethnic minorities. Nearly 100 years later, the NH license statutes enacted at that time are largely unchanged today. SB 116 would have removed the subjectivity from the statute by defining "suitability" and removed this discrimination from NH law.

Unfortunately, Governor Hassan ignored the nine decades of discrimination and vetoed SB 116; worse, the NH legislature failed to override it. The vague and subjective "suitability" criteria stands in current NH statute.

I am not a prohibited person; in fact, I've never even gotten a speeding ticket in my entire driving history so I thought there would be no question about getting my license renewed. I received my first PRL from my police chief in 2007, and I expected the second renewal to be a simple process.

The actual application is pretty straight forward. There are a few questions, asking if you have been previously denied a license or if you are an unlawful user of controlled substances, a felon, etc; all in keeping with the federal and state definitions of a prohibited person.

The form also requires three references and their addresses, which I supplied. One of my references was a friend I listed on previous applications. The only difference is that this year I did not supply phone numbers. The form does not have a space for this additional information nor are they required by statute. However, my hometown police department wanted them and even told me that my license would likely be denied if I failed to provide them. While I understand that phone numbers would be convenient and expedite the process, I have a personal policy of not providing information beyond what is required by law.

As required by NH statute, the police have 14 days to either issue the license or decline it with a written explanation. But several days into the process, I got a reminder phone call from one of the police captains, again wanting my references' phone number. I again declined to provide them. Apparently, the PD did not send out correspondence to my references when I dropped off the application.

This set off an odd series of written exchanges with my references. Apparently, the inquiry letter from the police department did not state what information they wanted in order to determine my "suitability" so my friends were not sure what to provide.

Ultimately, the police chief gave me a written denial of my Pistol Revolver License because they were unable to get substantive information from my references. This made no sense to me because when I gave phone numbers on previous applications, my references were never even contacted. Further, I have also served as a reference several times for friends and was contacted only once by a police department. Per state law, the default is to issue a license unless there is evidence to deny it.

I was quite stunned by this unpredicted turn of events. I had submitted a complete and accurate application. This was a renewal and the same police chief had granted my license twice before. However, today I have a very public profile on social media and even ran for office in 2014. I have a blog and am involved in multiple non-profit organizations across the state. What could be the hang up? Did the police chief disagree with my political positions from my campaign? Did he not like my advocacy work for school choice and Second Amendment rights? Maybe he didn't like that I'm a former homeschooling parent. Unfortunately, because of the undefined "suitable" terms in the current statute , the chief could have held any of the above against me and as such, found me not “suitable”.

Astonishingly, I found that according to state statute, my only recourse was legal action through the district court and I hired attorney Evan Nappen to represent me. I was not innocent until proven guilty. NH's process forces law-abiding citizens to take time off work and spend significant money to file with the court. Hiring an attorney costs even more and because not all aggrieved people have the resources to pursue a legal remedy, in addition to discriminating against ethnic minorities, the law also favors the well to do.

To add insult to my injury, this should have been an expedited hearing but the court cancelled and rescheduled my date twice on the vaguest of excuses. The hearing was finally held on October 28, 2015, a full 112 days into my application process.

The prosecuting attorney representing the police department had the burden to show the court "clear and convincing proof" to deny my application. He couldn't find it. In fact, after calling two of my references to the witness stand, the judge, the Honorable Robert S. Stephen, quickly ruled in my favor, and ordered the police to issue my license.

Shortly after our hearing concluded, my attorney received a call from the police department indicating that they would have my license available immediately. They also offered to correct the unlawful statements on their website that indicated the applicant's and references' phone numbers were required.

This was a big win, not only for me personally, but for residents in my town, lawful firearms owners across the state, and police departments.

This case shows how capricious and arbitrary "suitability" is as the criteria for granting a Pistol Revolver License. It also highlights the potential liability police departments face when trying to process the applications. Although I could pursue this case further to the Superior Court to get reimbursement for my attorney fees, I will not do so. It was my intention all along to get my license, and I have it now. However, I think the issue should move forward with the legislature and public.

There are several Legislative Service Requests (LSRs) already filed for the 2016 legislative session. The discussion regarding "suitability" is far from over in the New Hampshire House and Senate. These LSRs will become bills that will be debated in committees, likely in early spring.

Why not define "suitable" as being consistent with New Hampshire and federal statute and provide unmistakable requirements for determining whether or not an application should be approved or denied?

Why perpetuate a law with origins in hatred and bigotry? Discrimination in any century is abhorrent and must end.

More than ever, I believe that suitability must be defined in statute for the protection of law-abiding citizens, police departments, and the taxpayers who ultimately would be responsible for any judgment against the police. To leave NH statute and the Pistol Revolver License vague is to leave our police and towns exposed to needless lawsuits.

I hope this experience accomplished more than restoring my Pistol Revolver License. I hope it allows law-abiding citizens and police departments to work together to find a reasonable definition of suitable so other firearms owners and towns do not have to go through what I did. Thankfully, I reached an amicable and satisfactory solution with my police department that can be a model for other departments and pave the way for a positive legislative solution.

Tags: HB-582, Michelle Levell, New Hampshire, pistol license law NH, suitability, NH Pistol Revolver License

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