Southern hosts concealed carry course

Delmar Haase, Carl Junction Police Chief, shows Rebecca Emery how to hold a gun properly during Saturday’s concealed carry weapons permit course.

Brandon Stokes

Delmar Haase, Carl Junction Police Chief, shows Rebecca Emery how to hold a gun properly during Saturday’s concealed carry weapons permit course.

In a dimly lit room that looks like a giant concrete box, 15 feet of rubber pellets enclosed in black matting against cover one wall to stop bullets. Paper targets depicting people hang on cardboard sheets suspended in the air. On the opposite side of the room, individual firing stations are lined up in a row, numbered and each equipped with a Smith & Wesson revolver and 50 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.

  “We’ll let you shoot. Bring them in and see if we need to do any adjustment,” Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Haase said.

  Haase teaches a concealed carry weapons permit course, open to the public, every third Saturday of the month. Travis Walthall, an officer with the Joplin Police Department, and James Altic, Seneca police chief, help with the class.

  “We teach safety, care, cleaning, loading and unloading of weapons as part of what’s required, and we use real, functional weapons,” Haase said. “I’m not training you to go out and be in a gunfight.”

  Rebecca Emery, a kindergarten teacher at College Heights Christian School, is one of 4,000 students who have taken Haase’s course.

  “I want the training so that I could defend myself,” Emery said. “We need to be able to do it safely. We need to have the training and know the legal aspects.”

  In the course, Haase rifles through a bullet list of topics like rounds coming out of a magazine. He teaches who legally is able to obtain a concealed carry permit, where weapons are not allowed, how to deal with police when you’re packing heat and which situations constitute the use of force.

  “To think quickly and make good decisions and know the right time to defend someone is the hardest thing,” Emery said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot if my kindergartners were in imminent danger. I do think I might hesitate if it were my life in danger. It is a moral decision. Having a gun in my hands lays the decision on me to decide who will live. Each life is valuable before God.”

  Walthall covers the safety and cleaning aspects of the course.

  “This is a Glock. It’s a 9mm. It’s a G17. That’s the model number. It’s very popular with the police,” Walthall said. “Make sure they’re free of live rounds or anything obstructing the firing chamber. Point it in a safe direction, and pull the trigger.”

  Taking the gun apart piece by piece, Walthall demonstrates how to properly dismantle and clean the gun using oils and brushes.

  Walthall also puts students in different police scenarios using a firearms training simulator where they are required to decide when to use deadly force.

  “It beats Nintendo all to pieces,” Haase said. “It’s an $85,000 video game.”

  The simulator gives insight into real scenarios and how to deal with them, but the training on the shooting range is what prepares people to defend themselves.

  “You’re going to shoot a man-sized target. You’ve got to hit it 15 out of 20 times,” Haase said.

Haase explains the order of commands to the group.

“I’ll tell you when to load and how many rounds to load,” Haase said. “I will tell you to charge your weapon, which means shut the cylinder. Make sure the sights are in good, clear focus and that the target is just a white shadow down there. No fingers on the trigger until I say ‘fire.’”

Six shots. One command.

Bang, bang, bang. The sound of gunfire rings throughout the range. As the bullets project through the air, small puffs of smoke emerge from the barrels of the guns.

Casings hit the floor, making a ‘ting, ting, ting’ sound that can be heard through earplugs and the shock of other shots fired.

After all the students had unloaded their weapons, Haase tells them to reload, wait and fire. The cycle continues for 50 rounds through the revolver before the guns are switched for a Smith & Wesson .22 semi-automatic. Haase explains this gun is a little different. It doesn’t have a rotating cylinder.

“To make them safe, drop the magazine and lock the slider back,” Haase said.

The process fires off the same way each time: how many rounds to load, when to charge the weapon, fire.

Practice rounds turn into qualifying rounds, and all eight people enrolled in Saturday’s course passed the requirements to get their concealed carry permit.

“I want to make sure none of my students go to the penitentiary or end up on trial,” Haase said. “Shooting people is serious business. You don’t want to do it if you don’t have to. Deadly force is the last alternative. You’ve got no other option. You take care of yourself to make sure you’re there the next day.”