Is anyone here a certified firearms instructor or range safety officer?

I am curious about what liabilities might be faced and how a certification and/or insurance mitigates that risk?

For instance, if someone organizes an “informal” group of people to shoot targets at the range whether it is a long range target competition or a ‘mini’ psa style course of fire, I am wondering what liabilities the person who organizes the event faces.

The official events have all participants sign waivers - I would guess - but what happens at the range or club level?

Just curious…

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James there are huge differences between Legal and Civil liability. Just because you do everything Legally doesn’t prevent someone from filing a Civil case. Anyone with two dollars can sue you. Not just pertaining to firearms, but simply walking out your own door can land you in court in this over litigious society.
Any thoughts @JoeFridaySays ?

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Law School exams typically have a multi-page hypothetical fact situation followed by one or two questions requiring the student to write page after page analyzing and applying the law to those facts. In one first-year civil law (torts) class, the Professor followed that approach and then asked, “Can A sue B?” expecting a detailed analysis in response.

One brave student wrote, “Yes” and turned in his exam. The Professor failed him and the student appealed. The faculty committee ordered the student be given an A since he had fairly answered the question posed.

So @TexasEskimo is right. Anyone can sue anyone. But there are risks including countersuits for abuse of process, court sanctions awarding attorneys’ fees, etc. if the litigation is found frivolous.

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I am an NRA Range Safety Officer and Certified Pistol and Rifle instructor.
I also specialize in commercial/business insurance. This includes Professional and Errors & Omissions insurance.

Certificates of Insurance do nothing to abate legal liability. A certificate of liability insurance merely states you have insurance at a particular time.
A certificate may include professional liability or just general liability insurance.

Do not count on your clubs policy to defend you in the event of a loss, buy your own. It will cost $300-400 a year. I do not support the NRA insurance program for clubs, the are more and better carriers.

You need General Liability insurance in the event you injure someone during instruction and Professional Liability insurance in the event someone claims your instruction causes injury to someone. ( You didn’t properly instruct someone to clear a firearm)

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@cico7 those are the things that I wanted to learn. My idea was to setup ‘informal’ groups to shoot some targets mimicking various styles: long range 100, 200 yds; 25, 50 yd precision, maybe some psa style targets. The more I think about the risk-reward (and cost) factors, the more I begin to think: “it’s just not worth it.”

I do think it may well be worth it to have something specific for shooting at public ranges - even just to cover casual conversation with the random shooters you encounter. Do you think the NRA certificates are recognized as “expert?” Ie: “…having or involving authoritative knowledge.” And then, are they worth getting even if you don’t plan to provide instruction or supervision?

Thanks for your insightful knowledge.

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I was a NRA Sworn Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor for over 10 years. In handguns and long guns.

I agree with all of the above posts. I could add numerous other suggestions, but I think you have you answer already. :wink:

Larry :innocent:

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@LarrySr , definitely thanks for knowledge and experience!

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My gun club has an “Events Coordinator”. I use them to book groups. They make money and get the liability.
Just a thought…

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I’ll check into that. Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes its worth the time because of the knowledge you gain and people you meet.
You can make money instructing people shooting and safety. Not much but and depends on how far you follow it.

I did it for 2 reasons:
Help with training scouts
To learn more about firearms, shooting, and doing it safely.

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The other nice thing is my gun club rents all types of firearms. Lots of common brands. You can even shoot a .50 cal Desert Eagle or fully auto machinegun (those cost a bit more. Lol). So the rental liabilty is pretty much on them. And… they sell ammo so people don’t have to bring any. Once again, liabilty shifts more to the range/club.

They do all the planning, and “resources” needed. They’re good at all the logistics. All I need to do is give the event coordinator the number of people coming and what they want to shoot.

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This is the rental section in my gun club. Seriously. Yeah… I know… looks straight out of a John Wick movie. :sunglasses:

I :heart: Frisco Gun Club :us:

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Wow! My club has 2 over/under 12ga they rent for $5 a day to trap and skeet shooters - lol - if they can find 'em in the closet. I am impressed!

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Wow!! a true orgasm store. :flushed: I can certainly see why you brag about your club.

Larry :innocent:

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Not exactly what I meant…teaching people how to shoot.

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@cico7,

Lol - i see what you mean. I am on the phone with the NRA trying to make some sense out of their curriculums. i understand education has become a product and it gets sold in the marketplace. but it seems like it is needed. gonna make a list and add up the numbers.

p.s. at my local range, instead of a cease fire flag, we have a 2x4 wood bar to drop across the doorway with a sign on it: “People Down Range - No Shooting.”

Some say they have it worded backwards and it should be: “No Shooting People Down Range” :wink:

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I am also an NRA firearms instructor.

This is on the NRA Instructor page. Usually NRA Instructors know this and especially those that are in commercial and business insurance.
If your range has no problem with you instructing there, hand the owner/manager a copy of your insurance. It protects them as well.

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No, instructor insurance off the NRA instructor site is around half of what you wrote for a year.
The insurance is low risk. NRA instructor courses require knowledge and are pretty comprehensive. At least 2 days per course ie, pistol, rifle, shotgun, reloading… Also you must pass the written exam above 90%…
The pretest for basic pistol instructor course for myself was NRA student certificate, flash shooting into a 9 inch circle from the low ready with 2seconds per shot at 10 yards. I also had to demonstrate clear fail to eject and one or two other things. This shows the instructor for the instructor course that the student is competent and knowledgeable in the subject material.
I also teach personal protection at the home which also requires a second 2A lawyer to teach liability and responsibilities. My prerequisite was an advance course certificate for a course that included strong/weak shooting from barrier and demonstrating all shooting positions. In personal protection in the house you will cover many different shooting skills moving along cover and concealment into a safe room with your family.
Very very few accidents occur during instruction courses. Good instructors maintain the students subject focus full time. Good instructors must not exceed their student to instructor ratio unless the course has second instructors or coaches.
As an example, a basic pistol course, correctly taught usually requires 6 hours minimum. A well taught course shows on the range. Positive and time saving. A shortened course also shows on the range. Negative and extended range time.
I have never failed a student and never had I had a negative range period. I have had students that I kept the certificate until the student demonstrated the requirements. I do not charge for additional time.
Accidents that do occur are usually always instructor negligence. Police instructors are usually the worse. The first thing to insure prior to every course is to verify that every gun is unloaded and no ammo in the classroom. This is the golden rule that is usually broken in Police instructed courses.
I have known instructors without insurance. And I have known owners to refuse instructors, instructing on their range without insurance. The owners liability is going to be much higher than the instructor if people or property are hurt or damaged.

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We are talking about insurance not instructors.
Good instruction for exceeds insurance.
CLUBS: Lockton reduced limits and dropped coverage. Not responsive to needs in my case. I found 2 other carriers lower rates to match coverage. Read the forms.
Individual- Professional liability very similar but both are written with Surplus Lines or Non Admitted carriers. Lloyds syndicates. You are better to find an admitted carrier.

There is so much more

Lochton reduced limits and removed the professional liability from the LLoyds syndicate policy.
Lloyds’ is a non admitted insurance provider which means you probably will not be protected by your states guarantee fund. That is not uncommon but there are admitted carriers that will provide coverage equal to or better than the Lochton’s product.

So yeah, if you are an insurance agent that deals primarily in business/commercial insurance and if you have worked in this segment of the market, you know this.

The easy part is read the forms. Not the highlights, the entire document.

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Good luck. In your case, instead of insurance it sounds like you should just have a lawyer on retainer to sue for damages and health care above and below the ground or, for your defense.
We have group activities all the time. The range has the last say. Read the owners rules/forms.
When you are on the range keep everyone in sight. I have witnessed lots of stupid stuff on the range. Don’t be afraid to bring stupid stuff to the attention of the Range Officer or any range staff. Most ranges do not have full time Range Officer on the range. Many use cameras and monitors that are not watched by a busy staff. And, most systems are “not” recorded.
Stay alert and never let guns move between the shooting line and a back table. This is what leads to line shooters getting shot in the back. All guns should be unpacked, loaded, unloaded and repacked on the line. The back shelf or table is for empty bags and other inert items. Just be smart on the range.

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