I think Cico7 is pretty much right on. I’ve taught firearms at 3 different police academies and for two different firearms manufacturer’s for over 40 years. I have more certs than you can fit in a large filing cabinet, and the fact is, being certified as an instructor opens you up for more liability than a lay person would incur. The only thing the certs do for you is allow to to get the insurance coverage. I’ve always carried my own insurance policy over and above what was provided by the institutions I worked for.
I’ve been fortunate that those policies have never been tested in 40 years of teaching.
@Taj , thanks and thanks to all for the excellent information. Great to hear from those who have first hand experience! Gives me lots to think about.
Of course having that cert makes you an “expert”. The court definition of an expert is someone that has more knowledge than the lay person. That being said, having that cert is what gets you sued, because you have more knowledge than the layman and are supposed to be able to impart that knowledge to the people you are instructing. They will always say, “you should have known better and corrected the problem before he shot himself in the leg”. Having experience helps mitigate liability because you will identify problems before they become too BIG. Documentation is also a big help, especially with problem students. My instructors kept copious notes on every student they interacted with along with a formal report at the end of each training session. It’s a PITA but pays off if something unforeseen happens.
That is a good thing if you are diligent and cautious but it also can bite you in the ass. “So given this documented history of irresponsible and dangerous behavior you nevertheless allowed him around others with a loaded firearm?”
We are not talking about irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Any instructor that allows any student to proceed through training that is acting in a dangerous and irresponsible manner deserves to get sued. Documentation is used to record learning short falls so remedial training can be implemented and tailored to a student either outside the normal learning curve or may have comprehension issues with the training syllabus being used. In 40 years of doing this I’ve testified as a firearms expert/ trainer in 9 different court systems (civil and criminal) and my methodology has yet to “bite me in the ass”.
Like I said, diligent and cautious. The fact that you have not been bitten attests to that - or luck.
You my friend have had a stellar career in that respect. Excellent. I have to commend you on that.
In general in my circle as a NRA and State law enforcement instructor. Being accepted as a certified expert in any court on firearms was the kiss of death. We did not want that.
But, times change in different places.
In my case I refused to get involved in any civilian training. All of mine was officers. So I really didn’t get involved any where near your level. Mine was a lot easier.
Not sure why it was the “kiss of death”. Almost all of mine were officers as well and the few non LE I trained were military personnel. Having been involved heavily with training and as a firearms examiner, most testimony was given on behalf of police officers after they’ve been involved in a bad situation. Many officers have a hard time articulating why they respond a certain way during a high stress gun fight or officer involved shooting. It’s usually because of training or often a department’s failure to train, which may mitigate liability on the part of the officer involved. I always felt it was part of my job to explain to the non LE public why an officer’s training or lack of training lead him/her to react in the manner they did. I never considered trying to help another officer an issue.
You maybe right, but I think most of us make our own luck.
That remark my friend has absolutely nothing to do with my remark.
Fascinating discussion, reading points from other people. Keeping it civil.
I have only worked with Scouts and programs using NRA and Scout programs that I followed. There is no pass or fail if the people follow the program. I do not certify people are safe to handle a firearm. There is a big difference training LEO or Military vs showing someone how to point and pull or carry a firearm.
I apologize if I misunderstood your direction on the issue. I just don’t understand why qualifying as a court expert is a problem for you and the other instructors and you didn’t elaborate. Your expertise/testimony as a trainer can often articulate details of an OIS that the officer involved can not. A big part of teaching LE/Military is not just marksmanship, but how to fight and survive with firearms, on the street and in the courtroom. Again, my apologies for misunderstanding your meaning.
All is well I sent you a IM. A wee bit long.
I’ve been an NRA Rifle Basic & Pistol Basic instructor for a long time. The state considers that enough for me to sign off people for state carry license. I have also been a club match director for 10 years. I have worked a paid job as a range officer at a public facility. I have certs as a range officer in at least one national discipline. I have even been a RO for the NRA World Championship match. Here are a couple of thoughts.
I don’t teach for money. I don’t teach strangers. I have only signed off two people for their CCW - both are long time friends, and both had been active duty Marines. I do help people learn to shoot, but informally. My biggest concern is about people I might sign off for a license. I’m waiting for the day when some instructor gets sued for something that a former student did. Even defending themselves in a righteous situation could end up in a civil suit.
The club-sanctioned events are covered by club insurance - but, while I wouldn’t want them going without insurance, they other side of the coin is everyone knows you have big $$$ insurance. People who want to use the club for paid instruction, or other match “trespass” groups, have to provide the club with insurance riders (I think they’re called) to the club’s insurance.
For matches, everyone had to sign a waiver. I’ve heard that they don’t actually protect the club, but I guess that’s been discussed in depth above.
I understand and respect the positions above regarding the law. I will say, though, if a jury will award millions of dollars to a person because they spilled hot coffee on themselves, we can’t predict what a jury would do - especially in the current atmosphere in parts of America regarding guns.
Thanks @ColoradoRick and everyone - excellent info. Truly helping me decide what, if anything, I want to do.
Waivers are usually to create a mindset. For everyone that says they cant get past a waiver I have a lawsuit that will show otherwise. I am not saying they are bad or worthless, just they are not iron clad.