In September of 2013, Brian Kossof, founder and president of Concealed Carry of Illinois, began offering Illinois State Firearm Safety and Concealed-Carry to classes filled with men and a handful of women.
“To be honest, I wasn’t at all surprised by the male to female ratio,” stated Kossof, a Highland Park resident whose interest in firearm safety prompted him to become fully licensed to teach at the state certification level. “For the first few months, men definitely dominated the classes, which is what we all expected,” he says.
But then, a very noticeable change occurred. More and more women, as well as seniors, began registering for Kossof’s course. “It was interesting and exciting to see this kind of a shift” says Kossof, who noted that many of the women came with a female friend or accompanied their boyfriends or husbands. The seniors (the oldest of whom was in his 80s) either attend on their own or with a family member (typically a son or a daughter).
“In our experience, we noticed that women and seniors are primarily interested in educating themselves about gun laws and learning about firearm safety,” explains Kossof. “They aren’t necessarily taking the course to carry a firearm,” he adds. “However, they do want to know that they can safely handle a gun and protect themselves should the need arise.”
Kossof offers 16-hour, 2-day courses, which cover firearm safety and provide the gun safety requirements and firearm training needed in order to apply for an Illinois concealed carry permit. He also offers 8-hour, 1-day advanced courses, which are ideal for those with prior firearm experience such as former members of law enforcement, military personnel, and armed security professionals who want to obtain their concealed carry permit.
“We’ve found that a majority of women and seniors in our classes have never held a firearm before,” says Kossof, whose course includes hands on firearm training at an approved shooting range, as well as a variety of “real-world” scenario tests to sharpen the participant’s ability to react properly, accurately and responsibly.
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