My letter to NRA’s Board of Directors

Lee’s note: I just emailed this to each member of the NRA’s Board of Directors.

Dear Board Member,

My name is Lee Williams. I am the senior investigative reporter at the Herald-Tribune, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Sarasota, Florida.

I also operate The Gun, a pro-gun website fully supported by my newspaper.

I recently wrote a series of stories about NRA’s “blended training” program, which requires beginner students to take the first portion of the Basic Pistol class online, and then complete their certification with an actual live instructor.

The program uses a computer to teach new shooters critical skills such as gun safety and shooting fundamentals, rather than an actual live instructor.

If you have time to read just the first story, “NRA wrong, and mum about online training requirements,” I am certain you will understand what needs to be done.

If you have any questions, I can be contacted easiest on my cell: (941) 284-8553.

With warm regards and respect,



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Carrucan Kurrajon on

    Eh, I am not impressed with these classes. My anecdotal experience in discussions with others is that these classes are largely comprised of the safety requirements, state-specific law requirements, followed by hours of non-standard, shooting-the-bull filler info left to the whim of the instructor. I know your concern is the protection of your income stream for these classes, but let’s be honest – these classes vary in content, vary in the level of skill and knowledge of the instructor, and likely serve no useful purpose other than satisfying a state requirement for concealed carry. The military uses computer-based training for millions of inductees. I was effectively trained in aviation electronics by computer courses in the early 80s, I was able to support navy aircraft after that training, and I retain much of that information some 30 years later. I see nothing wrong with establishing a base standard of firearms safety and handling information presented by a computer course, then in-person qualification from an NRA-certified observer of any required live-fire exercises. Sorry if this cuts into your revenue stream, but without a standardized curriculum, these courses are largely a joke. The “four rules” are probably being taught, but a class in Arizona is going to be much different than a class in Iowa, and that’s not right. Let’s standardize this thing and ensure national legal carry and end the reciprocity silliness. I’m not advocating for federal control or federal licensing, but there should be a standardized training regimen or curriculum that a state could require to ensure a CCW from Nevada has had the same training and acquired the same skills as a CCW from South Carolina.

  2. Bravo Lee. One of my best friends is an NRA instructor and he not only has serious issue with the new class structure, but has seen a serious drop-off in new applicants. I think the NRA has made a huge mistake with the new class system, but they won’t change it.

  3. Mr. Williams, fair letter, but may I suggest removing your cell phone number from the version the entire internet can see?

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