Americans are buying guns at a record pace, in the face of insecurities wrought by pandemic and social unrest. More than two million Americans have become first-time gun owners so far in 2020.

Many of those new gun owners — and people who are already well-versed in firearms — are seeking a concealed carry permit.

That’s no surprise to firearms trainer Shaun Curtain.

“We are constantly seeing new shooters who just want to be responsible with firearms,” he told The Nugget.

Curtain, who operates Firearm Training NW, has been traveling the Pacific Northwest for many years, conducting the required class that allows firearms owners to apply for their concealed carry permit, which is granted through county sheriff’s offices.

“It’s my full-time job, and I do it all across Oregon and Washington,” he said.

He will conduct a class on Thursday July 9, starting at 6 p.m. at the Ponderosa Lodge Best Western in Sisters.

Curtain said his classes are about evenly divided between men and women, and all age groups are represented.

The required class is not live firearms training.

“My class is the required class and I really focus on the law,” he said. “The class is really not about guns — it’s about the law.”

The content of the class includes deadly force law; interaction with law enforcement; and holster and weapon selection. Firearm Training NW offers both an Oregon-only permit and a multi-state permit. Oregon does not honor any other state’s permit, so if you want to carry concealed in the maximum geographical range, you must get a multi-state permit and the Utah multi-state permit.

Why do people choose to get a concealed carry permit?

Some people feel the need to carry on a regular or everyday basis; others simply want the legal ability to do so in certain circumstances or to be legally secure in transporting their firearms.

“It takes out a whole gray area,” Curtain said. “I would say more often than not, they just want the option.”

While live-fire training is not part of the concealed carry class, Curtain strongly encourages clients to seek out qualified instruction.

“Shooting has to be part of it,” he said. “We still want hands-on training. You have to be competent… I definitely try to steer people toward what the next class is.”

Curtain is an NRA-certified instructor in rifle, pistol, shotgun, home firearm safety, and personal protection inside and outside the home. He’s an NRA law enforcement firearm instructor for rifle and shotgun and he “trains the trainers” by conducting certification courses.

“I’ve certified lots of instructors in the Bend/Redmond area,” he said.

Curtain believes the ideal instruction environment is neither one-on-one nor a large class — to him, small classes are ideal because they allow for a good instructor-to-student ratio while providing a range of feedback and the opportunity to observe others in action.

Those interested in obtaining a concealed carry permit may find more information at www.FirearmTrainingNW.com. Contact Curtain at FirearmTrainingNW@gmail.com or 360-921-2071.