Submitted by Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Joost
A concealed weapons firearm class will be offering this Saturday, Nov. 19, beginning at 9 a.m.
For many years, Madison County Sheriff Ben J. Stewart and Captain Mark W. Joost shared a vision of preparing the concerned citizens of Madison County for violent encounters. Our deputies are extremely proactive, but statistics show that the average armed confrontation last approximately 2.5 seconds and a total of 2.8 rounds are expended between both sides. A deputy could be on your front porch during one of these confrontations and still not be close enough to intervene. The sheriff’s office wants to assist concerned law abiding citizens in being prepared however they feel most comfortable. This vision became a reality when the sheriff’s office recently acquired the North Florida Community College Police Academy firing range in Cherry Lake.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office has been offering concealed carry weapons classes since April of this year. During this time, 45 students from Florida and Georgia have received training to obtain their Florida Concealed Carry Weapons permit. These students ranged in age from 18 to 70 years old. The National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) First Steps Pistol course is the foundation for the sheriff’s office concealed carry class. In addition, information is provided to ensure that each student is aware of what they can expect to take place before, during and after violent confrontations and how they, as individuals, can best prepare for these dynamics. This instruction is not the typical two-hour gun show concealed carry course. It is very important that you make a personal decision concerning what you are wanting to accomplish through the course you select. According to Captain Joost, there are basically three types of concealed carry courses. The first type is for those who just want to become barely legal. This may be fine if surviving an armed confrontation isn’t really a concern or a priority for you. The second type of course may enable you to barely survive. The third type of course offers you a WINNING foundation for you to keep building upon. This is the type of course we are offering through the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Our personal goal is to help you establish a foundation so that you WIN and not just merely survive. This class far exceeds the requirements to apply for the State of Florida Concealed Weapons Carry Permit for residents and non-residents. Your Florida Concealed Weapons Carry permit is honored in 36 states. These classes are taught by N.R.A. multi-discipline law enforcement firearms instructors who are active S.W.A.T. team members and U.S. military veterans.
The N.R.A.’s “First Steps Pistol” course will be used as the foundation for 4 hours of classroom instruction prior to 1 to 4 hours of firing range time. The time in the classroom and on the firing range will be based on each students needs and desire. A knowledge of firearms is not assumed or required. Everything is explained fully so that the student feels completely comfortable. Our instructors take the time to make sure that each student understands what they can, and cannot, do to be prepared.
COURSE TOPICS INCLUDE:
1) Handgun cartridges and components.
2) Handgun knowledge and safe firearm handling.
A) Semi-automatic pistol knowledge.
B) Revolver knowledge.
3) Fundamental firearm safety rules.
4) Handgun tactics and techniques.
5) Ammunition malfunctions.
6) Live fire shooting safety and proficiency.
7) Handgun maintenance and cleaning.
8) Holster selection and concealment techniques.
9) Outline of laws pertaining to Florida Con-cealed Carry to include:
A) Safety and responsibility by law of firearms around children.
B) Restricted carry areas.
C) Weapons laws.
D) Shoot/don’t shoot scenarios and use of force justification.
E) Escalation of force.
F) Interaction with law enforcement.
10) Less lethal options.
Our instructors, work violent crimes and deal with predators on a daily basis. We want to share with you the knowledge on how to prepare for, and win, a violent confrontation mentally, physically and spiritually. We are offering a sound foundation that you will hopefully build upon with us as we offer more advanced handgun classes in the future. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office will also be offering future classes for rifle, shotgun, less lethal options, intermediate weapons and unarmed self defense.
The cost of the concealed carry weapons class is $85.00. This includes a booklet, concealed carry weapons application packet including fingerprint card, firing range fees, ammunition, targets, professional instruction, personalized firing range time and course certificates. Fees will be used to pay instructors, pay for supplies, range maintenance and upgrades. Due to the small class sizes and instructor to student ratio, it is required that a non-refundable $50.00 deposit be received at the time of your registration. The balance will be due on the day of the class. There is a reduced rate for each additional member of a group. 45, 9mm, 40 and 38 ammunition will be provided for the practical portion of the class. Students who would like to participate in further training should bring additional ammunition. Firearms may be available for use if you do not have one.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office firing range is also now open on a limited basis for private citizen use. Captain Joost volunteers time on the firing range two weekends per month to assist interested citizens. The cost for use of the firing range is $7.50 per Saturday or $100.00 per year. This fee goes into a fund through the clerks office and is used for insurance, firing range maintenance and improvements. Captain Joost and other officers who may be present ensure safety and provide free instruction when requested. Captain Joost states that, after over 22 years of working violent crimes, his goal is to assist law abiding citizens so that they are prepared for, and not intimidated by, violent predators.
Captain Joost and Deputy Tracy W. Dowdy have taken the initiative to achieve N.R.A. certifications as Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Defense Inside The Home and Personal Defense Outside The Home instructors. The primary instructor is Captain Joost, who is a 10 year U.S. Army veteran as an Airborne Ranger with the 1st Ranger Battalion, Honor Graduate of the U.S.M.C.’s 8 week Scout Sniper school and a scout sniper instructor. He has over 22 years of law enforcement experience and is a law enforcement firearms, defensive tactics, TASER and less lethal options instructor. Captain Joost is the Madison County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. commander and he has prevailed in numerous deadly force encounters. If you are interested in the concealed carry weapons classes, other firearms and personal defense training or use of the firing range, you can contact Captain Joost at 850 519-0947.