By Alexandra Frisbie
People from all different ages and backgrounds are signing up for Duane Hinkson’s pistol permit classes, the vast majority seeking one thing: safety through self-defense.
A self-described “advocate for reasonable gun laws and protections”, Hinkson—owner and instructor of CT NRA Instructor--understands second amendment rights but also appreciates the need for common sense gun laws.
“Guns shouldn’t be a political issue—everyone has the right to own one,” he explained.
A father to three children, Hinkson believes in responsible gun ownership. “I always make sure my gun safe is locked, out of reach, and the kids were never given the code,” he explained. “After you get a pistol permit, if you can’t buy a gun and gun safe at the same time, buy the safe first, because it is more important that you have a safe place to keep the gun before you actually have one. That is responsible gun ownership.”
“Once people learn how to use a gun and have been carrying for a while, most find that their lives aren’t in as much danger as they thought. Chances are they will never need to use [a] gun and they will discover that having the ability to protect and defend themselves and their family is probably the best thing about gun ownership,” he shared.
Hinkson had no interest in guns until 2007, when the Cheshire home invasion happened. He recalled thinking at the time that things like the Cheshire invasion “aren’t supposed to happen in Connecticut,” especially not in a quiet town like Cheshire. He realized that if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
His next step was to get a pistol permit. Once he obtained a permit, he wanted to practice shooting with his friends, but they didn't have their firing permits. So he became an instructor so he can teach them. Hinkson expanded his pistol permit instruction in 2008, when he began renting a classroom space in Bristol. Demand was high—more than 345 people signed up for his class in one day. He was the first instructor in Connecticut to work with Groupon. Because of this, he began offering instruction on the weekends and today he has a permanent space to provide classroom instruction year-round.
“Once people learn how to use a gun and have been carrying for a while, most find that their lives aren’t in as much danger as they thought. Chances are they will never need to use [a] gun and they will discover that having the ability to protect and defend themselves and their family is probably the best thing about gun ownership."
In Connecticut, residents without felonies or misdemeanors have several options to get a pistol permit and learn how to properly use a gun. NRA Basic Pistol Course classes do have a fee, and for those who choose to purchase a gun, the prices do vary. According to Hinkson, the best gun to buy is the gun that is best for you. “It’s the one you’re most comfortable with,” he explained.
During his class, he teaches students the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to own a firearm safely. Hinkson prides himself in providing the best instruction possible, limiting his classes to 10 people at a time.
“Some instructors run ‘permit mills’, meaning they try to get as many people permitted and make as much money as possible,” he explained. “But with 30 people in one class, not everyone can ask questions and learn how to properly handle a firearm.”
Hinkson is a member of the National African American Gun owners Association, the Black Gun Owner’s Association and the NRA.
To sign up for a Basic Pistol Permit class with Duane, visit CTNRAInstructor.com. Classes cost $150 and are completed in one day and include a classroom portion and a live firing portion at a nearby gun range. Use promo code SHOPBLACK to take $25 off your registration fee! Hinkson also provides weekend, evening and private instruction.
CT NRA Instructor is located at 171 Market Square Suite 203, Newington, CT 06111. Follow CT NRA Instructor on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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