How To Know If A Course Is Approved
First, Section 571.111, RSMo, subsection 5 explains what is required to be qualified as a License-To-Carry firearms instructor:
5. A firearms safety instructor shall be considered to be a qualified firearms safety instructor by any sheriff issuing a certificate of qualification for a concealed carry endorsement pursuant to sections 571.101 to 571.121 if the instructor:
(1) Is a valid firearms safety instructor certified by the National Rifle Association holding a rating as a personal protection instructor or pistol marksmanship instructor; or
(2) Submits a photocopy of a certificate from a firearms safety instructor's course offered by a local, state, or federal governmental agency; or
(3) Submits a photocopy of a certificate from a firearms safety instructor course approved by the department of public safety; or
(4) Has successfully completed a firearms safety instructor course given by or under the supervision of any state, county, municipal, or federal law enforcement agency; or
(5) Is a certified police officer firearms safety instructor.
(The last three of the firearms instructor certificates listed above are known to be substantially harder to acquire due to a higher level of course difficulty and the time and money involved.)
In addition to the License-To-Carry course instructor having the proper firearms instructor certification, the course being provided must also meet all of the requirements listed in subsections 1 and 2 of the LTC Law (see Course Contents). A sheriff will typically ask an LTC course instructor to provide not only a copy of their certification, but a copy of their LTC course materials or syllabus as well, to make sure they do cover the required topics and have at least 8 hours of training scheduled.
The problem for the student is how to know if their sheriff will accept the LTC training certificate from their firearms instructor. The most straight-forward solution is to call the sheriff's department and ask. Most maintain a list of approved instructors for their county. (Alternatively, some departments do post their list of approved LTC instructors online, on their County or Sheriff's Department website.)
The Sheriffs' Association and all conscientious LTC instructors are concerned about two things:
1. Diploma mills - where "certificates" can be purchased without taking any training, and
2. Poor quality courses (aka "Billy-Bob behind the barn courses") - where a properly certified instructor runs a poor quality course for his buddies and "all comers" for the fee. (Apologies to any real instructors who may be named Billy-Bob!)
The latter is a big problem in particular because it could result in a student (who took a course in good faith) unknowingly breaking the law and getting caught, or possibly being involved in a "bad shooting" -- all because of misinformation received in the course. But such courses would harm us all! It could get the good law we have all worked so long and hard to pass restricted and revised in ways we don't like, or even repealed. We cannot allow this to happen.
Please be sure that any course and instructor you sign up with to do a course has both the proper certification and course that will allow you to meet the training requirements and get an LTC permit.
So that students who attend Learn To Carry courses can have confidence that their instructor's certificates and course will be approved by their sheriff and passes muster, I sent copies of my course syllabus, Instructive Curricula Vita, Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor certificate, and Course Completion certificate (from a course approved by DPS), as well as information that I am a current firearms instructor for the Hallsville PD, to every sheriff in Missouri in September 2003. My course has been approved in every county. Because I am qualified and teach firearms and use of deadly force to law enforcement officers, there is no way any sheriff could say I am not qualified to teach the same subjects to civilians. I have been teaching Defensive Weaponcraft for over three decades. (The student also receives a copy of the Learn To Carry instructor's training credentials with their course materials.)