Because of this loophole, a sham class is as legitimate as an National Rifle Association of America (NRA) class.
The courts must accept any piece of paper which states the instructor’s NRA identification number as a valid diploma.
It was only a matter of time until the above loophole was exploited and online vending machines were setup to dispense diplomas that had to be accepted by the court for the purpose of obtaining a Virginia permit to carry a concealed handgun.
On November 7, 2011 the NRA announced a change in training policy. In it, NRA instructors are no longer permitted to use the association’s name or state their NRA identification number. The text of the announcement is below.
Online diploma mills are nothing more than money making machines.
ANNOUCEMENT BY NRA –
Dear NRA Instructors and Training Counselors:
Due to NRA's long history of facilitating quality firearm training, the public expects a high standard for training programs bearing the NRA name. Maintaining the high quality of the training programs is of the upmost importance.
The National Rifle Association of America currently has no online firearm training courses. All of our firearm training courses (Home Firearm Safety excluded) have a shooting component on a range. Some NRA certified instructors have created online firearm training programs, and have issued certificates to individuals that take their courses, using the title NRA Certified Instructor. Under no circumstances may NRA's name or your NRA credentials be associated with any online firearms training course. If NRA's name or your NRA credentials are associated with a course, you must, among other things, actually work with the students, face-to-face, to allow you to evaluate whether they perform the safe operation of a firearm, and shoot with a sufficient level of skill. This policy applies to any course which might result in issuing any certificate that bears the title of NRA Certified Instructor, or if the course is associated in any way whatsoever with a certification issued by the NRA.
While NRA allows NRA Certified Instructors to use their titles in association with courses that are not NRA courses, as long as they make a very clear disclaimer that such courses are not NRA approved, the use of a disclaimer is not sufficient to allow you to use NRA's name or your NRA credentials in connection with an online course. In other words, your NRA credentials and the NRA's name, trademarks, titles identification numbers, etc. may not be associated with any online firearm training course, regardless of whether there is a statement that it is not an NRA course.
We have even found online courses with titles such as: "NRA CCW Course,"NRA Home Defense," and so on, that are not NRA sanctioned courses. NRA Instructors are not authorized to create a title of a course which includes "NRA," "National Rifle Association," or any other wording that makes a non-NRA course appear to be an NRA course.
Violation of these policies may result in revocation of your NRA credentials. If you have any questions concerning this policy, please contact the NRA Training Department.
Charles H. Mitchell
Manager, NRA Training Department.