by Sam Levin
Donald Crangle, a 52-year-old gun instructor in St. Louis County, is accused of conducting inadequate concealed-carry training classes and falsifying documents in the process. His arrest has raised questions about what to do with thousands of gun owners who got certificates through his allegedly shoddy classes -- and the safety risk he has created through his poor training.
Authorities first noticed suspicious activity when an applicant who took his class went to apply for a concealed-carry permit in Clayton, with documents saying he had completed the mandatory eight-hour training class that day. It was early afternoon.
A following undercover investigation revealed that Crangle was routinely cutting corners -- and getting away with it.
Officer Randy Vaughn tells Daily RFT this morning that police officials have not yet decided what to do about concealed-carry permit holders who got their training through Crangle's class.
He says he can't recall fraud of this nature with a local gun instructor.
The Post-Dispatch, which has an in-depth look at the accusations, says that Crangle worked with at least 1,770 people who now have permits based on his potentially very incomplete trainings.
And the P-D has these troubling details from the undercover investigation:
The law also requires demonstration of firearm safety, yet the officers said they saw one student turn the muzzle of a loaded weapon toward her own face after it jammed.
They saw another trainee fire at one target but hit the next one over, because of an improperly mounted laser sight. "Crangle told him, 'That's OK, at least you hit the center mass.'"
The official police report, on view below, says that Crangle, who lives on the 6400 block of Fort Bellefontaine Road in the county, is now facing a range of charges, including four counts of issuing a false certificate (a Class A misdemeanor) and three counts of a training instructor providing false information regarding the performance of applicant in a concealed weapon training program (a Class C misdemeanor).
Continue for more details on the charges and for the full report from county police.
In addition to classes that didn't meet the required eight-hour training period, as outlined in Missouri law, Crangle may have bypassed the mandated amount of shooting practice in statute.
State law says each student must shoot fifty rounds through a semi-automatic as well as fifty rounds through a revolver from a distance of seven yards. The student is then required to shoot twenty rounds from each weapon from a distance of seven yards and hit the silhouette portion of a target with at least fifteen of the rounds. St. Louis county has been issuing an average of around 700 concealed-carry permits per month this year.
Based on statements of two of his recent students, county police say, "He is not properly qualifying his students in accordance with applicable State Statutes and is knowingly providing false information concerning an applicant's performance of the required training."
After an investigation of the county police's intelligence unit, Crangle was arrested at his home on March 22, police say. He was formally charged on March 27.
Daily RFT left a message with his attorney this morning and will update if we hear back.
Here's the full report.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office issued formal charges Wednesday, March 27, 2013 on Donald W. Crangle, 52 years of age, of the 6400 block of Fort Bellefontaine, St. Louis, Missouri 63034 for four counts of Issuing a False Instrument or Certificate (Class A Misdemeanor), and three counts of Training Instructor Provided False Information Regarding the Performance of Applicant in a Concealed Weapon Training Program (Class C Misdemeanor)....
The charges were issued after an individual entered the St. Louis County Police Department Record Room located at 7900 Forsyth in Clayton, Missouri at 1:30 P.M. on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 5, 2013, requesting a permit to carry a concealed weapon (CCW). The police employee notified her supervisor when she observed that the Carry Concealed Weapon application appeared to contain fraudulent information. The form given to the employee by the applicant indicated that the training for the permit had occurred earlier that morning. State law requires a full eight hour training period before a certificate can be issued.
That information led to an investigation by the St. Louis County Police Department Intelligence Unit, which revealed that the licensed instructor, Crangle, had been fraudulently documenting training forms and not meeting the training requirements mandated by State Statute relative to a CCW Permit. Crangle was arrested at his home by investigators on Friday, March 22, 2013.
It should be noted that RSMo 571.111 section 2 requires that the instructor give eight (8) hours of firearms safety instruction. Subsection (2) of section 2 requires that the instructor ensure that the applicant demonstrates ability to safely handle both revolvers and semi-automatic handguns, as well as demonstrate marksmanship with both types of firearms.
Crangle provided Detectives with a completed St. Louis County Firearms Safety Instructor Form. The State of Missouri mandates that each student must shoot fifty rounds through a semi-automatic as well as fifty rounds through a revolver from a distance of seven yards on a B-27 silhouette target or something equivalent, as outlined in RSMO 571.111, subsection 2(9). After this exercise, the student is required to shoot twenty rounds from each weapon from a distance of seven yards and hit the silhouette portion of the target with at least fifteen of the rounds, as outlined in RSMO 571.111, subsection 2(10).
Given the statements from two (2) of Mr. Crangle's recent students, he is not properly qualifying his students in accordance with applicable State Statutes and is knowingly providing false information concerning an applicant's performance of the required training.