MONROE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — There’s one key question surrounding the investigation of a Monroe Township gun shop owner killed when a weapon discharged in a conceal carry class.
Why was there live ammunition in the classroom in the first place?
Clermont County Sheriff’s investigators said James Baker died when a gun discharged during a weapon malfunction drill. The bullet passed through a wall and struck him in an adjacent room.
But live ammunition in a classroom goes against National Rifle Association guidelines.
Richard Conwell has taught NRA conceal carry classes for four years, and he said the only time he uses live ammunition is on the firing range. Same goes for his students.
“Myself, I would never have live ammo because you never know when somebody might see it and decide to put it in their gun, and then somebody could get hurt,” Cornell said.
In cases like the malfunction drill that killed Baker, Conwell said he uses a snap cap, which looks like the real thing, but is non-functional.
“I show them what it looks like and what you do if you misfire or anything like that,” he said.
When it comes to clearing a jammed weapon: “You’re supposed to keep your gun down range for 30 seconds when you have a misfire, and wait,” he said. “Once you’ve waited your 30 seconds, you drop your magazine and then you rack the gun back. That ejects the bullet that’s in there.”
Once these two skills are mastered, then Conwell introduces live ammunition.
“I want to see how well they interact with their weapon and how well they learn from what I’ve taught them on how to handle a gun,” he said.
Once sheriff’s investigators are finished with the report, it will be forwarded to Clermont County Prosecutor Vince Farris for review.