SDI Staff Attends IFSA GunLearn Seminar

  • SDI Admin

When offering an education in firearms technology, it is important that your staff be knowledgeable about the subject. Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) takes pride in the fact that they have a well-qualified staff of experienced firearms experts. And they recently took it a step further by sending three of their staff to St. Louis for the International Firearms Specialist Academy (IFSA) GunLearn Seminar. SDI President, Traci Lee, Vice President, Wesley LeMay, and Director of Faculty Services, Sara McGilvray, took the trip to St. Louis, and this is what they learned.

The IFSA GunLearn Seminar specializes in the training and accrediting of firearms professionals to become Certified Firearms Specialists. As written on the IFSA GunLearn website,, “CFS certification establishes that a person is a competent professional in the field of safe and accurate firearm and ammunition handling, and identification.”

While Wesley LeMay has a strong military background and is no stranger to firearms technology, Traci Lee and Sara McGilvray have strong backgrounds in education, but are relative novices in their experience with firearms. Despite the varying degrees of firearms experience among the three, they were all able to take away valuable information from their experience with the IFSA GunLearn Seminar.

The three-day event put on by® provided all attendees with a challenging environment regardless of experience. Traci Lee had this to say, “The course challenged the various levels of experience that were in the room, without completely overwhelming a novice like me.” Wesley LeMay echoed this sentiment, “This was my second opportunity to see Mr. Dan O’Kelly teach this seminar, and I continue to learn something new each time.”
Attendees were instructed on firearm safety, mechanical operation, ammunition, silencers, destructive devices, court testimony, gun parts, and categorization based on GCA and NFA guidelines. SDI staff was also educated on the firearms regulations surrounding the school, which utilizes 80% lower receivers and muzzleloaders. Follow-up discussions were engaged after each day’s lesson to ensure that each attendee could address all of their questions.

GunLearn Seminars are offered in person and as online-based programs much like Sonoran Desert Institute’s School of Firearm Technology. All of their instructors, including Dan O’Kelly, have at least 30 years of experience and are always able to bring a substantial amount of knowledge to the table.

SDI was grateful to have the opportunity to send staff to a seminar that could provide so much education in such a short amount of time. The fact that both experienced firearms experts as well as firearms novices came away with enough knowledge to feel comfortable fielding firearms-related questions speaks to the strength of GunLearn’s program. This seminar is highly recommended and the school’s staff can rest assured that SDI will continue to educate them through this program.

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