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In 1995, then-Governor, George W. Bush, signed the Texas Concealed Handgun laws. After going into effect in 1996, the new laws allowed for eligible citizens to carry concealed firearms in public and areas not lawfully restricted. To be granted a concealed handgun license, you must be 21 years of age, or 18 years if you’re a current or former member of the armed services. As well, you must have a sound mind, cannot be alcohol or drug dependent, not be under an order of protection, have no outstanding delinquent fees to the court and have a completely clean criminal history.
There are quite a few mandatory steps one must take in order to receive their permit. While an application is needed to apply for a permit, you must show “evidence of proficiency” on your application. All applicants have to take a special class that covers gun laws, handgun use and storage of handguns, non-violent conflict resolution and a required shooting proficiency test.
The shooting proficiency test requires applicants to position themselves at specified distances and make a certain number of required shots. For example, applicants will be asked to stand at distance of 15 yards and fire two shots in six seconds, three shots in nine seconds and five shots in fifteen seconds. The entire test will require applicants to position themselves at distances of three, seven and fifteen yards and fire a total of fifty rounds.
In order to pass this proficiency test, a score of 70% or above is required for both the written portion of the test and the shooting proficiency requirement. Should an applicant fail the first time around, they’re allotted two more chances to take both portions of the test. While applicants are given three chances to pass the test, all non-passing scores must be documented by the instructor. These scores, like passing ones, are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Once someone has passed their test, the instructor will certify their completion and applicants will be on their way toward the next step.
The next step on the concealed handgun license application is providing identification documents. All those who wish to apply for the license must provide either their drivers license number, state-issued identification card numbers or an identification card of another state if the applicant is not a resident of Texas. All applicants must provide color photocopies of both the front and back of their drivers license or identification card before proceeding to the next step on their application.
Texas has strict photo requirements for the Concealed Handgun License. All applicants must provide photographs of themselves with their original license paperwork; however, new photos are not required for license renewal if the photo still meets the departments standards. If the appearance of a license holder has changed too much from the original photographs, they will be required to provide new, updated photos to the department. Applicants are encouraged to provide passport-style photos and not snapshots, photo booth pictures or full-length bodied photos.
Once applicants have their photos squared away, they must submit their fingerprints though the Fingerprint Application Service of Texas or via another service that’s connected to (FAST). All applications must remember to bring their proper identification to the fingerprinting requirement. The fingerprint recorder will verify the identity of the applicant, verify the applicants proper identification documents and record their fingerprints, so the applicants is free to proceed to the next step of their application.
All applicants will be required to provide their authentic signature if the on file with the DMV does not pass application standards. To establish proof of age, applicants can present their drivers license or a state-issued identification card, and everyone must submit their social security number. Applicants have 90 days to complete the entire application; after the 90-day grace period, the application will be terminated. After applications are complete and submitted, the department will notify the person within 60-days about the status of their application. Should the background check pass, applicants will have to wait up to an additional 180 days to receive their Concealed Handgun License. Once the license is received, it’s valid for exactly four years and will need to be renewed, along with a $70 renewal fee, by the birth date of the license holder.
When someone becomes an official Conceal Handgun License holder, they need to be aware of where they can and cannot have their firearm. License holders are restricted from bringing their firearms into federal buildings, schools, public sporting events, election polling locations, racetracks, correctional facilities and courts. As well, license holders are prohibited from carrying their firearm while intoxicated and bring any firearm to a business that makes more than 51% of their profits from selling alcohol; these businesses include bars, night clubs, taverns and any other establishments or events that serve and sell enough alcohol to fit the requirement.
Conceal Handgun License holders may carry their firearm in 35 different states.
This is called reciprocity; for each state that Texas has a reciprocity agreement with, there’s an accompanying legal document; for example, this is the reciprocity agreement that Texas has with Georgia.
License holders, prospective applicants or anyone interested in the demographics that pertain to Texas’ Conceal Handgun License, may view them online. People will able to access the following information:
- License Applications Issued
- License Applications Denied
- Licenses Suspended
- Licenses Revoked
- Instructor Applications Issues (instructors for the shooting proficiency test)
- Instructor Applications Denied
- Instructor Certificates Suspended
- Instructor Certificates Revoked.
Concealed Handgun Licenses will be suspended if the holder is charged with a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. Once a charge is acquitted, the license call be re-issued if it didn’t expire during the suspension. If however, if the holder is convicted of the misdemeanor charge, then their license will be revoked. Anyone with a class A or Class B misdemeanor conviction cannot apply for a permit unless the conviction is more than five years old, prior to the date of the license application. Online, license holders, prospective applications or anyone interested can view the Texas Concealed Handgun Laws and any new legislation.