Texans now need less training for concealed handgun licenses

CHL-1

By Anna M. Tinsley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 08/31/13 – Ambitious plans to let Texans openly carry handguns throughout the state — and to let college students carry concealed handguns on campus — fell by the wayside during the legislative session earlier this year.

But lawmakers pushed through several less far-reaching measures, giving Texas gun owners more freedoms — shrinking the required training time for those seeking concealed handgun licenses, letting CHL holders leave their weapons in parked vehicles on college campuses, even letting Texans renew those licenses online without taking a renewal class.

“It’s a mixed bag,” said Curtis Van Liew, a concealed handgun license instructor who lives in Watauga.

A number of gun proposals that passed the legislature and were signed by Gov. Rick Perry  become law Sunday.

Critics say they aren’t sure lawmakers made any headway with the new laws.

“I don’t know that any of the laws made us safer,” said Marsha McCartney, a spokeswoman for the Texas chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “But they made it easier for people who have concealed handguns. I guess that was the goal.”

Some of the gun-related laws that go into effect today include:

Training time

Texans seeking a concealed handgun license won’t have to spend as long in the classroom as their predecessors. Training time generally will drop to between four and six hours, from the current 10 to 15 hour requirement.  SB 864

“Fifteen hours is too long, but with passage of this bill I will quickly be getting my CHL,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, and author of the measure.

Van Liew said he isn’t convinced this is a good idea.

“I don’t think you can cover everything you need to cover in 10 hours, much less four to six,” he said. “But I think there will be a big influx of students once the new laws go into effect, especially with less training time required.”

Carrying weapons

Texas CHL holders may now store their handguns in their locked vehicles parked on college campuses. “This is a simple matter of fairness,” said state Sen. Glen Hegar, R-Katy. “Why should everyone but the student have the right to protect themself as they travel to and from campus?” SB 1907

Hotels and motels would have to give advance notice if they prohibit firearms at their facilities. Apparently some travelers were confused about where they could carry their concealed weapons because gun policies are not necessarily detailed in a hotel’s transaction terms or conditions. This measure requires hotels officials to make their CHL policy obvious to hotel guests, putting it on their reservation website and informing customers over the telephone.  HB 333

Texans have always been responsible for covering up their concealed handguns and now there are new protections if they accidentally display their weapon. The wording changes to make it an offense if a CHL holder intentionally displays a handgun “in plain view of another person in a public place.”  SB 299

Other measures

Reducing some renewal fees: This measure drops the cost of CHL renewal fees to $25 for reserve peace officers and honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. military — and correctional officers who work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The normal renewal cost is $70. HB 485

Eliminating continuing education courses: Texans with concealed handgun licenses have long had to take a continuing education class to renew their licenses. No more. Now, the permit holder has only to submit a renewal application and payment to the state — and sign “an informational form that describes state law regarding the use of deadly force.” Licenses would still have to be renewed every five years.  HB 48

“Renewal students are the scariest students — about half haven’t shot their handguns in five years,” Van Liew said. “Now they won’t have any more training? It’s a little unnerving.”

Making fingerprints: When applying for a CHL, applicants must submit two complete sets of copies of their fingerprints. But that can be hard for those who live in rural areas, far from an approved facility. Now the DPS must come up with a system for those who live in smaller Texas counties and not within 25 miles of a facility that can process electronic or digital fingerprints.  HB 698

No matter what the changes, Van Liew said it’s important for Texans to legally be able to protect themselves.

“The police can’t be everywhere you need them to be at all times,” he said. “It’s up to individuals to protect themselves.”

Anna Tinsley; 817-390-7610

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/31/5122977/texans-now-need-less-training.html#storylink=cpy

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3 responses

  1. I didn’t know that concealed handgun permit holders didn’t actually have training in the state of Texas? I think it’s great that the state of Texas is looking out for its citizens by expecting training for the handler. I think it a great practice to put this law in action for every state (even if it doesn’t make much headway). Thank you for the lesson in preparation for a firearm handlers permit.

  2. Matthew Steggall | Reply

    Not sure why I need to attend another conceal class after moving here from another state. My current license is up to date and the state required 10 hours of class time. The reason for moving is that I’m a retired military veteran. The state is awesome for waving all fees on the state level for applying for a license. I’m just not sure if I want to pay for another $100 for a class that i could teach.

    1. parkercountyblog | Reply

      In response to your inquiry concerning out of state Handgun Licensing.

      I taught the HL class for 21 years, giving up my certificate this past year. In addition I am a licensed TX Peace Officer.

      You did not mention what state you have a license from so I will assume it is one that has reciprocity with Texas. As you know many states recognize license from other states, as long as each has essentially the same curriculum in their courses and the governors of each of the states have signed formal reciprocity agreements. There is not a standardized matrix for handgun training. Each state has their own idiosyncrasies when it come to where you can carry and authorized use of force. Many states have Stand Your Ground Laws (Texas calls it Castle Doctrine) but they are not uniform thru out the United States. Having a license from one state does not assure you that you know the law of the state you are in and you are required to obey the laws of the state you are physically in at the time not the one you have the license from.

      Your non Texas license will likely remain valid when you establish a Texas address, depends on your state law, and you will be able to continue to carry in states that recognize your former state of residence license. However, to be correct, as well as safe, you should obtain a Texas License if this is where your permanent residence is established. (within 30 days you need to also obtain a TX drivers license)

      As long as everything goes well and you are not in a shoot situation life will be ok. However if it goes bad and you end up on the witness stand in either a criminal or civil trail it can get ugly. For instance,the plaintiff’s attorney asks you where you live, then he will ask do you have a license to carry and you will say yes, then he asks from what state and you say xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. He will then ask ok Mr. xxxxxx, as a permanent resident of Texas why don’t you have a Texas License to Carry and then you say because I did not want to spend the money to obtain the training in order to get one. He will then turn to the jury and inform them you are trying to plead willful ignorance which means you just lost the case.

      You should be able to find a class in this area for $65 to $85. Maximum classroom time is 4 hours plus another hour for range qualification. Small price to pay for a good nights sleep.

      jdmc

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