There are many reasons one may be itching to get a concealed weapons license. Personal safety and that of your friends and family, protection of personal property, and being an asset to the public in times of need are all legitimate reasons to carry a weapon. The fact that criminals know that some of the general, law-abiding population is carrying concealed firearms is a good crime deterrent. There would be less random violence if every person and their sister had a gun at all times. This being said, being a gun owner is a big responsibility, especially if you have a concealed carry license. You are not a superhero, a spy, or a cop. You are a citizen who must abide by all laws and regulations or you are sure to be prosecuted.
Getting a gun in Texas is easier than in most states but, to carry a concealed weapon, a special application procedure is required. There is a mandatory course you must take coupled with receiving an intensive background check. There are a number of disqualifying factors that may hinder your ability to gain the permit along with a myriad of laws that you need to have in the back of your mind at all times. You need to follow these to a T in order to keep your license.
How to Apply
A concealed weapons permit isn’t exceedingly difficult to get in Texas, when compared to the protocol of most other states. First off, you have to be living in Texas. Before applying you need to gather documentation to prove your residency in the state. You also need your social security card and a legal form of ID that proves you are who you say you are (a state-issued identification card or driver’s license). In addition, you need to be at least 21 years old to apply.
You can apply a few different ways: online, in a gun-owners class, or you can go to the DPS office to pick up an application and then mail it in. It takes up to 60 days to get your permit or, if you don’t qualify, your notice of rejection. It usually doesn’t take the full 60 days to get your confirmation for concealed carry but there are a number of agencies that the Department of Public Safety must contact regarding your application, so it is a process.
There is a required course that you must take before being considered for a concealed weapons permit. The class must be taught by an instructor who has been certified by the state. The classes range from 10 to 15 hours in length and include the cost of the application fees, so you can get it all done there. The class will include gun safety, shooting drills, and practice on a firing range. Make sure you know ahead of time whether or not you need to bring your own firearm to the class.
Beware of fake, unlicensed classes. A recent case in Franklin County put over 600 gun owners in jeopardy. Three men falsified documents in order to claim that they were certified concealed carry trainers. They offered 10 hours of training that fell far short of state expectations and swindled people into purchasing classes. If these gun owners were to be caught with fake documentation they could have been charged with a crime. The imposters face multiple felony charges. It’s a real shame because fake classes bring more scrutiny on those who are attempting to get their concealed carry licenses legitimately.
If, for whatever reason, are ineligible for concealed carry, do not attempt to buy a fake license or badge. Most websites will sell you a plastic badge with the words REPLICA stamped across it. It is also considered fraud and you would be prosecuted for concealing a weapon on top of falsifying documents.
What The State Will Check
You will have to go through an in-depth screening of your background upon applying. You can be sure that The Federal Bureau of Investigation won’t miss a thing during the process of your background check. Below is a list of things they will look for:
- Your criminal record and whether or not you are a fugitive from justice
- Your mental health and how it pertains to sound judgment with the use and storage of a handgun
- Hospitalizations and visits to psychiatric facilities
- Issues with chemical dependency
- Your age
- Child support payments
- Misrepresentation during the application process or otherwise
This is a shortened version of the list, the exact statutes can be found here: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetForms/Forms/CHL-16.pdf
Why You Can Be Denied
There are many reasons that you can be denied a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The state of Texas realizes that it is a major responsibility, and you should to. While this is true there are certain restrictions that are pretty unreasonable. People are up in arms over the fact that if you have been diagnosed with bipolar, along with other psychological disorders, you cannot carry a weapon. Other mental restrictions include if you have been diagnosed, by a licensed physician, with disorder that “causes or is likely to cause substantial impairment in judgment, mood, perception, impulse control, or intellectual ability.”
Another factor that can bar you from registration is being chemically dependent. This is defined as “a person who frequently or repeatedly becomes intoxicated by excessive indulgence in alcohol or uses controlled substances or dangerous drugs so as to acquire a fixed habit and an involuntary tendency to become intoxicated or use those substances as often as the opportunity is presented.” If you have been convicted of a felony you need not apply, you will not make it past the background check. In addition, you cannot have been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor within the past five years.
Rules for Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Many rules come with the privilege of concealed carry, you must follow these rules or the state of Texas will strip your license as fast as they gave it to you (in reality they’ll remove it from you much faster than that). You cannot be within 1000 feet of an airport, carry your handgun at a racetrack, to schools or on school buses, or at polling places. Another restriction forbids carrying a gun while drinking alcohol because you are putting yourself and others at risk. When on somebody’s private property, who has given notice against carrying weapons, it is illegal to have your gun concealed. Please keep in mind that police of the right to disarm you at any time.
Rights you do have include carrying a gun in your business, in your vehicle, or on your boat. You can request a hearing if your license has been denied, suspended, or revoked. One must make a written request. A hearing will be held in your county promptly after the department.
Be sure to check the current legislation in regards to concealed firearm laws as they change frequently, this is only an educational article and may be missing vital restrictions, regulations, and laws.