Texas Concealed Handgun License
Persons with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) take notice, new Texas legislation has passed affecting CHL issuance, where CHL holders can carry and requirements of renewal.
Texas law allows citizens to carry concealed handguns for self-protection with the issuance of a license to carry concealed. The following is a summary of the new laws, and all effective dates are Sept. 1, 2013 unless otherwise noted:
Previous law required a ten hour Concealed Handgun License Certification Course outlined by the State Department of Public Safety.
With the new legislation class time is reduced from a minimum of 10 hours including range time, to 4-6 hours not including range time. It allows Texas CHL holders renewing their license to take the classroom instruction and the written exam online. Shooting instruction and techniques will be eliminated from CHL classes as of September 1, 2013.
After September 1, CHL renewals will no longer require a renewal class. To renew your license you will have to register with the state, pay the renewal fee, and sign an "information form" confirming you are knowledgeable of use of force and concealed handgun laws. This legislation eliminates the one year grace period after licenses expired. If your license to expires, you will have to attend a class as a new student to be re-issued a CHL license. Renewal applications can be submitted on the internet. This legislation reduces the CHL renewal fee for certain honorably discharged veterans, current members of the state military forces, certain peace and correctional officers to $25.
Non semi-automatic and semi-automatic license categories have been eliminated.
Hotels with Restrictive Firearms Policies
Hotels are required to tell patrons in advance of any restrictive firearms policies.
CHL holders who are employed by a school district or charter school who receive additional training, and have written authorization from their employer, will be allowed to carry a concealed handgun inside the school of their employment.
Currently the Department of Public Safety has not established this new curriculum and training requirements.
This legislation makes it illegal for college campuses to institute policies restricting CHL holders from leaving a firearm in their vehicle on a college campus or in parking lots.
Display of a Firearm
The phrase "Intentional fail to conceal" is changed to "Intentional display of a handgun". It clarifies that the display of a concealed handgun is authorized to prevent the use of force, not just the use of deadly force against the CHL holder.
The Department of Public Safety must provide the means for people who live in a county with a population of 46,000 or less and are not within a 25-mile radius of a facility capable of processing digital or electronic fingerprints to submit their fingerprints. Fingerprints are required to apply for a CHL.
Seized weapons not returned or claimed by the owner can be sold at a public sale. Only a licensed federal firearms dealer can purchase the weapon, and proceeds go to the law enforcement agency that seized it.
Applicants for a concealed handgun license will not be required to give their Social Security number to the Department of Public Safety.
Interchangeable Guns Allowed
The new legislation allows CHL holders to carry a weapon that may be of a different category than they demonstrated handgun proficiency with prior to being issued a CHL. If you qualified with a revolver, you were limited to carrying a revolver. Earlier law stated that if someone qualified with a semiautomatic weapon, they could carry either a revolver or a semiautomatic. If they only qualified with a revolver, then a revolver was the only gun that could be carried. The new legislation lifts that restriction.
School Safety Task Force
The new legislation provides for a School Safety Task Force that will examine how to improve emergency operations planning and will develop a school safety certification program. Provides for the task force to be comprised of the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management or a designee; the training director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University-San Marcos or a designee; the chairperson of the School Safety Center or a designee; and the agency director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service or a designee. Effective immediately.
Provides certification for qualified handgun instructors in school safety training in the areas of the protection of students, interaction of license holders with first responders, tactics for denying an intruder entry to a classroom or school, how to increase accuracy with a handgun under duress. The certification course will require between 15-20 hours of instruction.
The “Protection of Texas Children Act” creates a school marshal position in public K-12 schools and charters. Marshals will be allowed to carry a gun, and their identity would only be known to the school’s head administrator and law enforcement. When working in a classroom or around children, the school marshal’s weapon will be locked away but within reach. Effective immediately.
For those CHL holders who wish to take the popular field instruction that will be eliminated on Sept. 1, contact your local CHL class facility to register for available classes in August.