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Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Concealed Handguns

Q: How long does the CHL classes last?
A: Our classes are one day classes. New License is a mandatory 10 hours of classroom, plus range qualification. Renewals are mandatory 4 hours of classroom, plus range qualification.

Q: How much does the CHL class cost?
A: New concealed handgun license is $100, renewals are $65.

Q: Will I need to have a handgun before I begin my training class?
A. No you do not, but you will need a handgun to shoot for the competency portion of the course. If you dont have one, we can supply you one, however you will need to provide the ammo.

Q: What type of ammunition can I use during my training class?
A: Your certified instructor may select any safe ammunition for use in the training program, but most factory loads should be acceptable. No reloads or steel cased will be allowed.

Q: How much will a concealed handgun license cost?
A: For most Texans, the license will cost $140. But for senior citizens or indigent Texans, the cost is only $70. For active/honorably retired peace officers or active/retired judicial officers, the cost is $25. For elected felony prosecuting attorneys, fee is waived.

NEW! - DPS now discounts new CHL issues, renewals and modifications for active duty military, reservists, members of the national and state guards, and veterans as follows: Fees are waived for active duty and veterans honorably discharged within the last year. Fees are reduced by 50% for veterans discharged more than one year before applying. Please see Texas GC Section 411.1951 for details.

This fee is for your license only and does not include the cost of the class.

Q: Will a license from my home state be recognized under the reciprocal license provision?
A: The DPS will evaluate each state's handgun licensing program to determine whether statutory reciprocity requirements are met. Laws in those states must be at least as stringent as federal eligibility requirements for buying a handgun for reciprocity to be allowed.

Q: If I am licensed in Texas, can I carry my concealed handgun in another state?
A: Your Texas license doesn't allow you to carry a handgun in another state, unless that state recognizes Texas licenses. Contact the state you will be entering to find out if it recognizes Texas concealed handgun licenses.

Q: Can I get my money back if my application is not approved?
A: Sorry, fees are non-refundable. Please make sure you qualify before turning in your application.

Q: Once I send my application in, how soon should I expect to get my license?
A: The department will make every effort to issue your license within 60 days or notify you that you did not meet the qualifications. If your application is incomplete or some other problem arises, processing may take up to 180 days.

Q: If I am a legal resident alien, can I get a license?
A: Under federal law, aliens who have been admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa are not qualified to purchase a handgun and therefore do not qualify for a license. As long as you were not admitted under a non-immigrant visa and are a legal resident of Texas, you may qualify.

Q: If I am in the military and was just transferred here, can I get a concealed handgun license?
A: If you intend to be a Texas resident, you may qualify after you have been here for six months.

Q: How can I prove my Texas residency?
A: Texas driver licenses or identification cards, voter registration cards, utility bill stubs and other official documents listing your address may be used to establish Texas residency.

Q: Can others find out if I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun?
A: Information may no longer be provided about specific, named individuals as a part of the public record. Recent legislation allows this information to be disclosed only to criminal justice agencies or in response to a subpoena.

Q: How long will my license be valid?
A: New permits are issued for four year terms. Renewals are valid for 5 years.

Q: What are the requirements for obtaining a license?
A. You should review the Texas CHL-16. The DPS website has this information @ , you will want to read section §411.172. – Eligibility

The application process is handled nearly entirely online. In addition to the online application, you will require two recent color passport photos, one set of fingerprints taken by a an authorized official, and a Certificate of Training form (CHL-100) from a DPS-authorized handgun course.

After receiving completed application, the DPS will conduct extensive background checks of juvenile records for the previous 10 years and all adult records.

Q: How much will fingerprinting cost?
A: The Legislature has authorized law enforcement agencies to charge $10 for this service. The DPS is among the agencies charging this fee.

Q: I know someone who I feel has a psychological problem and is unfit to carry any kind of firearm. He/she has applied for a license. Who should I speak to about my concerns?
A: You may send a signed, notarized letter to DPS and officers will investigate the allegation.

Q: If I was convicted of DWI two years ago, can I still get a concealed handgun license?
A: No. DWI is at least a Class B misdemeanor, and you are ineligible for a license for five years after a conviction for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or disorderly conduct. This includes cases that were dismissed after you completed probation or deferred adjudication. If you have been convicted of two or more alcohol or drug-related offenses within the last 10 years, you may not be eligible.

Q: I was arrested four years ago for unlawfully carrying a weapon and the judge gave me deferred adjudication. Is this considered a conviction even though the charges eventually were dismissed?
A: Yes. The concealed gun law states that deferred adjudication will be treated as a conviction.

Q: If a judge ruled that I was delinquent on my child support in 1992, but I have since worked out an arrangement with the Attorney General's office to pay off the debt, can I get a license?
A: Yes. If you have a payment plan with a government agency for back taxes or child support and the agency sends DPS a clearance letter, you may apply. Include a copy of the agreement and letter with your application materials. The concealed handgun law was designed to encourage those who have made no effort whatsoever to pay what they owe.

Q: If I spent time in a psychiatric care facility in the 1980s, will I be disqualified?
A: Qualification for a concealed handgun license depends on your current diagnosis. Past psychiatric treatment wouldn't necessarily disqualify you. You should attach a letter from a licensed psychiatrist stating that your "condition is in remission and is not reasonably likely to develop at a future time," as the concealed handgun law states.

Q: If I was arrested for a crime but the charges were dismissed, will my application be rejected?
A: No. Dismissals will not be grounds for denial, as long as you weren't placed on probation or deferred adjudication prior to the dismissal.

Q: Do you have to meet all of the federal Brady Law requirements to get a license in Texas?
A: Yes. Texas law requires you to meet all state and federal laws regarding handgun possession.

Q: I've heard that I will have to take a special class to get a license. Is this true?
A: Yes. The state of Texas requires that you take a 10- to 15-hour class taught by a DPS-certified instructor. The Certificate of Training form (CHL 100) you receive from the instructor must be sent to the DPS with your other application materials.

Q: How can I find out if someone is a certified handgun instructor?
A: Updated lists will be available at most DPS offices and by calling 512-424-7293 or 424-7294 or 1- 800-224-5744.

Q: Can I take the handgun training class at the DPS?
A: CHL training and qualification classes are only given by DPS-certified private instructors.

Q: How much do the training classes cost?
A: The DPS has no control over how much instructors charge the general public for classes.

Q: Are police officers, retired police officers, judicial officers, ex-DPS or retired DPS officers required to take the handgun course for proficiency certification, or are they exempt?
A: Retired law enforcement officers are exempt from taking the handgun proficiency course. However, they must demonstrate weapons proficiency annually through a law enforcement agency. Active, commissioned peace officers also are exempt from taking the proficiency course. State and federal judicial officers must take an abbreviated course covering handgun proficiency and safe storage.

Q: If a student doesn't pass the DPS-certified course, must the instructor return the applicant's money?
A: The DPS doesn't require the money to be returned. The CHL statute allows students 3 attempts to pass both the shooting proficiency and written tests. AlamoCHL will refund the cost of the class if a student fails after the 3 attempts, unless the student fails as a result of safety or rule violations.

Q: Will all classroom tests be in English only?
A: DPS does not specify the language in which the CHL course is taught. AlamoCHL currently teaches the CHL class in English only. The state of Texas makes provisions, in some cases, for interpreters.

Q: Can I start carrying a concealed handgun as soon as I receive my license in the mail?
A: Yes.

Q: What does concealed mean? Can't I carry my handgun in plain view?
A: No. The weapon can't be visible, and its presence can't be discernible through ordinary observation.

Q: Where can I not take my handgun?
A: Handguns and other weapons can not be carried at schools or on school buses, at polling places, in courts and court offices, at racetracks and at secured airport areas. The law also specifically prohibits handguns from businesses where alcohol is sold if more than half of their revenue is from the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption, and from locations where high school, college or professional sporting events are taking place. You may not carry handguns in hospitals or nursing homes, amusement parks or at government meetings if signs are posted prohibiting them. Businesses also may post signs prohibiting handguns on their premises based on criminal trespass laws.

Q: Can I carry a handgun when I am drinking?
A: Under the concealed handgun law, it is illegal to carry a handgun if you are intoxicated. The best idea is to leave your weapon at home if you intend to consume any alcoholic beverages.

Q: Do police officers have the right to disarm me?
A: Yes. Any time an officer feels a safety risk exists, he or she may disarm you.

Q: Do private property owners have the right to exclude license holders from their property?
A: Yes. Private property owners may give notice excluding license holders from carrying concealed handguns. If you carry a concealed handgun on posted property, you can be charged with criminal trespass by a license holder. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, your license will be revoked.

Q: If I don't want guns in my business, what type of signs should I post?
A: If you want to prohibit license holders from carrying concealed handguns on your property, state law requires you to post a sign that says: "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun." The sign must be written in both English and Spanish in contrasting block letters at least one inch in height, and must be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

Q: If I drive to a shopping mall that does not permit handguns, will I be allowed to park in the parking lot and leave my gun in the car?
A: If the parking lot is not posted with the sign described above, handguns may be left in cars.

Q: Can I carry my handgun to a shooting range without a license?
A: Yes, if you are traveling directly to the range and back home.

Q: If my handgun is on the seat beside me, am I still considered to be "carrying?" 
A: Yes. The statute refers to carrying a gun "on or about" your person. Texas courts generally have considered this to include any gun within your reach, including one stored in your glove compartment.

Q: If I am not carrying my handgun, must I still carry my license?
A: No. Under the concealed handgun law, you are only required to have your license with you whenever you are carrying your handgun.

Q: What type of gun will I be able to carry?
A: You may carry any type of legal, concealed handgun you are qualified to use. If you wish to carry a semi-automatic weapon, you must complete your firing range test with a semi-automatic. If you do not wish to carry a semi-automatic, you may test with a revolver. You must demonstrate proficiency with a handgun of .32 caliber or above to qualify for a concealed handgun license.

Q: I own a 9mm short, also called a .380. Will my gun be considered a semi-automatic?
A: Yes.

Q: If licensed, can I carry more than one handgun?
A: The law does not appear to limit the number of guns you may carry.

Q: Can instructors teach anywhere in the state or only in a particular geographic area?
A: They are certified to teach anywhere in Texas.

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