Ever since the founding of the United States, guns have been a key part of American life. Plenty of parents enjoy taking their child to a range on the weekend.
Children look forward to the day they can join their parents on a hunting trip. Homeowners keep them to ensure their home is safe.
Since guns are so important, Texans must know how to get a gun license in Texas. When it comes to guns, you have to take responsible measures to purchase them appropriately.
However, gun licenses are a complex field. There are different types of gun licenses and different procedures for obtaining them.
To help you navigate this complex world, we’ve put together this guide to answer your questions. Read on to discover what steps to take to acquire your gun license!
When You Don’t Need a Permit
To begin, Texas law does not require you to hold a gun license to purchase any firearms. You must be at least 18 years old to purchase a long arm, and 21 years old to purchase a handgun.
If you are actively serving in the military, however, you may buy a handgun at 18 years old.
Furthermore, you have to be 18 years old or older to possess any type of firearm. While you are traveling through Texas, travelers may carry a loaded gun so long as it remains in the car or boat.
Lastly, Texas does allow open carry of long guns, though not sidearms, in town. However, this is restricted based on local laws in towns and cities. If you’re hunting, though, you may carry open carry a sidearm.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that you may have to use your gun in a self-defense situation. If it comes to that, you do well to know the following things.
First, Texas does observe the Castle doctrine. The law permits you to use deadly force to protect your home and family from an intruder while on your grounds.
Second, Texas is a Stand Your Ground state. You are not obligated to retreat from any property you are legally granted access to. For example, if someone attacked you with deadly force in a parking lot, the law allows you to respond with deadly force.
Types of Gun Licenses
The only required gun permit in Texas used to be called a CHL, or “Concealed Handgun License.” As of 2016, this name was changed to License to Carry (LTC). While the word “carry” is in the name, it doesn’t restrict Open Carry rights. It still pertains to concealed carry.
There are restrictions to obtaining an LTC. The main restriction is one on age. To qualify for an LTC, you must be 21 years old or older. Once again, there is an exemption for active service members between 18-21 years of age.
Furthermore, you do not qualify for an LTC if you have committed a felony or Class A or B misdemeanors.
Anyone facing pending criminal charges or had two charges or more of alcohol dependency in 10 years faces disqualification.
Additionally, if you have psychiatric impairments, you need the word of a medical professional that the condition is in remission before you may qualify.
Lastly, anyone in default on government fees or subject to protective orders cannot qualify for an LTC. If you have any lingering questions about your qualifications, check the eligibility page of Texas gun law.
How To Get a Gun License in Texas: The Procedure
Now that we’ve gotten through the eligibility requirements, let’s discuss the steps to get a gun license.
First, you must sign up for a $65 course ($60 if you’re in active service or a first responder) online. Next, you can download the form and apply to receive your LTC. The standard cost for applying is $40.00.
If you’re wondering, “Do they fingerprint you for a gun license,” then the answer is yes. Texas does not have a state registry of gun owners, but it does keep your fingerprints on file when you get an LTC.
You can set up an appointment online to submit your fingerprints. If this makes you nervous, don’t be. People register their fingerprints for several things, including background checks conducted by the Texas Education Agency.
After you’ve been fingerprinted and you’ve completed the course (including the shooting proficiency test), you’ll receive a certificate of completion.
“After that,” you may wonder, “what do I need for a gun license?”
Once you receive that certificate, it’s time to gather any additional documents you may require. Your required documents may vary due to your circumstances.
For instance, if you are foreign-born, you must submit one of the following documents:
- US Passport
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Birth Abroad
If you are a veteran, submit a copy of your DD 214. If you are an active service member or reserve service member, you will need to include a copy of your military ID, front and back.
After that, you can choose to send one of the following:
- A copy of your current Leave and Earnings Statement
- Your current active duty orders
- Letter from your current commanding officer
- Your current enlistment contract
Once you’ve got all the necessary documents together, you send them off to the Texas DPS. You can upload your documents directly to them through this link.
When you’ve done all of this, all that’s left to do is wait. Texas DPS processes many requests, so it could be several days or weeks before your LTC arrives. However, if the DPS requires more information from you, you will receive a notification of it.
Now that you know how to get a gun license in Texas, what do you do next?
Once you have your permit, it’s incumbent on you to keep training diligently. Guns are a tremendous responsibility; they can be the deciding factor in a life or death scenario.
To keep your skills sharp, find a place to keep training! A range can be a place to unwind or even build relationships. Take advantage of that opportunity!