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Concealed Handgun License FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

DPS is now requiring all fingerprints to be submitted electronically.  Click here for more details.

Why do I need a CHL? I can legally carry a handgun in my vehicle without a CHL.
What are steps to getting my CHL?
What is included in the class?
What does the class cost?
What do I need to bring to class?
I am new shooter.  Do you offer shooting lessons?
Can I practice right before the shooting test?
Can I practice at the Gunsmoke range?
Where can I legally carry my gun?
Does my CHL allow me to carry my handgun in other states besides TX?

Why do I need a CHL? I can legally carry a handgun in my vehicle without a CHL.
Per Texas Penal Code Section 46.02; Texas law allows a person to carry a handgun in a vehicle if they are inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control.  The handgun must not be in plain view and the person must not be engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C traffic violation; they must not be prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; and they must not be a member of a criminal street gang.

Interpretation of this law can vary by County and local Law Enforcement Agencies.  So, you can run the risk of being arrested for carrying a handgun, even in the above situation.  If you have a CHL, you can legally carry a handgun in your vehicle and most public places.  (See exceptions below).

Even if you keep your handgun in your vehicle, it wonít help to protect you if you are not in your vehicle. 

For example;
If you were shopping, walking back to your vehicle and you are attacked, you may not have time to retrieve your handgun from your car.  If they take your keys and steal your car, they also just stole your handgun. 

If you are dinning with friends and a disturbed person comes into the restaurant waving a gun, the handgun in your car will not do anyone much good.

If you are at the counter of your local bank and they are suddenly taken under siege by a masked gunman, the handgun in your car wouldnít help you.

Plus, keep in mind, that if your vehicle is burglarized, your handgun is likely to be stolen.  If you keep it with you, along with your concealed handgun license, you will have it if the need arises. 

What are steps to getting my CHL?
        You must complete a State certified CHL class, like ours.
        You have to complete all of the State required paperwork.  We help you fill all of that out.
        You have to submit all of the required paperwork to the State.
        The State reviews all the submitted paperwork and, if approved, they issue you your license.
        It usually saves time in receiving your license if you pre-apply online with DPS for your CHL.  Click here for the DPS online application. You will print all the required paperwork at the end of your application submission.  

What is included in the class?
        Youíll receive all the State required classroom instruction.
        We will provide any paperwork needed for your CHL at no extra charge.
        We will help you fill out all of your paperwork for your CHL at no extra charge.
        We will provide you with a CHL student manual at no extra charge.
        The State mandates a minimum of 10 hours of instruction time including the shooting proficiency.  This does not include the time required to complete your paperwork.  We will assist you with this after the required class time is completed.
        We try to take breaks every hour or so.
        The State mandates a written exam and shooting test.
        The State mandates you pass with a 70% or higher on both tests.
        The State sets the requirements for the shooting test.  You are required to shoot 50 rounds from 3-15 yards at a B-27 target.  You even get to keep the target for bragging rights.
        You have three chances to pass each test, written and shooting.  If you cannot pass either of the tests in three chances, you will not receive your Certificate.  The State mandates you retake the class if you wish to try again.
        Family and friends may attend the shooting portion of the class, but they may not be in the firing area. Only students are allowed to attend the classroom portion of the class.
        The classes are held at the Tommie Vaughn Dealership in Columbus.  The shooting proficiency is held at the scenic Gunsmoke shooting range just outside of Columbus on FM1890.

What does the class cost?
Class cost is $70 for new applicants ($35 for refreshers) and includes everything above.

You may pay with cash, check, money order or PayPal.

Refunds are not given to students once you have begun the class. You can reschedule, if needed, for another class.

If you have a group of people (5+) for the same class, we offer the following discounts:
        10+ reserved seats: $63 per person
        Reserve 10 or more seats and you can also have your choice of available class dates.
        Group rates must be pre-paid as a single payment.  This will reserve all the seats for your group.

What do I need to bring to class?
You do not need to bring anything except your State issued ID (i.e. driverís license) and your payment.  We can supply everything else you will need for your class.  We recommend you bring your own handgun, but we can provide a loaner if needed.  Your handgun must be in good, safe working condition. 

If you have your own eye/ear protection, you are welcome to bring them.  But, we will provide those, if needed, at no extra charge. 

You need to provide 50 rounds of ammunition for your handgun.  We can provide certain calibers of ammunition at a small added cost if needed. You might want to bring another 50 rounds in case you donít qualify the first time.

We can provide .38 caliber, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 auto ammunition on a limited basis.  Please contact us prior to class to check availability of ammunition.  We only charge our cost for the ammo.

You can use either a revolver or semi-auto handgun.  If you qualify with a revolver, you may only carry a revolver with your license.  If you qualify with a semi-auto, you may carry either a semi-auto or revolver with your license.

Students must qualify with at least a .32 caliber handgun.

I am new shooter.  Do you offer shooting lessons?
Yes.  If you are a new shooter, we highly recommend attending one of our Primary Pistol or NRA Practical (Basic) Pistol classes prior to attending your CHL class.  We also offer private lessons.  We provide the handgun and ammunition for the lessons.  We utilize a .22 caliber pistol to help familiarize you with shooting.  You may also bring your own handgun, for additional training, but you must provide your own ammunition due to the higher costs. 

Can I practice right before the shooting test?
There is no time allotted to practice during the class.  We suggest you practice prior to the class, attend one of our Primary Pistol or NRA Practical (Basic) Pistol classes or make arrangements for a private lesson.

Where can I legally carry my gun?
Per State law, you may legally carry your handgun with your CHL in most places except:
(1)  any place clearly displaying a sign, per Texas Penal Code 30.06, prohibiting concealed handguns;
(2)  on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event;
(3)  on the premises of a correctional facility;
(4)  on the premises of a hospital, or on the premises of a nursing home, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate*;
(5)  in an amusement park*;
(6)  on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship*;
(7)  at any meeting of a governmental entity;
(8)  school buildings, school grounds where a school sponsored activity is on-going or a school bus or other school passenger vehicle;
(9)  polling place on an election day;
(10)  court or court office;
(11)  race track (licensed for betting); or
(12)  secured area of an airport;
*A license holder must have been given effective notice under TX Penal Code 30.06. There are some other restrictions that will be covered in class as well.

Does my CHL allow me to carry my handgun in other states besides TX?
Yes.  Texas has a reciprocal agreement with several other states.  Your CHL is recognized by numerous other states.  Below is a list of those states as of May 2010.

Alabama              Alaska                    Arizona                   Arkansas               Colorado
           Florida                    Georgia                   Idaho                     Indiana
Kansas                Kentucky                
Louisiana                Michigan               Mississippi
Missouri              Montana                New Mexico           Nebraska               North Carolina
Oklahoma           Pennsylvania          North Dakota         South Carolina      South Dakota
Tennessee           Utah                       Virginia                   Wyoming


For further questions, visit the Texas DPS CHL FAQs page.


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