Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to take a special class to get a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?
A: Yes. You must take a 4-6 hour class taught by a DPS Certified Instructor.
Q: Can I carry a handgun without a license while driving or traveling in a motor vehicle?
A: Effective September 2007, a person who can legally possess a firearm may possess or carry a handgun in a motor vehicle (including a recreational vehicle with living quarters) that is owned by or under the lawful control of the person. However, the firearm must be concealed, the person may not be engaged in criminal activity and may not be a member of a "criminal street gang". The person may also carry the handgun to and from his/her vehicle without a license. See Texas Penal Code 46.02(a). DPS recommends that you seek the advice of an attorney with any questions regarding the unlicensed carrying of weapons.
Q: Will I need to own a handgun before I take the class?
A: Not necessarily. You may legally demonstrate handgun proficiency with a borrowed handgun. If you do not have a handgun, Clear Creek Gun Range offers a 9mm Glock for use during the CHL class only. You must purchase the 50 rounds of ammunition necessary for the range test.
Q: What are the requirements for obtaining a CHL (Concealed Handgun License)?
A: The concealed handgun law sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. Your application packet will list them in detail. For example, you must be qualified to purchase a handgun under the state and federal laws. A number of factors may make you ineligible to obtain a license; such as: felony convictions and most misdemeanor convictions that are less than five years old, (including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication), pending criminal charges, chemical or alcohol dependency, certain psychiatric diagnoses, protective and restraining orders or defaults on taxes, governmental fees, student loans or child support. See Texas Government Code 411.172. The application packet will include information about materials you need to return with your application packet. These include two recent color passport photos, two sets of fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency employee or a private entity qualified to take fingerprints of a applicant for a license, a copy of your Texas driver's license or identification card and a notification of completion form (TR 100) from a DPS-authorized training course.
Q: Once I submit my application, when should I expect my license?
A: The department will make every effort to make sure you receive your license within 60 days or inform you that you did not meet eligibility criteria. Once your application is complete, processing may take up to 180 days if your background check reveals potentially disqualifying events or information.
Q: How long is a license valid?
A: An initial CHL expires on the license holder's first birthday following the four year anniversary of the issuance of the license. In other words, an initial license is valid for four years and in many cases, for some additional months. All renewed license are valid for five years.
Q: If I am a legal resident alien, can I get a license?
A: It depends. A resident alien who has been admitted to the US under an immigrant visa category will generally be eligible for a CHL. However, under federal law, an alien who has been admitted to the US under a non-immigrant visa usually is not qualified to purchase a handgun and thus is not eligible for a license. If you legally reside in Texas and were not admitted to the US under a non-immigrant visa, you may be eligible.
Q: Can others find out if I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun?
A: Information about persons who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun is confidential and may not be disclosed to an individual. However, upon proper request by a criminal justice agency, DPS must disclose to the agency whether or not a named individual is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. Disclosed information includes the license holder's name, date of birth, gender, and zip code. DPS must notify the license holder about the request and provide him/her with the name of the agency making the request.
Q: If I was arrested for an offense but the charges were dismissed, will my application be rejected?
A: No. Dismissals are not grounds for denial as long as you were not placed on probation or or deferred adjudication prior to the dismissal.
Q: Can I start carrying a concealed handgun as soon as I receive my license in the mail?
A: Yes, but you may not carry it before you receive the license.
Q: My CHL has expired and my renewal application is in process. Can I carry a concealed handgun while I am waiting to receive my renewal?
A: No. You must have a current valid license in your possession to carry a concealed handgun.
Q: If I am not carrying my handgun, must I still carry my license?
A: Under the concealed handgun law, you are only required to have your license with you whenever you are carrying your handgun. Many license holders choose to carry their license with them at all times.
Q: If licensed, can I carry more than one handgun at a time?
A: If you can conceal them. The law does not specify or limit the number of guns you may carry.