Texas CHL Frequently Asked Questions
(search for a specific term by using ctrl+f and enter your word.)also see (glossary of terms)
Information on Concealed Carry in the United States
Reciprocating State Information
Once I submit my application, when should I expect to receive my license?
The department will make every effort to issue your license within 60 days or inform you that you did not meet the eligibility criteria. Once your application is complete, processing may take up to 180 days if your background check reveals potentially disqualifying events or information.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
How long is a license valid?
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 (4) years, and in many cases, for some additional months. All renewed licenses are valid for five (5) years.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do I have to complete a renewal class?
Effective Sept 1, 2013, active CHL holders are only required to reapply online with the DPS prior to their expiration date. The state no longer has requirements for classroom or firearms qualifications for CHL renewals.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
However, TexasCHL.us recommends attendance in a refresher class for new legislative updates and any state law changes, as well as firearms refresher since there is a potential for the passage of 2 legislative sessions in a 5 year licensing period.
Register to attend a refresher class HERE for FREE.
If I am a legal resident alien, can I get a license?
It depends. A resident alien who has been admitted to the U.S. under an immigrant visa category will generally be eligible for a concealed handgun license. However, under federal law, an alien who has been admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa usually is not qualified to purchase a handgun and thus is not eligible for a license.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If you legally reside in Texas and were not admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa, you may be eligible.
Can others find out if I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun?
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.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Disclosable 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 the name of the agency making the request.
If I move or change my name (or status, if you are a judge or a prosecuting attorney), how do I change the address or name on my license?
You must contact the DPS Concealed Handgun Licensing Division online to process a change of address, or you may also send a letter including your full name, CHL number, old address and new address (or status) and a cashier’s check or money order for $25.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
You may call 1-800-224-5744, or write: Texas Dept. of Public Safety Concealed Handgun Licensing Bureau
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, Texas, 78773 or online at: www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/chlsindex.htm.
What are the requirements for obtaining a license?
The concealed handgun law sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. Your application packet will list them in detail.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
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 or restraining orders,
-defaults on taxes, governmental fees, or child support.
See Texas Gov’t. Code § 411.172.
The online application process also will include information about materials you need to return to the DPS to complete the process.
-two recent color passport photos,
(you may choose to have your current Texas DL photo used by writing on the CHL-6 form
"Please use my Texas Driver's License Photo. TXDL#--------")
-fingerprints taken by MorphoTrust USA,
(these are electronically transmitted, you will not receive a copy)
-a copy of your Texas driver license or identification card,
-notification of completion form (CHL-100) from a DPS-authorized CHL Instructor.
After receiving the online application and other required documentation and forms, DPS will conduct background checks of juvenile records for the previous 10 years, and of all adult records.
If I was convicted of a misdemeanor offense two years ago, can I still get a concealed handgun license?
No. Let’s take DWI as an example. DWI (first offense) is a Class B misdemeanor, and a person is not eligible for a license for five years after a conviction for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or for the offense of disorderly conduct.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
A “conviction” 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 misdemeanor offenses within the last 10 years, you may not be eligible.
If you are a current CHL holder, any open charge for a Class A of Class B misdemeanor or felony is an automatic suspension of your license.
I received a letter stating my license has been suspended pending a criminal offense. How is this possible if you are innocent until proven guilty?
Government Code §411.187 controls whether or not a license is to be suspended during the time period that a criminal case is pending. You must be able to meet all eligibility criteria at all relevant times during the period that your license is valid. You must also meet all eligibility criteria to renew your license. So if you have a pending charge and the department did not get your license suspended before it expired, your renewal application will be denied.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Depending on the type of charge and whether or not you are subsequently convicted or placed on probation, your license may be reinstated as long as it did not expire during the time of the suspension.
After I was arrested and charged with a criminal offense, I received an order of deferred adjudication. Is this considered a conviction, even though the case was eventually dismissed?
Yes. The concealed handgun law states that deferred adjudication will be treated as a conviction, except for orders of deferred adjudication over 10 years old for certain felony offense not involving violence against a person. See Texas Gov’t. Code § 411.171(4).SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If a judge has found me to be delinquent on my payment of child support, but I have since worked out an arrangement with the Attorney General’s office to pay off the debt, can I get a license?
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 made no effort whatsoever to pay what they owe.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If I have spent time in a psychiatric care facility, will I be eligible for a license?
Unless you have been legally adjudicated as a mental defective, eligibility for a concealed handgun license depends on your current diagnosis. Past psychiatric treatment will not necessarily make you ineligible. When you submit your application you may wish to include a letter or statement from your treating physician regarding the current status of your condition.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
The Department of Public Safety recommends contacting them and requesting a contact from an eligibility technician to evaluate eligibility on a case by case basis.
Their main number is 1-800-224-7293.
Should I list all arrests on my application even if the cases were dismissed or I was found not guilty?
Yes. Failure to disclose all of your arrests and convictions is an independent ground for your denial of your application. You may choose to include any documentation to support your eligibility status.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If I was arrested for an offense but the charges were dismissed, will my application be rejected?
No. Dismissals are not grounds for denial, as long as you were not placed on probation or deferred adjudication prior to the dismissal.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do I have to meet all of the federal Brady Law requirements to get a license in Texas?
Yes. In order to be eligible for a Texas concealed handgun license, you must be fully eligible under both Texas and federal law to purchase a handgun (except for military applicants who are at least 18 years of age but under the age of 21).SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do I have to take a special class to get a license?
Yes. You must take the 10- to 15-hour class (reduced to 4- to 6-hours effective Sept 1, 2013) taught by a DPS certified instructor. The notification of completion form (CHL-100) you receive from the instructor must be sent to DPS with your other application materials.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
How can I find out if someone is a certified handgun instructor?
You may sign up for one of our upcoming classes or contact us to schedule a private class for yourself or a group.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
A list of certified handgun instructors can also be found on the DPS website at:www.txdps.state.tx.us. You may also obtain the information by calling:(512) 424-7293 or 424-7294 or 1(800) 224-5744.
Can I take the handgun training class at the DPS Training Academy?
No. DPS only provides training for instructors.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
What control does DPS have over handgun instructors?
DPS certifies and can review their records and monitor their classes to make sure they are following the required curriculum.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Will I need to own a handgun before I begin my training classes and can I borrow or rent one from the instructor?
Not necessarily. You may legally demonstrate handgun proficiency with a borrowed or rented handgun. Texas CHL does not routinely rent or loan handguns due to our desire that all students are familiar with the handgun they will be using for the course.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
However, we do typically have a few additional firearms on hand in the event of a weapon malfunction that is not easily corrected so that a student may be able to continue to qualify.
If my handgun is equiped with a laser sight or dot, am I permitted to use this for the class?
The Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing guidelines state that each individual who is required to complete the firearms proficiency portion of the course to to the standards set by the department (Texas Department of Public Safety).SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Lasers/dots or other forms of additional or optional sighting and/or "optical enhancers" are prohibited by the state for use while qualifying. It is also recommended by our firearms instructors that each individual is familiar with sight picture and sighting techniques without the aid of these types of devices, as they may be subject to failure when least expected.
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?
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.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Judges and district and county prosecutors are not required to take the proficiency course, provided they submit a sworn statement from a TCLEOSE -certified handgun instructor certifying that they have demonstrated handgun proficiency to the instructor within the previous twelve months.
Can I start carrying a concealed handgun as soon as I receive my license in the mail?
Yes, but you may NOT carry before you receive the license.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
My concealed handgun license has expired, and my renewal application is in process. Can I carry a concealed handgun while I am waiting to receive my new license?
No. You must have a currently valid license in your possession to carry a concealed handgun.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
What does “concealed” mean?
Concealed means that the weapon cannot be visible, and that its presence cannot be discernible through ordinary observation. It is a criminal offense for a license holder to carry a handgun in plain view, or to intentionally fail to conceal the weapon.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Where may I NOT carry my handgun?
Handguns and other weapons cannot be carried at schools or on school buses, at polling places, in courts and court offices, at racetracks, at secured airport areas or within 1,000 feet of the premises of an execution on the day of execution.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
The law also specifically prohibits handguns from businesses where alcohol is sold if 51% or more of their revenue is from the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption.
From locations where high school, college or professional sporting events are taking place.
On the physical premises (in the building) of a school or educational institution, and grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted. This may be extended to school board meetings, as well, depending on who is deciphering the law.
(see Texas Penal Code § 46.03).
You may not carry handguns in hospitals or nursing homes, amusement parks, places of worship or at government meetings
if signs are posted prohibiting them.
(see Texas Penal Code § 30.06 requirements).
Businesses also may post signs prohibiting handguns on their premises based on criminal trespass laws. See Texas Penal Code § 46.035. (Judges, prosecuting attorneys, peace officers and parole officers should consult Texas Penal Code § 46.15 regarding exemptions from the “no-carry” rules of the Penal Code.)
Can I carry my handgun in Texas State Parks and National Parks in Texas?
According to correspondence recieved from Park Information Texas Parks and Wildlife,Customer Service Center, A person can carry a loaded concealed handgun in Texas State Parks with a current and valid CHL license at anytime.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
On February 22nd, 2010 it became legal when visiting National Parks to carry loaded firearms in the same manner and to the same extent that such carry is legal in the state parks of the state in which the National Park is located.
Please remember that you must continue to follow all CHL rules while carrying in State and National Parks. Keep in mind that even In National Parks where carry is permitted the law continues to prohibit carry in federal facilities and buildings located in such parks. So, carry is still banned in park visitor centers, ranger stations and administrative buildings and offices staffed by federal employees. Also, the National Park Service will likely take a broad interpretation of “federal facility.”
If you need further information, please contact the Law Enforcement Division for Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Can I carry a handgun if I am drinking alcohol?
“Carrying” while drinking is not prohibited, but it is a criminal offense to carry while intoxicated. (Intoxicated is not the same as limits for DWI. Currently there is NO MINIMUM LIMIT for intoxication under CHL law)SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do police officers have the right to disarm me?
Yes. If a peace officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, he/she may disarm you. Be courteous and non-confrontational and follow directions IMPLICITLY!SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do private property owners have the right to exclude license holders from their property?
Yes. Private property owners may give notice excluding license holders from carrying concealed handguns. Official Notice must comply with state mandates as described below. If a CHL Holder carries a concealed handgun on posted property, they 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.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Do business owners have the right carry a handgun on their own property?
Yes. If the owner is on their own premises or premises under their control.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Though concealed and open carry are both generally permitted on private property, if an owner chooses to carry; concealed carry lends itself to allowing business to proceed as usual without undue attention being drawn to the owner. Sec. 46.02. UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not,:
(1) on the person's own premises or premises under the person's control;
If I am a business owner or manager and do not want guns in my business, what type of sign should I post?
If you want to prohibit license holders from carrying concealed handguns on your property, state law requires you provide notice to potential trespassers, either orally or by posting 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 colors with block letters at least one inch in height, and must be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public. Visit the DPS website at www.txdps.state.tx.us for the specific language and specifications for the sign.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
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?
If the parking lot is not posted with the sign described above, handguns may be left in the cars. However, if the sign is posted in or at the entrance to the parking lot, you may not.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Can a license holder have a handgun in their vehicle in a school parking lot?
A license holder is not prohibited from having a handgun in his or her vehicle in a school parking lot if the parking lot is not posted with the 30.06 signage described above.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
(School employees should know and comply with their employer’s policy on this point.)
It is, however, a criminal offense for any person who is on school property to exhibit, use, or threaten to exhibit or use a firearm.
See Texas Education Code § 37.125(a).
How can a license holder carry at a school?
A license holder is prohibited from having a handgun on the premises (inside the building) of a school as defined by the state law. UNLESS they receive Express Written Consent as defined by Texas Penal Code 46.03(a)(1)
Sec. 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):
(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;
How do I request express written consent to carry at a school?
In most instances, Express Written Consent will most likely not be granted, but that does not mean one should not make the request. The worst that can happen is that you are declined.
Here is a sample of an Express Written Consent letter to follow as a template. You may copy and paste any, or all of it to suit your specific situation.
Sample Express Written Consent Letter
Can I have a handgun or any other firearm secured in my vehicle in the parking lot of my employer?
As of September 1, 2011, employers that own parking lots/garages may no longer ban employees from storing firearms in their vehicles on their property. This pertains to BOTH CHL and non-CHL holders.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
(certain restrictions do apply for a small list of businesses.)
This does not effect customers or NON-employees parking in the lot or garage, unless a valid 30.06 posting was at the entrances to the parking lot or garage.
Our Instructor, Robert Greene, in conjunction with The NRA actively pursued the passage of this legislation that now prohibits employers from banning storage of firearms in an employee's vehicle on the employer's lot.
We want to thank everyone who did their part by calling and/or writing their state representatives and asking them for supporting citizens in their right to defend themselves while traveling to and from work.
If my handgun is on the seat beside me, am I still considered to be “carrying?”
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 or even in a passenger’s purse, if you can reach it without materially changing your position. (See #36)SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Can I carry a handgun without a license while driving or traveling in a motor vehicle?
Effective September 1, 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 vehicle without a license. See Texas Penal Code § 46.02 (a). However, DPS recommends that you seek the advice of an attorney with any questions regarding the unlicensed carrying of weapons.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
I was charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon in my vehicle. How was this possible if the law allows this in Texas?
Though state law now allows an individual who can legally possess a firearm to possess or carry a handgun in a motor vehicle; an individual who is engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic, may be charged with Unlawful Carrying Weapons. [Texas PC Sec. 46.02(a)(2)(A)]SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
A Class A misdemeanor.
Can I carry a handgun without a license while driving or traveling in my boat?
The state ruling as of Sept 2011 now allows a person to carry a handgun in their vehicle or boat.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Be aware of the waterways in which you are operating to be sure they are not owned by Army Corps of Engineers, as firearms are prohibited in these areas without specific permission.
If a hospital is posting the V.C.S. Article 4413 (29ee) signage, does this affect me carrying as a CHL holder?
The V.C.S. (Vernon Civil Statutes) Article 4413 (29ee) refers to the entire Texas Penal Code section pertaining to CHL holders. As of 09/01/1997, the amended laws require the correct posting of the 30.06 statute in order to prohibit CHL holders from carrying in locations that are not otherwise prohibited by law or by other permitted posting (ie. the red 51% signage issued by TABC).SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
In short, the old V.C.S. posting, though not "up to date," is, at best, still a gray area and would be up to a judge and jury whether or not this would constitute "substantial notice." Of the 17 years that 30.06 has been in place, there has been no appellate case where a defendant has been charged under the old language. The question comes down to if you are willing to test the theory by being arrested and charged.
It would probably be best to err on the side of caution, in this case, and not carry past this notice.
Can I carry a handgun while using public transportation or bus (Austin Capital Metro)?
You should first check with that specific public transportation office to determine their policy pertaining to passengers who are CHL holders. Currently (as of 09/01/2011) Austin Capital Metro does not prohibit CHL holders from carrying their handgun while riding as a passenger in their vehicles. View Capital Metro website.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Can I carry a concealed handgun while traveling on Amtrack?
Concealed Carry is currently not allowed on Amtrack trains.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
More details may be found HERE.
If I am not carrying my handgun, must I still carry my license?
Under the concealed handgun law, you are only required to have your license with you whenever you are carrying your handgun. However, many license holders choose to carry their license with them at all times.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
What type of handgun will I be able to carry?
You may carry any type of legal, concealed handgun you are qualified to use. As of the end of first legislative session of 2013, you may demonstrate handgun proficiency with either a semi-automatic handgun or a revolver. There are no longer Classification restrictions. (SA/NSA)SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Qualifications must still be done with a .32 caliber or larger, but there is no caliber restriction for a concealed carry firearm.
What type of handgun should I carry?
Choosing a handgun to carry is a personal decision and can depend on many factors. Including style, manufacturer, caliber, grip, etc.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Trying several different types and styles at a local gun range as well as soliciting advice and factors for each from our instructors can help in making this decision.
If licensed, can I carry more than one handgun at a time?
If you can conceal them. The law does not specify or limit the number of handguns you may carry.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If my license is revoked, when may I apply for a new license?
You may not apply until the reason of your revocation has not existed for two years. In other words, the revocation of a license brings with it at least two extra years on ineligibility. Example 1: Your license is revoked on 08/15/2007 because you were subject to a protective order. The protective order expired on 10/15/2007. You may apply on 10/15/2009 if you meet all eligibility requirements. Example 2: Your license is revoked on 08/15/2007 because you were convicted of a Class B misdemeanor on 04/01/2007. You may apply on 04/01/2014 if meet all eligibility requirements. The misdemeanor conviction itself makes you ineligible until 04/01/2012 (five years after date of conviction); the two extra years of ineligibility that result from the license’s revocation make you ineligible until 04/01/2014.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
If I am active duty, under 21 years old and have a CHL, can I legally carry a concealed handgun?
Under federal law, anyone under the age of 21 may not purchase a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer. However, you may obtain a handgun as a gift or otherwise from another and legally carry so long as you are eligible AND possess a Texas CHL.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
What is the difference between Kidnapping vs. Aggravated Kidnapping and the use of justifiable deadly force?
Kidnapping (Texas PC Sec. 20.03) is defined as an offense if a person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Those factors that increase the offense to aggravated (Sec. 20.04) are if the actor abducts another person with intent to commit any of the following:
(1)hold him for ransom or reward;
(2)use him as a shield or hostage;
(3)facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony;
(4)inflict bodily injury on him or violate or abuse him sexually;
(5)terrorize him or a third person;
(6)interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or
If a person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.
I heard that Texas is trying to pass a law to allow CHL holders to carry on college campuses. Is this correct?
Even after a valiant effort by our instructor, Robert Greene and others, the current Texas legislation does not allow a CHL holder to carry on the premises (in buildings) of any institution of higher education (ie College or University).SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
In Nov of 2010, the NRA & TSRA supported “CAMPUS PERSONAL PROTECTION BILL” was drafted and was introduced By Senator Jeff Wentworth & Representative Joe Driver in the 2011 Legislative Session.
Unfortunately, though the Concealed Campus Carry legislation gained momentum in the last weeks of legislation, the amendment that would allow Concealed Carry in Campus buildings was struck by House Speaker, Joe Straus, and removed from the bill.
Efforts are already underway to get a head start on the legislative session to begin in 2012 to make this a overwhelmingly successful passage of this important bill.
Please be sure to contact the office of your own state representative and ask them to support the bill next session.
Call early, and call often.
Remind your representative that this issue has broad support among both the legislators and the people of Texas.
You should also remind them that campus carry has never been voted down by any faction of the Texas Legislature and that it has passed the Texas Senate twice.
Can I simply email my documents to the DPS instead of mailing them?
Texas residents may now submit supporting documentation to the DPS-CHL Division via the online "RSD Contact Us" page. (Out of state applicants must still mail in passport style photos since no TX DL is on file to obtain a photo)SIGN UP for a class TODAY! - top -
Under Select Program, choose "Concealed Handgun" Scroll down and for the topic:*My question concerns: choose New Application
Enter your information and you can upload (attach) your documents at the bottom of the page and submit them electronically to the DPS.