Let’s start back in January of 2016; Texas changed their handgun carry permit from a “Concealed Handgun License” (CHL) to a “License to Carry” (LTC). This change of course, was not just for the sake of change, but because of a change in the carry laws in the Lone Star State. Texas started allowing “Open Carry” with this new license called LTC, which allows open and concealed carry. Years later, Texas joins 21 other states as who have some form of “Constitutional Carry”.
“Anyone who legally possesses a handgun should be able to carry it, open or concealed, without a permit.”
This notion is often called Constitutional Carry. The new Texas law still has some several restrictions, so we will refer to it as “Permitless Carry”. Gun owners in Texas will be able to carry a handgun (as long as it is legally possessed) without the Texas License to Carry Permit. As a result of the permitless carry law passing, communities can feel safer by having the ability to protect themselves from violent criminals, without having to attend classes and wait on the state for a permit. This law also allows lower-income individuals to protect themselves a little easier now that there is a “free” carry option that does not require the state licensing fee and the cost of a class and fingerprinting. There are many other benefits to this law that favor the good guys and empower the self-defense of law-abiding citizens. Even though firearm training is not required to carry with this new law, it is still recommend to find a gun range near you with a qualified instructor so that you can train with your firearm to you can feel completely comfortable using it in a situation to defend yourself or others. While anti-gun organizations will tend to complain publicly about any expansion of gun rights, many Texas residents believe that this will allow for the advancement in self-defense and show trust in law-abiding citizens, which is a significant step forward. From a big picture perspective, thousands of individuals are already carrying both openly and concealed; this law does not change the places where individuals can carry, or the type of weapons that can be carried—just the licensing requirement. Keep in mind that this law won’t take effect until September 1st, 2021. Plan out how you will carry ahead of time and what you need to do to ensure that you know and understand the new laws.
Now, does this mean that your LTC is obsolete? Or that future handgun owners shouldn’t get their LTC? Of course not. Maintaining your Texas carry license can be beneficial for reciprocity purposes and will providing other benefits. Texans with a License To Carry will be able to carry in other states who have reciprocity agreements with Texas (Firearms Legal Protection members can use the MyFLP mobile app to view reciprocity by state). Another perk to being a license holder is when purchasing a gun, you will not have to continue to have a NICS background check performed every time. Occasionally gun ranges and other businesses offer discounts or special benefits to LTC holders. Occasionally private party sellers will prefer dealing with LTC holders over unknown individuals. While individuals will be able to carry a firearm without a license, the LTC offers an obvious proof to others that you have been trained, can pass a background check, and that you are a safe and responsible person.
Knowing your state laws and regulations is very important for any gun owner. The LTC class covers these crucial laws—that still apply to you to know even if you carry without the license and the course. You may still want to take a course even if you don’t apply for the license. If you interact with the police, your LTC will quickly determine that you are eligible to carry your firearm. If you do not have your LTC, this will cause a slight delay for the police to determine if you are eligible to own/carry a firearm, (though carrying a gun alone is not probably cause for a stop). For most, the option to get your LTC is beneficial; ultimately, we appreciate that it is now an individual decision, rather than a state requirement.
The start of this law in September shouldn’t be something that Texas residents should fear. It should only make the community feel safer to know they can protect themselves more easily than before. It is still just as essential to make sure you know your laws and regulations so you can act legally and, most importantly, feel comfortable with your firearm. Remember that even though this law is in effect, you could still incur extensive legal fees if you must use a legal weapon to defend yourself. Having Firearms Legal Protection ensures that you are prepared for a self-defense incident.