You want to get your Texas License to Carry, but your not sure where to begin. I am here to help! There is so much information online that it can become confusing. It can be difficult to understand what is required and know what the best way to get your Texas License to Carry is.
License to Carry, Concealed Handgun License, whats the difference?
First, we need to clarify all the acronyms and names for the Texas License to Carry. It used to be called the Concealed Handgun License, but after the 2017 Texas legislative session, was updated to be called the License to Carry a Handgun. This is because of open carry being legalized. They could no longer refer to it as “concealed” handgun license because the license was for open carry also. License to Carry now refers to the license that allows for concealed carry and open carry. The license is generally referred to by two names and acronyms. The official name is “Texas License to Carry a Handgun” or “LTC”. It is still referred to by many people as the “Concealed Handgun License” or “CHL” though. Just know that both names and acronyms refer to the same license and there is no difference. If you see or hear someone say concealed handgun permit, concealed carry permit, or any other variation with “permit”, they are still referencing the License to Carry, as that is the only handgun license issued in Texas.
Online class, in-person class, proficiency demonstration, what is the difference and what do I need to take?
Texas now allows the classroom portion of the License to Carry a Handgun class to be completed online. Whether the LTC class is taken online or in person with an LTC instructor, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires that the classroom portion be 4-6 hours long. This time is not supposed to include the amount of time it takes to complete the written examination as well as time given for breaks. With a classroom full of students, 4-6 hours is not difficult to reach. However, since the online class is only the instructor presenting material without students asking questions, more material is generally covered in the online classes. The downside to the online LTC class is questions or issues cannot be asked immediately when the material is presented online. However, with the proficiency demonstration (which we will cover later), this is the opportunity for students to ask any questions they have.
The LTC Austin online LTC class is a video based class that covers all the material in just over 4 hours. It is broken into 15-20 minute video segments, which allows for breaks and progress to be saved after each segment. This means that you can watch one video, stop, and come back another time to continue onto the next video. Students are not required to take the entire 4 hour class all at once.
The following are the pros and cons to each class:
Online LTC Class:
- Take at your own pace. Start the class and resume from where you left off later.
- Do not have to go to a classroom and can be done in your home, or anywhere you want.
- Completely private class when paired with a private proficiency demonstration
- Inexpensive when compared to a private LTC class.
- Potentially more material covered in the 4 hours.
- With LTC Austin’s video based class, rewind and watch the videos as many times as needed.
- When paired with LTC Austin private proficiency demonstration, ask any questions you have in a private one on one session.
- Unable to ask questions during the class
- After purchasing the proficiency demonstration, can be more expensive than standard LTC class
- Must setup separate proficiency demonstration with an LTC instructor. This ads 1-2 hours to the completion time.
In Person LTC Class
- Ability to ask instructor questions during the class
- Group classes can be inexpensive
- Everything completed in one day, including proficiency demonstration.
- If private class, one on one time with instructor to go over material
- With LTC Austin, can arrange a private class with a group of friends
- Must set aside half of your day. 4-6 hours for classroom portion, then proficiency test.
- Private classes can be expensive with small groups
- Class must be scheduled in advance
Hopefully the pros and cons give you a good idea of what type of LTC class may be best for you. Just be sure that whichever company you choose, the LTC class is for a Texas License to Carry. Especially for the online LTC classes, many websites will advertise obtaining your license to carry permit, which is recognized in Texas. They do not clearly state that it is not actually a Texas LTC/CHL. They are hosting classes for concealed carry licenses for another state, which will then be recognized in Texas. These businesses are also not based in Texas. Per Texas Government Code, all License to Carry classes, online or in person, must be provided inside Texas. So if the company is not based in Texas, they are not Texas License to Carry instructors and you cannot get a Texas LTC/CHL with their class.
Why get a Texas LTC/CHL and not one from out of state?
There are three main advantages to having a Texas License to Carry. Normally, when you buy a firearm from a dealer, an FBI background check is performed before the firearm can be released to you. With a Texas LTC, that background check can be waved, making the transaction quicker and no prolonged waits in the gun store because of background check delays. The second benefit is for law enforcement. Texas Police Officers can run your information and see that you have a License to Carry. This information cannot be seen with out of state licenses. With this, law enforcement is able to verify your information quicker to get you on your way. And third, a Texas LTC allows you to open carry. Whether you agree with open carry or not, if you ever wanted to do so, a Texas LTC is required.
Whether you decide to take the online LTC class or the in person LTC class, a proficiency demonstration must be completed. The in person LTC class proficiency demonstration is built into the class. It just consists of going to the range to shoot the qualification after the classroom portion has been completed.
Anyone that takes the online LTC class must also take the proficiency demonstration separately. Once the online LTC class is completed, an LTC-101 is issued for the certificate of completion. At this point though, only the classroom portion of the LTC-101 is filled out. The proficiency demonstration comes next in order to complete the LTC-101. As required by DPS, 1-2 hours of “range instruction” followed by the shooting qualification are required. The range instruction consists of going over any material covered in the online class. This is to ensure that the student actually payed attention to the online class. When I do proficiency demonstrations, I provide the student with the opportunity to ask any questions they have during this time. If the student needs clarification on any subject or just has general questions, this is the perfect time and opportunity to ask. Some businesses require the student to sit in on the last 2 hours of a in-person LTC class to fulfill the range instruction requirement. This is unfortunate because it does not allow for the student to ask all necessary questions, takes a full 2 hours, plus must drive to a separate location for the shooting afterwards.
Making the process easy, quick and simple, I have students meet me directly at the shooting range to complete the range instruction and shooting qualification. The student is not forced to sit and listen to material that they already learned in an in person LTC class. The entire point of the online class is to avoid that exact situation and not have to sit in a class.
With all of this information, it is now up to you to decide what is best. If you have questions and are not sure which option is best for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me!