As of Sep 1, 2021, there is no requirement in Texas to get a license to buy, own, or carry a handgun. You do have to be legally eligible to buy a handgun under Federal law (see below), but otherwise, you can carry a handgun (and in most cases, a long gun) in public, either openly or concealed. There are certain places defined in law where you are not allowed to carry, like schools and court rooms, but it is now your responsibility to learn what those are. If you make a mistake, you will be arrested. Although there is no requirement to get a license, many people still do, as there are several benefits to doing so:
- You get 4 hours of training on Texas handgun law, which helps you stay out of trouble.
- You have to demonstrate minimal proficiency with a firearm. The required skill level is quite low.
- You are allowed to carry in 34 other states, based on your Texas license. That is a benefit if you travel.
- Police are typically biased toward those with a license, and often give us a warning instead of a ticket.
You would be surprised to find out how many people try to get this license when they don't even know how to hold a gun. The skill requirement is not high, but it is not zero; you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to safely handle, load, and shoot a handgun (any caliber). If you do not yet know how to shoot, I teach a very popular course called "Learn to Shoot".
There are a few reasons you might be ineligible to get a handgun license, but in general, if you are a US citizen or legal resident alien, 21 or above, with no criminal record (except minor traffic tickets), no wants/warrants, no orders of protection against you, not addicted to drugs, and do not have a history of mental illness or domestic violence, you should be fine. These same reasons that would prevent you from getting a license will also bar you from carrying in public, but sometimes with enhanced penalties.
Pick a date here.
After you reserve a space for the range session, I will provide you with a link to take the classroom portion online. It takes about 4 hours, and can be spread out over several days. It is suggested (but not required) that this be finished before the day we meet to shoot, which will take about an hour. Make sure the name you enter matches your DL exactly.
The Texas Dept of Public Safety handles the application processing, background checks, and license fees (separate from instructional fees). Start here for the application. During that process, you will be given a chance to schedule fingerprinting at a vendor near you. That vendor will submit the fingerprint data for you. Neither of these has to be done before signing up for the range session.
After completing the online class and shooting requirement, you will be given a Certificate of Training (LTC-101). Put that with any documents listed on your checklist (i.e., veterans need a DD-214), and mail it all to Austin. The address is on the checklist, or on the email. You can also scan all the documents into one PDF and upload it to the DPS website. The address for that is on the LTC-101.
Depending on the backlog, the wait can be 2-10 weeks, but more often 2-3 weeks.