Texas is well known across the nation as a gun-friendly state. People from other states think that everyone in Texas is armed to the teeth. Many of us are! What allows us to exercise our rights and carry our guns in public? The Texas License to Carry a Handgun (“LTC”).
A Texas LTC is a government-issued identification card that allows the holder to carry a handgun in non-prohibited public places. Ordinarily, it is a crime in Texas for a person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun in public without an LTC. LTC holders who physically possess their license are exempted from this statute and can carry either concealed (anywhere on or about their person) or openly in a belt or shoulder holster in most public places (other than those specifically prohibited by law or where effective criminal trespass notice is provided).
How Can You Obtain an LTC?
The Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) is the agency responsible for issuing licenses in Texas. Before an applicant begins this process, they should review Texas Government Code § 411.172, which lists the eligibility requirements.
Attend an LTC Course
If all the requirements are met, the applicant will then need to complete a handgun proficiency course. The course must be taught by a qualified Texas LTC handgun instructor or can be completed online through an approved course provider. The proficiency course also includes a 50-round live-fire test. Once complete, your instructor will provide the certificates needed for the application. Note: if you complete the classroom portion of the LTC class online, you will still need to schedule the range proficiency section with a qualified instructor.
Submit Your Application
The application process contains numerous steps, most of which are completed through the DPS website. Among other requirements, an applicant must also submit a fingerprint card, disclose criminal history, consent to a background check, and typically pay a fee to the DPS. Once the application is approved, your LTC will be in the mail!
An applicant’s first LTC is valid for at least four years and expires on their birthday. Renewal LTCs are valid for five years. The expiration date is printed on the LTC, and the license can be renewed online through the DPS website. With a timely renewal, the applicant will not have to repeat the handgun licensing course, the live-fire test, or submit fingerprints. It is important to note if your LTC expires before you receive the new one, you cannot carry without physical possession of the new unexpired license.
Each of these steps can be daunting, especially when reviewing the eligibility requirements and disclosing criminal history. If you need assistance, you can consult the Texas Gun Owner’s Guide, or for any further questions regarding obtaining a License to Carry in Texas, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.