When you think of Texas, numerous images may come to mind such as vast landscapes, gun slingers and the slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas”. Texans have a lot of pride towards their state and want to protect it and themselves, resulting in approximately 500, 000 Texas residents having a concealed handgun license, but in a state of 26 million people it is questionable if each license holder knows how to use a handgun properly/safely and is capable of being a responsible handgun owner. In 2010, firearms were the cause of 67% of murders, leaving many to wonder if licensed handgun owners are responsible for a large amount of murders. Unfortunately, as in many murder cases, the weapon used falls into the hands of a person who does not use it responsibly, let alone owns the weapon. Increased murder rates leave many residents wanting to protect themselves, wherever they go, but it’s important that concealed handguns are licensed as licensed holders need to prove they can “handle” a gun in the event it needs to be used.
A Concealed Handgun: How will you use it?
In a news report on a Texas non-profit, who gives guns to single women and residents of neighborhoods with higher crime rates, the feelings of concealed handguns are mixed. While one individual said, “If you don’t have a gun, you’re just a walking victim. You’re just waiting for somebody to take advantage of you and your property,” while another said, “Mostly what guns seem to do is make situations more lethal because most crime has nothing to do with guns…when there is a gun in the mix, there is much more likely to be somebody dying or somebody incredibly hurt.” Despite the differing attitudes, all would agree that handgun owners must be responsible and capable of handling a gun with the intention of protection and not acting out or seeking a potentially dangerous situation.
Own a Gun? Get a License
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, concealed handgun owners may be eligible for a license if (they):
– Are legal resident of this state for the six-month period preceding the date of the application
– At least 21 years of age
– Have not been convicted of a felony or charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor
– Not a fugitive for a felony or misdemeanor
– Has no chemical dependency issues
– Is capable of making “sound” judgment and can show respect and proper use towards a gun (i.e. shows the ability to participate in gun safety)
– Is able, under federal/state law, to legally purchase a gun
– Is not a delinquent towards child support, taxes and other legal issues
– Has not received a restraining order or is considered a threat in a domestic relationship
– Has not been known to offer false information about themselves or their actions
Additionally, concealed handgun owners are required to take a 10-hour course which covers topics such as use of force, non-violent dispute resolution, handgun use, and safe/proper storage of handguns and ammunition.
Prospective and current concealed handgun owners should always keep safety in mind, making it their number one priority. An inexperienced and careless gun owner, who fails to have a concealed license, could not only face legal ramifications, but become a statistic. Too many gun owners rely on the power of their gun, not their skill and common sense. Before you carry a gun, make sure your gun is legal!