North Texas Daily

What it’s really like to take a concealed handgun license course

What it’s really like to take a concealed handgun license course

What it’s really like to take a concealed handgun license course
October 29
02:24 2015

Harrison Long | Editorial Writer

@HarrisonGLong

While the lawful ability to carry a gun on one’s person is nothing to be downplayed, critics and standers-by alike may be surprised to find that much of the process is more than just a simple application.

To prove this, I attended a free concealed handgun license class offered by Texas Marksmen at UNT. Here’s how it went.

The course itself is a fun and overall pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon. My instructor was a member of Texas Marksmen and, while remaining both lively and energetic, was well informed about the laws surrounding concealed carry. Many of those who have not taken the course are unaware of the non-negotiable requirements each student must meet, as well as the score they must reach in the range qualifier in order to be issued their license.

Apart from the well-known requirement of being 21 years old, a student cannot have a felony on record, must show no signs of being chemically dependent, must be a legal resident of Texas for at least six months prior to the course and cannot have been convicted of a Class A or B misdemeanor five years before submitting their application.

It goes without saying that a background check will be issued following successful completion of the course.

The curriculum itself was almost surprisingly focused on educating students in both gun safety and situational awareness. Guns were barred from entering the classroom and the instructor made the point of asking students to question their motivations for seeking a CHL in the first place.

At the end of the classroom course, students take a 25-question written test on what they have learned. We needed 70 percent to pass, and I hit that mark.

Having grown up surrounded by firearms and having seen them used carelessly in the past, I was amazed to find those within the course receptive to the responsibility they were accepting.

Concealed carry is not jumping to use your weapon in an everyday dispute, or even in a condition that has the potential to escalate. One accepts that diffusing a situation should always be priority No. 1 and using lethal force is a last resort.

You only draw if you intend to spill blood — and buddy, you better be damned sure you don’t jump the gun if you decide to do so. Even with a concealed handgun license, unlawfully drawing a weapon can have major legal ramifications on an individual.

I’m slightly embarrassed to say my prediction of the class to be an episode of “Hee Haw” was inaccurate. It was far less politically charged than one might imagine, and while I was unable to complete the entire course (they only guarantee 100 slots and maybe some more for the qualifying test), I am dutifully looking forward to qualifying at the range in the near future.

It should be noted the gun range also entails a required score of 70 percent to pass, with students shooting a target from three, seven and 15 yards. In the case of the UNT course, those without a firearm of their own may bring a box of 50 9mm rounds and borrow a pistol from the range.

This account is not meant to sway the affections of the reader in any direction regarding concealed carry, campus carry, or guns in general, only to note the process is much less “wild west” than we are often led to believe.

Featured Image: File Photo

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