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How to Get a Gun License in Texas
Gun laws in Texas are less restrictive than in many states. Texas doesn’t require you to register your gun or to purchase a permit to buy or possess a gun. If you want to carry your handgun around with you, that’s a different story. If you want to have your gun on or about you –but not visible to the public – you need to get a concealed handgun license.
Take a Course
Find a Department of Public Safety-certified instructor. A qualified course will take between 10 and 15 hours and will cover such topics as how to safely use and store your gun. Private courses are also available. Costs vary but are approximately $100. The DPS has a list of certified instructors.
Determine Your Eligibility
You must be 21 or older and a Texas resident, though some exceptions are made for military personnel and part-time residents. You must also meet the federal and state laws for handgun possession. Criminal convictions, restraining orders and psychological diagnoses are among the grounds on which an applicant will be disqualified from getting a license.
Collect the Necessary Paperwork
You will need valid identification, a Social Security number and proof of residency in the form of a driver’s license, utility bill, voter registration card or any other official document that has your address on it. If you are moving to Texas and already have a license from another state, bring that as well.
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Apply to the Department of Public Safety
Fill out an application either at the DPS or at a place that sells guns, such as a sporting goods store. If you pick up an application somewhere besides the DPS, you can mail in the application and supporting materials to the department.
Pay the Fee
Generally speaking, the permit costs $140 and is nonrefundable, with senior citizens and low-income Texans paying $70 and a few other qualifying residents (elected prosecuting attorneys, for example) paying less or nothing at all. The DPS website explains who qualifies as low-income.
Wait for New License
If your application is accepted, you will receive your license within approximately 60 days. It will be valid for four years, at which point you can renew it. The license allows you to carry an unlimited number of handguns, though this right is restricted in certain places such as schools and court offices. Theoretically, you could carry 10 handguns with you, if you could conceal all of them.
If you are traveling to another state, your Texas license may not be valid there. Be sure to determine the laws of the states where you’re traveling to inquire about concealed weapons laws before you travel.