This is one of my rare editorial blog posts, and I'd like to take this time to exhort all Texans: go get a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). I don't care if you don't even own a firearm, or if you never intend to purchase one. Take the course anyway. I will personally loan you a firearm for the shooting portion of the class, and provide you with free instruction beforehand.
Why the generosity? Because I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and ignorance is anything but bliss.
In the last few days, I've been asked questions regarding Texas firearm laws that surprised me. I'm not calling names, or being derisive, mind you. It's just that some misinformation has been repeated enough times that people assume it must be the truth. For example, it's perfectly legal for you to have a concealed handgun in your vehicle in the state of Texas, without a CHL. That surprises a lot of people. There is no waiting period for purchasing a firearm in Texas, did you know that? Some would have you believe there is. Yes, Virginia, you can legally carry your gun in church, provided your church hasn't posted the proper signage to the contrary. Speaking of signage, what are the 2 signs that would prohibit a CHLicensee from carrying in an establishment? When are you authorized to use deadly force, CHL or not?
In my humble estimation, it's worth your time and money to find the answer to these questions firsthand from a qualified CHL instructor. Heck, if nothing else, having your CHL just makes it easier to purchase that handgun that you'll decide you DO need, after all.
I know that some rankle at the thought of any type of licensing and registration, and I certainly appreciate that position. However, the law is the law, and there are most certainly trade-offs for getting a CHL. You'll be held to a higher standard, but at the same time, you'll get proper recognition for that, particularly from law enforcement (for the most part). I've had LEOs cut me slack on the rare occasion where I might have exceeded the speed limit, solely by virtue of the fact that I've made the effort to be a law-abiding CHLicensee. They (for the most part) know you're the good guy.
More than anything else, it's learning the laws of this state, and of other states, that will benefit you most. If nothing else, you'll be the life of the party.
Just do me one favor: don't assume that having a CHL means you know how to shoot. Go learn how to shoot from a qualified instructor, learn basic gun safety, and practice. You'll be much more comfortable with that CHL once you do.
That is all.