02-19 gun safety-01

Raychel Shaw, owner of East Texas Firearms & Training in Grapeland, instructs student Reagan Sokolowski in safe firearm handling. A rudimentary range test is part of a 4-6 hour class that Texas requires for License to Carry permits. 

Texas yields to no state in its fervent embrace of the Second Amendment. In no state, do the people have a more absolute and unqualified view of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

While embracing gun rights, Texas legislators also had the wisdom to enact some minimal training requirements for securing a License to Carry permit.

Those laws have worked and should continue. Dire predictions notwithstanding, violent crime in Texas dropped after license-to-carry laws were enacted in the mid-1990s.

Texas requires four to six hours of training from a certified License to Carry class, including testing the applicants knowledge of state gun laws and safety practices.

Applicants must also demonstrate a minimal level of proficiency on the firing range. More than 1 million Texans have already done so.

Regular fees for the permit – good for five years – are $40. LTC classes typically run from $65 to $125.

A so-called Constitutional Carry law, which would permit open or concealed carry without a permit, would eliminate the basic training criteria for firearm proficiency and safe handling.

That's nuts.

State laws governing the possession and use of handguns are not onerous or excessive. With accessible training and affordable permits, a Texas License to Carry is within reach for most people who are 21 and felony-free.

Anyone who can see, hold and point a gun, and squeeze the trigger could pass the 50-round range test. People who can't should not carry a firearm. If they had to use it, they would hit everything but what they're aiming at, endangering their safety and the public's.

After acquiring an LTC permit, gun owners may want further training, such as taking an active shooter class, that would enable them to defend themselves and their families more safely and effectively.

Many people who have handled guns all their lives, or have extensive military training, don't need additional training. The state, however, has no easy or practical way to decipher who needs the training and who does not.

Uniform standards ensure everyone in Texas who needs training gets it. Those who don't need it will probably still learn something worthwhile about state gun laws, legal standards for use of lethal force,

how to resolve a dispute without violence, and many other issues.

A lot is at stake. Using a firearm in self-defense, even when fully justified, does not shield lawful gun carriers from having to defend themselves in court against costly lawsuits. Nor will a License to Carry keep a gun owner out of jail or prison, if a court of law determines lethal force was unwarranted.

Knowledge and training safeguard gun owners and their rights, as well as the public.

Getting a driver's license requires some training to protect drivers and other motorists. The same

principle applies to License to Carry. In Texas, the law works. Don't mess with it.

Trending Video