There were so many different changes to the gun laws in Texas that were passed by legislation in the early months of fall in 2013. The vast majority of them became effective on September 1st after being debated and discussed thoroughly for several months.
Changes Affecting CHL Holders
One of the biggest areas of the gun law that were changed deal directly with the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and the people that were qualified to have one. When it came to the classroom training that was required for original and renewal license applications, the minimum hours were changed to 4-6 hours instead of 10-15 (SB 864). Even though applicants still need to renew them every five years, continuing education courses are no longer required (HB 48). Renewal fees are permanently reduced for honorably discharged veterans, peace officers, correctional officers and official Texas Military Forces members down to $25 (HB 485).
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) can no longer require applications to disclose their social security numbers when applying and they have establish new procedures when it comes to CHL applications from rural areas submitting their fingerprints since the entire state of Texas only uses one company for these services (HB 1349 & HB 698). Based on these changes, applicants no longer have to demonstrate their proficiency when it comes to using or carrying the handguns for which they are qualified (HB 3142).
Displaying and Using Firearms in Public
There were also several major revisions that were made to the Texas gun law in regards to displaying and using weapons in public. For instance, licenses can no longer be charged for the inadvertent and accidental display of their firearms while in public (SB 299). Colleges and universities, whether private or public, can’t enforce policies that restrict their students from storing firearms and ammunition that is legally owned within their vehicles (SB 1907).
Hotels that want to prohibit their guests from possessing, storing or transporting weapons within their establishments have to publicly notify them of this policy on their websites and when confirming reservations (HB 333). When a firearm has been seized due to criminal activities by a law enforcement agency, it is to be sold to federally licensed dealers through a public sale instead of being destroyed (HB 1421).
Other Legal Changes and Revisions
The Attorney General can seek an injunction against any city or county that passes a law that violates any aspect of the Firearms Preemption Statute (SB 987). Air guns and BB gun are now officially covered by this statute as well (SB 1400). Qualified handgun instructors can now receive advanced training that can lead to them being able to instruct school district employees that hold CHLs accordingly (SB 1857).
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