Get your out of state CHL online? Think carefully

AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s not every day an offer from the website “Groupon” leads to a news headline. But this might be a case. We recently received an email about a $35 online Concealed Handgun License Course.

The instruction lasts about an hour — all at your computer and with no time on a firing range. Even though the license would be through Arizona, it’s valid in Texas.

But, Texas has much stricter requirements to obtain a CHL: 4 to 6 hours of classwork, plus written and shooting range tests. That made us wonder – how is an online class from Arizona legal?

To make travel easier, Texas has what’s called a reciprocity agreement with Arizona and other states: we recognize their CHL’s and they recognize ours.

This afternoon, Robert Hadlock sat down with Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who authored the legislature’s concealed handgun laws in the 1990′s and asked him about the easy to get license.

“I guess it’s better than nothing. But not by much,” Patterson said, “When you take an online course that gives you a license in another state that has reciprocity with Texas, the problem is when you learn the laws of Arizona, or for that matter, Virginia, those law are not the same in Texas.”

Click play on the video above to see his response to the online CHL offerings.

Texas Concealed Handgun License

Department of Public Safety records show a big spike in concealed handgun licenses. At the end of 2013, there were 708,000 licenses, up more than 21 percent from 2012. In fact, the number of CHLs issued in Texas has more than doubled since 2008. The state’s population grew only about 10 percent in that time.

To get one of those licenses you have to meet several criteria – but very few applications are denied. You must be at least 21 years old, have no felony convictions, and must be able to understand how to properly use and store a handgun. You also can’t be behind on making child support payments or behind on taxes.

In 2013, the state approved 242-thousand new applications. But only about 700 applications were denied. At the same time, the agency suspended 1600 concealed handgun licenses, and revoked 900 others.

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