Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about
Texas Concealed Handguns

FAQ index

Application Questions

    1. What are the requirements for obtaining a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

The Concealed Handgun Law sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun.  A number of factors may make you ineligible to obtain a license, such as: felony convictions and some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication; pending criminal charges; chemical or alcohol dependency; certain types of psychological diagnoses protective or restraining orders, and defaults on state or city taxes, governmental fees, or child support.  Eligibility requirements can be found in GC §411.172.

You must also submit a completed application, pay the required fees and submit all of the required supplemental forms and materials.


    2. How do I apply for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

An original (first-time) CHL applicant must complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting). All classroom and proficiency must be conducted by a CHL instructor certified by DPS. See CHL Qualification Course Requirements (PDF) for the proficiency demonstration requirements. There are four (4) required topics: Use of Force, Non-Violent Dispute Resolution, Handgun Use, and Safe and Proper Storage of Handguns and Ammunition. To locate a DPS-certified CHL instructor, see Instructor List.

Upon successful completion of the training class, the instructor should provide you with a Certificate of Training (CHL-100). You will need to submit this form to DPS to complete your application.


    3. Once I submit my application, when should I expect to receive my license?

DPS will make every effort to issue your license within 60 days of receiving the completed application packet. If the application is incomplete or requires additional information to complete the background check, you will be notified in writing.


    4. I sent in my completed application packet, but received a letter from the Department asking for more information on an arrest from several years ago. How does this affect the processing time?

This letter requesting more information or documents extends the timeline for completing or issuing your license. DPS has an additional 180 days to complete the review process, if additional information is required from the application. To ensure your license is issued promptly, it is very important for you to provide the requested information for review.


    5. How do I renew my Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

You may submit the renewal application online at Concealed Handgun Licensing Online you may download the renewal application form, complete and mail it with the required fees. Printable application forms are available in the Downloadable Forms section.

We will use existing fingerprints and photos on file for renewal applications.  However, sometimes the quality of those prints originally submitted no longer meets the State or FBI standards.  If we are unable to use the fingerprints on file, you will be notified to obtain a new set of prints along with instructions on where you must be fingerprinted. 

You must also to submit a completed application, pay the required fees and submit all of the required supplemental forms and materials.  


    6. How much does it cost to obtain or renew a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

The standard fee for an original CHL is $140. The standard fee for a renewal of a CHL is $70. However, Texas law provides for some discounts if you meet certain special conditions. A complete list of fees along with the special conditions can be found on the fee schedule.  For applications submitted electronically, the fees may be paid using a credit or debit card. For applications mailed to DPS, acceptable forms of payment are money order, cashier's check or personal check.
NOTE: Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. (If an application is not approved, the fees will not be refunded.)


    7. What type of information do I need to supply, if I am applying under a special condition such as police officer or prosecutor?

When applying under a special condition, you must submit supporting documents to qualify for the discount. In order to determine if you meet the criteria for a discount refer to the fee schedule. Police officers and prosecutors may obtain additional information regarding the application process at Application instructions for Police Officers/Prosecutors.


    8. How much will fingerprinting cost?

The fingerprint processing fee is $9.95, payable to MorphoTrust USA by one of the following methods:

  • Online with a credit card
  • At the MorphoTrust USA location, payment must be made by check or money order.

    9. What if my fingerprints are rejected?

IIf it is determined the fingerprints submitted with the application do not meet the required quality standards, new fingerprints must be provided. You will be contacted by MorphoTrust USA to schedule another appointment. No additional fees will be charged. You will also receive notice from DPS advising that new fingerprints are required.


    10. How long is the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) valid?

Initial licenses are valid for four years.  Renewal licenses are valid for five years. The license will remain valid as long as you continue to meet all the eligibility criteria.


    11. Can others find out if I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun?

Generally, no. Information on individuals who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun is confidential and not subject to requests under the Public Information Act. However, DPS may release information about a concealed handgun licensee to criminal justice agencies for law enforcement purposes.

.

Return to Top

Eligibility Questions

    12. If I am in the military and was just transferred to Texas, may I obtain a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

Military personnel stationed in Texas, just like civilians, may obtain a Texas CHL.  There is no longer a requirement for individuals to reside in Texas for six months prior to applying


    13. If I am only 20 years old, can I take the proficiency class now and still get a license when I turn 21?

Yes, however your application may not be submitted prior to your 21st birthday. 


    14. If I was convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) two years ago, am I eligible for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

DWI is classified as at least a Class B misdemeanor, and you are ineligible for a license for five years after a conviction for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.  For the purpose of determining eligibility, a conviction includes those that were dismissed after you completed probation or deferred adjudication.


    15. If I received deferred adjudication for an offense, am I eligible for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

The Concealed Handgun law states that deferred adjudication will be considered the same as a conviction.  Depending on the type of offense and the date of deferral, you may not be eligible for a CHL.


    16. If I was arrested for a crime but the charges were dismissed, am I eligible for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

If charges were dismissed without prosecution, then they are not disqualifying.


    17. If I am delinquent in paying child support, am I eligible for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

The Concealed Handgun law states an application for a CHL may be denied for individual finally determined to be delinquent in child support obligations. 


    18. Am I required to list all arrests on my application, even if the cases were dismissed or if I was found not guilty?

Yes. Applicants are required to report all arrests in order to ensure the background checks can be conducted timely.  The application should include the year, the offense, the location and the final disposition.  Copies of the dispositions will assist in the timely processing your application.  Applicants should also include information on cases that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication.  Failure to provide any requested documentation could result in the termination of an application.


    19. How do I report or file a complaint on a CHL holder?

You may submit the information in writing to the Department by mail or by email to https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/contact/default.aspx


Return to Top

Training Requirements

    20. What type of class or training is required in order to obtain a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

An original (first-time) CHL applicant must complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting). All classroom and proficiency must be conducted by a CHL instructor certified by DPS. See CHL Qualification Course Requirements (PDF) for the proficiency demonstration requirements. There are four (4) required topics: Use of Force, Non-Violent Dispute Resolution, Handgun Use, and Safe and Proper Storage of Handguns and Ammunition. To locate a DPS-certified CHL instructor, see Instructor List.

Upon successful completion of the training class, the instructor should provide you with a Certificate of Training (CHL-100). You will need to submit this form to DPS to complete your application.


    21. Is there a requirement to take a continuing education course before I can renew my Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

Per HB 48 (83rd Legislature), continuing education is no longer required for CHL renewal. CHL holders will simply apply online and submit the supporting documents for discounted fees or special conditions. NOTE: At this time, the receipt page (CHL checklist) will still indicate a CHL-100 is required. Programming required to remove this language is underway; until the “check list” is updated, applicants may disregard the statement requiring a CHL-100.

    22. Are there any exemptions from taking the continuing education course?

As stated in House Bill 48 from the 83rd Texas Legislature, continuing education is no longer required when renewing a CHL. CHL holders will simply apply online and submit the supporting documents for discounted fees or special conditions. NOTE: The receipt page (CHL Checklist) will still indicate a CHL-100 is required. Programming required to remove this language is underway; until the Checklist is updated, applicants may disregard the statement requiring a CHL-100.


    23. How much do training classes cost?

DPS does not regulate the cost charged by DPS-certified CHL instructors.


    24. Will I need to have a gun before I begin my training class?

Some instructors may require you to use your own gun during the proficiency (shooting) demonstration.  However, others may provide the gun and/or ammunition.  You will need to consult with a certified instructor to determine if you will need a handgun for the course.   


    25. Are instructors required to offer classes in multiple languages?

Current statute does not require classes to be offered in any language other than English.


    26. What type of ammunition can I use during my training class?

Your certified instructor may choose any factory-loaded ammunition. DPS recommends using ammunition that meets Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Institute (SAAMI) specifications.

Return to Top

Updating Information

    27. How do I change the address on my Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

You may submit a request to change the address on your CHL online at http://www.texas.gov/txapp/txdps/chl/ or download a Request for Duplicate Concealed Handgun License and Change of Name or Address (CHL-70).

Students attending school out-of-state may leave their permanent address on their CHL. The address change will be required once the student has established a different permanent address.

Please note that changing the address on your Texas Driver License or ID Card will not change the address on your CHL.

Return to Top

Reciprocity Questions


    28. I have a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). Does this allow me to carry my concealed handgun in another state?

If there is a reciprocity agreement with Texas, then you may carry a concealed handgun, provided you comply with that state’s laws on concealed carry. Reciprocal agreements and unilateral proclamations can be found on the Reciprocity map.

    29. If I have a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and I am traveling to another state that we have a reciprocal agreement with, what are my responsibilities?

If you are in a state that has reciprocity with Texas, you must follow that state’s laws for carrying a concealed handgun. The same responsibility applies to anyone from another state when traveling in Texas; they must follow Texas laws for carrying a concealed handgun. Most states will have a website for their concealed carry licenses or permits that specify their laws. Alternatively, you may call the other state and ask what their laws are for carrying a concealed handgun while in that state. Reciprocal agreements and unilateral proclamations can be found on our Reciprocity map.

    30. Does Texas recognize all Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) issued by other states?

No.  Under the statute, Texas may enter into either reciprocity or a unilateral agreement recognizing a concealed handgun license issued by another state.  The Texas Attorney General’s office evaluates other state’s CHL programs to determine if it is appropriate for Texas to participate in reciprocity or unilateral agreements.  Upon recommendation by the Texas Attorney General, the Governor may sign a reciprocity agreement or issue a unilateral proclamation.  Reciprocal agreements and unilateral proclamations can be found on our Reciprocity map.

Return to Top

Doís and Doníts of Carrying a Concealed Handgun


    31. I have applied for a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). When can I begin carrying my concealed handgun?

You are legal to begin carrying your concealed handgun upon receipt of the physical license.


    32. My Concealed Handgun License (CHL) has expired, and my renewal application is in process. Can I carry a concealed handgun while I am waiting to receive my new license?

No.  There is no grace period or extension for an expired CHL, even if your renewal application has been submitted. You must wait until you receive the CHL before you are allowed to carry a concealed handgun.


    33. What does concealed mean? Can I carry my handgun in plain view with my Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?

The handgun cannot be visible or discernible through ordinary observation. Texas Penal Code Chapter 46 prohibits carrying the handgun in plain view. CHL holders may be subject to criminal charges for carrying a handgun in plain view. 


    34. I am a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holder. Are there any places where I cannot carry my concealed handgun?

Yes.  §46.035, Texas Penal Code prohibits carrying of handguns and other weapons in certain places. These include but are not limited to: 

  • On the premises of a business that derives 51% or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption
  • On the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or interscholastic event is taking place
  • On the premises of a correctional facility
  • On the premises of a hospital or nursing home (unless licensee has written authorization) 
  • In an amusement park
  • On the premises of a church, synagogue, or other place of worship
  • At any meeting of a governmental entity

§46.02, Texas Penal Code and §46.03, Texas Penal Code also specifically prohibit handguns or weapons under other circumstances and from other locations other than those listed above.  For example:  It is against Texas law to carry a concealed handgun if the person has the handgun in plain view; or if the person is engaged in a criminal activity (other than a Class C traffic offense); or if prohibited from possessing a firearm, or is a member of a criminal street gang.   Some other areas where weapons are prohibited include the premises of polling places on the day of an election or during early voting, the premises of any government court, the premises of a racetrack, in a secured area of an airport or within 1,000 feet of premises designated as a place of execution on the day a sentence of death is set to be imposed. 

DPS cannot provide legal advice to CHL holders. For more information and exceptions, please see Texas Penal Code Chapter 46.   You may also consider contacting the local law enforcement or the local County or District Attorney for more information about carrying a weapon in your area. 


    35. Can I carry a handgun when I am drinking alcohol?

Texas Penal Code §46.035 states it is unlawful for an individual who is intoxicated to carry a concealed handgun. The Penal Code defines “intoxicated” as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance in the body.


    36. Do private property/business owners have the right to exclude license holders from their property?

Yes.  Private property owners may exclude license holders from carrying concealed handguns on their property by providing notice as provided in Section 30.06, Texas Penal Code.  If you wish to prohibit license holders from carrying concealed handguns on your property, §30.06, Texas Penal Code requires you to post specific signage.  The sign must be in both English and Spanish, must include the specific language described by law, must appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height and be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public. 

DPS does not furnish or sell these signs. You may print or purchase the signs from your local printing company. See Texas Penal Code §30.06, for the exact required language.


    37. Am I required to carry my Concealed Handgun License (CHL) when I donít have my handgun with me?

No. Under the Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing Act, you are only required to have your license with you whenever you are carrying a concealed handgun.


    38. If licensed, can I carry more than one handgun?

The Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing Act does not limit the number of concealed handguns you may carry.


Return to Top

Suspensions/Revocations

    39. I received a letter from DPS telling me my CHL is being suspended based on a pending Class B Misdemeanor. I have not been to court yet, so why is my license being suspended?

Texas Government Code §411.187 requires DPS to suspend a license, if the license holder is charged with a Class A, or Class B misdemeanor offense.


    40. My Concealed Handgun License (CHL) was suspended due to a pending charge; does this mean I am never eligible again?

It depends on the type of charge and if you are subsequently convicted or placed on probation. If you are acquitted of the pending charge, your license will be reinstated if it did not expire during the time of the suspension.


    41. I was convicted of the charge that caused the suspension of my Concealed Handgun License (CHL). What will happen to my license now?

Now your license is subject to revocation. DPS, upon notification of the conviction, will send a new letter informing you of the revocation based upon that conviction.


    42. My license has been revoked because of a Class B misdemeanor conviction for DWI. When can I reapply?

Texas Government Code §411.171(a)(8) states a person is not eligible for a CHL, if he or she has a Class A or Class B conviction within five (5) years before the date of application. Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you will not be eligible to reapply for two (2) years following the end of the cause for revocation.


Return to Top

Instructor Questions

    43. Do you have to be National Rifle Association (NRA) certified to become a CHL instructor certified by DPS?

To become a CHL instructor certified by DPS, you must meet all the eligibility criteria under the Texas Government Code, §411.172 and §411.190. This includes proof you certified to instruct others in the use of handguns (firearm instructor) as listed below:

  • Certified by Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) as a firearm instructor -  supporting documentation includes a copy of your TCOLE firearm instructor certificate. (Must be a firearm instructor, basic instructor  is not sufficient.)
  • Certified under the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1702, as a firearm instructor – supporting documentation includes a copy of the Private Security instructor registration.
  • Certified by NRA as a firearm instructor – supporting document includes a copy of certificate of training and a copy your unexpired NRA credentials. (Must be certified to instructor handgun/pistol)
  • Proof of graduation from a handgun instructor school that uses a nationally accepted course designed to train persons as handgun instructors.  (Applicants under this section must regularly instruct others in the use of handguns.)

    44. Can CHL instructors certified by DPS teach anywhere in Texas or only in a particular geographic area?

CHL instructors certified by DPS may teach anywhere in Texas.


    45. I am a CHL instructor certified by DPS and I understand I can teach anywhere in Texas. However, can I teach a class in another state?

No. All CHL classes must be taught in Texas, as stated in Texas Administrative Code §6.83.


    46. I have applied to become a CHL instructor certified by DPS. When will I be scheduled to take the required instructorís class?

DPS will notify you by email as to the date, time and location of the instructor class. Be sure your email on file with DPS is correct. Students may reply to the email, either to confirm your attendance or to advise you’ll be unable to attend.


    47. What control does DPS have over CHL instructors certified by DPS?

DPS certifies individuals to teach coursework and provide training required to be taken by individuals seeking to qualify for a Texas CHL. Instructors certified by DPS are required to comply with all applicable state and federal statutes. Instructors must submit an application, pay the required fees, pass state and federal background checks and attend training.   


Return to Top

Criminal History Record

    48. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record?

Please visit Criminal History Error Resolution for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record.


    49. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record?

Please visit Challenge of a Criminal Record for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record.

Return to Top