New laws for Handgun Licensing Program
Summary of new laws passed in the 85th Regular Legislative Session that impact Handgun Licensing.
Change in Fees
Senate Bill 16 Effective: September 1, 2017
Caption: Relating to decreasing the fee for the issuance of an original or renewal license to carry a handgun.
- This bill reduces the standard original license to carry an application fee from $140 to $40.
- This bill sets the standard renewal license to carry application fee at $40.
- This bill sets the Senior Citizen and the Indigent license to carry application fee at $40. In addition, this bill set the Senior Citizen and the Indigent renewal license to carry fee to $35.
- This bill waives license to carry application fees for an Active Texas Peace Officer and Texas Military Forces. The application and renewal fees are reduced from $25 to $0.
Online Course Provider Certification and Additional Changes
House Bill 3784 Effective: September 1, 2017
Caption: Relating to certain applications to obtain a license to carry a handgun and to the associated handgun proficiency course.
- This bill allows the department to certify an approved online course provider who has at least three years' experience in providing online course instruction, experience working with government entities, and has direct knowledge of handgun training. In addition to the qualifications, an approved online course provider must be qualified to instruct persons in 1) Laws that relate to Weapons/Use of Force 2) Safe Storage 3) Non-Violent Dispute Resolution and 4) Handgun Use and Safety (including use of restraint holsters). An approved online course provider can offer classroom instruction portion of the handgun proficiency requirement and administer the written exam to applicants online by utilizing a secured web portal.
- This bill changes the requirement for active duty, veterans, and Texas Military Forces to provide their military range qualification scores from the preceding 5 years to the preceding 10 years in place of the range instruction part of the handgun proficiency course. These applicants may provide the department with any passing military firearm range scores.
- This bill creates a license to carry application designation for county jailers as defined by Section 1701.001, Occupations Code. Eligible applicants may apply for an original or renewal Texas license to carry at no cost. An applicant who applies as a County Jailer will need to provide to the department, the name and job title, a current copy of the county jailer license and evidence of employment as a county jailer. In addition, a county jailer must provide evidence of satisfactorily completing the preparatory training program that includes demonstration of weapons proficiency. Eligible applicants will not be required to complete the range instruction part of the handgun proficiency course.
- This bill reduces the original and renewal application fee for Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Correctional Officers from $25 to $0. Applicants must submit to the department evidence that the applicant has successfully completed the correctional officer training program offered by TDCJ even if the applicant previously received a TDCJ Correctional Officer's license to carry. Eligible applicants will not be required to complete the range instruction part of the handgun proficiency course.
- This bill provides that applicants applying as an Active Texas Peace Officer submit to the department: their name and rank; and a current copy of their peace officer license and evidence of employment as a peace officer. Additionally, an Active Texas Peace Officer is not required to complete the handgun proficiency course in order to receive a license to carry.
House Bill 435 Effective: September 1, 2017
Caption: Relating to the carrying of weapons, including the application of certain weapons and handgun license laws to certain persons, the carrying of handguns by license holders on the property of a state hospital, the liability for certain actions of volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a handgun providing a civil penalty.
- Authorizes volunteer emergency services personnel to carry a handgun while engaged in providing emergency services if that emergency service person is licensed to carry.
- This bill adds the United States Attorney, the assistant United States Attorney, the Texas Attorney General, and assistant Texas Attorney General to the list of applicants that will receive an indicator in their license to carry. This bill waives the fee for an original, duplicate, or renewal of a license to carry for the United States Attorney, assistant United States Attorney, the Texas Attorney General, and assistant Texas Attorney General who prosecute felony cases.
- This bill adds section 552.002 to the Health and Safety Code to allow a state hospital to post a sign, in both English and Spanish, informing license to carry holders that they cannot enter the property with a handgun. A civil penalty may be imposed on a license to carry holder who carries on the property of a state hospital in which written notice is provided.
Various Other Changes
Senate Bill 263 Effective: September 1, 2017
Caption: Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a license to carry a handgun.
- This bill removes the minimum caliber of handgun to be used in the handgun proficiency examination.
House Bill 867 Effective: September 1, 2017
Caption: Relating to school marshals.
- This bill allows private schools to appoint one school marshal for every 200 students or one per building at which students regularly receive classroom instructions. This bill changes school marshal standards from 400 to 200 students per school marshal for public schools.
- This bill requires that school marshal may load their handgun with ammunition "designed to disintegrate" or duty ammunition approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.